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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

May 31
Intimate Strangers is a slightly peculiar movie that had me quite engaged throughout - I kept thinking "I'll go make another cuppa after this scene" right up to the end of the movie. Whether intentionally or not it's an interesting observation on therapy culture and just who exactly you're telling your deepest secrets to on the other side of the desk, which I think was part of what had me so intrigued. Plus, I was curious to see how it all worked out.

May 30
Found a silly bug in some of the recent patchery which didn't show up on my test server but did on a real server. Bah. Note to self, put more edge cases into test server and trigger them randomly.

May 29
Cleaned out another XXX and checked an item off the to-do list. Also watched Scrubs and went for a walk; it's not all geekery Chez Waider.

May 28
Did a little tooling around with maps this morning, something I've not done in a while. Playing with a Google-like interface to a random mapping site, basically.

Continuing my code cleanups. Basically I'm tracking through the librvp code and attempting to fix anything marked XXX; the stuff marked FIXME is slightly less urgent.

Problems with my ghetto streaming music: metadata is only displayed for the first title, although I can't see why; and the server occasionally decides to simply drop the client, and I can't seem to persuade XMMS to just reconnect when this happens.


May 27
Wow, sunshine. Took the bike out for a bit.

Modified mailman.pl to use WWW::Mechanize, something I've been meaning to do for quite a while. Let me know if it's broken anything; I tested it against sourceforge (Mailmain 2.1.8) so I know that much still works.

May 26
Requiem For A Dream is grim but stylish, with very obvious visual similarities to Aronofsky's first film, Pi. I'm still not entirely sure I liked it; it's not the kind of movie you enjoy, as such. It's certainly different.

The Mummy Returns is a by-the-numbers sequel, but no less enjoyable for that. It's a popcorn movie, with about as much depth as a puddle, but it doesn't try to deny that. Plus, I like Brendan Fraser.

May 25
Today I discovered a game called PowerManga. Oh dear.

May 24
More code cleanups. Ew. I wrote this?

May 23
Established in the course of code cleanups:

Using this newfound knowledge I cleaned up some code in librvp. I am attempting to get rid of both fixmes and duplicate code at the moment, but I'm aware that there are still a few odd bugs floating around that I need to address. There is also the matter of a quasi-RFC-(2)822-compliant header parser that is now lurking in the code which we shall not speak of.

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

May 22
Bleh. Where did I acquire this throat infection from?

May 21
Four Rooms didn't really have any redeeming features at all. Don't bother with it. Even the Rodriguez/Banderas segment is painful, and that's the one I was holding out most hope for.

I think I watched half of Flatliners years ago, but it was on TV the other night so I taped it and watched it this afternoon. Not bad, but the ending was a bit sappy.


May 20
I think I would like a flag for my kernel image to say, "I know there's a battery present, keep whacking ACPI with a stick until it responds" because it's frankly irritating me that every second or third boot I get no battery reading.

Tweaked the mp3-renaming script (remember that?) to pay some attention to discid files, and also to be a little cleverer about guessing titles from filenames, and also to capitalise all the words in the artist/track/title (because that's how I like it).

May 19
Ok, ok, so Prime is a total chick-flick, almost completely predictable, but what the hell, I enjoyed it. The only bit that didn't fly is Uma Thurman's last bit of dialogue, which is about as smooth as the Wachowski Brothers doing a romantic scene.

Picture as promised: 323k of grainy phonecam, about which two people have said, "you look good behind a bar". I'm not quite sure what to make of that. This is a better version of the photo that's on my Flickr account, where you will also find a shot of the pint I poured.

May 18
Went out for ONE beer with the guys from work, ended up unveiling Guinness' new beer in the pub we were in. No, I'm not kidding. Pictures to follow.

May 17
Did some more minor patching on librvp. I need to finish up v1.0 of this, I guess.

May 16
The United States of Leland is an odd sort of movie in the space between Igby Goes Down and Donnie Darko; the weird thing is, I was kinda disappointed when it became obvious that it was working toward a conclusion, instead of remaining entirely as passively opaque as it was at the outset. Still, worth a look.

May 15
Firefox 1.5.0.2 (yeah, yeah. like it's going to stop doing this if I go to .3 - maybe it does, but it's not obvious from the bug fixed) is seriously bugging the hell out of me. Every time I think, hey, I'll watch this YouTube video everyone's linking to, it's a gamble. Have I bookmarked all the tabs I currently have open? Because if I haven't, you just know Firefox is going to fall over. I don't get it. Flash is, what, 10 years old (I have a copy of Future Splash knocking around in the giant bin of unused software somewhere) and yet it's still not possible to get a stable, reliable Linux player for it.

May 14
Happy Birthday, dad!

Well, that was annoying. Some time ago, SourceForge moved all the projects from $projectname.cvs.sourceforge.net to cvs.sourceforge.net. Now they've gone and moved it all back again. GRR.


May 13
Added one of the missing channels to my tv listings toy - NTL have been futzing with their offerings and not all the channels are listed on the site I've been scraping listings from. Surprisingly easy to code, but I really need to clean up the display end of things.

Spent a little too much time writing a shim for the old v1 shout player to maintain an open connection to the server while the shout process comes and goes, with the intention of using this to cobble together a shout-based Gronk installation. Turns out I don't need to do that, because icecast is pretty good about cutting over from one source to the next without dropping the stream. So, I have streaming music around my house once more (by which I mean "in two rooms"), but I'm also back in the land of Where The Hell Is My Metadata, which I'm not entirely concerned about at this point.

