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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

March 31
Added a --exclude switch to linkfarm so I can stop it from indexing my snorq output and the BBDB mirror area.

Phone line dead. Hopefully this means that handover to Esat has happened, otherwise I may have to get all cranky and peevish again.

March 30
Woke early. Stared in horror at some new and interesting definition of 1TBS coding-style, as perpetrated by the eGalax folks. Cleaned it all the hell up and changed all the stdout/stderr logging to go to syslog instead, so I'll actually see it.

Added an ifup-local script to Qaz that hooks up the NFS mounts when I'm at home, since sometimes I forget to do so myself.

March 29
Spent most of the morning rearranging the office after Friday's cleanup/painting. I now have a new desk (pro: it's bigger and more solid; con: it's slightly lower underneath) and the box I'm working on is right behind me so I don't need to scoot across the floor to test my changes.

Having a look at Unison, a file sync tool. It relies on Objective CAML, curiously enough.

March 28
Someone gimme a cookie. I ripped enough of VIA's half-open driver into the stock Linux kernel to enable the S/PDIF output. Go me!

March 27
Grr. My parents have a CDRW drive in their machine, a Memorex 32MAXX 1240AK. In happy happy Linux land, you fling one of these in, and cdrecord goes, "ah, a generic mmc CDRW" and that's it. In stupid stupid Windows land, you first fight to make it work under Windows 98 (my mom now knows more about IDE cables than anyone not involved in the PC construction industry should), then you upgrade that installation to Windows 2K, then you gnash your teeth as the Roxio software installation (a) is screwed up and (b) can't be uninstalled because of (a). Much abuse of the net led me to a program called roxizap which Roxio themselves produce to prise their so-called Easy CD Creator (originally Adaptec software, apparently) out of your Registry, although there are still traces of it left even after running that. Then I installed the version of Easy CD Creator Platinum that had fallen off the net while I was tooling around with all this, and that told me that "there are no supported drives in the system". So at the moment I've got one window where I'm trawling for more information, another where I'm grimly retrieving a large CAB file so I can reinstall Easy CD Creator Basic, which was what used be on the machine before Win2K ate it, and mostly I'm thinking what I need to be doing is drinking heavily to celebrate Ireland's Triple Crown success today.

March 26
Continued trying to upgrade various recalcitrant bits of software on my parents' machine, since they're due back from vacation shortly.

March 25
Went tooling around with Midtown Madness 2 again. Someone recently released some impressive tracks, but packed them in such a way that your average unzip tool would explode when trying to unpack them - security through obscurity, if you like. So I dug out my junzip.pl program, then hacked on Archive::Zip a little, and presto, unpacked files. Gnee gnee. Having unpacked the bits, I then started poking around in the files and discovered that the MM2 hacker I'd written a while back had suffered bit rot. Bah.

Also managed to get my Enterasys wireless card to interoperate properly with the ZoomAir "base station" in the spare room; apparently the ZoomAir is quite happy to deal with any kind of encapsulation inbound, but the Enterasys won't talk to anything that's not using RFC1042. I can't get the ZoomAir to work under Win2K, though. I had it working before, but nothing I try will make it work now. Either something changed in 2K, or the registry's all crufted up.

Happy Birthday, mom!

March 24
More POE. Whee!

Fixed broken SETI stats program...

March 23
Pub Quiz! We came third and got tickets to Punchestown. Cool!

Tweaked the SETI stats program a bit to try and pretty up the graphing.

March 22
Added a NickServ hook to my XChat hackery.

American History X is a fine, fine movie. The plot line is approximately "Boyz N Da Hood for Neo-Nazis", and it's a really powerful portrayal of the whole White Power thing, and someone who's realised it's not the way to go.

March 21
Well, Mark managed to jinx his own race by mentioning that he hoped his start went okay. He lost ground to most of the grid off the start, then got a puncture, then a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, and finally spun the car off the track into the porridge, where he got beached. To maintain the "Holy..." factor, Jenson Button brought his BAR home in third place, beating Reubens Barrichello for the slot.

March 20
Holy... Ferraris first and third on the grid at Sepang, but second place on the front row goes to... Mark Weber in the Jaguar. Wow.

March 19
Cleaned up some more of the DVD Rentals stuff. I now have a half-assed front-end to play with.

March 18
Hah. I'm infamous.

Fixed up another part of the dvdrentals.pl toy. Yay me!

Hacked up some stuff to reinsert some old band reviews into my CD list. It's horrible, but hey.

March 17
Happy St. Patrick's Day. Whose round is it?

March 16
When I woke up this morning, the ITX box had crashed. Alas, I've nothing connected to it that could have captured the kernel panic. I really need to set it up with a serial-port console or something until I get it stabilised. I think the problem was the video driver, since I accidentally left mplayer tv:/ running overnight. Probably it blew up when the nightly backup kicked in.

OOOOH. Just rechecked my phone line with the "DSL-enabled" website, and it appears I'm good. Just waiting for EsatBT now.

At last, a break in the not-worth-getting-excited-about run of movies: X2, or X-Men 2 if you prefer. Sure, there were bits I found kinda iffy, but on the whole it was a "Yeah! Let's ROCK!" movie. One to buy, I think, once Amazon's X-Men/X2 bundle cheapens a bit.

March 15
Brief argument with parents' PC on the subject on network drivers, which appears to be resolved now. Yay!

