Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Invoking a single Ruby test

I usually run my unit tests in Eclipse on my development system, or from the command-line on the target environment in bulk.

Sometimes though it's useful to run a single unit test from the command line. There are two equivalent ways of doing that:

rake test=test\integration\firmware_upgrade_test.rb
ruby test\integration\firmware_upgrade_test.rb

Presentation on 3D virtual worlds

Tonight I attended a presentation on the use of Second Live and other 3D worlds in education. It wasn't earth-shattering but it was an informative presentation. Bill Krebs, the presenter, clearly enjoys using these tools and it was fun to hear more about the community in Second Life and some of the pro's and con's of using such tools for business purposes.

It's always nice to go out and meet other engineers. I spoke with someone who started a company to provide data for tools like Layar, the augmented reality browser, and other interesting folks. I won a book in a raffle, and I choose Beginning Scala by David Pollack.

The evening was organized by the Agile RTP group and hosted by Allscripts in North Raleigh.


Building Flex with Maven

Tonight I attended a presentation by Adam Parrish on the use of Maven in building Adobe Flex & Java projects.

Maven is routinely used to build Java-only project, but this presentation talked about using the Flex Mojos plug-ins to build projects that combine Flex front-ends with a Java back-end.

It was an interesting presentation/demo for a small but knowledgeable crowd. There was a a lot of opportunity to ask questions, and I learned more about large scale Flex projects. A well spent evening.

The evening was hosted by One Cow Standing in Durham. They have a foosbal table and a real beer tap with Yuengling in the conference room.


Books on a phone

The Mobi Reader on my phone.When we visited a museum in Washington three months ago I saw the Kindle for the first time in real life. The Kindle is a hand held device for reading books, connected to Amazon's bookstore. I'd like to be able to read books digitally, but $399 is way too expensive and I don't like to be "locked in" to Amazon's bookstore.

I read newspapers on my phone every day. The screen is fairly small, but it's certainly readable and the other day I found out how to read books on my phone as well. I've started reading a classic a few weeks ago, The Brothers Karamazov, and in addition to the hard copy I now have the entire book with me where ever I go.

I installed "Mobipocket" on my laptop and cell phone, and downloaded a free copy of the book from Project Gutenberg. It's free since the copyright on the book has long expired. It works great! Obviously, reading a physical book is still a lot nicer, but if I have some time to kill and my phone with me, I can now continue reading my book.


Canceling a Windows shutdown

Virus.One of our computers got a virus Thursday night. Of course we have virus scanners and malware scanners, but somehow this one slipped through the cracks. We were able to track down the source of the virus, an infected website.

Our virus scanner (AVG) did not fully protect the computer but it did find the originally infected HTML file. I used the excellent HijackThis tool to manually clean up the resident processes and start-up tasks of the virus.

The symptoms were as typical as they were annoying: errors on Windows start-up ("Services and Controller app encountered a problem and needed to close") and an slow and unstable system. This time something else happened also: Windows would automatically shutdown after a 60 seconds count-down.

I learned this trick: to cancel a pending shutdown run the following command.

shutdown -a

Amsterdam in SMS

Amsterdam in SMS.Amsterdam as you've never seen it before: Visualizing SMS messages

(Thanks to Rolf).


Forgotten PostgreSQL Windows password

This morning I've been upgrading the Postgres database on my Windows XP laptop to version 8.3.

During the installation it asks for the password of the service account of previous PostgreSQL version. The default value is 'postgres', but sure enough I forgot what password I used when I originally installed it.

I found this useful post on how to change the password for any Windows user. From the Windows command line execute the following to reset the password to 'postgres'.

net user postgres postgres

That worked, so now I'm ready to complete the installation and be able to use the new Ruby pg gem that was recently release for Windows.


Data Center Wieringermeer

Greenhouses and data centers.In the Wieringermeer, where my parents live, the build a new data center will start this year. It's going to be a 'green' data center, which will achieve a very high energy efficiency through corporation with greenhouses in the area (a PUE of 1.3).

Read more in this article in Trouw. This new data center by Parthenon will be CO2 neutral:

- The Wieringermeer is an agricultural part of the Netherlands with a lot of greenhouses, for flowers and vegetables. These greenhouses produce a lot power; plenty to supply the 50 MW the data center will use
- The heat produced by the data center will be used to warm the greenhouses
- The CO2 produced by the greenhouse energy production will be used as fertilizer for the crops in the greenhouses

Cool stuff. Thanks Jaap for sending me the article.


Scripting in Paint Shop Pro

Year overview logo's.This weekend I automated part of the process to create a logo for our year overviews.

To create a logo for a year overviews, I manually merge the 12 selected pictures for each year and create a single paint shop pro file of them. Then, I add the text "Year Overview" and the year to them, and of course I want every year overview to have exactly the same logo (with different pictures). Positioning the text, making sure the fonts and colors match, and getting the drop shadow the same is not trivial -- especially since there is typically at least a one year gap between the creation time of these images.

I played with the scripting tools in Paint Shop Pro and it's really quite powerful -- it has scripting engine based on Python and has some pretty cool features such as getting user input (I ask the user for which year this overview is, for example). (Download the script).

Automating this took me a while but now I have 3 very consistent logo's for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and in future years it will be much less daunting to create a new logo to match the previous' years. Now if only writing the text was as easy as that!


Paint Shop Pro X2

Paint Shop Pro X2This weekend I upgraded to Paint Shop Pro X2.

I've been using Paint Shop for a long time. It's a lot more affordable than Adobe Photo Shop but very powerful.

I've been working with version 10 since September 2006, and they've done a lot of work in the last two years. I'm not sure if I really like the new color of the application though -- it's very dark.


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