Eric D. Schabell: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

News from the front in Afganistan

With my best buddy still away for a few more weeks, there was a bit of a scare when an USO tour stopped by to entertain the troops. It seems the country singer Toby Keith's show was shelled, causing a bit of a panic.

It seems that there were no injuries, but I will be glad when he is back home in a few weeks. That is not the place to be right now...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Trac for AbTLinux has been recovered

A few weeks ago the AbTLinux project lost its Trac machine. I was able to pick it up last week and a bit of digging in the internals turned up the fact that two of the three cooling fans were pretty borked. It sounded like a sick helo trying to land at high altitudes, if you can imagine that. It was specifically the case fan in the back and the tiny fan on the video card.

Until repairs can be made I have dissected the machine and was able to recover the entire Trac database. I have found new hosting, uploaded the old database, and the work put in to setup our development plan for 2008 was recovered.

Check it out at the AbTLinux Trac site.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Telfort internet success story

As I published some time ago, No Internet from Abel, I was having some rather extreme difficulties getting a new ISP hooked up after moving to my new house. After 18 days of frustrations I was forced to look for a new provider, well Tele2 was the next crappy ISP I had the misfortune to run into.

I called them right after canceling on Abel, but after not hearing anything back from them in a week, I contacted the help desk. They tell me that they have no record of an order for 20MBit Internet, but would love to hook me up. But wait a minute... my address does not support that speed... no sir, you can only have 1.5Mbit connection... right.

After hanging up on them, I browsed the selections available to me and Telfort popped up with a good offer. I placed the order online this time, received a tracking number to follow my order within a day, a letter confirming all was in processing and I would have a new connection in 3-5 weeks.

So I wait, but in 3 weeks I get an email confirming my connection would be available this week! How can that be, inside of 3 weeks????? No way. But I come home that same day to find the starter kit with modem and a second letter telling me my connection was active. I plug in the modem, discover that the setup works (not bridged either, but default is routed!), can you beat that!

I am an avid fan now... in a few months my telephone connection with Tele2 is over (contract until August) and I plan to let Telfort host my VOIP. Well done Telfort, you have just won a customer!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

PRIMA project stirring up some excitement

The PRoject Information Monitoring Application (PRIMA) had their kickoff in January and I presented their first iteration results here in February.

Since that time it has been quiet on the blogging front (well, they have been blogging away, but I have been holding back) as I was waiting for a good time to bring out a progress report. Now is the time!

The last weeks have been about pushing out the results of their work to the rest of the department. We arranged for a machine to run their application, setup the application to run centrally in the department on a normal monitor, and when that was not enough we stole one of the larger gaming LCD screens to put up in the department. It was needed to impress the big boss and convince him that a very large LCD screen would be perfect to put on the wall for the final application.

It was rather funny to watch the reactions of our colleagues once they noticed we had setup PRIMA centrally without telling anyone. The just started to appear f
rom everywhere to come take a look. As you can see it started slowly with our departmental boss showing it off to some of his contacts outside of our department, then all of a sudden it was a massive group from our own department flocking to check out the new flashy build information, and finally it was presented as a live demo to the big boss of SNS IT Development. He summed the results up pretty well when he said we need to put this up on a VERY big screen and that we were to order it as soon as possible.

Our departmental chief was as happy as can be that Lisa and Ikram were able to impress the big boss so much that he immediately sent Lisa and Ikram off to shop online for a very big LCD screen (we are looking at around 46" LCD screens, really gonna be beautiful)! In the next weeks Lisa and Ikram hope to take delivery on the new screen, continue to add functionality, and basically keep impressing everyone with their progress on the PRIMA project.

One side note, the centrally displayed PRIMA application has stirred up the imagination of everyone. This has caused input to start rolling in on what is confusing in the displayed information, what might be missing, what they might like to see added, etc. It is rejuvenating to see the enthusiasm it stirs up and it is hard to imagine what the reactions are to be when the planned functionality hits the screen over the next 2 months.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cycling to work in Spring 2008

Finally got a chance to ride the racing bike to work this week. I have been averaging around 240-260km totals per month on my city bike, but this is not as nice to ride.

I just did an easy ride to work with a total of 31km on the meter. Was nice weather and I took a detour through the country side on the way home; Petelaar, Dungen, Rosemalen, and then back to my house.

Nothing heavy on the speed side, just around 30km per hour average when traffic and other bikers on the bike paths allowed it (have to be careful around here, they don't expect you to come up on them so fast from behind).

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tour of West Portland 2008

Based on the Ronde van Vlaanderen and nicknamed De Ronde Van Oeste Portlandia, this years ride was as wet and nasty as last years (see here for a video). This year they have posted the story on, there are some photos on the site and you can see the route here:

View Interactive Map on

Thursday, April 3, 2008

AbTLinux Trac site down

We seem to have lost our Trac site due to hardware failure (fan acting up). I am not sure if the box had a meltdown or was just taken offline as a preventive measure.

Either way, I have removed the site link and will put it up after low (thanks!) gets a chance to setup a new hosting location. He is a handy guy to have around and I am sure we will be up and running again soon.

And I just setup our development plan for 2008...