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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

October 31
Happy Halloween, or something.

Ned Kelly wasn't a bad movie, but it did seem unnecessarily long.

I've entirely flushed out my Palm and I'm rebuilding it from a clean PalmOS 4.1 install so I can discard a bunch of crap that I wouldn't otherwise know to discard. This is ultimately a good idea, although it'll be a pain in the ass getting it sorted.


October 30
Hmm, that was painful; Grip now creates UTF8 CDDB files, which according to the latest version of the spec is acceptable. Gronk still prefers the ISO8859-1 versions. And I have no idea WHAT ended up on the filesystem. I eventually had to use Perl to rename the damned file so that the on-disc name matched the CDDB version to Gronk's liking.

October 29
Singles was on MTV tonight. Damned funny. And that girl who played Linda is rather cute.

October 28
Another oddball pub discussion of music, geeking and philosophy with Ruadhrí and John. I should record one of these conversations, if only to figure out just how many loose ends we left because the topic keeps drifting.

October 27
Went hacking at OBEX a little and discovered that most of what I'd written already actually works. Wow. After a little more hacking I ended up with a chunk of code that listens on the IrDA socket and churns out MIME versions of whatever comes in, complete with headers.

October 26
Spent most of the last few days doing little more, geekily speaking, than playing ShiSen-Sho and watching crap TV. I did put Firefox and Thunderbird on Mom's computer, get my brother on the way to rebuilding his desktop by providing him with a working CPU, and finally cleaned up the mess that my networking had become to the extent that I think I finally have some understanding of what the various Red Hat configuration bits do. Yay!

Oh yeah, and some time over the weekend Barrichello failed to completely break his home track jinx, but did at least get a podiu finish. Yay!


October 23
In America is unashamedly sentimental, and if you're feeling at all cynical when you watch it you'll hate every second. But damn I enjoyed it.

Finally went off and diagnosed the brokenness in Mail::Folder. It appears that it fails make test because the form of maildir foldering it does seems to use filenames rather than numbers (which is what I thought "real" maildir used) so that if you rearrange items in a folder - e.g. using refile - the rearranging will be lost if you close and reopen the folder.

Finally made rss-fetch.pl read a damned config file instead of having all the RSS feeds hardcoded in. It still has 'em hardcoded, just that it can ignore the list in favour of reading in a file now.

October 22
I finally got fed up with dealing with PilotManager today. It's slow, development on it has stopped, and the underlying library - pilot-link - can't handle passworded records and is restricting access to the source because they say they've been ripped off by people not respecting the GPL. Well, you know, restricting access to the source is also not respecting the GPL, regardless of the reasons for doing so.

Heh, neat. After some reading about prelinking and executable stacks and what not, I just plugged prelink /usr/bin/mplayer into a root window and shazam, working WMVs. Cool.

October 21
Finished cleaning up CDDB mess, and added some patches to Gronk - one to do the remapping I mentioned below, and one to cope with the occaisonally seen CDDB record where the artist and the title are identical and thus you get DTITLE=NAME instead of DTITLE=NAME / NAME.

October 20
More cleanup of CDDB mess for Gronk. Damn. Not only are there mismatches between music and CDDB files, there are also few missing directories which I suspect I deleted while tooling around with Windows Media Player.

October 19
Decided to install the new version of Gronk. Decided to do it as cleanly as I could, which means (1) putting it in a RPM and (2) making my MP3 tree conform to its expectations. The latter's the bigger job, but I may just about have a patch to allow check-files.pl to remap your MP3 tree into something Gronk is happy with. Oh, and I discovered that a file in the distro has my name on it. Go me!

Note, I am not helped by the fact that I've trashed my .cddb directory more than once.

October 18
Still faffing about with the XMLTV stuff. It seems that either my output's wrong or the display toy I'm using doesn't properly cope with crossing midnight.

October 17
Seems like a good day for figuring out what these old backup files contain... the idea is that I restore them to a spare partition, rpm -e everything and then check what's left.

Ok, well, that's just wrong. I send my DVD writer off to burn a DVD, which it duly does; then I try a test mount, and the system sits there trying to mount a DVD which is plainly not cooperating for (checks clock) at least the last ten minutes with no sign of stopping. I may have to bounce the damned box to get it to give up.

Wahey. Tried testing the same disc using dd in one of the laptops, which duly rebooted. Impressive. The disc wot kills machines.

Modified the films.pl script to spit out XMLTV-friendly output. Not sure it's exactly right yet, but it's kinda working.

Oh, and I discovered that there are alternative IMDB interfaces that don't involve scraping the website. Cool! Too bad I'd already written code to do so...


