A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- March 31
- A Scanner Darkly was
absolutely excellent. I hadn't realised they did the whole thing
in rotoscoping, but it worked really well particularly when they
did background things like having the bookcases
"breathing". Robert Downey Jr. played Barris to an
absolute tee, and the extra dialogue really meshed well with
Dick's original. Worth buying, methinks.
- March 30
- Fiddling around with image thumbnails. I think Flickr does a good
job with sizing and layout so I'm approximately cloning
- March 29
- On the beer with Johnny. Hooray for beer!
- March 28
- Found a silly bug in the libnw code that was causing it to add
track pointers twice in the v2 code. Poked at a few more bits of
it, including trying to get nw-dump working some way reliably for
v2 devices; it's not quite there yet, however.
- March 27
- Well, the mail server has yet to explode. I'll give it another
few days before retiring the old one completely. The intention
initially is to turn it into a MIDI sequencer/controller for my
- March 26
- Got IMAP working, yay. Turns out I'd been using it
"wrong" for several years.
- March 25
- Still haven't figured out the clamav mess. Moving spamd instead,
since that still seems to have a sane config.
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Started stripping down the old webserver so I can identify what
software I've left to migrate.
Star Trek: Nemesis was kinda
funny at the start, but became sort of ho-hum as it went on. Not
terrible, but not terribly good, either.
Made a rough attempt at getting the RSS Toy to work with RSS 2.0
(currently it normalizes everything to 1.0) but it made a bigger
mess than I was happy with trying to sort out.
Flipped the mailserver. ClamAV is still bust, and I can't seem to
get Dovecot's IMAP preauth back in operation, but everything else
appears at least marginally sane.
- March 24
- Fiddling with RSS formats. Ignore the weirdness.
Still trying to move the mailserver stuff off the old box. Somehow
the ClamAV config has gotten completely insane in FC6; there
doesn't appear to be a default "install and it Just
Works" package. I know that old saw about Linux having no
viruses yadda yadda, but I use ClamAV to bounce virus-laden emails
at the gateway.
Pierrepoint is a rather
fascinating bio-pic of Albert Pierrepoint, who hanged over 600
people for the UK judicial system between 1933 and 1955. It's a
well-made piece, and I'm now curious to find out which parts, if
any, were fictionalised for the sake of a good story. One to
- March 23
- Parents visiting my house, me visiting the pub.
- March 22
- More cleanup around the webserver. Met up with Lou after work
for a drink and gossip. Hurrah for the Blue Note!
- March 21
- A few hiccups in the webserver move... forgot to install a few
things, like autofs (which in turn requires portmap and nfs-utils
for my setup) but nothing critical. Oh, and I forgot to update
internal DNS to reflect the fact that the webserver and the
mailserver are different machines now. Still not inclined to move
the mailserver until things have settled down a little and I
figure out whether anything else is broken.
- March 20
- So about 10 or 15 minutes into Lucky Number Slevin I was
beginning to feel that the dialogue was a bit too slick,
almost annoyingly so. But I kept watching, and then... The
Twist. No, I did not see that coming. Excellently done; a couple
of rough edges here and there, and the little bit of Hollywood at
the end was kinda slack, but definitely one worth
- March 19
- Net::DAAP::Client works rather nicely, despite having been
untouched for the last several years. I wonder if it'd be easier
to embed Perl into XMMS than use the libdaap library?
Back to the server rebuilding... I had forgotten to restart the
DHCP server after I reconfigured it, plus I didn't have a working
PXE setup, so I had to move all that over from the machine I'm
Ok, if you can read this the new webserver is up and
running. I just need to move the mail/imap server, then I can
rebuild the box all this stuff used live on and I'll have a mostly
clean config as a side-effect.
- March 18
- One-line Twitter
/usr/bin/wget --user=$USERNAME --password=$PASSWORD -O - -q http://twitter.com/statuses/update.xml?status="$STATUS" --post-data=""
I am so Web 2.0.
One-line Twitter status
monitor, updated every two minutes:
watch --interval 120 'wget --user=$USERNAME --password=$PASSWORD -O - -q http://twitter.com/statuses/friends_timeline.xml | perl -MHTML::Entities -n -e "binmode STDOUT, \":utf8\"; chomp; \$_ = decode_entities( \$_ ); s/^\s+//; s@</?name>@@g and \$name=\$_; s@</?text>@@g and \$text = \$_; m@</user>@ and print \"\$name: \$text\n\";"'
Admittedly I guess the use of Perl to do the heavy lifting seems
like some sort of cheating, but the alternative was a bunch of stupid
awk, sed and/or bash tricks.
