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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 31
Off to Ballina again for New Year's Partying.

December 30
Oh the humanity. Turns out that the reason I have no flow control is that I bought the nasty-ass cheap cable instead of the highly expensive contains-more-wires offical one. It appears that I should be able to do proper, flow-controlled transfers over I/R, though.

w00t! I've figured out that flow control works better if you tell the phone to use it (AT&K3), but more to the point I've managed to decipher most of the file structure that the phone gives you if you ask it for a JPEG. It would, of course, be far too easy to simply OFFER YOU THE DAMNED JPEG. Instead you get a file header which includes the name of the jpeg, then you get a phone-screen-sized thumbnail, then you get the actual image.

The flow control seems to be hugely flaky even with the above setup, mind you. It can take several attempts to pull an intact file off the phone.

Also, various things seem to upset the phone, by which I mean at one point sending it any serial data would cause it to reset its communications stack including the GSM connection. I had to cold-boot it to sort that out.

Anyway, after way too much hacking I now have most of a LUFS module to allow the phone to be mounted as a filesystem. GNEE! All that's left is to move the actual data-transfer routines from my experimental toys, and to clean up all the places where I've been slack about return codes and memory allocation. Oh, and there's some state-based thing where I need to be able to tell LUFS to reset the connection, too.

December 29
The more I try to do useful things with my phone, the more it upsets me: currently trying to use the undocumented AT commands interface to retrieve images off it, and discovering that the serial port is almost as flaky as the OBEX implementation. In particular, it appears to randomly drop out crap if run at speeds over 38k4, and it doesn't appear to support any sort of flow control.

December 28
Spent the day in town with visiting Swissfolk.

December 27
Back in Dublin... note to self: emacs and lufs do not get on. I already knew this, I just keep forgetting.

December 26
With my folks for Christmas

December 23
Final run at Micromail for 2004; I've tweaked a few things on the site, in addition to doing a catalogue update.

December 22
Continued adventures with spam cleanup. There are a lot of MTAs out there that should be seen to with, say, a hammer or a pipe wrench.

Did a little poking around with the Micromail update scripts also, as usual when some new data broke them. I now have one more tiny piece of up-front error detection.

December 21
Added a bit to my livejournal client (a bastard offshoot of lj-update) which makes it easier for me to put images in posts. It's not perfect, but it'll do for now.

December 20
Mainly tooling with the folder processor in lieu of doing useful things.

December 19
And now I have a script to process a folder full of bounce messages and throw away any that are replies to joe-job spam runs. I need to combine this with the clamav toy, I think. At this rate, all my mail will be read by scripts.

I've put the clamav client into the workshop so folks can play with it. It's a little convoluted, but for now you can just install the modules it needs - POE, basically - and plug it straight into procmail using a commandline similar to that which invokes spamc. It'll put an X-CLAMAV: scanned header into all the mails it scans, and ones with viruses will be marked X-CLAMAV: found <virusname>.

December 18
Playing with clamav; the client/server stuff is nice but would be nicer if it came with a SpamAssassin-style inline filter. So, gnee gnee, I wrote one, then broke it, then left it spend a few hours considering a file with 30,000 mail messages in it...

The Corruptor was on TV, so I watched it. Mmm. Not bad, but not quite the ass-kicking movie I was expecting given the presence of Chow Yun Fat on the cast list.

December 17
Woohoo! I'm officially on Christmas Vacation (aside from the minor matter of helping out with a release if required next week).

December 16
Company Christmas Drinks. 'nuff said.

December 15
Some experimentation with manually moving the mapping toy around leads me to believe that my scaling factors will only work for Ireland, and even then they go out of whack towards the west. I am suspecting that this is down to projections, the inaccuracy thereof, and the distortions created by same.

Torque might not be the worst movie ever made, but it's definitely one of the worst I've ever seen. The whole endpiece-as-videogame is absolutely rubbish, the movie attempts to be self-referentially ironic at several points (dumb, dumb, dumb) and there's not even a hint of gratuituous nudity to ease the pain of watching this mess.

December 14
Since I now have two MBNA cards, the Finance::Bank::IE code recognises this fact, but doesn't yet parse the multiple accounts. Once I've sorted that out I'll post a new release. I also need to take the config file reading stuff out of the module(s) as it doesn't really belong there except maybe as a convenience function.

December 13
Table quiz. Not much geekery, therefore.

December 12
Dazed and Confused also doesn't have much by way of a storyline, but it was fun; cast-spotting was fun, too. Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and Jason London (Jeremy's twin brother) provided a pretty solid Kevin Smith link; it also starred Matthew McConaughey and Milla Jovovich and, what is it with twins and this movie, Marissa Ribisi, twin sister of Giovanni. I didn't actually recognise the latter two, mind.

