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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 31
Indeed, they fixed the problem. Here's a screenshot of the errant countdown, though.

December 30
Major Euro (€) changeover stuff today. On which note, the official Irish euro website is counting down to the wrong day (they'll probably fix it tomorrow, though).


December 29
Set up Mozilla 0.9.7, then spent some time going through my bookmarks to see who has favicons set up!

Switched over to Windows for some mind-numbing games. Mobil 1 Rally Championship is hard, but fun. Incoming is easy (well, on the "Easy" setting), but fun.

Went to work on my RPM cleanup script again, this time to fix it properly. up2date should really include this sort of functionality itself - I like to keep the RPMs around because I've more than one machine, but I don't necessarily need to keep 15 different versions of each one.

December 28
I'm still not entirely happy with the level of user feedback in Mozilla's email client, but at least it seems to be reasonably stable. The "open files of type foo" assistant seems useless, though, being unable to actually give me a directory browser and leaving unclosable windows on-screen. I guess I could download the new SRPM and build me a new copy...

December 27
More BBDB repairs - this time cleaning up compiler warnings. Of course, it's still a disaster in Emacs 19.34, so I've gotta either clean that up, or discount it as a compile platform... most of the problems seem to be related to compiling macros. HMM.

Did a little mucking around with the scripts that run when my various network bits come online to automatically reconfigure sendmail and the like.

After a bit of kicking and screaming, I got VNC working on my server box from xinetd, which was made less painful by the provision of RPMs but more painful by the default xdm config which has UDP connections disabled (hint: edit xdm-config). It's quite a neat setup once you get it running!

December 26
Finally decided to fix a long-standing problem in BBDB's name completion by grovelling through the entire chunk of completion code and understanding it, as opposed to just frobbing little pieces of it - the latter is what lead to the current mess which has two different ways of popping up a *Completions buffer, and can STILL ask you for a completion in the minibuffer as well. Euw. A lot of the fixing amounts to rewriting chunks of the code, because despite what Joel Spolsky says about code rewrites, he omits the obvious case of "fixing something that's just plain wrong". Of course, I'm not redoing the entire codebase, just a busted function, but still.

December 25
Merry Christmas! Get off the web and CELEBRATE, dammit!

While hacking (yes, yes, get back to your post-Christmas-dinner snoozing and TV) on my advert replacement server, I realised that maybe Mozilla does support XBMs, just not with the Content-Type tag I was using. But I'd already converted it to use GD and produce PNGs, so. I also hooked it up to fetch text from fortune and put that on the advertising space...

December 24
Apparently, my GPS toy runs on an ARM chip, yet the only firmware hacking that anyone seems to have done is to muck with the waypoint images.

December 23
Still making with the Tuber on the Sofa routine. Call it "the Spirit of Christmas". And I'm off to see Lord of the Rings tonight, too.


December 22
Ich bin ein Couch Potato.

December 21
Spent most of the day hand-running reports while trying to learn more about Oracle's tools for same. Their Reports Tool template "feature" is one of the most useless things I've ever seen - it only works at report creation time, so if you want to maintain a standard look and feel across reports, you have to recreate the whole lot from scratch. Like, DUH.

December 20
I'm spending far too much time rereading Lord of the Rings. I should try and clean up some software for Christmas instead.

December 19
Chasing bugs in other peoples' code is what I claim to do best in my little who is Waider piece, but that's not to say it's always what I like doing best.

December 18
Trying to do some analysis work with iozone, or rather, I would be if I could make it not dump core. In an attempt to minimize the searchspace of the coredump problem, I switched on all warnings on the compiler and watched in horror as it practically exploded. This piece of code is an absolute disaster, complete with a horrific tangle of #ifdef'd code, little compile documentation, and a non-standard misnamed Makefile. And, from grepping the web, I get the distinct impression that it's used quite a bit. Yikes.

Last five-a-side of the "season" - we pulled back from trailing 8-5 to draw, and then the fools put me in goal. Final score was 11-8.

December 17
Poked at Xine again for some unknown reason. Also did a Micromail site update.

December 16
Played with iso646 on a web page. Seems like I can't make it work without, you know, reading something. Bah.

I must admit, I literally cackled with glee when I discovered that the MULE input methods applied to things like isearch, too.

Went back to work on the Micromail site conversion, since Willy's had the quota upped to cope with the size of the catalogue. I'm trying to figure out all that needs fixing in my head before I start ripping into the scripts, because there's an amount of heuristic stuff there that I don't want to break in the process.


December 15
Well, I'm in iso646-land, the most visible upshot being that my Emacs fonts are bigger because the only complete set of iso646 fonts I have to hand are 18-point. Augh. Still, makes for some fnu and gmaes... Now. I wonder how Mozilla and friends will react to an iso646 page?

December 14
Updated all my Perl web toys to use env_proxy.

I've recently discovered just how simple it is to feed assorted Japanese characters to Emacs using its japanese input mode. Truly this is fun. The downside, of course, is that one of the misfeatures of the web is that you can't switch character sets mid-page - if I wanted to fling some arbitrary kana in here, I'd have to mark the whole page as being ISO-2022 or something in the first place. Ah well.

