A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- June 30
- Yay! Good demo today!
- June 29
- Ow. Playing Scalectrix and Frisbee with a 5-year-old isn't the
best way to treat a hangover.
- June 28
- James' birthday party, which was fun. His birthday was on
Monday, but happy birthday anyway, James!
- June 27
- Further movie notes: The Fast and the Furious is Point Break with cars instead of
surfboards, less people dead at the end, and someone more wooden
than Keanu Reeves in a leading rôle - Vin Diesel. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
doesn't live up to its potential - but I already knew that - and
basically plays like a poor video game. Neither movie completely
sucked, but I've seen a hell of a lot better.
- June 26
- In which I relearn some Cisco config, including the
all-important "if you want it to demand-dial you need to give
it a number to dial" lesson.
Billy, Billy Connoly's biography, is an interesting topic
rendered terribly by someone who, while probably well placed to
write about the man (being his spouse and all) is most definitely
not a particularly good writer. It's very disjoint and mostly
reminded me of He Died With A Felafel In His Hand, the
way it rambles from one story to the next. And the name
dropping. What was that about? Trying to make the point that he's
gone from tenements in Glasgow to the high life in Hollywood?
Fine. You could've made that point in, um, a sentence. Maybe a
paragraph at most. You don't really need to keep reeling off names at
every possible opportunity.
Much entertainment with Aer Lingus yesterday and today. I was
trying to book flights yesterday and kept getting an error which
suggested I call the helpdesk. So I did, and they told me that I
should just enter "Dublin" for the county, not
"County Dublin". Er. Right, still the same message. So
then I tried an alternative tack: rather than putting my credit
card details in at purchase time, I tried getting my credit catd
details into my user profile on the site. Haha. Apparently this
falls foul of some "You're Not Using IE" bug. So I fired
up IE (on Linux,
gnee) and registered my credit card details, then tried using the
saved details. Which got me a message about how they couldn't
validate my card. At this point I'd run out of spare time and went
back to work. I tried again in the evening to no avail. In the
interim, I'd used my credit card to pay for parking, so the card
was definitely ok.
This morning, I checked my credit card statement online and was
somewhat surprised to discover almost €1500 in unconfirmed
charges. I phoned up the credit card company and asked for
details; they said there were six attempts to charge airline
tickets to my card. Some discussion on how long it takes for dud
charges to expire off the bill (they affect my credit limit, even
if they're not actually real charges, see below) and the nice lady
on the phone gave me the times and auth codes for each charge. I
then phoned Aer Lingus. The first person I talked to suggested
that there was a problem with my card, told me that the charges
were solely "sufficient credit" checks (i.e. not real
charges unless I actually managed to book a ticket), and told me
no, I did not have reservations on the flight. Then she passed me
off to manual reservations, who proceeded to leave their phone
ring for several minutes. Tired, and in need of coffee, I grabbed
a mug from the kitchen and went back to the website, thinking
maybe whatever was glitched yesterday might be working
today. Nope, no such luck; claiming they couldn't validate the
card again. So I called the helpdesk again, gave the
much-friendlier-than-the-first-one girl the details, and she
offered to take my reservation over the phone there and then. Yay!
So she proceeded through the details, and lo and behold, the
credit card validated. I mentioned that I'd used the site some
weeks back without any problems, and she said that they'd made
some changes to the site at the weekend and it'd turned up "a
few niggling problems". Mmm. Indeed. Anyway, end of saga. At
least, it will be once those dud charges vanish off my credit
card. The credit card company said they'd disappear after five
days if the money wasn't called for, and Aer Lingus said 48
- June 25
- Hmm. May have tracked down the work problem from the last two
- June 24
- My bank, Bank of Ireland, made
much ado about how they've revamped their online banking
section. The only difference I can see so far is that I can no
longer log into the site using Mozilla. The two credit card
accounts I closed some months back are still displayed on the list
with the balance marked "UNAVAILABLE", too. Good to know
the various bits of interest they charge their customers are being
put to good use.
More of the "stuff not work in office, stuff work at
home" routine. BAH.
Hacked up a silly little RSS toy to display some
feeds in a Mozilla
sidebar. Verdict so far: 1. I need to learn some scripting and CSS
to do some sort of hide/reveal or tree view; 2. XML::RSS is very
noisy sometimes; 3. Not everyone who offers a RSS feed offers a
useful RSS feed.
