A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- March 31
- Yay! Schumie wins again! This time, in the
Ferrari F1-2002, which acquitted itself admirably despite the
Bridgestone tires being unsuited to the temperatures in
New phone works after all. I did a bit of the "take battery
out, put battery in, do mystic chicken-waving routine" and
lo, it switched on. I'm quite impressed with it, my only minor
gritch being that my guitar-playing fingernails don't quite get on
with the small keys. Still, they're hard keys as opposed to my old
Nokia's soft keys, so there's no chance of me putting a thumbnail
through the surface of the key.
Installed NT 4 on the spare pentium box on a whim. Then downloaded
something like 30MB of security updates from Microsoft. This is the
more secure version of Windows, or at
least it was back whenever it was released.
I'm toying with the idea of making a multi-boot box if I can find
some way of PXE-booting the damn thing, and also if I have space
for the bits on Gonzo
(which now has about 250 discs' worth of MP3 files - all legal,
Books: Finished Better Than Life, also
Backwards, which is the one written by Rob
Grant. Somehow it seems slightly the worse for not being a
co-write, as the first two books were.
Late, LATE Micromail
- March 30
- Bought a new phone - a Siemens S45. It's
GPRS-capable, and Vodafone
are supposedly switching on their general-access GPRS service on
Oh the humanity. First, I discover that the salesguy forgot to
give me the PIN for my new SIM card. Duh. Having gotten around
that (enter random numbers until card is blocked, retrieve
unblocking code from Vodafone website, enter new PIN), the new
phone wouldn't switch on. At all. ARGH. This is hardly
encouraging. And meantime, my ISP decides to have a collection of
random outages: IPCP timeouts, dropped connections, stalled
connections. WONDERFUL. There are times when I absolutely detest
the excuse for a telecomms infrastructure in this supposedly
technologically advanced country.
Went to the local for a few pints of the black stuff, to make up
for yesterday's forced abstinence.
- March 29
- It's Good Friday. The government says I
can't go to the local for a few pints of the black stuff, but it
remains strangely silent on the subject of my spending the day in
- March 28
- Spend some time digging around in Oracle's proprietary
undocumented ROS scripting format; it should be pretty trivial to
transform it into <buzzword>XML</buzzword>, less the
sequential numbering of objects, which would be far more useful
for CVS than the current
incarnation - change an object early enough in the file, and every
single object in the file gets renumbered, resulting in massive
diffs that should in reality be one-line changes.
I actually spent a lot of time parsing the format. A basic XML
transform is pretty trivial and I should do that
- March 27
- More tooling with disk
recovery. Glade is still
perplexing me in some places, but at least I can just hack the XML
it generates as a save file. Or so I thought, until I upbefuct
it. D'oh. At least I have a working backup...
- March 26
- It appears that there's a stupid
memory-leaking bug in Oracle's Forms server, which is
maybe one of the reasons they're ditching it in the next release
in favour of a servlet. I'm sure buzzword-compliance is
Started hacking the linkfarm code to use a
few more Emacs features and a
bit less CPU.
- March 25
- Discovered how remarkably easy it is to
create mirrors with Solstice Disksuite today. Like, REALLY
easy. I wonder if anyone has made a similar nice toy for Linux'
Cleaned up the What Movies
Are On TV Today? script some more; it now does a better job of
fetching the listings, and links to the relevant page if it can't
find a listing; also, it automatically detects CGI or command-line
mode and modifies its output appropriately.
I started one of the new books last night, Enigma
Variations by Irene Young. It's another Station X memoir,
albeit from way down in the ranks from what I can
- March 24
- Spent some time adding filters to snorq so that I can
cut down on the amount of crap I'm feeding to my AvantGo client. So now it's down to
500K from 900K, which is good.
Finally debugged at least part of my What Movies Are On TV
Today? script so that it now links to IMDb, has a marker for what's on
now, has an anchor for what's the next movie to start, and works
in CGI mode so you can query it instantly.
Finished Red Dwarf this morning.
- March 23
- Went poking at rpmfind again, also
gnorpm. There's a really useful tool somewhere inside
these two, struggling to get out. Not helped by people like
Sunsite UK failing to keep their RDF stuff up-to-date.
