A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- July 31
- Phone still dead. Ann-Marie says some
of the shops in the area have notices up about not being able to
process credit cards, because they can't get auth
codes. Heh. Hadn't thought of that.
- July 30
Phoned Eircom about the fact
that my home phone is dead. Turns out there's some local circuit
outage, and they don't know how bad it is, nor how long it'll take
to fix it. Service with a "fuck you". And to think I'm a
shareholder in this pissant company.
- July 29
- Crawled through over 300 messages in my BBDB mail folder,
responding and deleting where I could. Now I only have 275
messages in the folder.
Montoya got jinxed again, leaving Ralf to win the race with
Barrichello second. Jordan scoreless again, bah. Big smash at the
start when Schuie lost his gears and Burti used the stationary
Ferrari as a launching ramp.
I so like the Nokia
CardPhone, too. I'm typing this while sitting in the sunshine
downstairs from Gonzo,
and there are no cables connecting me to anything. Yet I am
online. This is the nearest thing I get to 802.11 networking for
- July 28
- Beautiful day. Exorcised hangover, drove
back to Dublin, watched Montoya take pole position in Hockenheim,
about for a bit, had a visit from my dad, watched Code Rush, decided to
This is a familiar feeling, btw. I watch a movie or something and
feel inspired. It usually passes, though.
Code Rush is full of
familar scenes, too. People sitting around watching a guy trying
something at a computer, and cheering when it works. People in the
office at 4am, not necessarily trying to catch a deadline, merely
caught up in the whole thrill of progress. (Yes, I said
"thrill". How often does your job induce that
feeling in you?). Phrases involving the word "Doomed"
being bandied about casually, in a ha-ha-only-serious fashion -
I've lately taken to using the phrase "Run screaming from the
building" in favour of "doomed" but the sentiment
is the same.
It's nice to know I've had something of the Silly Valley
experience without having actually lived there.
So, hacking. Right. Well, I started off looking at my PPP setup on
for some reason, kicking it up in demand dial mode means that
ifup never returns. Actually, ppp-watch never
returns. This irritates me. I had a quick look and decided it
wasn't sufficiently irritating to justify wasting time on it - it
works, and that'll do for now. I'm not in full demand-dial mode
yet anyway since I have to go fiddle with the phone line until I
get the parts in Maplin or
somewhere to do a proper run to my room.
Writing the diary entry led me to investigate why it is that the
updated when you save a page. Turns out I was calling my own
script incorrectly. Like, DUH. This in turn prompted me to
get it to just linkfarm the page
Does it strike anyone else as odd that the Emacs byte-compiler output can't
be parsed for "ERROR IN FILE FOO LINE 42"
Huh. Looks like Esat's modem
bank is on the frotz again. LCP timeouts, unclean links, dropped
connections, unanswered phones. Lovely, guys.
- July 27
- I RULE, dammit. After swapping support
requests with Oracle and
getting a PPD file from HP, I decided that the only way I
was going to get the problem solved was to fix the damn thing
myself. So, I hand-hacked the PostScript until the printer was
happy with it, then hacked the PPD
file to reproduce the changes I'd had to make. Then I went
rifling through the techdocs on Oracle's site looking for a
means of getting the damn reports in A4 format; reading one
document, I found a link to a second, which had an unlinked
reference to a third; so I adjusted the URL to something that
looked appropriate and ended up with a page that basically said,
"Hack the driver". Er, nice one, Oracle. I guess you don't sell
many databases outside that lump of rock to the west of me,
And then to the bar, where I had to convince a few people (cow
orkers included) that I was not, in fact, a native of said lump of
- July 26
- Built a 5-line CGI script to kill the
Discoverer-breaking cookie, and lo, it works. Well, for arbitrary
values of 'works'. I managed one OutOfMemory error that I can't
understand, and it messes up the JSP site that you're supposed to
be working within by virtue of having to destroy the
- July 25
- Played with
Discoverer instead, culminating in the discovery *ahahahhah* that
trying to link directly into a Discoverer report from a JSP page
falls foul of some silly cookie crap. I spent some time trying to
Tag Rugby week 3: We won! We beat the Woolpack (local pub) 14-8!
- July 24
- I can't persuade Oracle to use a PostScript
printer. Larry Ellison needs to be force-fed his own products from
CardPhone discovery: PIN
entry. AT+CPIN="####" is the magic. Don't
forget the quotes!
- July 23
- Spent a frustrating hour poking and prodding Gonzo
to try and solve the demand-dial problem. Eventually found several
problems, including (1) ifup ppp0 doesn't exit; (2) the
phoneline had come disconnected while I wasn't looking; (3) the
modem's IRQ changed while I wasn't looking, and a years-old script
wasn't expecting that. GAH. Still can't mount
- July 22
- Eventually remembered where I'd stowed the
main computer cables. Weirdness: Gonzo
had apparently moved /dev/modem from ttyS3 to
ttyS2 while I wasn't looking, PPP demand-dialing has
stopped working, and for some reason attempting to mount Gonzo's
/export/share partition results in an NFS server error,
but it's fine to mount /export/share/src. Oh well. Life
is always such FUN with Linux...
Fixed a silly problem in the diary-helper Sunday-handling
code using a most disgusting kludge. I hate Emacs' internal time/date
- July 21
- Movin' house, mostly. Where are all my damn
Unpacking prematurely interrupted by the neighbour, who invited me
over to his barbeque. Where I stayed until, oh, 2am or
something. Good omen for the new digs!
- July 20
- Rolled a bunch of stuff into production, and
that's about that.
