A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- May 31
- Quiet day, mostly shuffling files around between machines in an
attempt to set up for upgrading Klortho.
In Monaco, both Ferraris were uncharacteristically slow over the
last sector resulting in 5th and 7th qualifying places. Ralf
Schumacher is on the front of the grid. Should be an interesting
- May 30
- Messing about with Current, a replacement for the Red Hat
Network; looks good, albeit a little complex to set up. I might
try installing it at home, too.
- May 29
- Screw this hacking lark, I'm off to the bar.
- May 28
- Made a cosmetic tweak to mailman.pl when it's
displaying the list of addresses it's left on the heap.
Finally reinstalled Red Hat
on the repaired laptop - I decided to do a clean RH9 install
rather than trying to rebuild from the stuff I'd saved after the
disk crash. Also downloaded a bunch of updates from Compaq for the Windows side of
things and used Compaq's
slightly flaky but generally impressive System Software Manager
(or whatever SSM stands for) to install bits on both
laptops. Including BIOS updates, which was cool.
- May 27
- And back to Dublin again. The car doesn't know what to do with
itself; I got over 400 miles out of a full tank at the
- May 26
- Flying visit down the country to see my niece and the rest of
the family in the area. Minor poking at Mom's machine, which has a
CD-RW that doesn't want to W, but I couldn't figure out what was
wrong with it.
- May 25
- And back to Dublin.
- May 24
- Drove to Doolin for a
company meeting. Much fun was had. Much drink also.
- May 23
- Happy Birthday, Patrick!
- May 22
- Rewrote mailman.pl
(not entirely from scratch) to actually parse the HTML properly
and, better still, to use Spam
Assassin to grade the mail. It's rather good. If you have a Mailman list to administer, you
might want to consider using this to help.
- May 21
- This has been bothering me for a while: PXE-booting with the Red
Hat default files results in an apparent hang when the kernel is
booting. Turns out it's not hanging: it's
booting with a serial-port console. Of course, you'll note if
you continue reading that the PXE package to which this applies is
being dropped in favour of some combination of DHCP and
PXELinux. Just as I'd figured out how to get it working,
Major Micromail update due
to some changes at the ISP. Some rethinking may be required for
future updates, but for now it's all okay.
Got my office laptop back today, with a shiny new
harddrive. Blank, of course. And wouldn't you know, the magical
restore CD wouldn't work. Undeterred, I kicked the living
daylights out of it until it did work. Insert usual
comments about moronic
installers here. Once I'd gotten the thing booted I located
the full backup I'd done before sending the thing off - because
when your hard drive is under warranty, Compaq won't leave you keep the
dead one without charging you for the replacement. More
idiocy. I can understand that they'd like to keep it for analysis,
but, you know, there are privacy issues. Not just personal
privacy, i.e. who the hell is reading information off my hard
drive, but also company privacy, since it was my office
- May 20
- Tried out LUFS. Wow. It's
amazing. It's rough around the edges, but suddenly it's a whole
lot easier to deal with, say, synchronising an ftp site with a
local directory. I hooked it up to the Micromail website and sat here
giggling for a bit at the sheer ease of use. It occurs to me that
it should be easy enough to hook this up to a CVS repository and
thus make a CVS filesystem akin to ClearCase, for
- May 19
- Spent far too long trying to reshape someone else's notion of HTML. It'd
probably have been easier to just dump out the text and use that
in a freshly-created page.
- May 18
- Fantastic Austrian F1. Schumacher managed to briefly catch fire,
short-fill the fuel tank, and skid on unnamed engine fluids, and
still won with a decent margin to spare. Barrichello also
had fueling problems, but for which it'd have been a Ferrari
Micromail update, including
the first ever banner advert on the site.
The Big Sleep is
a great movie, not least because it sticks pretty closely to the
Raymond Chandler book. In fact, the weakest parts of the movie are
where it deviates.
- May 17
- Here's something neat: Linux Userspace
Filesystem. It uses things like ftp and sftp as a transport
mechanism on top of which it sits a filesystem. Upshot: anywhere
you can reach with ftp or sftp becomes a filesystem instead of
something that can only be accessed with the appropriate
WOW. Schumacher messes up on his qualifying lap and STILL beats
the pants off Kimi for pole position. Amazing.
- May 16
- Hurray, Beer!
- May 15
- I finally got fed up with ILUG and hit
"unsubscribe". It's bloody useless at this
AAAAAH. Why does Mozilla
reset my search engine preference every time I upgrade to a new
Found and fixed a stupid bug that stops GtkPerl from building with
Perl 5.8ish. This is good. The
fact that the bug remains unfixed in the CPAN version is bad. All you gotta
do is fix the MY::c_o rule in each Makefile.PL so that instead of
the $inherited... line ending in /m;, it ends in
/mg;. Then I discovered that the wacky Red Hat folk have already fixed
the damn thing. CONTRIBUTE THE CODE BACK, GUYS!
- May 14
- Helping Donal with Perl, whee!
Happy Birthday, Dad!
- May 13
- Wahey. Got stuff working today. Woo woo!
I'd tell you about it, but then I'd have to kill you.
Doing some jiggery-pokery with the Micromail site also, but you
can't see it just yet.
