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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

February 29
Well, it's a bit rough, but I got XMMS running with GTK2. A few things are still a little messed up, but on the whole it means I've got my MP3 player back, yay!


February 28
Dalton's around for the weekend, so no geeking for me!

February 27
Cleaned up a few of the old diary pages. Ecch. Messy.

AAAAACK. The stupidity. First off, apparently part of the SOAP terminology is a proxy which is not your web proxy, despite the fact that most of the touting of SOAP I've seen involves pushing it over the web. Secondly, in SOAP::Lite, it inspects the wrong environment variables for proxy details - you have to copy your http_proxy variable to HTTP_proxy in order for it to work. I've seen uppercase and lower case versions of the proxy variables in use, but never mixed case.

The linkfarm toy now stores the files which use a particular phrase. Another small step...

February 26
Poking around the hardware bins I discovered I had an unused Pentium 166 chip while my fileserver's running a P133. So, shutdown, rechip, rejumper, discover I do in fact have wiring for the attached fan, and off we go!

February 25
Terminator 3 was pretty much Terminator 2 with bigger explosions. Sorta suffered the same fate as the Matrix movies; after you've created an invincible character, all you can do is keep rehashing the explosions and fights. Even the chase scene was like "Oh yay. Instead of a truck chasing a bike, we've got a crane chasing a pickup. Being chased by a fire engine. Woo woo. Who wants to be a fire engine?[1]"

I will admit that the ending was a bit of a surprise, but hey. They've left the franchise open for T4.

[1] I can't believe they left out this quote on IMDB. Seriously, guys. It's the best line in the entire movie.

Elsewhere: fruitless tasks abounded. Bitlbee still largely unhappy with MSN. Digicam steadfastly refuses to talk to Linux in PCCAM mode. XMMS and GTK2 don't get along without blunt trauma, and the various forks are apparently MIA.

I've just skimmed back through this diary and realised I've not rented a good movie in quite a while. EEP.

February 24
Talked to the Bitlbee guys about the intermittent connection problem I'm having with MSN. They suggested an alternative gnutls install, so I'll try that.

After much kicking and screaming, I managed to get an upgraded version of Mailman installed on Ye Greate Server as part of our recent drive to make sure we're not 0wnx0red at the first possible opportunity. It'd probably work if I just pushed the "GO" button, but I figured I'd take the time to do it right.

Then I decided to see if I could hack XMMS back into working order. If you're even remotely familiar with why it's not working in the first place, you're probably pointing at me and laughing already.

February 23
Yay! Double episodes of Scrubs! Boo! I've seen one of 'em before!

February 22
Rebuilt lufs and the ltmodem drivers for the latest Red Hat kernel. I'm sure there's a way I could automate this, mutter mutter.

Ordered a new bunch of capacitors from Mouser, which from the specs appear to be identical in size to the ones on the board I'm trying to fix.

Tweaked the films.pl script to generate a somewhat-valid Expires: header.


February 21
Finally got around to watching Rashomon which has been sitting in the "to-watch" pile since Christmas. It's another stylish piece of work, although I have to admit I'm still (presumably culturally) unconvinced by the overwrought outbursts of the various male characters. At this point I'm kinda interested in laying hands on a transcript of the Japanese dialogue for my continued stumbling attempts to shore up the little bit of the language I learned in University.

February 20
Muahahah. eircom called, finally. Profuse apologies. Better explanations of unsent paperwork. Further promises of paperwork, plus a rebate on one month of line rental, plus an actual tracking number for the paperwork.

February 19
No word from eircom, still. Pinged ComReg to let 'em know.

GoldMember was pretty lame. It had its moments, and Beyonce's a cutie, but mostly it was just rehashing the old jokes, and you cannot get away with that even if you've got the Osbournes doing a cameo saying, "they're just rehashing the old jokes". Most of the DVD extras - outtakes and such - were more interesting than the movie itself.

Also on tonight's watchlist: 24, season 3, episode 2. Wait, don't tell me, there's a highly placed leak in CTU for the third season in a row. (Wait, was there a highly placed leak in season two? I've forgotten; I know there was a leak in Palmer's office, anyway, which counts for similar). Either way, it's a bit tired. On the other hand, the story so far has been good enough to hold my interest, so that's all right. I'm not sure they can maintain the momentum beyond season 3, though.

And finally, Kevin Smith. My all-time favourite director. Bob loaned me An Evening With Kevin Smith; I watched disc 1 last night and so far it's excellent. Smith is a very good ad lib speaker, although I'm sure he's had to answer a lot of the questions repeatedly for interviews ("are you gay? is Mewes gay? what's with the gay thing anyway? No, seriously, are you gay?") and put up with the thinly-disguised fawning - the number of people in Silent Bob-type outfits is a bit freaky. One thing that did strike me was the answer he gave to one of the few genuinely good questions - a girl taking him to task over how she percieved Chasing Amy's dealing with lesbians. The key's right there in the question - how she perceived it - and Smith did indeed discuss that at length, but I felt he kept orbiting the point instead of, to steal a gesture he made in response to another very good comment, smacking it out of the park. He's got a good stance on the issue, I just felt he was surprisingly poor at expressing it - surprising given his usual skill with language.