Back at the ranch, I'm packing everything up for the move to
Dalkey. Somehow there doesn't seem to be quite as much stuff to
move, or maybe I'm packing it up better.
- July 19
- There isn't any really nice way to mix HTML with
executable code, and I think that's the bottom
line. It doesn't help that there doesn't appear to be a sane,
easy-to-install Emacs mode
for editing this crap, either.
- July 18
rugby night. Injuries this week: hamstring, groin, and for
myself, bruised knuckles and a banged-up knee. Oh, and we lost
- July 17
- I hate "it should be doing this"
vs. "well, it's not".
- July 16
- Wildy varied day in the office. I think
everyone in the group, including my boss, had reason to come by my
desk and ask me something about what they were doing. As did
several people not in my group. At this rate, I'll be the
shadowy figure behind the company's operations by the year
Fed my eTrex
log from the Ballina trip into my map toy; in the course of this,
I discovered that the GPS::Garmin module does not work as
documented, and I also threw together a little Perl to read the
output file from GPSman (a Tk/tcl thingy for playing with Garmin stuff that I could never
make work before).. More ideas sprout as I watch the toy
painstakingly plot data. Like, say, zoom options and
- July 15
- Whee! New digs! As of Saturday next, I'll be
moving a couple of miles towards the sea.
- July 14
- Drove to Ballina (look it up, it's in
Mayo). Used Nokia
Cardphone to dial into net and then VPN'd to office. Did some
magic, and it looks like I've at least saved the data that I
thought was lost, but I've given myself a rollback option to the
data that's known good. Hurrah!
I then proceeded to hang out in Ballina, which included watching a
giant sea serpent parade down the main street, and
- July 13
- All hail the superstitious powers of Friday
- July 12
- Inexplicable problems noted. Witchdoctor
requested. Chickens backordered.
- July 11
Rugby League Day (Week) 1. Results: we got beaten 21-9 by a
younger, fitter team (who says that old age and treachery will
overcome youth and skill?); one of our number has a hairline
fracture of the elbow which may need surgery; and I managed to injure my ribs
and my previously-broken finger again. Nothing more serious than
bruising, thankfully. Remember, kids, this is a non-contact
- July 10
- Did some more printer kicking, and lo, it
works. More or less.
- July 9
- Did an update for Micromail.
Poked around some more stuff in BBDB, including fixing
something I broke last night. Doh!
- July 8
- Mmm, lazy diary hacks. Tasty.
Ditched Wine, installed WineX
(the Direct3D-supporting version), failed to be impressed. Wine at least gets to the menus
for MM2; WineX simply cores.
Did a little fiddling with the IrDA port and presto, Linux can see
it once more. Neato. Also hacked at the diary helper some more, so
it knows about appending to existing entries.
Did some more work on the BBDB label completion
stuff. There's code in the file-reading section that scares me
just to think about. I mean, jwz
has a good excuse for knowing about the byte-compiler internals,
but REALLY now.
Had a look at getting ViaVoice and my laptop soundcard to talk to
each other. Got distracted and went driving instead. MMM! NEW CAR!
- July 7
- "Urk. BRIGHT LIGHT. Ow. Sore
head. HEY. Where the hell am I?" about covers the
morning. Watched the Lions get pretty soundly beaten by the
Wallabies (rugby, in case you're not aware) and then drove back to
Wrote up a bunch of lisp to do much of the formatting I use for
the diary. It's clever enough so far to fill in blanks for the
days I've missed between "today" and "date of last
update" if they're in the current month. Gotta make it run
across months next.
- July 6
- Drove to office. Enjoyed drive. Oh BOY am I
happy with my new car...
About the most exciting thing in the office for the day was the
update at 17:30.
Post-update (and once we'd verified that the system appeared to
work...) there was a party nearby, so beer, beer, beer, barbeque,
beer, beer, guitar sing-song, beer, beer, bee *CRASH* *SLEEP OF
- July 5
- "'allo John, got a new
Yes, Veggie, my trusty
Ford Fiesta, has been retired in favour of a two-year old
Nissan Almera 1.4 Sports. Whee!
The mail-extr thing is a case issue - downcasing the
double-ess symbol turns it into a pair of 's's. So maybe I can
ignore that and go right ahead with using it.
- July 4
- Ran into assorted Grues in a database and
passed the problem off to the Oracle wizard for consideration.
Played Tag Rugby in the
evening, and won a bunch of goodies for my troubles, including
freebie tickets to see Van Morrison.
- July 3
- ARGH. mail-extr would like to
convert that nice German double-ess thing to, well, two 's's. Um,
- July 2
- Tweaking more JSP/HTML pages, mostly. Did
some work on getting BBDB and
mail-extr.el or rfc822.el to work
together. Doomed to failure, really. Never mind that Emacs and XEmacs have divergent versions
of mail-extr.el. Eventually came up with a disgusting
brute-force thing that does mostly what I want, and posted that to
- July 1
- Installed the latest Mozilla build, ran it for about
five minutes, then went back to Netscape. It's not that it's
bad or anything; I'm using it most of the time on my office
machine, but it's just a little too different in its
out-of-the-box configuration from what I'm used to. Little things
like the default "command" key being Ctrl instead of
Alt, presumably to lure all those pesky Windows users
into La La Linux
land. More and more I'm thinking jwz has the right idea: stick to Netscape 3 and screw
Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix, with both Jordan
cars finishing for the first time in five races. Trulli even got
two points for the team, yay!
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Maybe people wouldn't have stabbed him if he hadn't claimed a month.