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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

September 24
I'm taking a hiatus from detailing the minutiæ of my daily life. Normal service will be restored whenever.


September 23
I picked up the book of The Princess Bride yesterday, and about half way through it I realised that I wanted to watch the movie again. So that accounted for my afternoon. It's interesting to pick up on the little differences here and there; in particular, I thought the book version of the battle of wits didn't make a lot of sense as it has The Man In Black getting more and more agitated as Vizzini reasons through his choice, where as the movie version has Cary Elwes almost sarcastically working over the same lines, and it works a lot better.

And then there was Ciaran's birthday, which involved beer, and sake for some (not for me), and much conversing, and the brief acquisition of someone from a hen night sitting next to us to take the place of someone who'd left our table. You had to be there, really.

September 22
Children of Men was pretty good, although it's another movie that could have done with some tighter editing in places. A couple of genuine surprises, an excellent gritty feel overall, and several cute chronological references to the era such as the fact that Clive Owen spends almost the entire movie wearing a "LONDON 2012" sweatshirt with the "LON" part worn off. I wasn't wholly sure about the use of humour in the movie, since it detracts from the harshness of the story as a whole, but it didn't put me off that much.

September 21
Laptop was partially wedged again this morning. X-Chat was hung, sync blocked in D state, but I could access the disk just fine, and there were no errors in dmesg or /var/log (at least on brief inspection). I ended up having to do a hard reset to get it back. This bothers me as it may be indicative of a deeper problem. Of course, the laptop is 7 years old and has probably been switched on for most of that time.

Four Brothers could've done with a bit more editing towards the climax, but was still a pretty good movie. Worth borrowing someone else's copy at the very least. Some great music, too. And Garrett Hedlund could play the title role in Jeff Buckley: The Movie except he's maybe a little too tall.

September 20
Dude, Where's My Car? has pretty much no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It's terrible. I'm sorry I rented this.

September 19
Yay one year on the job. Celebration was in order, or at least that's what I did anyway, with the help of Lou and Frances.

September 18
Some more RVP hacking. As ever, new code == new bugs.

September 17
Did some more work on the RVP+Gaim2.0 stuff, so it's now usable if possibly incomplete. I may have broken the file transfer stuff in the process, mind you, so if you're using the bleeding-edge code this is probably something to keep an eye on. Also picked up another silly bug and noticed a few API calls I hadn't previously spotted which might actually be of use to me.

Cleaned up the last of the mp3 weirdness. I now appear to have a working set of files that keeps Gronk happy, which was sort of the aim. There's probably still a bit of weirdness in tagging as illustrated by the fact that some tracks off a compilation show up in XMMS as "Track 17" and the like instead of proper labelling, but that's something I can probably script easily enough.

Crank is seriously silly and probably the movie that The Transporter 2 should have been. Chases, exploding stuff, outrageous fights, drugs, gratuituous nudity, and about enough plot to fill the first 30 seconds of the movie before they abandon the pretence and get down to the serious business of, well, adrenaline. If you like the sort of movie that doesn't require a brain, this is for you.


September 16
Watched the rest of The Third Man. I was never fully convinced that Harry Lime was a bad guy; somehow it all seemed like an elaborate plot device that would be revealed as a sham towards the end. I had much the same problem when I read The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Finished off the MP3 cleanup, more or less. The only bits remaining undone are some files that are trashed.

Lou called over and we watched Closer. It's not a bad movie; dialogue-heavy, on account of its origins as a play, and some of the dialogue is damned sharp.

September 15
Watched most of The Third Man while waiting for Hilary and John to show up. Decent flick, although the mid-movie surprise is somewhat spoiled by the presence of Orson Welles' name in the opening credits.

September 14
Laptop at some point went far, far out to lunch. Sigh. Maybe I should give up on this Linux nonsense and just stick to good old Windows...

On the other hand, the frozen laptop was what persuaded me to watch Lost In Translation on TV; it's a great movie, and I really like that it doesn't have the obvious clichéd conclusion to Scarlett and Bill's interaction.

September 13
Back again.

Finally figured out why various MP3 toys were disagreeing on filenames: somewhere along the line Grip changed its default set of acceptable characters from including parens to excluding them. Fixing the MP3 collection will require some prodding and fiddling but it seems to have motivated me into actually cleaning up the other loose ends, so.

September 12
Down the country.

September 11
UGH SQUARED. Turns out the alternative location at which my MP3 collection is stored is also experiencing drive errors. Maybe it's some evil new RIAA thing. Self-destructing MP3 files, even if you ripped them off your own CDs.