More w00t: finally figured out how to get the TV card to display on the, er, TV out. Now I find I'm short a S-Video connector, since the composite video feed into the TV card appears to be audio-free.

March 14
Finally set the jukebox up and running again. Hooked to the surround-sound amp. Muhahahah!

Got the machine entirely backed up on CD-RWs so that (a) I've got a full restore in case I blow up anything and (b) I can reuse the disks once I'm happy that the machine survived my attentions. Go me!

Figured out how to make KDE/Qt's signals-and-slots stuff work, eventually. Still need to find something that resembles an event-driven select-loop like POE's, and/or a "normal" IPC interface.

March 13
Tooling with KHTML. Kinda neat, although apparently it regards loading file:// images from http://-originated pages as a bad idea and refuses to do so. Without warning.

March 12
Investigating backup options for parental computer since my Mondo Rescue CD either isn't bootable or won't boot in said computer.

W00t! A cheque! From EIRCOM! Credit for the closed account that was seventy-something euro overpaid!

March 11
Parents' computer is staying with me while they're away on holiday so I can clean it up and upgrade it and that sort of thing.

March 10
There's a good line in the outtakes that describes Bruce Almighty to a tee: "You want to paint pictures like this, you have to use some dark colours". Jim Carrey does all the typical Jim Carrey overacting, but around about the two-thirds point the movie gets rather grim for a bit - in a surprisingly good way. The allegory is laid on a bit heavy, and calling the lead female character Grace is rather blunt, but hey. Some of the outtakes and deleted scenes were funnier than parts of the movie proper, so the DVD's probably a better bet than seeing it in a theatre.

March 9
Hacking at the DVD rentals script for a bit resulted in it working again, at least partially, anyway. Yay!

March 8
eGalax get bonus points for their documentation and source code, but lose it all in their makefiles which do horrible things to determine if various dependencies are available. Really horrible things. Ick.

FANFARE! eircom paperwork FINALLY arrived. Now I need to see how quickly I can get rid of eircom in favour of an EsatBT DSL line...

March 7
Ferrari romped through Albert Park to finish 1-2. Jordan managed to bring a car home as well, albeit not in points or anything.

The whole F1 thing totally threw my sleep cycle out of whack, so I ended up watching TV until the wee hours; Plunkett and Macleane, which I've seen before and really liked, and B.Monkey which I missed the start of and then sort of half-watched as I did bad things to the Mini-ITX box. Which, incidentally, I bought a new hard drive for as the scrap drive I'd thrown into it turned out to be really scrap - the head's clicking at some point on the disk. Oh well. More coasters, I guess. Of the movies, the former is again missing out on the quotes section in IMDB; easily the best line of the movie is Jonny Lee Miller saying, "I was fabulous, and we had a bloody good time!"

March 6
Equilibrium wasn't bad, but again it's not one I'll be buying. It's sort of Fahrenheit 451 on steroids with martial arts thrown in every so often.

Yay! All-Ferrari front row for the new F1 season. Barrichello and Schumacher Senior both ripped up and threw away the lap record for Albert Park, with the German pipping Rubeño to pole position by just under 8 hundredths of a second.

Mini-ITX: I may have to figure out how to hook a SCART connector to this. I can't get the TV tuner card and the on-board TV-out to play nicely, which means, absurdly, that I can watch TV on a remote display but not on the console, er, TV set. Still, kinda neat to be sitting here with XScreenSaver bouncing about on the TV while XMMS feeds me music through its speakers.

And to top off the day, the Irish Rugby team beat the English at Twickenham. That is to say, we beat the winners of the Rugby World Cup on their home ground. It's only our second win at Twickenham in 20 years, and the first time the England squad have been defeated (a) as RWC winners and (b) on home ground since the Six Nations Cup started in 1999 (it was the Five Nations Cup before that). So, I'm off to the pub.

March 5
DVD Rentals updated their site, which broke all the scripting I had for it in several ways. Plus there are several rookie errors in the update, but hey. That's why I was writing scripts in the first place. Oh well.

March 4
So, ah, eircom swear blind they sent out my account paperwork last Thursday. And it hasn't turned up. So maybe I'll ask them to check that they're sending it to the right address. After all, just because they've managed to bill me at the right address doesn't mean they'd send account agreement documents there, eh?

March 3
Slightly successful day. Got my new Mini-ITX board, which I've built using spare parts I conveniently had lying around into an approximation of a PC. I definitely need to get a quiet PSU and probably a quieter hard drive, since both those items are currently way louder than the board. I also managed to get the spca50x driver to half-way talk to my digicam, which is cool.

March 2
Okay, Emacs' RPM specfile mode totally rules. I should have checked it out ages ago.

Hrm. My serial port appears to be going through one of those phases where it decides not to work under Linux. I think all this'd be a non-issue if I was using ACPI.

Weird. X just apparently lost one of my fonts; specifically the one I'd been using for Emacs.

March 1
Had to rebuild XMMS-GTK2 with ALSA support before the RPM files were happy, but now it's working. Some weirdness, but it's nice to have my MP3 player back.

Hmm, interesting. Esat BT's flat-rate service (180 hours/month for 30 quid) works on calendar month rather than, say, 30-day period.

Rebuilt the arts_output plugin against GTK2/GLIB2 so now everything is at least correctly linked together. Still some weirdness in XMMS but I'm insufficiently bothered by it to do anything about it just yet.

And for good measure, a Micromail update.

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Left, Right, Left, Right... this marching stuff's dead simple