Reading at the moment: Red Dwarf for the DART,
Sophie's World, The Hacker Ethic and the Spirit of
the Information Age, and Homepage Usability for the
bedside. Everyone else seems to keep reading lists or mention
books, so I figure I may as well join the
This would be about my fifth time reading Red Dwarf,
phase two of my attempt to finish Sophie's World, and the
others, well, The Hacker Ethic was a mistake and I'm
sorry I bought it, but I'm determined to finish it, and
Homepage Usability was a freebie from Willy at Micromail which I'm kinda
skimming now and again. It's more of a coffee table book than a
GRR. Every so often, my ethernet card (on the laptop) dumps a
bunch of eth0: Too much work at interrupt, status=0xffff.
and stops working. ifconfig down and up and it's fine,
but in the meantime all network connections get royally
screwed. This is probably one of the eepro bugs that the ILUG people mentioned
Went to town, bought stuff. I bought a computer cable for
my mother. At her request. No, really.
Played around with The GIMP some and remade my Google logo. I even wrote a
quick Perl script to generate a
palette file from an arbitrary image. The GIMP seems to do this,
but for some reason I preferred my own version. I am obviously a
giant ego on legs, or something.
silliness continues: the rpmfind fullIndex file uses
lower-case "rdf" while gnorpm expects
uppercase. Sigh. This is a real shame, because the rpmfind index is about 50 times
bigger than the RedHat
- March 22
- Hurrah! Friday! Beer!
- March 21
- After a bit of kicking and screaming,
managed to tie the GNU JSP
Engine onto the side of Apache/JServ. Now I have a JSP
environment, woo woo.
Tweaked my ifup-local script to take note of the domain
provided by DHCP and switch the domain name of Klortho based on
that. Just another step towards fire-and-forget
Noticed that my version of rsync wasn't doing anything
useful when talking to a more up-to-date version on my website, meaning that every
time I went to do a site update it wanted to upload the whole
thing. So I upgraded the local copy, hindered only slightly by the
fact that there are no RPMs for
it... not sure the result has worked, though. More investigation
required, I think. Aha. Default behaviour change. You need to
explicitly tell it to preserve file timestamps now. I hate default
- March 20
- Slight tweak to the Micromail site to correct an
error from Monday's update.
Put an Apache JServ on
Klortho for experimental purposes, or something. Also finally got
around to applying the CodeWeavers
Crossover 1.1.0 patch, which has been sitting on my hard drive
Discovered file-relative-name, which allowed me to cut
about twenty lines of absolute crud out of my linkfarm
Went poking at my GPS toys again, and discovered that MapQuest have changed their
technology such that it doesn't work with my MapServer bits
any more. Fine. I'll just have to ADAPT, dammit.
- March 19
- Poking and prodding at some disk-recovery
software. I have a bunch of floppies to try it out
- March 18
- Offloaded one of the Too Many Computers in
my room today. Phew.
- March 17
- Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Schumacher Senior failed to win due to a minor incident with
Montoya, leaving Barrichello to fly the flag for Ferrari until his
engine blew up. Some bits of controversy, such as why Montoya was
given the first ever "drive-through" penalty, and why
Williams weren't tapped for having slicks by the end of the
- March 16
- Yay! Schumacher out front on the grid again,
still in last year's car.
- March 15
- Beerfest with some ex-Stepstone folk.
Turns out that Oracle are
dropping support for everything except their own SCM in the
upcoming release of the application server development tools. The
rest of the EOL documentation doesn't make for hopeful reading,
- March 14
- Integrity-checking 180GB of disk can take
quite a while, even if the disk is clean.
- March 13
- Got fed up of the morons who are
nimda/code-red scanning my server, and put a little PHP honeypot in place. Scan away,
- March 12
- Further puzzlement with my little home
network: ssh does some DNS lookup stuff that should be
resolved locally, yet it isn't. Looks like I need to do some
reading and reconfiguring.
- March 11
- A crap day at the office, rounded off nicely
by something hitting my windscreen and making a semi-circular
crack in it. GAH.
Went through my list of things that need fixing in BBDB only to discover that
Robert Fenk has, in fact, fixed quite a lot of
them! So I transferred my attention to the Ardmore Diving website
Finally decided to roll Gonzo
up to RedHat 7.2, probably
shortly before 8.0 is released. But hey.
