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
Looking for an intern
by Frank Spychalski filed under google, Work

Asok the internI am looking for an intern (more details) for later this year. I have a number of interesting ideas for projects, most of them involve Ruby (more specific JRuby), Android and Eclipse. Your skill set should include at least Java and if possible Ruby and/or Eclipse API.

I’m looking for a commitment of at least three months (I would prefer six) and you should be within one or two years of receiving degree. If this sounds interesting please apply here and add a note that you would like to work with Frank Spychalski in Munich.

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
Darling, I shrinked the menu
by Frank Spychalski filed under Blog

Yesterday I installed version 2.5 of WordPress (which is great!) but the menu in the admin interface uses up a lot of screen estate. That’s why I just patched wp-admin.css to save some of this precious space in the admin interface. Just follow the above link and replace your version found in wp-admin/ if you think the menu is too big. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar '08
EURUKO 2008 Day 2
by Frank Spychalski filed under EURUKO, Ruby

Second day has started. Today it starts with a few talks on testing…

George Malamidis — „Synthesized Testing“

Already 15min behind schedule, but so far interesting.

This has 4 lines of code. It is already a big ruby function.

Vassilis Rizopoulos — „rutema: One test tool to rule them all“

I’m thinking on how to write in a polite way “This talk was boring”. It was. And the tool uses XML :-( Hey, this is a Ruby conference- you should use YAML or even better a cool Ruby DSL.

Tomasz Stachewicz — „Sharing the load“

Sounded interesting but there was a question after the talk which suggested that the guys reinvented the wheel and that BackgroundDrb is a better solution for what he has done.

Petr Krontorád — „Building Rails Playground – using Ruby’s dynamic nature“

Mumble, mumble, small text, cannot read the slides, mumble… Sorry I don’t have a clue what this talk is about.

Tim Becker — „Lessons Learned Writing Native Extensions“

Type-along tutorial on how to write C extension for Ruby. Very interesting, this could actually make me write C code again… He has started talking on cats and tigers and it seems like he wants to teach us how arrays work in C. Booooooooring. Finally he is done with this and is back on the interesting topics like conversion of data types. Overall a really interesting talk. By far the best one today so far. Tim’s post with code samples and links.

Matt Ford — „Aspect Oriented Programming in Ruby“

It’s his birthday. Happy birthday Matt! He talks about Aquarium a neat aspect oriented programming solution for Ruby. Very nice. I have to play around with this when I’m back home.

Dushan Wegner — „Philosophy & Programming“

This first lightning talk. “Imagine I’m holding a beer and put out this ideas”. “Programmers are better philosophers”. A very cool talk about the similarities of programming and practicing philosophy.

Marcin Raczkowski — „Distributed programming with ruby“

Hard to understand but interesting. Sadly it is impossible to read his code when he is showing examples in the editor.

sorry missed name and title Akira Tanaka – „IO.copy_stream“

Interesting talk about IO in Ruby. Great final “status” slide:

Accepted by Matz yesterday @La fabrica
Submitted today to Ruby 1.9


Gregor … — „Context-oriented programming for Ruby“

Took a long time to get to the point. Which part of lightning talk did you not understand.

Florian Gilcher — „Patterns (yet another) pattern matching library“

Interesting talk. Can be found at

Raimonds Simanovskis — „Using Ruby with Oracle“

Good quick talk. I never had to work with Oracle so I never had the problems he was talking about.

Daniel Liszka — „One RubyStack to Rule them All“

Strong accent, to much text on the slides. But sounds like a neat idea…

Ry Dahl — „Ebb Web Server“

Yet another Ruby web server, obviously it’s faster than all the others because what would be the point otherwise.

Wouter de Bie — „Capistrano, Webistrano“

The final lightning talk. I’m hungry :-) off to find some food…

Dr Nic — Demo

So it wasn’t the last talk. They squeezed in a short demo on how to use his gem generator. Very cool! I have to use this to play around with native C extensions.

Final announcement

It seems like next year’s EURUKO will be in Madrid. Great! Never been there. See you next year! It’s not decided yet. Krakow and Warsaw are possible sites, too. Hm, I’m still for Madrid :-)


I think I should have slept in today like Todd and would not have missed a bit. Here are some pictures from EURUKO 2008 on Flickr and even one with me. EURUKO was great. A big “thank you!” to all the people who have organized it. I’m sure I will be back next year, no matter where.

Mar '08
EURUKO 2008 Day 1
by Frank Spychalski filed under EURUKO, Ruby

The first day of EURUKO 2008 is over.

Yukihiro „Matz“ Matsumoto — „Keynote“

Matz talked about the future of Ruby. It was very interesting. He talked a little bit about the upcoming features (I will link to the slides when they become available) and about the design decisions behind Ruby. For me the most important quote was:

I designed Ruby not to work best but so that people can perform best

Koichi Sasada — „Ruby meets VM“

Koichi explained some details of YARV but some points were lost because a few of his slides were in Japanese.

Favorite quote:

(on his “No Ruby/No Life shirt”) for me it’s No Ruby / No Job

Charles Nutter and Thomas Enebo — „JRuby: Ready For Action!“

Made me download JRuby during the talk :-)

David A. Black — „Per-Object Behavior in Ruby“

I have to reread the slides, because I fell asleep (not due to the talk but to the fact that we are in Prague and had a few beer yesterday)

Nic Williams — „Meta-Meta-Programming with Ruby“

Memorable talk, very funny, great final slide (see @16:35)

Lightning talks session

Two talks on an agile white board and on a Ruby to PHP compiler.

VC with DHH

a little boring, bad sound quality and even worse video

Mar '08
One Laptop Per Child Germany
by Frank Spychalski filed under Computer

I just stumbled over an announcement about OLPC Germany. Last Tuesday was my first chance to play with an OLPC laptop. Everything but the keyboard feels incredibly solid and well made. The only thing I didn’t like was the user interface. I found it quite non-intuitive but perhaps this gets better if I spend a little more time with it. And if not: I can always put Ubuntu on it.

One thing is for sure: as soon as these laptops become available in Germany, I will buy one.

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 »

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