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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 31
Long, lazy day - lunch in town, then back to Dalkey to spend the evening in the pub. Again. My computers are feeling neglected.

July 30
Woo, software release. Go me!

JC & Anita arrived, so drinks etc.

July 29
Hmm. So you have to compile in the framebuffer driver you want to use before you can boot with it. That makes sense; you'd think I'd have thought of it.

I have a one-way serial console for debugging the wireless box - it displays output, but you can't send any keystrokes to it. It's not intentionally one-way; I'm suspecting a bad connection on the Tx line or something.

July 28
Sigh, PVR still not happy. It's recording the sound, but clipping it weirdly. I'll have to go back to figuring out how to make ALSA record from the line-in or CD socket, and backwire the TV card's sound that way.

July 27
Well, that's annoying. aRTs + ALSA = skippy sound from XMMS. I guess I need to look into buffering or something. A shame, because up until now it Just Worked using the buffering settings in XMMS, rather than requiring me to go grovelling around at the hardware level.

D'oh. Left out a space in the command line for mencoder, so the overnight test failed.

July 26
Rebuilt aRTs with ALSA support, which means that pretty much everything can now run without the OSS interface since artsdsp will pick up any attempts to open /dev/dsp. I may well move the OSS compatibility layer out of the way to verify this theory.

I think I've got the freevo sound sorted: I've managed to tell it to explicitly record from the TV card, which was harder than it should have been, and I've told mencoder to downsample the result because for some reason the TV card's lowest sampling rate is about 192Khz. We shall see.

July 25
Completely missed Hockenheim racing due to being a bit hungover. Damn.

Schumacher won, mind you.

Hacked at the mapping toy to try getting the zoom stuff sorted. There's some oddball stuff going on with the Tk::Photo class that I don't quite understand. Also, you can't simply zoom a Tk::Photo image. You have to copy it, and zoom while copying. And zoom up and zoom down are implemented as separate and differently-named methods. Every time I learn more about Tk::Perl I hate it a little more, but until I figure out what the hell images on Gtk::Canvas are doing I can't ditch the Tk stuff.

July 24
Completely missed Hockenheim qualifying due to being in a car between Dublin and Limerick. Damn.

Mapping toy working nicely, although I still need to tweak it to allow it to patch in a lower resolution map if it doesn't have one at the resolution that's being asked for.

July 23
Well, that's frickin' annoying. Everything on the Gnome Canvas widget behaves as I expect, except the images: they move when I change the scrolling area. Which I'm doing constantly. GAH. I could use a DrawingArea, but that'll require a whole bunch of manual redrawing that I was hoping to avoid.

I kinda got the Freevo stuff sorted. There are still things I need to read up on, such as a decent accelerated driver for the MiniITX box so that it doesn't drop frames when showing TV or dump core when I try to use Xv.

July 22
It seems like I've almost got Freevo working; it's taken a bit of abuse, partly due to conflicting advice about XMLTV, partly due to my impatience with the documentation and in particular the configuration - why do I have to fill out the channel list in two, no, three places? Why can't I just fill it out in one and be done with it? Why can't I tweak this stuff from the built-in webserver instead of having to edit a Python file? Anyway, I'll give it a good kicking tomorrow evening and hopefully get it sorted in time to leave it recording things off TV over the weekend while I do other stuff.

July 21
OBEX continued: obexftp also doesn't work. Using the get command in obex_test pretty much crashes the phone - it loses all its connections and resets them. setpath returns a Not Implemented message. I think I should probably try the Windows software for the phone to see what access it gives me.

Veronica Guerin is an excellent movie, and surprisingly understated given that it's a Bruckheimer/Schumacher joint. Cate Blanchett gives a fantastic performance throughout, in particular the scene where she visits John Gilligan (Gerard McSorley) at home. Definitely recommending this for your Must See list.

And yes, I do remember where I was when I heard about the shooting on the Naas road.

July 20
Cleaned out my Mozilla bookmarks somewhat. I have a script somewhere that's supposed to do a lot of this automatically, but I've never finished it (heard that before, have you?) so I figured I'd do a bit of manual checking and cleaning instead.

Now that I've figured out that it's what I need, I spent rather a lot of time trying to make OBEX PUSH work outside the demo code from the OpenOBEX apps "suite". Eesh. Global variables. Volatiles. This stuff is horrible. And without poring over it closely I can't immediatly figure out which bits I actually need. I also tried sl45c (wouldn't build without PCRE installed, except I had PCRE installed and it still wouldn't build until I slapped the CFLAGS upside the head, then added -lm to the linkflags, and even then it crapped out in all sorts of non-intuitive ways), fuse+siefs (won't work), obexfs (wanted fuse before I'd resigned myself to installing it) and scmxx, all of which aren't actually intended for my exact phone but all of which speak OBEX. No luck, though. GAH.

Wrote a fairly blunt aumix perlscript that converts the args to work with amixer - I'm trying to get rid of any OSS dependencies on my system.

July 19
Much to my surprise, when I returned from my weekend in the west I discovered a cheque from Eircom - apparently a credit on my final bill that had previously gone unnoticed or something, I dunno. Now, I've been free from Eircom since, um, April, so why it took three months for this to show up is beyond me. Anyway, it nicely balances out the cost of my new mobile phone, so that's okay.