- June 23
- Tiresome day. Stuff that was working perfectly last week is not
working today, the sole reason being - as far as I can tell - that
I have to release it. Spent the day doing all manner of dead
chicken waving and invocations to higher powers to no
avail. Of course, I bring it home to test stuff and find it
appears to be working fine. Sigh.
- June 22
- Party good, hangover bad. Ugh.
Upgraded Klortho to Red Hat 9. I'm thinking I might redo it as a
fresh install, but for now it's happily downloading
Heh. Got mail offering me $$$ if I put CAB creation into cabarc; told the guy that
there's already at least one project out there to create CAB files
platforms, viz. lcab.
Woo, got my serial problem kinda sorted; close enough to allow it
to work, albeit slowly. This means one less Windows box
required in the office, woohoo! Now if I can figure out how to
make it work above 19,200 baud...
I'm having a lot of trouble with USB-Serial devices on the work
laptop. Specifically Jun 22 19:19:33 qaz kernel: usb-uhci.c:
interrupt, status 3, frame# 820. Research on the problem
suggested I should maybe install the last Red Hat 8 kernel, which appeared to be
working and then, er, didn't. The really irritating bit is that PilotManager
gracefully handles all this by locking up. GAH.
Recently seen movies, thanks to my subscription to DVDRentals.ie
(whose site still sucks if you don't have IE) and a cinema trip:
Next up is "The Fast and the Furious". I think I might
just about manage to hit my monthly limit, which is 8 DVDs.
- June 21
- Spent most of the day puzzling over a serial comms problem. I
really need to run a line tap or something to figure this
out. That, or reverse-engineer a badly-written Windows
Finally did something I should have done ages ago: I made Gonzo
trap all outgoing SMTP traffic and redirect it to itself. This
means I don't have to keep frobbing my laptop sendmail config to
cater for the fact that my ISP's dialup address space is largely
blacklisted, since Gonzo
knows about bouncing mail off the ISP's relay instead of going
And off to a party, whee!
- June 20
- Congrats to Bob and Gemma on their new arrival...
More productive work. I still have a certain dislike for fiddling
with Cisco boxes, but
hey. sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Tweaked makerpm.pl a
little. I really should do some more work on this because it's
quite a useful tool.
- June 19
- Hard but productive day working; it's nice when things work, not
just in that "hurrah it was flawless" way, but also in
that "doh, it wasn't broken, I was just being stupid"
Happy Birthday, Jaime!
More fun with IRC bot. It now logs messages for
- June 18
- Mostly some fun today. Made the bot use the Shakespearean insult
server, as well as a few other tweaks. Redid the hack I mentioned
ages back for having FVWM track
window focus for me; now the XChat hack I use to alert me if
someone's talking to me while I'm not looking at XChat actually
knows if I'm looking at XChat or not. It's still a bit screwy
because FVWM doesn't escape the
arguments it passes using Current so if you've got a
window with a single quote in the title you end up with an error
instead of a logged focus change. But close enough for government
- June 17
- Fun and games with IMAP on
the dspsrv box; seems like
some messages don't want to be deleted, and Hary and I can't
really figure out why that is.
Here's a good page on Serial Console
for Linux, including configuring Grub to use the serial
line. The only thing I found wrong with it is that the line-speed
change from boot to agetty tends to mess up your
Used the POE cookbook example to rustle up a simple bot for the
office IRC channel, mainly to give one of my coworkers abuse for
his awful puns.
- June 16
- Why is it that my multi-tasking threaded Mozilla browser gets completely
wedged on either connection or lookup despite the fact that it is
2003 and this sort of problem was fairly conclusively dismantled
and solved, oh, years ago? Is it some freaky sort of
nostalgia? I set it opening a half-dozen tabs, and it half-loads
some of the pages, and sits on about:blank with others, and there
is no indication of what it's actually doing because hey, the
status bar says, "Done". This is what happens when the
people writing the software have top-line hardware and
- June 15
- At the seminar, still.
Yay, Ferrari bring home the bacon again. Schuey Sr. did one of
those tricksy fuel stop manouevres and came out barely in front
at lap 20, and spent the rest of the race holding off the two
Williams drivers. The win gives him a three-point lead in the
drivers' championship, too. Go Schuey! Go Schuey!
- June 14
- And the seminar continues.
Schuey Jr. on pole in Canada, with Schuey Sr. in 3rd. Hmm. And how
did Firman manage 4th fastest in pre-qualifying?