Tried out Democracy Player. Problem one, it wants all my
memory. Problem 2, well, it's like Bruce Springsteen said - 57
channels and nothing on. What would be really neat would be to
integrate it with something like MythTV so you could plug it into
standard TV broadcasts as well as the Intarweb.
Since Ruadhrí gave me a bunch of mp4 files to listen to a
while back, I've been meaning to add mp4 support to XMMS, which is still my audio
player of choice despite the proliferation of alternatives. In
poking at the plugins listed on the official site, I came across
xmms-mp4, which failed to compile; while debugging the compilation
I came across xmms-faad2, which is exactly what I needed in the
first place. Hurrah! You can get it at Livna.
I grabbed a new version of gnome-bluetooth to see if the manager
had been fixed, and lo... it's been
The Ballad of Jack and Rose is another one for the "why on earth did I rent
this?" pile. The only good bits were the music and Daniel
Day-Lewis's scottish accent; the rest of it was rambling, slow,
and not particularly engaging.
- March 17
- And a Happy St. Patrick's Day to you too.
Woke up far too early (must be the anticipation of the rugby or
something) and figured I'd revisit my attempts to move my
Web/DNS/DHCP/Mail server to a new platform, this time by moving
services off it until it's idle.
Took the opportunity to clean a few things up: new SSL cert (now
reflecting the public name of the server, not the hostname), a few
CNAMEs for previously hard-coded services, etc. Also found a newer
firmware update for my router which meantions MTU, so maybe
someone's finally noticed the breakage and fixed it.
Figured out why some messages were unretrievable on my phone:
apparently SMS PDU mode doesn't support them. Why, I have no idea,
but switching to text mode works fine. That and asking the phone
for messages as well as the SIM card.
Managed to persuade my phone to connect to IMAP-over-SSL, but it's
balking at the unsigned cert each time, and there isn't an option
to tell it to just accept it. I wonder if I can load the CA cert
onto the phone instead?
- March 16
- Discovered that when I did the fan swapout on my fileserver
earlier this year, I left the DVD burner
- March 15
- It bothers me mildly that my alleged 11Mbit wireless card is
topping out at about 480k/s, i.e. less than half its
"capacity", but it bothers me more that the driver is
written so that it periodically locks up the entire machine while
it processes an interrupt or some such.
- March 14
- Bluetooth hookup to phone mysteriously started working when I
attempted to diagnose it. Gah. Also, the gnome-bluetooth-manager
app is not only rubbish, it also doesn't work. In a "we
deployed without testing" sort of way.
Had a look at dbus while I was doing the diagnostics above. I
think it might be kinda nifty to have a dbus console app,
something that attached to both system and session buses and
logged messages therein. Useful for debugging if nothing
This can't be right: if I want to use cluck from
Carp.pm, I have to explicitly import not only
cluck but any other functions that would otherwise be
automatically imported? That's just rubbish, that is.
- March 13
- Did a little more work on v2 file writing. I really need to
settle on a proper datastructure collection for this rather than
making it up as I go along.
- March 12
- Scary Movie 4 is something I
rented because I'd seen the end of it some time ago and felt I
should catch the rest of it. Kinda dull and
- March 11
- Much to I suspect everyone's surprise, England not only beat
France, but did so by a comfortable margin. I think we might not
have fared so well against the team fielded by the English
today, had they showed up at Croke Park.
Poked at libnw some more, mainly throwing out a whole bunch of
code that isn't really working and replacing it with code that is
less "not working". On the plus side, I've started on
file writes for v2 devices, which means I can now cause
- March 10
- Revisiting something that puzzled me about the disconnect code
for Gaim's MSN plugin:
it either has to be blocking, or it has to do some other stupid
trick to keep Gaim from
shutting down until the disconnect is complete. It looks
like it's using the former, although the only way I can tell for
sure is if I trace it, I guess. At least on a manual walk-through
of the code it looks like it's doing a blocking write to the
socket, and not even bothering with such details as "did all
the data actually get written?"
Rugby: Ireland just about beat Scotland, and Italy played a far
superior game to Wales even if the play was a bit
- March 9
- This is probably one of the most useful snippets of elisp I've
written in a long time:
;; useful when trying to fling files around the placeIt stuffs the filename of
the current buffer into the X primary selection, which isreally,
really handy when you're trying to scp the file from
another machine (for example)...
I don't think there was anything I liked about The Tailor Of Panama,
really. It seemed to be trying for comedy in some places, and it
failed; it certainly wasn't much of a thriller, either. Even the
send-ups of American Military gung-ho, British cronyism, and the
"Special Relationship" between the UK and the US fell
flat. Don't bother with this.
