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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

June 30
Stayed late at work fiddling with one of those "I'll just try one more thing" problems. Kinda got a result, but more yet to do.

June 29
Spent the evening working on what some might refer to as a blivet (although I'm pretty sure that the first time I read this, it didn't say "manure"...)

June 28
The Transporter 2 was, alas, nowhere near as good as the first. It had some great moments, but as a whole it lacked the sheer concentrated silliness of its predecessor. At least the music was good throughout.

June 27
Hmm, evidently another result of the BoI site upgrade is that the Payments page is unavailable right now. Maybe they're fixing the account listing.

And no sooner do I type that than it comes back, except with none of my beneficiaries listed. Brilliant.

So eventually it came back with the full list of beneficiaries, I finished off my coding, and discovered that (a) even if you don't specify a payment date, it tries to put one on the "receipt" page, and (b) the receipt page is also invalid HTML. Nice one, guys.

Anyway, enough whining. I've uploaded the new version of Finance::Bank::IE to CPAN. Have at it.

June 26
I've fixed up about 2/3 of the BoI stuff, should probably finish the rest tomorrow.

The main problem with The Island is that it's about a half-hour too long. Other than that, it seems like a reasonable rendition of the bits I can remember of Michael Marshall Smith's Spares, although I understand popular opinion is that it's actually plagiarised from elsewhere. I did find it a bit bothersome that there was some discrepancy between "the clones know nothing of the real world" and "wow, those are some street-smart clones" - enough so to break the suspension of disbelief occasionaly.

June 25
Something I've been meaning to do for a while: move stuff from my pre-RSS toy snorq into a proper RSS feed. I can probably recycle bits of the old code for other stuff, mind you.

Still haven't fixed the BankOfIreland.pm stuff.

June 24
As noted in my livejournal, Bank of Ireland changed their interface slightly during the last week or so. As a result, the Perl module I wrote to interface with it no longer works. I also discovered some other site-scraping stuff I'd written was failing due to the reverting of a change I'd previously had to rewrite for. Such is the life of a web-scraper...

Since I'm fiddling with the site (cleaning up some pages and what not) I coded up an emacs hook to the W3C validation service so I can not just validate pages on the fly, but also use compile mode to jump to the correct line/column to fix the problem.

June 23
Back in Dublin, mainly catching up on sleep.

June 22
Went to Seattle. Did you miss me?

Obviously, there was no geeking that I can speak of, since it was all office stuff. To cover the topics more usually found in this rambling dialogue:

Beer: yes

F1: surprisingly, I caught the end of the Silverstone GP. Not surprisingly, I didn't pay a lot of attention to it. F1 really doesn't seem to hold my interest any more.

Books: Finished The System Of The World and The Hacker and the Ants, started and finished White Teeth. I really enjoyed Stephenson's book for its depth of historical background (yes, I know he takes a few liberties) and the fact that it's essentially history as told from the inside. It's certainly far more entertaining than the stuff I had to read at school. Rucker's book was enjoyable, with the same caveats I've mentioned before: his characters tend to have insane mood swings from one paragraph to the next, and occasionally that's enough to jerk you out of the story. The third... well, therein lies a story. Amazon has been recommending the book to me since it came out, and I've never bothered buying it. The girl next to me on the DUB/ATL flight was reading it, and I asked her if it was any good, and she said she'd only started it. As we disembarked at ATL, she asked me if I wanted to keep it, because while she could see it was good it wasn't really her sort of thing. Hence my copy of the book. It's good. I'm not sure it's great, because there were a few bits that felt like they didn't fit into the story properly, but in essence this belongs to the same body of work as Bend It Like Beckham - first and second-generation immigrants in London, and how they adapt (or fail to). Definitely worth a read.

Movies: I mostly didn't bother with the in-flight crap. Choices were Firewall and Eight Below, neither of which would be on my wishlist in the first place, and neither of which looked particularly good even disregarding the bad projection quality and poor sound. While on terra firma, I went to see X-Men: The Last Stand which had many things wrong with it and few things right. It's pretty much an average summer blockbuster and little else. I also saw the pilot for Firefly which Broenwynn and her flatmate attempted to push on me at every possible opportunity, and I rather liked it. So, you know, props to them for persisting in insisting!

The rest will turn up either as a trip report or random livejournal posts as my brain returns to the correct orientation with respect to the sun.

June 7
Dammit, I've been noodling around on the office laptop on and off during the day, and it's completely messed with my typing - the Fn and Ctrl keys are the wrong way around compared to my own laptop, and I keep going for the wrong key. Combine that with the amount of usage the Ctrl key gets in an average Emacs session and, well, annoyance.

June 6
Office party: the office is one year old (plus a few months) (plus not everyone there has been around for a year (e.g. me)) (plus the party wasn't in the office; we went out for dinner and drinks, drinks, DRINKS). I think I was home some time after 4, or maybe I imagined that. Also, while my piano-playing skills are rough at the best of times, they get VERY rough with the addition of several pints and a beaten-up piano. Funny, though. Well, I thought so, anyway.

June 5
One of my coworkers described Battle Royale as, approximately, "one very messed-up Japanese movie". He is not wrong. It is indeed quite messed up. Sort of Lord of the Flies meets Running Man with a dash of that Stephen King story about the kids running a last-man-standing foot race. Messy enough that it'd put Tarantino off, and yet compelling watching throughout. Bonus points for using actual computer code in the l33t hax0r sequence (IMDb tells me it's from nmap)

Cleaned up another item off my TODO list, but also flagged another potential bug (one I'd seen some time ago but never marked) so it's sort of two steps forward and one back. For various reasons I probably won't have a candidate for v1.0 before the last week of June.

June 4
Another fine day, but I did spend some time working on a toy for the office - which obviously I can't say anything about!

June 3
And then suddenly for no reason I can determine, Spamassassin learns the troublesome mail. Gah.

Scratched a couple more items off the librvp to-do list. Small ones, though. It was a rather pleasant day, too nice to be sitting indoors with a computer.

June 2
Still puzzled by Spamassassin. Debugging it isn't helping, either.

Also, Javascript continues to horrify me.

June 1
Puzzling over a problem with Spamassassin, wherein it is refusing to learn a particular email but not giving any indication why.

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Summer has arrived!