October 16
Had a look at Straw, allegedly one of the better RSS readers for Linux. I didn't think much of it, to be honest. It's not easy to add feeds, it didn't understand its own exported OPML file, it opened a new browser window when I asked it to fetch the webpage version of an article.

Ok, so Paycheck actually worked out pretty well, although is somewhat laden with the problems of any storyline that dinks with the space-time continuum. Big Fish on the other hand had me, pardon the expression, hook, line and sinker. Great story, great portrayal of the story.

October 15
My sister and her boyfriend visited, so we had a mad chat in the pub involving Quantum Physics for reasons that I can't recall but it was certainly fascinating stuff.

October 14
Watched the first hour of Paycheck before John arrived in and dragged me kicking and screaming (yeah right) to the bar. The premise is good, but the execution's a little shaky. In particular, Uma Thurman's onscreen time so far has been pretty weak.

October 13
Finally got rid of the buttons on my toolbar to start and stop the dialup connection that I've not had since May.

New version of Finance::Bank::IE; I've migrated the Bank Of Ireland module to WWW::Mechanize, and enabled the MBNA module to cope with the infrequently-occurring "Please update your e-mail address" page.

Made some long-overdue updates to BBDB, filing off another couple of entries from the mail bucket.

Managed to build newer versions of faad2 (without XMMS plugin), transcode, and avidemux2. Remains to be seen if they're actually useful. I'm beginning to think I should upgrade something to Fedora Core, or switch the MiniITX box (which is currently being a Win2K machine) back to FC2. Or maybe even SuSE.

October 12
Played around with the movie stuff a little more. I'm still not entirely clear on what I'm attempting to do, in part because the idea keeps getting bigger every time I think about it.

Spent some time trying to rebuild a few video-related RPMs from Dag's repository since he doesn't appear to be keeping the Red Hat 9 ones up to date any more. Unfortunately this mostly involved firing off a build and then trying to figure out why it broke.

October 11
My Amélie and El Mariachi/Desperado/Once Upon A Time In Mexico DVDs turned up today, hooray!

Spent some time tooling about with command-line access to Dublin Bus timetables, but nothing great to show for it so far. The various pages are actually a bit non-standard, so I think maybe I'll end up scraping them on an as-needed basis rather than having live access.

October 10
Finance::Bank::IE: Contains modules to get your balance from Bank Of Ireland's online banking, and also from MBNA, although the latter currently only caters for one card. Since that's all I own.

Also, I missed the Japanese F1 due mainly to the time difference and a profound sense of apathy. Schuie won it; alas, I'd picked Rubeño to win for the first time this season (given that he took the last two races, I thought this was a reasonable gamble).


October 9
In which Ireland play France in Paris (soccer) and fail to get beaten. Yay! Also fail to win. Boo!

Jersey Girl is GREAT. Definitely purchase material. It's so not Kevin Smith, and yet you can see his fingerprints all over it.

October 8
Yesterday's bruise-inducing coupled with some more today finally produced results. Yay!

October 7
Spent a very large part of the working day repeatedly shoving my arm behind a heavy metal cover to get at the device underneath, resulting in some rather dubious-looking bruises. Which made for a story in the pub later on, of course.

October 6
A quick hack over lunch: yet another WWW::Mechanize script, this one to grab special offer listings off a few sites.

Kyle Jones has reappeared after something of a sabbatical, which means VM development is back on track. Woohoo! I switched over to VM 7.19 yesterday and immediately forgot about it until I happened to glance at the version number on the toolbar today. So I guess it's working.

Intermission is bloody excellent. I love it when someone makes an unapologetically Irish movie.

October 5
Wahey. System Rescue CD not only allows interactive resizing of NTFS partitions, it can deal with allegedly unmoveable files, too. Let's go SuSE!

Oddity: when you set the proxy during SuSE's install, it tells you how things like YaST will use it but other stuff may not. YaST then goes ahead and attempts to connect directly to port 80 of www.suse.com in order to fetch release notes. "Oops".

October 4
Minor bugfix to diary code: entries used get the wrong anchor name under certain circumstances. No more!

October 3
Lots of hacking on my movie-prodding scripts. Nothing useful to show for it yet as it was all module-based work.


October 2
Went shopping, mostly. I am now the proud (?) owner of a Kenwood food processor. I am perplexed as to why these things have so many corners, nooks and crannies for food to hide in. Particularly since their raison d'être is to turn food into very small chunks and fling it about the place at high velocity.

October 1
Made a failed attempt to shoehorn SuSE onto a Windows XP-bearing laptop. I'm sure there's a good reason for Windows to write unmovable files right at the end of the disk partition, other than to prevent you from repartitioning post-install. And none of the tools I tried would move the files, not even the one that runs at bootup so it can move files that would otherwise be locked by the OS.

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Waider