- March 10
- More movie-going: A Beautiful Mind is
not quite the tearjerker I was told it was, but is certainly an
entertaining film and makes me want to read about what Nash came
- March 9
- Went to see Ocean's Eleven (the
2001 remake, not the 1960 original). Excellent heist movie,
regardless of what anyone might tell you about clichés or
the inherent badness of modern remakes of classic movies (I'm
looking forward to seeing Jean Reno reprise his role in Les Visiteurs when
turns up here in the next few weeks, too).
That pretty much set the tone for the day, with the idiot box
providing my afternoon, evening, and night entertainment. An
episode of Voyager dealing with repressed memories (why oh WHY do
they even bother with Important Social Commentary Episodes?);
Scrapheap Challenge featuring drag racing, specifically featuring
a drag-racing car with a single-gear automatic gearbox, said gear
being... reverse (they clocked a respectable 19-second 1/8th mile
going backwards before rotating the axle for the subsequent runs);
bemusedly watching some coverage of the Crufts dog show; Babe (last shown
over here around Christmas) (yes, I did watch this kid's-book
movie from start to finish, more than once); Hudson Hawk, which
wasn't as good in some places as I remember, and was better in
other places, and overall is still a movie I like; and finally,
failing to find anything further of interest in the TV listings, I watched Sid and Nancy, which
was, well, um. Gary Coleman is brilliant, and I guess the agenda
of the movie is to portray Nancy Spungen as a whiny bitch who
destroyed the Sex Pistols, but, um, don't lay it on heavily or
anything, yeah? It was a bit short of flashing "Evil
Wench" across the screen, but not far short. Plus
there were these pointless arty shots of, for example, Sid and
Nancy kissing against a garbage unit while trashcans fell in slow
motion around them. Wait, wait, this is a metaphor, right? I know
metaphors, I is educated, dammit. Overall not worth the time I
spent on it, but since the rest of the day was a write-off anyway
it was no big deal.
- March 8
- Went to a party. Didn't come home. I like
parties like that...
- March 7
- Went rooting through DLLs trying to figure
out how Oracle's Developer
2000 does version control integration. Figured out after a while
that what I need to do is build a DLL, and set the VCS registry
stuff to "CUSTOM". Now to see if I can build a
Found a lovely quote over on Live Journal. "My room
is crying out, "Clean Me", but I am showing it tough
- March 6
- Wrote enough of a UTF-7 encoder/decoder in
lisp to work for most of the thusly-encoded mail I get. Boy is
- March 5
- Progress Quest has,
predictably, become a victim of its own success. All Your Vorpal
Serrated Bandyclef are belong to us.
Finally got a program working to use Eirpage's highly dubious web
interface to send pager messages, as they're apparently yanking
the email interface.
Tweaked a small bug in the readline code for cddb-mode.el; it's
still not 100% correct, but at least it doesn't generate
- March 4
- Bad Thing: having Wine, VM, a bunch of terminal
sessions, a bunch of Emacs
windows, and Mozilla running
when you kill your X Server. Good Thing: wget continuing
on after the terminal that owned it was whisked away, especially
when it's in the middle of a 200MB download that can't be resumed
if it gets interrupted.
- March 3
- And again with the dominating Ferrari - only
one, since Schuey junior chose to have a first-race incident
again, albeit slightly less damaging to non-racers this
time. ITV's commentators estimated the cost of his gaffe at
approximately 10 million pounds. Big brother proceeded to blow the
doors off everyone else and finish with a deeply comfortable
20-second lead because, well, noone could keep up. With last
year's car. Bwahahahaha!
Back at the BBDB again,
since I've been neglecting it a little too much of
late. Bad maintainer, no karma!
- March 2
- Whee! And we're off, with the Formula 1 season's first
qualifying session demonstrating that Ferrari's old car
is better than everyone else's new cars. Go Schuey!
And then Ireland kicked Scottish butt (43-22) in the Six Nations
Rugby, including one fantastic 3/4-length-of-field run from Brian
O'Driscoll ending in a try. YAY!
- March 1
- Tweaked my up2date cleanup script to
behave itself when the verbose flag is not
Hmm. Seems like tabbed browsing actually has most of what I want,
if I just figured out where to look for it.
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Beware the Ides of March. It's standing behind you.