Archive for the 'Fun' Category

Oct '08
Where was CamelCase invented?
by Frank Spychalski filed under Fun

Useless and probably false trivia of the day:

Where was CamelCase invented?: In Scottland

Sep '08
Hamster across america
by Frank Spychalski filed under Fun

If you ever wondered how fast a hamster runs or what Google engineers do when they are bored (or drunk?) have a look

They attached a sensor to the wheel of a hamster and plot the distance using Google Maps to see if it is possible that a hamster runs all across America in his lifetime.

Jun '08
Chumby goes i18n – soon available outside US?
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer, Fun

I just stumbled over a this ad for someone to do the internationalization for (probably) I hope this means that they will start selling the chumby outside the US soon :-)

Title: Ruby On Rails I18N Developer
Skills: I18N, Ruby on Rails, mySQL

Job description:

Chumby Industries is looking for a Ruby On Rails/I18N Contractor to deliver results for the internationalization (I18N) effort on the server.
This candidate would be responsible for externalizing all the text strings (both static and dynamically generated) that the website uses so that Chumby could later change the language of the site based on location.

Skills required:
Previous I18N efforts on browser-based platforms
Strong web-based development experience
Ruby on Rails experience
mySQL database experience
Familiarity of layout issues involved with I18N

May '08
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer, Fun

mikelutz chumby pic from flickrTwo days I got my chumby. Chumby Industries tries really hard to keep foreigners from buying one of their nice toys: they only accept US credit cards and shipping only to a US address. But I’m lucky, one of my colleagues from Mountain View ordered one for me.

My experience so far was great.

Step one: configure WiFi
It detected my local network without a problem. I had to enter the password and was ready to go.

Step two: activate chumby
Create an account at and click on “activate chumby”. It shows a 4×4 matrix of dots you have to copy to your chumby to connect you account with your device. This is a nice idea. It’s very simple, easy to use but effective. And surprisingly that’s it.

Step three: add widgets
Just one click. Sometimes the widgets need a some configuration but everything is explained right there.

Minor annoyances

  • only two brightness settings: high & low
  • you have to press pretty hard on the touchscreen

Find a German power supply (should be easy) and start coding a widget :-)

Apr '08
Girl’s day in the office
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer, Fun, google

Google had a special doodle for the Girl's day
Yesterday was Girl’s day and our office hosted a few girls from schools in and around Munich. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr '08
Ruby demotivator
by Frank Spychalski filed under Fun, Ruby

I found the DIY page for demotivators and had to create one for Ruby. Enjoy!

Mar '08
Nerd night?
by Frank Spychalski filed under Fun

I tried really hard not to trash my former2 company 1&1. But they are such an easy target :-) Read the rest of this entry »

Feb '08
Dear developers…
by Frank Spychalski filed under Fun

…please learn about well formed URLs. And if it’s really too hard for you to figure out, I would be happy to come over and help for a Finals ticket or two :-)

What’s the problem?

I’m a nba fan and I subscribe to the RSS feed ( which works fine most of the time but sometimes I get an empty page. Why? Because some lazy developer thought it might be a good idea to add ?rss=true to every link.

If you look at todays feed you can find this item:

<title><![CDATA[Cavs' Gibson Expected to Miss Four to Six Weeks]]></title>

If I follow the link ESPN returns:

<!-- obj null -->

The suffix ?rss=true appears after every link in the feed so I’m pretty certain it’s not ESPN’s fault…


It’s even better. Not only do they destroy external links by appending ?rss=true, they kill their own links, too:


Dec '07
Geeky christmas present
by Frank Spychalski filed under Fun

I got a nice Lego mindstorm box for Christmas. It’s extremely cool. The graphical programming interface is a little bit childish but good enough to build the first few robots. Funny that nowadays building the robot is the most difficult part for such a project :-)

Things to do:

  • Watch and try everything from NXT Tutorial.
  • Try Ruby-nxt. The project seems stale because status is still alpha and last update in November 2006. I would love to use my favorite language to control the robots I’m going to build. :-)
  • Have a look at the NXT firmware.
  • Look at all the other ways to program the NXT.

Oct '07
Best apple feature EVER!
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer, Fun

According to an article by wired Apple added a special feature to their sexy metallic keyboards: accidental touches won’t activate caps lock. It’s the first step in a process to remove this useless and annoying key from all keyboards.

I’ve remove my caps-lock key from a couple of keyboards already. But I did not know that a campaign called anticAPSLOCK existed which tries to ban caps-lock from future keyboards. Nice idea!