The Aristocrats is, in places, hysterically funny, and you really have to watch the DVD extras - although I'd have loved it if they had more of the cutting-room stuff. I didn't actually recognise a lot of the comedians, even with names. Definitely worth a look, but not for the faint of heart.

Curiously after a reboot and an fsck, the alleged trashed files appear to be okay after all. Perhaps the filesystem simply got into a weird state in memory.

September 10
Ugh. Had some sort of oddball hardware event on my fileserver which has apparently trashed a bunch of random files - including bits of my MP3 collection, and oddly enough the ssh keys. The weird thing is that those are on two different drives. Fortunately there's a second copy of the MP3 collection elsewhere so I can just rsync back to the mothership, but I hope this isn't indicative of some impending mainboard failure on the fileserver. Because that, as they say, would suck.

Met up with Lou and Daire for lunch, followed by aimless wandering, followed by lounging to music, followed by a trip to the cinema. Right At Your Door seemed like it had a winning premise - dirty bombs detonated in downtown L.A. - but really, it seems like they didn't bother expanding the script any further. About the only thing that even vaguely deserves attention is the throwaway reference to Fox News not knowing anything, but really it simply wasn't a good movie. Don't bother, basically.


September 9
More work on RVP+Gaim2.0. For some reason it's insisting on setting up a uPNP tunnel which is causing things to Not Work. I don't remember it doing this before, either. Looking at the network code I'd been using, there's no way to avoid it as far as I can tell, either - uPNP is automatically attempted if you ask for the IP address, and explictly requesting the local address means you skip all the user prefs. Gah.

I thought that Brokeback Mountain was based on a short story, so I'm not sure why it runs to just over two hours. It's pretty and all, but once you get past the OMIGOD GAY COWBOYS angle it's pretty much an average movie. Still, I didn't feel like it was a complete waste of time, even if I did wander off to do other stuff twice while it was on.

Found a silly bug in the RVP code which would result in fake groups being created in the buddy list. I've actually been looking for this for a while. This and other bits and pieces of work today means I've now pretty much got a working 2.0 version, which is one less thing for the to-do list.

September 8
Left RVP+Gaim2.0 running for the day. It failed to crash. That's good, at least.

Met up with Cathal for food and drink.

September 7
Finally figured out how to reimplement my "which window are you working in" hack for the metacity window manager using xprop. Yay!

Pulled the latest Gaim-2.0 beta so I could try and fix up whatever doesn't work with it in RVP. Unfortunately it's been a while since I tried building against the 2.0 codebase so there's a bunch of new broken stuff that I have to cope with. The single biggest problem is actually a function that was synchronous and is now asynchronous, meaning I've got to move a whole chunk of code off into a callback. Grr.

Eventually I got it to compile and run, albeit with large chunks #ifdef'd out. Still, it's a (re)start.

September 6
Mainly catching up on a stack of email that's been accumulating since the old HD started flaking out. Much as I like SquirrelMail, it's not exactly my favourite choice for writing long missives to friends on Serious Topics™.

Called in on Lou, who's in the middle of unpacking stuff. Reminded me a bit of moving into my current digs and the whole "move the stack of stuff so you can find a seat" deal.

September 5
Hurrah! HD arrived! Of course, once again I recall that I know next to nothing about LVM, so I have to stumble through recreating the root volume on the new drive before I can restore it, and then Fedora annoys me by not having a working grub-install on the rescue disk. Really now.

While the laptop was backing up/restoring, I watched The Constant Gardener which really wasn't as spy-novel as I expected and I found some of the "edgy" camerawork to be just plain distracting. Not a bad movie, all told, however.

September 4
Still no replacement HD. Went to Scotts, despite misgivings, and played a few songs.

September 3
Last.FM's shiny new all-in-one player is nice, but, er, where do I plug in my MP3 collection? Maybe that's fixed in the next release or something. Plus, the SVN url they give for the source is wrong.

Spent most of the day either shopping or pubbing. With the emphasis on the latter. Thanks for the help with both, Elaine!


September 2
Met with Lou and Ray for lunch, then ran into Ruadhrí in the Secret Book and Record store (pretty much my sole source of music) then went to Maplin to be ignored in my quest for parts to fix a broken amp. When the counter guy finally payed attention to me it was just long enough to tell me they were out of stock. Didn't even try to offer me an alternative. Yay helpful staff.

Went down to Greystones for Hari's "End of Summer" barbeque in the evening, which included a bit of a jam session featuring acoustic guitar and african drum. Much fun was had.

September 1
Happy Birthday, Donal!

No sign of new harddrive, so no hacking of note. Or partying, for that matter, although this isn't related to the harddrive.

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Waider
Irish Summer continues - more rain.