< | >

Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

August 31
The previously-mentioned hard sector errors on the laptop apparently triggered a hard lockup when the backups ran at 4am this morning, because the laptop was completely unresponsive when I woke up. So I've ordered a new drive from Komplett which should hopefully appear at the office some time tomorrow. Meantime, I'm not going to do a whole lot of work on said laptop, which booted up ok just now.

August 30
Happy Birthday, Lou!

August 29
The only reason I can think of that I might have added Empire of the Wolves to my wishlist is because Jean Reno plays one of the lead roles; as it turns out, it's a damned good movie with some excellent twisty plotting. And the final shot is just choice.

Poked at the MPLE v2 stuff a bit. Again I am going to have to learn the id3tag API, probably by reading the source since it always was a bit slim on docs. For now I've got a core dump. Bah.

August 28
Feckers at RTÉ deprived me of my weekly Scrubs fix in favour of a double-bill of Pure Mule which, while I've heard it's great, isn't on My Viewing Schedule. So instead I went to Scotts in Dun Laoghaire (where I went to see Bronagh Gallagher on Friday) to check out the open mic night with a view to maybe putting myself in to it next week.

Bad: the 9:30 start time was really "from 9:30 until 10:20 the MC will futz with the various bits of audio equipment, after which he will play several songs himself on guitar accompanied by wah-wah pedal and drum machine"; some of the acts had novel ideas about guitar tuning; there was a poem, read by one of the singers, which could loosely be classed as "if I call it a poem I can say rude words and be as gross as I like because it's art" (although it did start off well); and there were a few misfires on singing. Noone (aside from poetry boy) tried anything other than person & guitar(s).

Good: one fabulous blues voice (a little shaky to start, and the guitar playing was hit-and-miss, but what a voice once he got going), and one allstar player/singer who wound up with a 50s rock medley that had the whole bar going. Mind you, at that point the whole bar was maybe a dozen people, but still.

So anyway. I've told the MC I'll play next week. Nothing like sticking your neck out, I guess. Now I have to figure out what I'm playing.

August 27
So I got home around six. And slept for all of four hours. Amazingly, no geekery took place today...

Louise and Charlie called to visit (and express envy at my mansion), and we took a drive through the Dublin mountains. It's really quite amazing the sort of countryside you can find a mere half-hour outside Dublin. After that, Lou and I hit the cinema for Look Both Ways, a fairly grim (and realistic in a very banal sort of way) Australian movie about mortality and relationships (and I guess the mortality of relationships). Some of it was a bit slow, some of it was a bit odd (an artist constantly imagining her own death, presented as a series of animated pencil sketches) but on the whole it was worth watching. Although not exactly a movie you'd go to to enjoy, I guess.

August 26
The BoI fix was easy enough, but I'm annoyed that it changed so soon after I released code... I've fixed it up, but not yet uploaded the new version to CPAN. I've also added account detail lookup to the MBNA module.

The evening (and a good chunk of Sunday morning) was taken up with Louise's birthday drinks, wherein a drunken altercation was not-quite-witnessed, a Canadian was acquired and taken to Pravda (where, as far as I can tell, we eventually abandoned the poor guy), hair was styled, pogoing AND slam-dancing were partaken of without anyone getting thrown out, and photos were taken. Oh, and of course DRINK WAS HAD.

August 25
To anyone who's wondering if I'm still working on the MPLE stuff: yes, I am. Not very frequently, and hampered somewhat by the fact that I don't actually possess the newer hardware to test against, but I'm still working on it. The best help you can offer is to contribute sample files as indicated in the README file which I have updated just recently. Or, well, you could buy me a NW-E105 or something but that's just greediness on my part.

Hmm. BoI may have changed their page layout AGAIN.

Spent the evening at Scott's in Dun Laoghaire watching Bronagh Gallagher, who sings awesome soul/blues while playing drums.

August 24
Went to see Radiohead at Marlay Park with John. Thanks to a combination of traffic and the worst taxi driver in Dublin, we missed all the supporting acts but arrived just in time for Thom & Company. Strangely, we also got the worst taxi driver in Dublin home, but it was a different guy.

August 23
I've a very, very vague recollection of reading The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I was younger, but the only fragment of the story that stuck in my head doesn't appear to be in the movie so now I'm going to have to figure out if it's some entirely other story I'm thinking of. Good movie; dragged a little in places, and some of the CGI was a bit obvious, but on the whole I rather enjoyed it.

