Not Just Pretty Pictures

April 10th, 2010

Ancient British Language Discovered: Pictish Symbols are Scotland’s Hieroglyphs

New research has shown that the symbols used by the ancient Picts were an actual written language - not symbology.

Spain 2009

January 4th, 2010

We spent most of December in Spain and had a great time. See all the photos here.

DBF 1.0.9 update

January 15th, 2009

DBF is a small fast Ruby library for reading dBase, xBase, Clipper and FoxPro database files

Changes in version 1.0.9:

  • Fix incorrect integer column values (only affecting some dbf files)
  • Add CSV export

The Blame Game

January 5th, 2009

In just about every Rails project I’ve worked on over the last several years we’ve needed track the user who creates and updates database records. The most popular solution seems to be DeLynn Berry’s userstamp plugin and, until recently, that’s what we’ve always chosen to use too. But after fighting incompatibility with newer versions of Rails I decided to write my own plugin. Enter Blame.

Blame automatically userstamps create and update operations if the table has columns named created_by and/or updated_by.


ruby script/plugin install git://

Blame assumes that you are using restful-authentication and expects User.current_user to return the current user. You can override this behavior by overriding the default userstamp_object method in ActiveRecord::Base or in any of your models. For example, maybe you just want to find the current user bases on the a session variable:

# In environment.rb
class ActiveRecord::Base
  def userstamp_object

Maybe you don’t like the default column names of created_by/updated_by. You can customize the column names globally or for individual models:

# Globally in environment.rb
ActiveRecord::Base.created_userstamp_column = :creator_id

# In a model definition
class Subscription
  self.created_userstamp_column = :creator_id
  self.updated_userstamp_column = :updater_id

Automatic userstamping can be turned off by setting record_userstamps:

# Globally in environment.rb
ActiveRecord::Base.record_userstamps = false

# In a model definition
class Subscription
  self.record_userstamps = false

Blame also adds a migration helper which will add the created_by and updated_by columns (or your custom column names) to your table:

create_table :widgets do |t|
  t.string :name

DBF 1.0.6 update

November 27th, 2007

DBF is a small fast library for reading dBase, xBase, Clipper and FoxPro database files. It is written completely in Ruby and has no external dependencies.

Changes in version 1.0.5:

  • Strip non-ascii characters from column names