Speaking of the mobile phone, it seems my 20-minute service call on Friday was ultimately pointless, since you can't use the WAP version of Banking 365 to transfer money between your accounts like you can do with the voicemail service and the HTML version of the same site. And this was precisly the thing I was keen to get at. What sort of morons do they have in the online division, exactly? Maybe I'll just hack up a proper WAP gateway to the HTML site and use that. GRR.

Some tooling with OBEX led me to discover that I need to use OBEX PUSH, not OBEX PUT, to copy vCards to my new phone. Whether this also applies to older phones and/or my Pilot will be discovered whenever I get the OBEX apps code into better shape.

July 18
Starsky and Hutch was pretty slack, given previous form by Stiller/Wilson. It had its moments, but there was a lot of stuff that left me sitting there thinking, "enh".

Managed to drop power to the laptop twice on the drive home from Ballina. I really need an audio alert for these driving trips to tell me that it's suddenly using battery power because the last stretch of bumpy road joggled the cigarette-lighter PSU loose.

July 17
Love Actually wasn't quite the movie I'd hoped it'd be - too many things played straight when they could have gone for Comedy Gold[tm], and a few loose ends just left hanging. Shame, because the good parts were generally very, very good.

Tweaked the GPS mapping toy to use a properly POE-integrated chunk of code to read the GPS data, so it doesn't block and it doesn't generate XSync errors. Also looked at xosd for alerting me in big letters to the fact that something's wrong.

July 16
Major overhaul on the MapServer but only in a module I've not "published". I figure some of the code I can backport into the master module so that it's available to all the modules. It should be possible for me to set up a sort of calibration mode where it figures out things like magnification and size of map vs. reality and so forth. It also briefly occurred to me that I could combine this with the DEM altitude data I've got knocking around from earlier forays into GIS, and generate low-res 3d maps. Gnee!

July 15
It took a twenty-minute customer service call, much of which was spent listening to looping hold music, but I can now access my online banking from my cellphone. If you've got a Sagem My V55 and you're trying to access the Finance section of Vodafone Live, all you need to do is go into the GPRS connection settings (Vodafone Live -> Profiles -> GPRS Settings -> Port Type and change it from "Non-Secure" to "Secure"). Now, I wonder if I can find the same settings on my old phone?

The Italian Job (2003) is a whole lotta fun. Very much cut for a 12 rating, but definitely worth watching.

July 14
After yesterday's IDE stupidity got sorted, I've finally managed to build a 2.4 kernel for the WLAN test box, so I can now properly abuse the drivers and hopefully see about getting a patch or two back to the linux-wlan guys. Wahey!

July 13
Durrr. It's a lot easier to boot a system with a 2.4 kernel if you include the IDE drivers in the build.

July 12
Cute. $r->subprocess_env() does the exact hacking I need.

Iron Monkey was rather fun, even if the dubbing was comically bad in places.

July 11
Schumacher starts 4th, finishes 1st. The guy is just unstoppable.

Most of my LDAP hacking is done: I need to do a little more sanity checking, but at this point I've managed to more-or-less invisibly replace the flat-file back-end of a cheesy directory with an LDAP server, with the obvious benefit that the cheese is now available via the LDAP server to clients that are willing to speak to it. I've noticed that the one small disadvantage to doing this in Perl rather than in PHP is that PHP has access to the raw password used in HTTP Basic Auth, which you simply can't get from Perl. I may do a little redirection hacking to get around this, because it'd be enormously useful to have access to that from within the script. Or maybe I'll convert the cgi script to mod_perl instead. Or, heck, I could even crypt the password in the chunk of mod_perl that handles the authentication right now and stuff it into the request environment.

Talked to The Brother on Skype; I'm very impressed with the sound quality, but some wireless networking issues on his end caused a little dropout, and it appears that while the application never seemed to be using more than 20% of CPU, it got kinda upset as soon as I tried doing anything that made the machine busier.

July 10
Tooling with LDAP and PHP for most of the day. Despite what the source, binaries and what documentation I can find suggest, I can't seem to set up an LDAP record that feeds a Home Address to Mozilla's addressbook.

July 9
Set up LDAP for the office. Interesting. I need to read more manuals and finish populating the database, though. And what's with the complete lack of useful tools, such as addressbooks that can write to LDAP server as well as read from it?

July 8
Boss took us all to drink & food. Go Boss! Go Hangover!

July 7
Shrek 2 is the absolute bomb. Totally. Why aren't you watching it already?

July 6
Raising Arizona was a lot of fun. Quirky Coen Brothers humour, Nicholas Cage doing his Earnest But Bad routine (c.f. Wild At Heart), and generally just plenty giggles and situation comedy and what not. Worth watching.

Did some evil things with mod_perl. Woo!

July 5
I really need to finish off this XMMS-for-GTK2 hack not least so I can clean out my RPM build area and maybe pass patches back to the developers.

Hacked up XMMS-Crossfade to work with my modified XMMS, and wow, it's rather neat.

July 4
A long and tiring weekend.

July 1
The diary code still has bugs. I still haven't fixed them. Go me.

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Yay! The Luas is here!