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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

October 31
Hurf. I should be packing to move house this evening, but to hell with it. I'm going out.

October 30
Typical. I finally reinstall the Java plugin on the work box, so I can see what the headmap is about, and the damn thing is down.

With some tooling around, I got edict.el hooked up to Emacs. It's not as brilliantly useful as I thought it'd be, but it's a bit faster than using the WWWJDIC to look stuff up from an Emacs buffer - especailly since Emacs still won't let me copy Japanese text into other apps in any useful fashion.

October 29
Still looking at houses. Affects geekdom hugely, since most of my stuff is packed up.

October 28
Heroic feats performed in a day's work. Yay me!

October 27
As a file browser, Konqueror kicks Nautilus's ass around the room. Twice. With hobnailed boots. Konq is damned fast and doesn't seem to get hung doing something with no user feedback quite as much as Nautilus does. Nautilus gets one point for rescaling images to fit the window, except it always does it when I'd rather it only did it if the image is too large - don't scale up a 3x2 image to fullscreen, thanks. This is all kinda surprising to me given the much-touted presence of ex-Mac people working on Nautilus; I guess the GNOME bloat overrides the Mac goodness.

October 26
Woohoo! Managed to get the backported ZoomAir fixes running, so I now have a single codebase for both 2.2 and 2.4 kernels. I've also discovered that those tricky fellows at Red Hat put a kernel compatibility file into their 2.2 tree to allow them to backport some USB stuff. At least, I'm assuming it's Red Hat's. I think it's high time I looked at putting some sort of autoconfig stuff into the codebase that can detect this sort of thing.

Ireland beat Argentina by 1 hard-won point in the Rugby World Cup today. Go us!


October 25
I'm having lots of "fun" with the RSS Toy trying to handle entities. I'd probably be better off fixing XML::RSS instead of trying to patch around the broken bits.

October 24
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was pretty good. Not "I'll buy it" good, but certainly "I'd watch it again" good.

October 23
Happy Birthday Cliffy!

October 22
Trying to backport my fixes to the ZoomAir stuff to 2.2 so I can maybe submit a patch back to the Linux WLAN guys, if they're interested.

October 21
Hmm. I'd been tooling around with enabling SMTP AUTH for my sendmail setup some time back. Seems like it actually works. I can now reasonably set a smarthost for outgoing mail and have it just work as long as I'm behind a firewall that doesn't ask questions. Ironically, my own network traps all outgoing port 25 traffic and reroutes it through the dialup box and my ISP's SMTP relay, so the one place where I know the setup won't work is my own network!

Errr. I spoke too soon. It doesn't seem to want to relay after all, so I'm obviously missing something somewhere.

October 20
Went to look at a house. Got locked into it for ten minutes with the estate agent. "I think the lock needs replacing..."

October 19
Packing, packing, packing.

Ireland beat Namibia at rugby with 10 tries and a bunch of conversions (7?) to 1 try plus 1 conversion. Go us!


October 18
Hee, neat accidental, I dunno, hardly a discovery, but anyway: accidentally i-searching for the letter E in an email I'm about to send shows quite graphically that it is indeed the most frequently-used letter due to Emacs' recent feature whereby all occurrences of a search string are highlighted so you can see where the next/previous occurrences are.

Threw away the UCS fonts again. The Japanese kana don't appear to scale, which means it's sucky trying to read a page of Japanese which I've increased the font-size on for the purposes of making the kanji clearer.

I put a "Never Play This Song Again" button on my standardised-in-1994-or-so toolbar; it hooks up to the running copy of XMMS and removes the currently-playing track from the playlist. Since I tend to label the buttons with text more often than icons, and space is at a premium, the button is labelled "DIE".

Wow, freaky. I just finished reading The Great Gatsby this morning, and there's a movie adaptation of it on BBC this evening. AND. Warren Ellis' last piece this week is titled "You Know My Fucking Name"; tonight on RTE1 is a film titled You Know My Name. GIANT CONFLUENCE OF MEDIA, or something.

October 17
Continuing the Unicode toolery, I grabbed some UCS fonts off the net and installed them (easy font config at last for X at last - just drop 'em off in ~/.fonts). I then discovered that they weren't quite what I wanted, or so I thought until this morning when I checked out a Japanese web page and discovered that the characters aren't running into each other like they used to. Probably something to do with the original font metrics in the system fonts coupled with Mozilla's font handling, but I couldn't really be arsed figuring out what's broken just now.

I spoke too soon. The fonts are still overrunning. GRR.

Added some colour to the RSS Toy to visually distinguish between feed sources, and also got it to approximately cope with RSS 2.0 - at least well enough for the one 2.0 feed I'm picking up, anyway.