One of the Vox Pop comments that impressed me was a girl who said she likes Smith because he uses big words but still manages to fit in dick jokes, which I think is as close as you'll come to summing the guy up in a tagline.

February 18
Predictably, no word from eircom. I pinged ComReg who told me that eircom have to get back to me within 48 hours or ComReg gets to hassle them further; the person handling my complaint said to call her if I'd not heard from 'em by tomorrow evening.

Bob and I sampled a pleasant restaurant in Dalkey called Benito's (Italian cuisine). Definitely a good spot. Go there.

February 17
Email from ComReg to tell me that my complaint has been registered, bounced off eircom, and eircom are supposed to get in touch with me. We shall see.

Bob called around to force me to the pub. No! Not the pub!

February 16
Fed up with this eircom nonsense. I've registered a complaint with ComReg. If the customer abuse rep I left a message with on Friday phones me back, I'll tell him I've done so, and that I've mentioned him by name.

Gah. I got a bunch of replacement capacitors for the board that has fried all of its own, only to discover the leads are a little too thick to go through the holes in the board. Now, I could maybe sand down the leads or drill out the holes, but it might be easier to just scrap the board. BAH.

February 15
Wah. France beat us 35-17 today.


February 14
Today I spent at least an hour copying files around by sneakernet. Boy was that ever fun.

February 13
Oop. Just discovered that XMMS doesn't play nicely with KDE 3.2, which I've been building from scratch to see what the new Konqueror bits look like... time to start using the KDE media player, I guess.

Orange County is fairly predictable, cringe-inducing in most places and unimaginative in others. A few laughs, but mostly a waste of time.

Customer Service Summary for week ending 13/2/2004
EircomReceived collections notice for unpaid bill, but nothing else. Called customer abuse rep, got voicemail, left message. No call returned.
Aer LingusCompletely forgot to do anything with this shower...


February 12
Okay, this is cool. I've had an XChat plugin for a while that's supposed to alert me when someone tries to talk to me and I'm not looking at the XChat window. It's been a little flaky due to some assumptions I'd made about programming it, but now:Yay me!

February 11
Lots of mods to the RSS Toy - you can now list all the feeds it knows about and select the ones you want to look at. There are still some rough edges on it, but it's getting there, I think.

February 10
Tooling around with kernel for new hardware.

February 9
Made a minor tweak to my X startup stuff to fix a silly bug in the domain-detection stuff. Now it gets it right...

February 8
I signed up to Orkut, despite my arbitrary ranting about my inability to see what's useful about it. We shall see if my opinion changes any as a user.

Also finally investigated getting capacitors to replace the blown ones on Gonzo's motherboard only to discover that they're apparently some oddball breed that noone local stocks - they're 1500µF, and everyone stocks either 1000µF and 2200µF, with nothing in between.


February 7
Quiet day. Mostly clearing crap off hard drives.

February 6
I really liked Hulk. The effects which looked a bit iffy in the trailers turned out to be pretty much perfect in the context of the movie, which funnily enough is a phenomenon I noticed with Spider-Man as well. I think there were maybe two scenes where the CGI didn't work, but for the rest of it, it was difficult not to imagine the cartoonish Hulk being part of the for-real physical world despite the incongruity. The shooting was, in general, absolutely beautiful, too. There were some slack moments, sure, and the insane scientist stuff was a bit slack, but hey. Can't have everything, I guess.

February 5
Yay, finally, locales doing what I want them to, despite stupidity in gettext which comes complete with a lame explanation in the docs.

February 4
More fighting with locales.

New toy is dead. That was quick. Seems like it has a flaky mobo.

February 3
Oooh, new toy in the office.

February 2
Hmm, that's annoying: the Palm Pilot database format doesn't support datestamping individual records, unless you include the date in the record itself somewhere. This makes things like synchronizing the addressbook with gadgets that do timestamp individual records a little hairy.

February 1
Per request, added an option to mailman.pl to allow it to use existing SpamAssassin headers instead of doing the scoring itself. It occurs to me that it might be smart to make this automatic... having tested it I noticed that SourceForge is now using SpamAssassin, but they've modified the default reporting format. Gah. Guess I'll need to allow for that, too. Anyway, here's the sort of mail I've gotten in return for my little hack:
your quick hack is by far the least painful option we have at the moment, and you're well on your way to becoming a hero of the revolution. :)
Yay me!

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Waider
Yay! We got an extra day!