- June 13
- Spending my weekend at a seminar.
- June 12
- Bug in Gaim, which I dislike anyway: it doesn't correctly parse
the http_proxy environment variable. Bug in Ayttm, the successor
to EveryBuddy: it can't
seem to connect to at least AIM and ICQ, instead sitting there
forever moving its "I'm doing something" bars, and it
prints up a load of errors when connecting to MSN but still shows
me being connected. And EveryBuddy simply won't
compile on Red Hat
- June 11
- Continuing failure of USB toy to work for Palm syncing. I'm a
little unhappy about this.
Since it took me way too long to find out: if you'd like to test
your shiny new GNOME 2.0 panel
applet without installing it or editing systemwide files or
whatever, set BONOBO_ACTIVATION_PATH to include the directory
where your applet's .server file is before you run the
panel. Once I knew that, of course, it was a bit easier to find it
on the 'net, but I ended up unpacking the source and looking for
calls to getenv(). Brute force.
- June 10
- Spent some time trying to hack an office tool into GNOME 2.0. Doesn't help that the
panel documentation shipped with Red Hat 9 doesn't actually
correspond to what's in the header files. Grr.
- June 9
- If xmms tells you it can't
find libartscbackend.la, you need to install the
arts-devel package. You don't need to bug the guys at XMMS.org, who appear to have
enough problems on their hands right now.
Mmmph. Can't seem to get the USB/Serial dohickey for my Palm V to work on
Qaz. That's not useful. On the other hand, I managed to sync via
IR with no hassles, so that's okay.
Yay, one of my patches for spamass-milter
finally made it into CVS.
- June 8
- Donated a small hack to XScreenSaver,
courtesy of spending too much time looking at The
Finally migrated enough things to Qaz (the repaired office laptop)
to go back to using it as my primary machine. I've been a little
more careful about changing things this time, including obsessive
attention to making things RPM-controlled, so it should be a
little easier to reclone things back to Klortho when I do a Red Hat 9 install there. Oh, and
while being obsessive I decided to go through my entire Perl directory and clean up
- June 7
- Converted my two stock ticker toys into a module plus some
auxilliary code. That's been a long time coming.
- June 6
- For some reading material I picked up Robert Ludlum's "The
Paris Option", which is posthumous and, I hope, in no way
indicative of the sort of stuff Ludlum would have allowed to be
published if he was still alive, because it is one of the most
godawful thrillers I've ever read. What's worse is that I can't
even figure out what's wrong with it. I read over a paragraph
trying to figure out how it could be redone to work better, and
failed miserably. Save yourself some cash and don't buy this book,
or buy some "pure" Ludlum like his Jason Bourne trilogy
- June 5
- Hacker/Sick Puppy #2: Boot machine from Knoppix. NFS-mount directory off
laptop, since Knoppix is all
read-only stuff. Use mount --bind to get appropriate bits
of the writable NFS share into appropriate bits of the Knoppix machine's tree. Compile
- June 4
- Call Yourself A Hacker, or at least a sick puppy: networking toy
wants an inbound connection. I'm firewalled. I do, however, have a
server in the real world. ssh -R port:localhost:port myserver,
run rinetd on
myserver because SSH's port forwarding only listens on the
loopback interface, then tell the client to lie about its IP
address. Bonus points if you know what client I'm talking
8 Mile is a good movie, but Brittany Murphy's role was a bit
weird, almost like an afterthought. The freestyle Rap Battles on
the DVD were pretty amazing, too.
- June 3
- Stupid Hacks'R'Us: in addition to having a mailer hook that
prevents me from putting inappropriate quotes into office emails, I
now have a FVWM startup command
that loads wallpaper based on what domain I'm connected
Digging into the mystery world of video transcoding again ("I
know! Let's invent another video format!") and I
found one of the coolest things ever: a Perl script to clean up a dirty
signal. A very specific sort of dirty signal; the one
generated by M*cr*v*s**n, if'n you know what I mean.
- June 2
- GNEE. Doing some work on Micromail which involved
beating someone else's HTML into the
correct shape, and I got fed up of all the manual editing and
scratched up a 15-line Emacs
macro to do the job instead. M-x honk...
- June 1
- Well, Schumacher managed to drag himself up to 3rd, while
Barrichello didn't do quite so well. Alas.
Finally reworked the films.pl script to use a
new source, and yay, also cleaned up the code lots. We'll see how
long the current source of listings lasts.
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