Eric D. Schabell: January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Roel really does work!

Yes siree Bob! Believe it or not, captured on film for all eternity, Roel working!

Mamma lock up your kids, Daddy turn out the light, the party is over.... I have seen it all here at work now.

Many thanks to the alert Marco de Klijn for capturing this memorable moment!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PRIMA project kickoff

PRIMA stands for the Project Information Monitoring Application that the two interns, Lisa and Ikram, pictured here are doing for us at my work.

The will be spending the next six months working on this project to provide diverse project information such as test coverage, build information, and anything else we can think up over the next few months. This information they will be pumping, flashing, and beautifying for a large flat screen display to be mounted centrally in our department. Both developers and visitors will have a nice graphical view of our projects and progress. It is a very high profile project which we will be trying to give the necessary publicity within our offices.

I am very excited to be mentoring them through this project which should end with them writing their thesis to graduate with a bachelor in Software Engineering from their HBO in Eindhoven. We will be using Scrum as the development methodology and they are entirely free in their choice of frameworks as the application will be running in our department. No architectural restrictions that normally apply to a bank environment.

They will be keeping a daily project journal on their PRIMA blog.

Monday, January 28, 2008

AbTLinux package manager tagged v0.2

Over the last few days I have been playing with the code for abt, the AbtLinux package manager, on a newly installed Ubuntu box. The auto detection stuff that installs abt for you seems to be fine (some bugs fixed), basic features are there, and I included a new package for checkinstall.

I feel this is good enough to put out a tag, so today I give you version 0.2!

You can find it over in subversion at our site: or just run:

$ svn co

Feel free to provide input or comments on at #abtlinux.

Ruby system function help and hints

Lately while using Ruby and trying to make sense of the system() function, which has a boolean return value, I was getting a bit frustrated. It seams you have one of two choices, so thought I would outline them here.

First, you can use the system(command) function which will execute your command in a subprocess and report a boolean success value. It should be noted that stdout will be available on the screen/console while the given command is running and you can redirect with the standard Linux commands (such as tee, |, >, >>, etc.).

The second option is to use what are called backticks, which allows you to capture the commands output into a variable. Note that you will no longer see stdout on the screen/console, but you will receive stderr on the screen/console. Usage is like this:

stdout = `#{command}`

It matters not whether you use the first or the second option, they both provide a means to check their resulting exit codes. I use the standard Bash variable $? like this:

exitcode = $?.exitstatus

These hints and tips should clarify the various options you have when accessing the underlying (Linux) system and to help you when trying to sort out what to do with the results of your commands.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The all new Dilbert widget!

This is just awesome, I have added it to my site, you can vote on the daily Dilbert and much more. You can see it in my sidebar and pick one out yourself at

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Compiler complaint

All Physics

Monday, January 7, 2008

Beer Brewing Bender!

For all the Futurama fans out there:

"The Beer Brewing Bender Project is finally completed. This is a fan built, full sized Bender from Futurama featuring a 6502 CPU powered brain to make him speak triggered by a prop remote control straight out of the show. Inside his body is a beer fermenter used to brew up a batch of real Benderbrau beer!" [ more...]