May 12
Interesting day at work which, of course, I can't tell you about. Neener.

May 11
The Mighty Celt runs in a similar sort of space to The Boxer, although the paramilitary angle is a lot more subtle. It's kinda odd seeing Gillian Anderson as a working-class Belfast single parent, too, but she carries it off well. Caution to non-Irish intending to watch this: I had trouble following some of the dialogue, and the DVD's such a cheap job (no scene selection!) that it doesn't have subtitles.

May 10
Met up with an old friend for a few beers.

May 9
I've been a bit slack with the Network Walkman code; I should have enough information at this point to expand my library to include the later versions of the scrambling, and indeed I've rebuilt the framework and ported the MPLE code across to it, but I've not yet actually sat down and coded up the accumulated wisdom on my harddrive. I did, however, just now port the file loader to the new library and it was far too easy to do. That's what I get for sticking to my original clean API, I guess.

May 8
Hrm. My RVP server still isn't quite happy since I moved it to the older version of MySQL. I should probably move it back, since I have at my disposal a MySQL 5 instance.

May 7
Coneheads was light and untaxing. No surprises, a few giggles. Seems like it's the sort of stuff Dan Akroyd can do (and did) in his sleep.

Had one of my infrequent lapses of memory where I think, "maybe I could write a useful piece of Java for my phone". Nope. Why, pray tell, when there isn't a standard list of the system properties for any given phone, does the API not include the System.getProperties() call? And how does anyone manage to code anything useful in this mess?


May 6
About the only thing in Bend It Like Beckham that didn't quite work for me was the Jess/Joe romance - everything else was certainly predictable and in no way deviated from the expected course, but was well-executed and highly enjoyable.

Hmm. My fileserver seems to be somewhat unwell. Slow and unresponsive. Of course, it's a 32MB PII so this is generally normal behaviour. It's responding very strangely, though - fileservices are still working, but the machine's apparently too busy to let me log in either via the network or the console. Magic SysRq suggests I've got a bunch of D-state smbd processes, which I'm guessing coupled with a large amount of swap means that the machine's going to be out to lunch for quite a while before the out-of-memory killer kicks in to clean up. The only thing it's really affecting is Windows logins, which I don't exactly make a lot of, so I'm happy enough to let it sort itself out.

And today in "Bits Of Hardware Waider Has Mislaid", we encounter Waider searching high and low for his second 802.11 wireless NIC which seems to have gone AWOL.

Fired up Rhythmbox (well, ok, asked gnome-open to play an audio file, and Rhythmbox is what I got) which looks nice enough, but once I fed it my entire audio library and clicked around for a bit, it vanished from the screen with nary a hint of a stacktrace. Just *foomp* gone. This stuff is really impressive, guys. I'm not even trying to break it.

MIA fileserver returned with no hint of what it had been up to. Now faced with the FC5 box's inability to locate the domain master, thus breaking winbind. Does anything on this installation work right?

Wow. Pilot syncing worked first time with no hitches. Cool.

May 5
More FC5 fun. Fire up movie player. Feed it any movies I have to hand. For most of them, I get an error window saying I might need to install a plugin, but there's no indication where I'd get one or how I'd install it in the Help. Eventually, it crashed. Terrific.

Beat my RVP server into submission so it now works with MySQL 3.whatever. Less fun than I'd intended, complicated by my not fully understanding what Perl does with 0E0.

May 4
Things were busy at work today. And so, the pub. Besides, shouldn't you be validating my new software release?

May 3
Whee! librvp 0.9 released, now with file transfers!

Some random notes on writing this plugin, since I've almost got a 1.0 release:To be fair, though, it's a hell of a nifty application, and the fact that I've turned out a useful clone of Microsoft Messenger in only a few months is evidence of this - even taking into account that I started out from someone else's codebase!

For an encore, moved my RVP server to another machine where it promptly broke, due to a combination of a different mysql version and (I presume) a different Apache version. Whoops.

May 2
Welcome to Fedora Core 5. Please download 169 updated packages. (seriously)

I've got it doing winbind auth after a few false starts: it needs an explicit password server specified, and doesn't have a control-panel means of enabling use default domain so you end up having to log in as DOMAIN\\user. Oh, and it doesn't appear to switch on pam_mkdir or equivalent so your winbind accounts don't have home directories. Still, close enough to get started, I guess.

Oh, there is one very annoying thing with the winbind config. When a user is presented with a username/password dialog, the default behaviour when hitting the enter key especially if they've just typed in the password field should be to submit the dialog. At the very least, there should be some feedback other than, well, nothing.

Cowboys and Angels is Irish cinema at its best. Well, assuming that a movie set in Limerick starring mostly unknown Irish actors and directed by an Irishman makes it Irish cinema, anyway. It's part coming-of-age, part cautionary tale, part comedy, and ALL worth watching. Can't say I've ever seen Limerick looking quite so much like an actual city...

May 1
As noted in last night's RSS feed, I discovered breakage in my RSS/site update scripts which necessitated a placeholder entry. Now fixed, badly, and once more I find myself cursing Perl for not having a standard month array or hash. And the one I tried to use out of some random module is apparently inaccessible to me from outside the module. Grr.

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Waider
May what?