Vanilla Sky has some excellent dialogue (mostly Cruz's) but it seems hers is deliberately brilliant - I can't tell you why without spoiling the movie. Ultimately, I didn't like the fact that the ending was unambiguous - I think it'd have been just that little bit better if it'd been left in doubt. Either way, I didn't much like the ending, but I guess I couldn't see too many other ways out of where the script was going.

October 16
Tooling with oddball characters in Emacs: (let ((n 0)) (while (<= n #xffff) (insert (format "%c\n" (or (decode-char 'ucs n) 0))) (setq n (+ 1 n)))) What is it with CONSONANTS WITH ACCENTS? (actually, I'm noone to talk, since Irish writing used include the séimhiú, a dot over a consonant that indicated a suffix h...)

Further tooling led to me crashing my X server. Bad X! No cookies!

Huh. Apparently Emacs' UTF-8 coding system doesn't cover japanese. That rather sucks.

October 15
Mostly house-hunting for the next few days.

October 14
Added some goop to my hacked-up LiveJournal client to query XMMS for current music if it can't find Gronk.

October 13
AHA. Net::FTP requires you to call binary() immediately before using retr(), just in case something else changed it to ASCII mode while you weren't looking. This fixes a long-standing bug in a nasty script I wrote to update Red Hat boxes.

Bob Cringely's changed the format of his site so I had to tweak snorq to compensate. This should, of course, be in my RSS Toy, but hey.

Poking around the firmware bits I have for the ZoomAir resulted in me finding out how to activate the link LED (which was my goal) and also finding a couple of logic bugs in the driver. I've not yet fixed them, just flagged them as broken.

One thing that is kinda wrong with the firmware LED handling is that it blinks on a cycle not related to your connection. What I'd like to do is have it blink every for every other beacon frame or similar, so you get a visual indicator that your network just vanished. Trouble is, I can't immediately see how to make that happen without getting into parts of the card that are supposed to be dealt with by the firmware. I guess at a pinch I could send down the commands which enable and disable the LED-blinking in response to receipt of beacon frames.

From Hell is, enh. Anything I want to say about it would probably spoil it if you've not seen it. It's not a patch on the graphic novel.

October 12
More tooling with the ZoomAir driver now that I've fixed the main bug... trying to figure out how to frob the LEDs or get the firmware to do it.

YAY! Schuey wins the F1 championship, and not in the cakewalk fashion everyone expected either. Quite an eventful race at Suzuka, but ultimately Ferrari were the ones in the top slot when the dust settled.

Micromail update also. Some weirdness with ftp on the server which appeared in the middle of my last update and still seems to be hanging around.


October 11
Made a concerted effort to find the bug that makes my ZoomAir driver crash under heavy transmit loads. I found one potential problem, which I thought was the cause, but it turned out to be a false lead.

Woohoo! Found it! Judicious insertion of netif_stop_queue has not only cleared up the problem, but also improved the connection quality through reducing Tx errors to practically nil, so TCP/IP doesn't back off quite as much as it used.

October 10
Tooling with TERMIOS in Perl. Somehow, I am able to get /dev/ttyS0 into some sort of state where I can't reopen it, even after the process that had it open exits. The solution appears to be to open it with O_NDELAY set, and then set it to a known good state, and then reopen it. Freaky.

October 9
Did a bit of cleaning up on SSH keys. I'd like to get rid of all my v1 keys, but there are a few places that require them, alas.

October 8
More modem fun. After some tooling about I figured out how to separate the comm and async layers sufficiently that they're independant of each other, which is roughly what I was aiming for.

XMMS lost my playlist again. WTF?

October 7
Yay, got the async stuff working. Go me!

Phone Booth is pretty good. Not the groundbreakingly brilliant movie I'd been led to believe, but pretty good all the same.

XMMS lost my playlist this morning. Ok, so find ~ -name "*.mp3" -exec xmms -e {} \; will fix the problem, sort of, but really now.

October 6
Mucking about with asynchronous I/O in Linux. Cute.

October 5
Still tooling around with Slime Forest Adventure - I'm sorta astounded that I'm actually learning Japanese after several years of failing to get anywhere.


October 4
Spent some time fixing up entity support in the RSS Toy, in the process discovering another bug in the XML::RSS module: when it parses entities, it saves them back out in their parsed versions. Which means, if you do parse, save, reload, parse, the second parse will fail. Duh.

October 3
Aha, boat relocated. Had to go back and talk to someone about it.

October 2
YAY! I BEAT Slime Forest Adventure! Mind you, I seem to have lost my boat in the process.

15 Minutes is the sort of movie that makes me wonder if Robert De Niro is running out of cash or something. I can't really think of anything good to say about it. At all.

October 1
After some tinkering, I determined that sbox does not like having a null logfile - this is supposed to log to stderr, but instead it just broke. Turning off logging completely also appears to break. So I just defined a static logfile and left it at that, since it's just for testing Micromail stuff anyway.

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Waider
"Where I come from, jojoba is the month after September!"
- Billy Connolly