- March 8
- Beers with Pat and Cathal. This will hurt tomorrow, I'm
- March 7
- Run Lola Run is a movie I've been
meaning to see for a long, long time, but either the copy
ScreenClick sent me months ago was unplayable or was lost in the
post, I can't recall which. I finally got the disc again today,
and it was worth waiting for. It's partly 80 minutes of a frantic
and barely comprehensible music video for some generic europop and
partly an excellent thriller. Definitely worth watching, and
probably worth owning. There are some frankly beautiful cuts in
this, too, particularly as the first two acts wind up. Even the
credit sequence at the start is entertaining!
Got some more sample files for libnw, these ones off one of the HD
walkman devices. More bits to play with!
- March 6
- Bought me a
new toy today. Whee!
Brazil was on TV recently, but I
neglected to watch it. This evening I was struck by an
overwhelming urge to rectify that, and, well, it's part of my DVD
collection, so I watched that instead. What a peculiar De Niro
role, really. Great movie, though.
- March 5
- Cinema Paradiso didn't
quite wind up like I'd expected it would, but it's a damn fine
movie nonetheless. Definitely one to watch, possibly one to
For those of you keeping score, I appear to have mortally wounded
yet another laptop.
- March 4
- Cleanup day. Apartment AND some computer stuff - all the HTML
files I own (i.e. I'm skipping the ones that are mirrors/contribs)
in one directory of my website now validates, and my mailbox is
down to 20-something mails. Such productivity, eh?
Tried to get the bluetooth stuff on the laptop working again. I
don't know when it broke, although I suspect it's a hidden side
effect of my switching from Gnome to XFCE, but now I can't get it
to work at all. Annoying - this is one of those things that should
"just work", and doesn't. Apparently KDE has great
bluetooth support, but it doesn't appear to be available by
default for Fedora Core.
In A Man's World is a pretty
grim tale of street life in Scotland. It's got similar raw
brutality to City of God or Green Street, although it lacked the
budget to be quite as graphic. The music was a little too loud
throughout, rendering some of the dialogue inaudible, but on the
whole this is worth a look.
- March 3
- It's been a while since I considered using a different mail
client; I've been using VM for more than ten
years at this point, and it's generally sufficient for what I want
to do, but it has its weak points (some of which are actually weak
points of Emacs) and every so often I get an urge to try something
different. I've just had a look at Thunderbird and straight away
found two things I didn't like: when I gave it an unresolvable
address for a mail server, it complained that it couldn't log in,
instead of a more useful message like "you mistyped the mail
server name, you fool"; and there doesn't appear to be a
convenient way for me to point it at my 200MB of existing mail
folders and tell it to include them in its reckoning without, say,
setting up a local IMAP server or something. Oh, and then I
managed to hang it on mail fetching within minutes of starting it
Kmail. Secure connection? Yes. Cert can't be verified, is that ok?
Yes. Cannot connect, because the server doesn't support TLS. Er,
why did you not point that out when I was configuring the account
and you checked the security support on the server? Even
when I go to the control panel to fix it, it's pretty insistent
about trying to use TLS instead of SSL. Still, the UI is nice,
particularly the little diagram of the mail structure and the
interpretation of SpamAssassin headers.
File under phone weirdness: there are two messages on my phone
right now which I can read on the phone, and the appropriate
incantation on the phone's modem interface tells me there are two
messages there, but there doesn't appear to be a way for me to
retrieve them over the modem interface. WTF?
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada was recommended to me by Luke in the
office, and it's an odd sort of movie. Initially I was kinda only
vaguely taken in by it, but as the movie went on I got more and
more caught up in it. It's not really a whodunnit, as the guilty
party gets identified pretty early on, and it becomes a sort of
quest movie after that. Peculiar, but very engaging, and worth
Caught the tail-end of Beverly Hills Cop III as
well; it's not a patch on the original, but it still passes the
- March 2
- The plot thickens: the ID3 data is in fact fine, it's just a
newer version than my usual tagging tools can cope with.
Still a problem somehow with xchat shutting down when my little
pile of hacks is loaded. Maybe I should use Gaim
- March 1
- Went chasing a coredump in one of the libnw tools, and in the
process tried to figure out why nw-cp wasn't copying
metadata. Turns out it's because the particular file I chose to
test it on didn't have any metadata... d'oh.
Well, that's what I thought, anyway. Tried it with a track with
metadata and there's some other problem, and I've no idea so far
what it is, particularly since the test suite passes just
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