Updated the party pix page a little. It's not entirely parties at this point, plus I need to some photo-editing, and I need a better layout tool than the current half-assed collection of shellscripts, but I really don't want one of those MySQL/PHP gallery toys that seem to be so popular.

August 22
So last week I spent pretty much every evening trying to get together a reasonable rendition of Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, having not heard said cover in almost a decade. Tonight I watched Lord of War, and right about 1:28 into the movie there was a familiar plucking of a solo guitar on the soundtrack... of course, in the fine tradition of editing it was just the first and last verses, but still. Funny coincidence.

The movie itself wasn't bad; I like Nick Cage anyway, and while I certainly wasn't on the edge of my seat or otherwise clinging to the plotline, it did hold my attention for almost two hours. Worth a look, at least.

Ok, now that's just freaky. I picked up my MP3 player and resumed listening from where I left off earlier this evening, and the next track up was... Hallelujah. Dear Cosmic Overlord, please stop messing with my head. Love, Waider.

August 21
Kinda knackered after a busy day at the office, so I basically sprawled in front of TV (Friends, then Scrubs) and read for the evening.

August 20
I should note that due to work-related stuff the previous two nights' revelry were (for me) non-alc events; given the antics at Friday's bash (featuring a game called "Drink the Booze" wherein everyone drinks something ghastly and shouts, "I won!") I'm sure there's someone still trying to figure out where the hell the bottle of Becks Unleaded I left behind in the kitchen came from. Saturday was a lot more sedate and despite the best efforts of fellow partygoers the only alcohol I had was a single glass of champagne (for the toast), and that was early enough in the night for me to not worry that I'd be unable to drive home.

No sooner did I reactivate my Vodafone-Photo-Album-To-Flickr hack than Vodafone promptly broke their photo album again. Seriously, people. I know it can be hard to keep a website running, but it's not like this is a particularly high-spec thing you're trying to do.

Reinstated backups on the laptop (finally) after noticing that the drive is complaining about some hard sector errors. I'd been keeping reasonably frequent backups of my home directory, but manually, and I really have no excuse when I went to the trouble of building a no-brainer backup script ages ago.

I was going to remove the RVP plugin's dependency on libxml2, instead using the built-in XML parser in Gaim, but it turns out the latter can't actually parse the RVP XML. Ouch.

August 19
Killed my server TWICE this morning using... NFS. Yes, I shared a copy of my old laptop install, applied rpm to it, and BLAMMO. "Huh. Wonder if that'll happen again?" BLAMMO. "Huh. Ok, I'm stopping now."

Party at Jonny's place this evening to celebrate Jonny and Siobhan's engagement. Congratulations, guys!

August 18
Tradition was at least somewhat upheld, although I've had worse hangovers from less drink. Fun was had by all, various parties were mocked as usual, and in the end we left Bob and Gemma in peace. With a big mess to clean up. Muahahah.

Poked briefly at the MinGW cross-compiler stuff, but it looks like it needs work: the "up-to-date" automated script linked to from the MinGW website is dated some time in 2004.

Went to a party with Louise and Peter which was an amusing exercise in the three-degrees-of-separation that is the Dublin IT scene. I am tempted to draw a diagram illustrating the connections.

August 17
Party at Bob's. In the fine tradition of such things I fully expect to have a crucifying hangover in the morning. This would be the case even if I'd been drinking water and fruit juice all night, such is the strength of tradition.

August 16
Busy day at work today: once again I'm reminded of the bit from the very first episode of Scrubs where Turk says it's a good thing he wears a surgical mask while he's in OR, otherwise you'd be able to see his terrified grimace.

Found a race condition that I'd been meaning to dig into in the RVP shutdown code. I've kludged around it for now but it might actually be a sufficiently good fix to not worry over it any further.

And I've fixed the file receive code. I have no idea why it is as broken as it is, since I'm pretty sure it used work, but I've kludged my way around the apparent new brokenness and Gaim is once more happy to accept files from my Windows test box. Now to see if it works in the other direction, too.

Yay! File send also works! And for bonus points, Gaim-to-Gaim file transfer appears to be fully functional also. I'm still not clear on when or how this broke, though. I'm almost inclined to go back to the 0.9 release to see if it still works, because I know it was working back then, and my suspicion is that any change since has been in the Microsoft client.