But then there's ISO-10646...

...which GNU Emacs doesn't yet support, dammit.

December 13
Text matching exercise continuing. Feh.

December 12
Set up MRTG on Gonzo, mostly for amusement value.

Decided to have a look at the Lord of the Rings trailer, which required a reboot to Windows land, and about 2 or 3 MB into the 17MB trailer, IE announced that due to an illegal operation, it was shutting down, except it wasn't, it was just going to sit there and hang the whole box. What a piece of shit. I sincerely doubt that Bill debugs every single one of these that he gets, as he claimed in a recent interview on BBC.

It's nice to see that the Lord of the Rings site works on Linux, though, albeit with all manner of gnarly hacks if you want to watch the trailers... damn you, Sorenson Media! So, I downloaded the demo version of Codeweavers' Crossover plugin. The installer/setup is bloody impressive, especially in that it doesn't suffer from my favourite whine - the display is constantly kept painted. HURRAH! Also, it works as advertised. Excellent stuff, and only $19.95. I think I'll be getting myself that for Christmas...

December 11
Doing some of the sort of fun heuristic stuff at work that I love, but I'm not allowed talk about that sort of thing.

Wrote up another filk following a random comment in Nerdsholm, then discovered that none of my lyrics pages had title tags.

Back at five-a-side soccer again; tonight's effort was a draw.

Continued working on the Micromail site conversion. Yikes. Disk quota. Boom.

December 10
I'm finding it really irritating that Mozilla doesn't support XBMs. But I've still not done anything about it, which I guess makes me a loser...

Started converting the Micromail site for a new server. It's moving from cgiwrap to sbox, for one thing.

December 9
Spent part of the day repairing the wing mirror on Elvira, which had a misfortunate encounter with a telephone pole about two weeks ago. Much to my delight, once I'd figured out how to dismantle the damn thing I discovered that the damage wasn't as serious as I thought - the mounting for the mirror is damaged, but not beyond repair. Cyanoacrylite to the rescue! The glass is, of course, a write-off, but I can get replacement glass for a tenner, so that's not such a big deal as having to swap out the entire mirror unit.

I really don't care that disk is cheap, I still think compressed filesystems are a great thing. Except I don't have one. On my laptop, which is where it'd be ideal. So, delete delete delete. I really should keep my website log files elsewhere, since it's not like I'm suddenly going to need to do a hitcount while I'm on the road.

Tweaked the workshop area update program to only change the index if necessary, so that the front-page what's new list doesn't get skewed.


December 8
Hangover day, as expected.

I've been using Ocean's free dialup lately, and it seems to get stuck every so often - the connection is up, but there's no traffic getting through. Time to revert to Elive, I think.

December 7
Company night out #2: The christmas party. In which the company lay waste Brook Lodge Hotel. Much fun was had by all.

December 6
Ohhh. The sequel to DragonBane, cunningly named DragonBane II, is out. Looks tasty. I wonder if it'll fit on the Pilot at the same time as AvantGo?

December 5
Company night out #1: In which the development group lay waste the town of Arklow.

December 4
A little more abuse, and Mozilla seems happy enough to do IMAP now. Weird, that. Must be some gremlins from the Netscape upgrade.

Uh-oh.
hdb: timeout waiting for DMA
ide_dmaproc: chipset supported ide_dma_timeout func only: 14
blk: queue c035565c, I/O limit 4095Mb (mask 0xffffffff)
hdb: status error: status=0x58 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest }
hdb: drive not ready for command
    
That's my 30GB drive. I don't like when it does that. Especially since I've already trashed one of the damn things (same size, different manufacturer).

December 3
Further investigation of the mail client seems to indicate that it doesn't like my IMAP server. At all. Can't get at any of the folders, for example. Hrm.

December 2
Finally bit the bullet and threw away Netscape. I'm using Mozilla more-or-less full-time in the office, so I figure I should use it at home as well. Of course, it also removes an amount of stuff from my almost-full harddrive, too.

Found a nice little minimalist theme for Mozilla called "LittleMozilla" which nicely replicates a lot of what I was using in Netscape - minimalist layout, essentially, with maximum space for web pages.

Hrm. Looks like I've just hung Mozilla. And it's a non-debug build, too. It's just sitting there, browser and mail client locked in some sort of death thing. So much for multithreading, I guess.

Hmm. Mozilla still doesn't appear to know what XBM files are, which is a shame, since it's what my cheesy advert server kicks out in place of crap from DoubleClick and friends.


December 1
I hate Netscape's mail client. I'm going to have to beat some decent IMAP support into VM, I think. Oh, hang on. I'm sure I said that before.

I really need to offload some of the crap on my laptop - it's up to 99% full now, and I have no clear notion why. Having said that, there's an amount of junk in $HOME/src that I could probably do without...

Wrote a little Perl script to auto-update the workshop area and generate index pages and so forth.

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Waider
Only another $count hacking days til Christmas...