Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

April 30
Well, that was annoying. I discovered I'd loaded the entire MP3 collection into the Podcasts folder, from where I tried to move them only to have gtkpod lose half the tracks in the process. Probably something stupid on my part as opposed to a fault with the program. So I'm reloading it now, except I've bunged in the hardline connection to avoid having to wait another bunch of hours for the wireless link.

Why did I rent Happiness? I can't find anything good to say about it, really. Rambling, uninteresting, and frankly less interesting than watching a progress bar on a youtube clip.

April 29
Put gtkpod on my laptop. Pointed it at my entire MP3 collection over an 11Mbit wireless link while compiling, running Firefox, running xchat, and a few other things. Watched laptop grind to a halt, practically. I seriously need more compute power, or something.

Updated one of the RPMs I build for my webserver. I think it's almost in good enough shape to allow me to flip servers at this point. On the other hand, since I moved the database the current server's been behaving itself.

April 28
Another gorgeous sunny day. Went strolling around Dun Laoghaire in lieu of, you know, sitting indoors with a computer.

April 27
Attempting to figure out what I'd actually nailed down to RPM packaging and what I kludged together in a hurry from the last server build. Looks like about 20 or so files in the latter category, which is an improvement on previous attempts.

April 26
Moved the database back to the old server, which should take a chunk of load off the webserver. Yes, once again I have a multi-tier, multi-server web application running in my front-room. How very geek-chic.

April 25
Hit the pub with visiting coworker. Pub hit back. Ow.

April 24
Ice Age: The Meltdown is like most other sequels: not as good as the original. Still, pretty funny.

April 23
Server fell over a third time. I'm concerned that it's the disk, and not the overheating. And so I will be abandoning previous plans for the box that used be my webserver, and turning it back to its old duty, albeit with a shiny new FC6 install.

Also, it appears that the nasty 12" monochrome monitor I was using for my server boxes has died. Oh well, it was a piece of junk anyway. Now I have to get rid of it, I guess.

Half-assed build system turned out to have a heap of references to the server I was trying to rebuild, so I had to fix those. D'oh. I guess I'll not get the server swap done tonight.

April 22
Back in Dublin again.

April 21
More movie-watching: Flushed Away, which is absolutely excellent and will probably be going on my shopping list, followed by Miami Vice which really wasn't worth the effort. It's like someone took a standard episode of the TV show and tried to stretch it into a feature film, funnily enough. The pacing is all over the place, the romantic involvement is laughable, and the gratuituous reference to software piracy is a very, very lame attempt to appear hip, or at least comes across as such. What I found most disappointing, strangely enough, is that they appeared to use none of the original music. Which is a shame, really, because it was pretty good.

April 20
Off to Ballina for the weekend to get the car serviced. Watched Anything Else (Jason Biggs essentially plays a young Woody Allen in a Woody Allen movie, and Christina Ricci who I usually rather like was annoying) and Brick (not as good as the trailer implied, but still worth a look; there's overtones of Last Man Standing/Yojimbo in there, among other things).

April 19
300 was more or less as I expected - lots of brawny men, random shouty slogans about freedom and what not, and lots of blood. Actually worth seeing, since it's done well.

April 18
Went digging around some more in the libnw v2 sample files and found what may be a version field. Now I need to go back to the original mails where I got these files and see what sort of devices they came from. Should've taken notes...

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room wasn't entirely a revelation to me, but I wasn't previously aware that they were responsible for the rolling blackouts in California. Amazing what a little money and a complete absence of ethics can do for you.

April 17
Spent a bit of time toying with KDE's contact management toys. The most frustrating thing is the constant crashes; Kontact looks like it could be quite useful, but every so often I'd make a selection or edit something and the whole application would fall over. There's some odd UI mishaps, too: you can have a Preferred Number in a contact entry, but there's no way for that to appear in the contacts list; there's no integration with Kandy, despite the fact that Kandy does integrate with the addressbook; syncing in general seems pretty dumb, in that it failed to recognise that name/number records on my phone are supposed to match the same name/number records on my Palm... I guess I could give Multisync another look. I think what I really want, aside from anything else, is the ability to put my central contacts list somewhere that's remotely accessible (but secure, naturally) so I can sync from the office or from home and not worry about mismatches being generated simply through changing the machine that's doing the actual syncing.

April 16
By forcing both fans on the web"server" to on, I can keep its temperature somewhere reasonable. Also, it appears that the error message indicating 130°C was in fact indicating a value of 130 in a particular SMART attribute, which translates to who-knows-what in actual temperature. The drive itself claims never to have gone over 60°C, but are you going to trust self-diagnosis from a sick piece of hardware?

Hmm. I hacked up a quick script to detect when my bluetooth-enabled phone is in range of my laptop, but unfortunately it appears I can't get xscreensaver-command to use that as a cue to unlock the screen since there isn't an unlock option. Mildly annoying, to say the least.

April 15
District 13 contained nowhere near enough parkour for my liking, but what it had was pretty awesome. The english dubbing was absolute rubbish, with a whole ton of ropey Irish and English accents and at least one highly dubious Italian-American accent, but the music and the stunts were well worth seeing. Guess I'll have to seek out Jump London for a decent parkour movie.

April 14
More non-useful housekeeping stuff with the libnw code: moving some utility functions into a shared file, instead of putting copies of them in the two device-specific files...

Web server disk is apparently balking at running at over 130°C. Wimpy.