August 15
Found another RVP bug today: the timeout stuff wasn't, er, timing out. I suspect this is possibly linked to the blocking write I'd already flagged as problematic, but fixing that is going to require some major surgery. Bah. Sorry if you're waiting for the mythical 1.0 release.

August 14
Still haven't figured out what's up with the RVP file transfer. I fear I will have to fire up EtherealWireshark to sort this one out.

And because it needs to be said: Thanks, Lou. You're a star.

August 13
So about the only part of Doom worth watching is the first-person-shooter section towards the end. For an action movie, it was very slow-moving and frankly boring in places. Also, Sarge's character development towards the end seems to be somewhat abrubt. Still, just the thing for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and some nice nods to the original game throughout.

Hey, cool. Vodafone finally seem to have fixed their photo-album thing, meaning I can set up my flickr gateway again.

Found a very silly bug in the file-receive code in librvp, of the "wait, how did this ever work, or when did I break it?" nature. There's still a problem with the code that I've not quite figured out, however, and I'll probably need to do some network traces to figure it out.

August 12
What I will laughingly call my plans for a quiet weekend were disrupted somewhat by a text message reading, "Lunch?". Next thing I know I'm waiting for the 3:30am Nitelink service... I will blame a lack of actual planning and the prospect of another fun night out with Lou & Crew. Which it was.

August 11
The Legend Of Zorro was pretty much exactly as I'd expected: mindless, mildly fun, and not as good as the first one.

August 10
...and tonight's entertainment was Ted's going-away party, which, while I left while my personal going was still good, looks apt to continue a while longer. All I know is that I'm holding a small quantity of wager money against one of my coworkers turning up at a particular time in the morning.

August 9
As noted to two different people today, someone appears to have turned my "Social" dial to "CARNIVALE!" which, while it's fun and all, can be a bit tiring... this evening spent catching up with Mal in The Old Stand, not a pub I've been in before.

August 8
Wallace & Grommit in The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit is lots of fun, with the occasional Austin Powers-style nudge-nudge gag (you know, strategically placed vegetables and that sort of thing) and a nice tight pace that keeps things moving. There's a lot to be said for working in a medium that forces you to be frugal with both money and time...

August 7
And back in Dublin again. Spider-Man was on TV so I started watching it, and while it has its flaws it's a hard movie to walk away from.

August 6
Down the country for a small party, where we watched Waterford fight to another glorious defeat in the Hurling Championship. Gah.

August 5
So I couldn't make bluetooth work on the rebuilt-as-FC5 box without switching off SELinux completely. And I still couldn't make apache work without switching off SELinux, either. It seems like these are fairly basic things, and it's not like I'm a complete naïf as regards computers, but apparently I'm not smart enough to figure out how to keep SELinux switched on and yet retain services I might actually want to use. Feh.

Did some hacking on my Banking modules; one output change (oh no!) because it makes sense that a credit card balance is a negative amount (and more to the point it allows me to correctly display the rare occasions where I've preloaded the card), and some work on the BoI stuff to allow you to pull a list of registered beneficiaries for a given account since that's the sort of thing you're liable to forget. I'll poke at it some more and then fling it to CPAN.

August 4
Saw a pretty good musician (playing piano or guitar, depending on the song) down at In (worst. pub name. ever.) tonight. Suddenly I discover that maybe Jeff Buckley isn't so bad after all.

August 3
The Brothers Grimm was pretty dark, with a few bits of light humour. I hadn't realised it was a Terry Gilliam production, but retrospectively it's kinda obvious. Much of the SF/X were a little too obviously chromakey/post work, which is a shame, because that distracted me from what was going on quite a bit. Still, worth a look.

August 2
Steamboy is a bit odd: it's essentially a steampunk movie, from the guy who did Akira, and voiced mostly in a heavy Mancunian accent. The original was voiced in Japanese, obviously. Not as good as I expected, but at least I didn't end up scratching my head trying to figure out what had actually happened.

Right at 22:00, my DSL vanished. From the merry dance the modem lights did after that, I figure someone was playing with the other end of the line and wasn't having things 100% their way (i.e. the sync lights came on, then blinked for a bit, then went off again) but you know, it'd have been nice to get some warning.

August 1
One of the barstaff at the local was retiring this evening, so a few drinks were had, songs sung, and sandwiches passed around. Cheers, Mick!

previous month | current month | next month

Irish Summer continues - more rain.