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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

April 30
Messing around with the wlan stuff again. I still can't make Linux operate the ZoomAir card, even with the supposed-working version of the wlan code.

Replaced my Redirects with RewriteEngine bits.

April 29
Micromail update today, and a little more messing about with my new map toy.

April 28
Time taken to remove 2GB and install 4GB of memory in Bigass Server: 1hr.
Time taken to diagnose boot failure: 5 mins.
Time taken to understand boot failure: 15 mins.
Time taken to abortively attempt to solve problem: 40 minutes.
Time taken to opt for and implement the "easy" fix: 6 hours.

Basically, I created a disk group while multipathing was in some bizarre state, and Veritas happily plonked all the useful data on what would normally be device A. However. Once the machine was rebooted and the multipathing was back to the correct state, device A was masked by device B, which is how Veritas seems to want to present multipath devices consisting of A and B. And no amount of haranguing (40 minutes) could make it present both devices in such a way that I could recover the volume. So I trashed it, rebuilt it, and then spent a little time (6 hours) restoring 26GB of scanned documents from tape. Ouch.

While waiting for the restore to complete, I wrote another mapping toy. This one makes (ab)use of MapFlow's engine, as presented by IOL. The keen thing about this one is that for certain areas, such as cities and, er, Arklow town, you get aerial photographs at the higher resolution zooms. Now I need to figure out what the Lat/Long to coordinate correlation is so I can make another MapServer plugin...


April 27
My burgeoning social life is playing havoc with my attempts to be a pasty-faced geek. Four visits to pubs (three different pubs), four different social groups, with overlap of one person between three of the groups, and another night spent at the tender mercies of someone else's spare sleeping device.

Somewhere along the way I picked up a Beta Band album which is really quite excellent.

April 26
Dalton paid a visit, so that involved more pubward adventures. Met a friend from college who I've not heard from, quite literally, in years.

April 25
Went out to dinner with the new coworkers and boss. Much fun was had.

April 24
Elive are flaky again tonight. This is irritating, because I get charged a minimum of 5¢ for each dialup, since their modems are answering but not doing the LCP thing. Also, when it does connect, there's more than 50% packet loss.

With a small amount of abuse, I managed to get the W3C validator running locally. Woohoo!

April 23
Well, it took an hour or so of abuse, but my front page is now both HTML 4.01 and CSS2 compliant. The only thing I'm really not pleased with in this is that the Google logo has a box around it, which I'm guessing I can remove with sufficient reading of specs. I should also probably mess with margins so that the corner bits aren't pressed right up against the edges of the screen.

Elive reappeared, with no explanation for their absence. Ho hum.

April 22
Handed in my notice today. I've gotten a fine, fine job offer - less pay, but more what I want to do - from a company based 5 miles from my house who are happy with the notion of a teleworking sysadmin.

My regular freebie dialup provider, Elive, seem to be off the air. Service has been flaky of late (then again, it is free) but now the whole site seems to have vanished into a black hole. A shame, as they were the only no-questions-asked dual-channel ISDN dialup I could find. The other contenders all want to know Stuff About You before they'll let you in.

April 21
Woohoo! I had the magic pint! The one that makes your hangover not happen!

Bless this coffee, all the same.

Wrote most of a VM/Mailcrypt hack to unwrap RFC 2015 messages while not being hungover..


April 20
Down the country, as we say, drinking with Clarkey and Mark the Garda. Oh, and there was a barbeque as well, despite the inclement weather.

April 19
Made some tweaks to my version of Gronk to fix things that I didn't realise were broken...

April 18
Rolled Dave Love's big BBDB patch into my code. Despite his (slight) misgivings, it seems to work alright with Emacs 20, so that's good. I need to test it with Emacs 19 and XEmacs Mumble before I commit it; there's also something there about frobbing coding systems on the BBDB file which may not be backward compatible that I'll need to address somehow.

April 17
Sister called over. Work interrupted. Hurrah for on-call, NOT.

April 16
Spending far too much time rebuilding Windows box, really.

April 15
Played around with my shiny new wireless networking toys. So far, I can make a network in Windows, but can't yet get Windows and Linux to talk to each other.

Micromail site update tonight.

April 14
Caution: you are now operating WAY outside what this disk was intended for.

Remains to be seen whether I can get away with it. Certainly my Linux partition has survived a reformat-and-reload install of the Windows partition; I now have to go back and frob the Windows parition until it works. This is basically because I've been unable to fix whatever's wrong with my Windows installation on the laptop, and I'm FED UP WITH IT.