Met up with the Lou Crew and a few others for birthday drinks. Yay!

April 13
Uh-oh. Web server lost its disk. Second time in a fortnight. There may be a problem here.

April 12
Plans for the evening scuppered by the boss's birthday, which turned into the boss's whiskey-comparison taste test...

April 11
I thought my modifications to talk to the new FreeDB search engine were bogus, but no, it turns out it's the search engine: searching, for example, for "The Killers" returns plenty hits, but searching for "The Killers Hot Fuss" (or variants) returns nothing useful, despite there being several listings for same.

Happy Birthday to... me!

April 10
DBUS: 1, Waider: 1; I get a point for being forced to use a function that has been removed from the 1.0 API, but whose presence can't be detected except via an explicit configure test (why does the DBUS protocol not have a minor version in dbus_protocol.h that would allow me to key these things?); DBUS gets a point for my failure to actually include the config.h I was generating that would allow me to cater for this condition. An own goal apiece, in other words.

Prodded the libnw "it's all ID3 tags" code a little more. It's now pretty much entirely working, although there are a few things that need tweaking still. I've removed all the reliance on the prerendered ID3 block, but I'll probably stuff it back in somewhere for caching purposes.

April 9
Lovely day. Too nice to be indoors tooling with computers.

April 8
So it seems the reason for the much-delayed Gaim 2.0.0 is that they were playing legal games with AOL, the net result being that Gaim will become Pidgin. Once they've released 2.0.0 I'll be updating the RVP plugin to cope and possibly (possibly!) making a 1.0 release.

Sunshine felt a lot like Solaris; a bunch of people isolated in space, apparently slowly going nuts. I'm not 100% sure I actually liked the movie, but I'll at least grant that it was well made. Go see and figure out for yourself, I guess.

April 7
More libnw hackery. I'm trying to move all the metadata into ID3 tags (or at least something resembling them) thus doing away with some of the more device-specific bits.

The new owners of FreeDB fixed the full-text search at some point while I wasn't looking, so I've adapted my tag-guessing script to work with it once more. It'd be nice if they'd provide a proper web API, though.

Redid an old patch I made for Grip back in the day: adding a "Load CDDB data" button so you can modify the cddb file for a disc and get the modifications back into Grip without having to restart the program or reinsert the disc.

April 6
Discovered to my annoyance that XML::RSS defaults to attempting strict RFC-822 (or thereabouts) date parsing, which breaks on things that look to me like they're valid. Hacked at it a little to make it stop whining and give me my feeds.

Webserver fell over again, which is particularly galling since I've only just managed to cram everything onto it. Oh well. I guess I'd better hurry up and rebuild the original server, and move everything back.

After some cooling time, the webserver was happy to come back into service. Yay. Stripped down the rest of the old server ready for a rebuild.

April 5
The main problem I have with Stikkit is that, as mentioned before, my laptop tends to grind along when I'm running anything remotely heavy in firefox. So I thought it'd be nice to have some sort of command-line interface to Stikkit, and then I figured to hell with that, how about a command-line interface to knotes? It allows you to add, delete, pop up, update, dump and overwrite notes, referencing existing notes by title or magic knotes ID. Now, once I start messing around with the Stikkit API I might integrate that as well. Note that this toy uses an inline version of the perl DCOP module because I was somewhat dissatisfied with the CPAN version, particularly its complete failure to clean any data being passed to the shell.

More Evolution failure: today it not only tied itself up, it managed to tie up my entire desktop with it. I had to shell in from another machine and kill it off. Wonderful software.

Moved mysql to the new server. I think clamav is the only thing left on the old server at this point; alas, the new server is now pretty much permanently in swap, so I'll need to move a few things around, I guess. Also, I appear to have broken the RSS toy slightly; somehow, a perfectly good SQL statement no longer works.

Ah, ok, it turns out I need more parens in my big ugly query.

April 4
I've been trying out RHEL5, and the accompanying shiny new Evolution plus Exchange Connector, and frankly, the latter still sucks. It doesn't crash as often, as best I can tell, but it still manages to tie up the UI in a non-repainting, (mostly) non-responsive loop with no indication as to what it's up to, and if you hit the "Cancel" button the connector goes away and you don't get it back. Really, it can't be that hard to test this stuff!

April 3
Instead of trying to figure out more of the v2 code for libnw, I started cleaning up some of the existing code so that it's more amenable to the v1/v2 shared API stuff. Part of this is making the various types opaque so that the internals become implementation detail, but it turns out that's a pretty involved chunk of work.

Tristan and Isolde was kinda so-so. Some of the delivery was a bit wooden, and I had to laugh at the woman speaking Irish with the subtitle, "speaks in a foreign language". Not exactly a must-see, but worth a look if you've nothing better to be doing.

April 2
The perl module I wrote to scrape My Vodafone can now pull and parse unbilled calls. Woo woo, etc.

April 1
Fixed a long-standing minor bug in the emacs stuff I use to write entries for this feed: it now no longer confuses today's date with the date of the entry you're editing.

My "new" webserver's harddrive threw a wobbly overnight, resulting in it not working this morning. It was fine after a reboot. Worrying, though.

Sixteen Blocks was nowhere near as good as I'd hoped since it kept descending into buddy-buddy or good cop/bad cop set pieces, including the inevitable hidden cassette recorder sequence. Pretty unimaginative and not really worth your while.

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Poisson D'Avril!