December 11
Impromptu trip to Ballina to collect my repaired car. Watched Paulie, which was a pretty harmless kid's movie that nonetheless was done well, and Hearts In Atlantis which was well made but seemed to be lacking in an actual story, in that by the end of the movie nothing much appeared to have happened. Possibly not helped by the fact that we got distracted by the contents of the jar of nuts being passed around ("Smoke extract? what the hell is that? Ash?", "Er. It says, "Chicken Derivatives", too") and various other interruptions.

December 10
More poking around with the Giant Movie idea. Some of the basic ideas I had about it seem a little wrongheaded at this point so I may have to rework parts of it.

December 9
Tooling around with my Google advert placement. Hence the above right block.

Did far too much PHP geeking. Especially since I don't like PHP. Results may be visible here tomorrow once I finish.

December 8
Along Came Polly kinda reminds me of another Ben Stiller outing, Starsky and Hutch; it tries to be serious and funny at the same time and winds up being neither. To take a simple example, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's last scene in the movie - it could've been played for laughs, or it could have been played completely straight, and instead it tries for a point between the two and winds up being pretty flat. There were a few grins in the movie - Hank Azaria was excellent - but on the whole don't pay money to see this.

December 7
Another silly script tweak: if I'm listening to my own streaming audio server, the script that identifies what music I'm listening to (for LiveJournal use) will parse album and artist out of the displayed metadata. Tied firmly to my own stream as there isn't a standard for tagging metadata and, as I explained to someone recently, even if there were, the metadata format itself is so heinously underfeatured that you're better off pretending it didn't happen. I guess I could always try hooking the UDP metadata, but that's not always available to me.

December 6
Did some more digging for info on my Phonecam and eventually found, among other things, a Perl script which downloads stuff from the phone. This tipped me off to the fact that some of the stuff the phone lists can't actually be downloaded - firmware-based images, basically. Of course, I tried it and it didn't work, so I'll have to do some more geeking.

Tweaked the lisp IMDB search to cope with the case where a single result is returned, i.e. IMDB bounces you to directly to the page for the movie you're trying to find.

December 5
Company Christmas Party = Teh R0xx0r once again. Yay Doolin!

Eventually drove The Boat back to Dublin. Wallow wallow. Ow, you have 500 messages in your spambox.

Half-watched Murder In The First which I saw before. Not bad. Kevin Bacon is brilliant in it.

December 4
Down to Doolin via an, er, entertaining route (i.e. I got briefly lost) in the Escort, which I am referring to as The Boat due to its sound and general handling. Company Christmas Party, woohoo!

December 3
Eeep the second. The only available loaner car is... a 1998 Longford-registered Ford Escort. Estate. Ow.

December 2
Eeep. Bad news on the car front: it's waiting for parts, only half of which arrived. So I may end up driving around in a loaned Opel of some description for a few days in order to get to the company Christmas party and what not, depending on how long the missing bits take to show up.

December 1
Boy, it's freezing today. By which I mean, before my Canadian friends start at me, it is somewhat colder than the minimum-double-digit-celsius temperature I prefer.

Modified the RPM toy to use CList instead of List. Doesn't help a whole lot.

Tweaked the auto-proxy-setup stuff to take into account whether there's actually a live network connection present. Next, I need to get it figure out if there's a local proxy on said connection; if there's not an immediately obvious one, I can have it fall back to using the local Apache for a proxy, although that's kinda completely unnecessary.

Two more movies: The Incredibles and U-571. The Incredibles didn't give me as many laugh-out-loud moments as, say, Shrek 2 or Toy Story 2, but it was certianly fun and had a few genuinely hilarous sequences. Well worth seeing. And U-571, despite the Hollywood History slant, was actually a pretty good submarine movie, complete with all the Submarine Movie Clichés - near-miss torpedoes, waiting for depth charges, nerve-wracking dives to unprecedented depths, saboteurs, etc. etc. As long as you're not too concerned about the historical placement of the movie, it's another good one to watch.

During U-571's ad breaks and after it had ended, we watched bits and pieces of Romantic Comedy 101. It's certainly got potential for irritation; the gimmick (given that I missed the setup) appears to be a guy selling the canonical rom-com script to his girlfriend's dad. The script, realised as the meat of the movie, is thus pretty formulaic, and at key points cuts to narrator voiceovers from the two metacharacters; sometimes this works, sometimes it lives up to the irritation potential. More irritating was the use of fast-forward/rewind sequences to do, respectively, "skip this bit" and "no, that's not how it happens". It's very, very hard (in fact, it may be impossible) to do a good meta-movie, and I don't think this succeeded, really. Probably just as well I didn't see the whole thing.

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Brr. COLD.