Put an old Linux install (RedHat 6.1) on the toybox so I'd have something to play with the new wireless LAN card with once I've verified that it works as expected in Windows-land. Of course, this is once the aforementioned frobbing succeeds...

Books: Finished Sophie's World. Overall, the idea is good, I guess, but a lot of the dialogue that Sophie and Hilde are involved in seems terribly forced. To compensate for finishing a book, there are now two more on the pile: Dave Egger's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (which appears to have a second Dave Eggers book attached to the back of it) and Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt which looks dauntingly large.

Eventually got Windows restored and Linux back in the boot sector, then spent some time playing Mobil 1 Rally Championship.


April 13
Mom & Dad took me for dinner as a birthday present. Also, the nice people at PC World replaced my expensive cardboard box with one that actually contains something.

April 12
Whew, that was fun.

Seems the too-may-open-files problem was something to do with having eleventy-seven copies of xinetd running, however that happened, and that was causing a part of the DHCP hackery I have to eat the hostname.

Finally got around to auto-hooking mailcrypt when VM sees a signed message. Still not quite as neat as (gasp) elm's crypto integration, but I'll hack at it more when I feel more focussed, maybe.

April 11
Happy Birthday to me!

Bizarrness x2: one, my system ran out of filehandles (I think Mozilla and/or the Crossover plugin had something to do with that) and two, my system hostname was mysteriously set to "klortho.grep:". Freaky.

April 10
Got a massive patch for BBDB to fix a bunch of things in one swell foop. Gonna have to carefully feed it into the patchomatic and see what the end result is.

Books: Still reading Sophie's World. Also reading William S. Burrough's The Soft Machine which, well, it's a load of crap. I'm sure it's all groundbreaking and stuff, but I'm filing it under "things that I could do with Dissassociated Press". Picture collages appeal to me; word collages don't.

April 9
Hung out at the Linux stand at the ICT Expo, then failed to meet up with the crew in Messrs later on. Didn't stop me from having a pint or three, of course.

April 8
New toy time: I inherited a USR/3com ISDN Pro TA from Bob. Linux seems to recognise it, Windows 98 isn't quite so obliging, and finding a .INF file is proving to be entertaining to say the least.

April 7
Mild concern that the dialup problem may be the line after all. Concern because, well, go back and read my line installation saga from about August last year.

Books: Finished Rudy Rucker's Realware, the fourth in his -ware series, and with hints towards White Light in it. I've not read the first of the -ware series (Software), but of the three I have read, this has been the weakest. Rucker tends to create flaky characters who change moods from sentence to sentence, which occasionally makes the narrative a bit awkward - it's changing direction too quickly. Still, I've read far, far worse books.


April 6
ISP having problems, it appears, and evidently unaware of the fact, because it's been screwed up intermittently for the last week. Or, I dunno, maybe the idiots at Eircom have managed to somehow screw up my ISDN line. Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. S'pose I'd better try another ISP to check... okay, it's the ISP. Crap.

April 5
ex-Stepstone night out. 'nuff said, the remix.

April 4
Office night out. 'nuff said.

April 3
Had a look at the protocol for LiveJournal, since it seems to be the hip funky place to do this sort of thing lately. I wonder if I could combine this log with that without too much grief...

April 2
Solved my Oracle bug today. Boy, do I ever rule. It's bug 2277096, and I found a workaround before the Oracle dev team did, gnee gnee.

April 1
I hate when I accidentally hit C-x C-c in Emacs...

After some kicking around I discovered that you can't run USB under Windows NT without pain and $$$, so I decided to just flush the installation and redo it as a Windows 95 OSR 2 box. That, or I'll have to figure out how the Compaq reimaging CD works so that I can use the Windows 98 install from that, or something equally heinous. Seems like far too much effort, really.

To mess up a Windows machine, play with the Device Manager. To really mess up a windows machine, remove the BIOS entry in the Device Manager. Hoo boy.

Books: Started and finished Last Human, Doug Naylor's solo Red Dwarf effort. Again, I think it's not quite up to par with the team effort. Strange, also, that both felt the need to go off to alternative realites, albeit in different fashions, in order to make their stories work. I guess there's only so much you can do with a mechanoid, a robot, a hologram and a slob stuck in Deep Space before you have to find some extras.

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Waider
Still waiting for my big break.