- May 12
- Fiddling around with a few Perl things. ILUG continutes to be pretty
- May 11
- Lounging on the couch watching movies, mostly. Ah,
- May 10
- Mozilla still has
irritating focus problems with the drop-down window you get when
you type in the Location bar. The fact that they're irritating
makes it all the more surprising that they've persisted through
versions 1 to 1.4. I'd like to fix them, but I'm really not
inclined to try and wrap my head around the codebase just
now. While I'm whining, though (in case anyone's paying attention)
the autocomplete stuff would be so much better if it did a
full substring search on your location bar history, rather than
searching through just the domain names or whatever it's currently
doing. I should be able to key in a LiveJournal username that
I've visited some time in the recent past and have it dig up the
rest of the URL for me, dammit.
I tried out emacspeak for some
reason I can't recall, and, well, it broke. Enh.
- May 9
- Somewhere between version 0.9.5 and 0.11.whatever-RedHat-are-shipping, pilot-link lost
the ability to handle TCP/IP connections by setting PILOTPORT to
".". Typically, I actually need this feature. Guess I'll
have to hack the source again... meantime I'm using a
rebuild 0.9.5 as a workaround.
Lots of messing about to try and get Xine up and running on
Klortho, complicated by the fact that the freshrpms build requires even
more libraries than it did last time I
installed. Gah. It's amusing briefly that it's built to support
aalib, but really. Are you honestly going to watch movies rendered
as ASCII art?
Started adding some things to the linkfarm that I've been
meaning to fix for a while, such as moveable root directory and
linkfarm file. This makes it theoretically possible to have
multiple linkfarms... hmmm!
- May 8
- Ha ha! Kevin got not just verbal confirmation but is also
expecting email from eircom
stating that they have a major problem in the Limerick area
affecting, and I quote, hundreds of customers. So much for a minor
packet loss issue. I did a little investigation myself and turned
up the odd fact that packets exceeding 324 bytes are being
dropped somewhere. That's a pretty low MTU by anyone's
measure. In theory, I could crank the MTU on the DSL back to 324
and it might actually work, but they're expecting to have the
problem fixed by this afternoon so I won't bother.
- May 7
- Problems with DSL in Limerick. GRR. Of course, eircom deny everything. "
oh, there's a minor packet loss issue that we're investigating,
but no dropped connections.". Right. So why can't I get a SSH connection up and running
over this line then?
- May 6
- Back in the office, still a bit stuffed up but mostly
functional. I seem to time being ill very well; burn off a long
weekend, and heal in time for work.
- May 5
- More movie-watching: The Sum Of All Fears, which wasn't a bad romp either. Apparently it too is
trimmed down heavily from the original, but since I've not read
the book I don't know what I'm missing.
- May 4
- New Ferrari, and it came first in Barcelona, yay! Better still,
Ralph Firman scored himself a point for Jordan.
Watched The Bourne Identity and Lilo and Stitch. Didn't catch one of the funnier jokes in the
latter until I was watching the special features ("punch
buggy!"), but it was a really excellent movie. The former was
a bit light on plot compared to the original novel, but wasn't a
bad movie despite that.
- May 3
- ILUG has been monumentally
stupid all this week. License wars, Distro wars, "this
doesn't work for me therefore your claim that it works for you is
bogus", people making broad statements with absolutely
nothing to back them up... maybe I should just unsubscribe.
Glossary for my parents, who occasionally read this:
- ILUG is the Irish Linux Users' Group, or in
this instance the mailing list of the same name. I signed up
mainly to find out when a particular Linux
guru wasg going to be in the neighbourhood, and stayed to
occasionally offer people technical help.
- A License war is where people argue whether their favourite
software license is better than your favourite software license;
this usually ends up in an argument about the meaning of
commonly used words, much like the Clinton impeachment hearings
and with about as much actual use to the community at
- Distro ("Distribution") wars are similar, except the
point of contention is whose version of Linux you use.
The rest is just regular human stupidity in action. Other common
issues that result in a lot of hot air with no actual substance
are editor wars, where people argue over their favourite text
editor; language wars, where people argue over which programming
language is "best", and a subset of this, scripting
language wars, where people argue over which subset of programming
languages is best for scripting, best defined as "a short and
pointless program to do something that would be even more
pointless if I had to do it manually"; OS wars, where people
argue that one Unix variant is better than another, or they're all
worse than Linux, or whatever; and so forth. Mostly, the negative
side of the argument tends towards, "Once, while using this
thing I am railing against, something bad happened, and even if it
was ignorance on my part rather than a fault with the thing I was
using, I will never again consider the thing in any sort of
positive light" while the positive side tends to be similar
but opposite. In computers, as in other fields, the answer
generally lies somewhere between the two. These common arguments
are half-jokingly referred to as "religious wars", and
partaking in one is either a sign of zealousness or naïvety,
and rarely an actual display of good judgement.
Boy I'm cranky this morning.
I think I discovered a key piece of the RPC puzzle I've been
trying to figure out in Samba. Again, though, I've run
into some complicated yet arbitrary looking arithmetic
calculations that seem to have no connection to anything I've
observed, and the guy who could possibly explain them is one of
the more non-communicative Samba team members. Note, I do
say "possibly" since it may be code that was written so
long ago that noone knows why it's that way, or what'll break if
you change it. That's what comments in code are for,
- May 2
- Mini-ITX box arrived in
the office for yay project. Rather tidy little thing. I have to
on it and write some software, but really, if I had silly money to
spend, I'd consider buying one of these myself to make a
stand-alone jukebox machine.
- May 1
- Added tooltip support to the Monitor toy, mainly so I
could have it explain the IrDA hints to me without me having to
look up the code again.
The films.pl script has
been rendered temporarily useless by RTÉ's decision to render Aertel pages as images rather
than text. Hurrah, not.
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