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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

April 30
Beowolf was fun, nicely trashy, and I really couldn't care less if it messes about with the epic on which it's based. The motion-capture characters are mostly believable, with one or two exceptions (usually where liquids are involved) and the director takes full advantage of the fact that he's using virtual cameras with no physical constraints. Definitely worth seeing.

April 29
Plans: watch dvd, nerd. Reality: office drinks. D'oh!

April 28
While I'm releasing code... again, there's more work to do, but I figure the bugs I've fixed are worth getting out there, so I present: librvp 0.9.7. Thanks to Petr Vorel for finding the bug (essentially, character encoding completely failed to work with certain characters) and testing the fixes.

While working on this, I found what may be a buffer overflow in Microsoft's IM Client, but it doesn't appear, on the face of it, to be exploitable. It's annoying, though, as I was feeding it network traces that Petr had sent me and I'd kinda expected it would be able to handle those, since they were sent by a real Exchange IM server, as opposed to the crappy piece of Perl I use as my test rig...

My attempts to remove some of the excess hardware from my cave suffered a slight setback today; in my defense, it is possible that this will replace an aging, noisy piece of crud sitting in the cabinet behind the TV.

Another idea for the ideas bucket: I've been watching the TED talks for the last two weeks, and it occurs to me that what they really need is some sort of hyperinteractive version of the video feeds - so that when someone mentions a website, for example, there's a link somewhere below the video clip that you can follow immediately (maybe pausing the video while you do so, or maybe stashing the link for later viewing). I see from the TED blog that they're also transcribing these; what if the transcripts could be viewed as a subtitle feed, with significant things hotlinked to Wikipedia, websites, etc.? As with whatever crazy idea I previously mentioned, I'm putting this here in case someone else thinks it's a good enough idea to run with, or in case I get a sudden dose of free time and none of the incomplete projects lying around my network are of sufficient interest to me. I should probably collect these together in one place, come to think of it.

April 27
Fiddling around with the FC8 install some more.

Lou called around, being in the area for fencing practice (pointy stick version, as opposed to picket).

Finance::Bank::IE 0.11 has been uploaded. I had a few more things to do to it, but figured I'd do better to get the fixes out first.


April 26
MBNA have made some layout changes, so I have updated my Finance::Bank::IE Perl modules to cope. I'll roll out a new release later today with the changes, which will also include the trivial fix for Bank Of Ireland's reworing mentioned some time back.

Built a Fedora 8 box on one of the laptops; Fedora Core 6 support stopped back in December, and I really should upgrade anything I have that's using it, but I need a development environment first to rebuild all the RPMs I'd build for FC6.

Finally booted Linux on the Palm. Holy crap. It's awful. First, it's slooooooow, second, I had to manually set the date/time, and third, none of the built-in apps did the obvious thing - my existing data for e.g. the addressbook was unavailable. Well, cross that off the to-do list, I guess.

April 25
Again with the work leaking into playtime. Tomorrow I hope to have some off time, despite being the On-Call guy for the weekend.

April 24
Work overran into playtime somewhat.

April 23
Tweaked my "latest media" script since it appeared to be having trouble with my current reading material.

April 22
Well, I was expecting Miranda and instead I wound up with Miranda... the former may be a reasonable movie starring Christina Ricci (which I'm assuming is why I'd added it to my wishlist) but the latter is an awful piece of rubbish which is pretty much entirely the fault of Tinto Brass. The fact that it's poorly dubbed from - I presume - the original Italian only makes it worse, but really, it didn't exactly have much going for it to start with. Avoid like the plague.

However, The Last Remake Of Beau Geste was on TV, which made up for the crap DVD... an excellent piece of work, only a pity it's not been converted to DVD itself.

April 21
Phone: back. I had to get a new SIM card, which means currently I've no idea who all these people sending me text messages are... I jest. But not entirely. I used know peoples' phone numbers, now I just know how to find the phonebook on my phone. I'll transfer the numbers off the old SIM card tomorrow, or just start updating the new SIM card as people get in touch - good way of cleaning out the card, I guess.

April 20
Back to Dublin. Tried the SIM in a few other phones, and they won't even start up. So props to Motorola for their awesome coping-with-dubious-SIM technology, but I still have an effectively dead phone.


April 19
The Stag Party. Kart racing, chinese food, beer. Also a dead phone. When I last saw him, the stag was a good deal more sober than some of the people who had done their best to give him alcohol poisoning.

Let me expand on the dead phone: this time, it looks like the SIM card has died. Except, it's only died in such a way as to not allow me to connect to Vodafone's network - I can still, for example, unlock the SIM card, and retrieve my phone numbers, and all that. This happened spontaneously between 2:30pm and 5pm, while the phone was sitting in my car doing pretty much nothing. I suspect a phonecall to my favourite telco will be in order.

April 18
Off to Limerick for a stag party.

April 17
Transformers is pretty much exactly what you'd expect: chewing gum for the brain with about as much depth as a summer puddle. Fun, though. And the transformations from vehicle to robot are pretty neat, even though their appearance in TV adverts for cars preceded the movie by quite an amount of time.

April 16
Gym night. Three messages waiting on my gym login: one congratulating me on reaching 15,000 "fit points" (happened, er, about a week or more ago); one birthday greeting (only 5 days late, and I have been to the gym in the intervening time), and one "Go you!" similar to the one I got back in January. And, for the record, after several months the machines with the broken telemetry still have broken telemetry.

April 15
Faced with a choice of "Go home, nerd somewhat, then watch a movie" and "hang out with workpeeps for a few drinks", well, whiskey tasting and tsingtao beer it was. Urp.

April 14
Excellent. It seems I've fixed the character-coding bug and the oddball inexplicable library bug that one guy had encountered in RVP. I am much amused by the fact that I have successfully written code for a Debian Linux installation using a Macintosh to talk to a rough clone of a Microsoft service running on a Red Hat Linux box.

Updated code will be available soonish; I want to see if I can square away the other bugs that were reported, plus I had a few things on the to-do list that I might actually get around to completing.

April 13
Another RVP bug appeared out of the woodwork this week, and I've been both unable to reproduce it and unable to figure out how it might actually be happening. Weird how the code sits effectively untouched for a few months and then I get three bug reports in rapid succession.


April 12
Mostly a lazy day aside from a trip to the gym. Caught up with a few of the guys in town for beers later on..

April 11
Lazy day - took a day off work, and lounged around the house looking out the window at the crap weather. Poked at the RVP stuff a little, but not much. Also rewatched Lucky Number Slevin which I picked up in a sale last week. It really is an excellent piece of work. Just when you think it's too slick and not really going anywhere, whoosh, the whole thing does a 180-degree flip and you're staring at the screen slack-jawed for the next ten minutes. Well worth seeing.

Also, obviously, happy birthday to, er, me.

April 10
Continued poking at the RVP stuff; my bug-testing acquaintance encountered a rather bizarre problem which, while I can work around it, is a bit of a headscratcher. Annoyingly, it's not actually related to the bug I was trying to fix.

April 9
As possibly hinted at previously, part of making AFS work is making Kerberos work. For some reason I was convinced I'd gotten that part right but on prodding it this evening I discovered that whatever about my other hardware, the Mac wasn't set up correctly. After some poking around and looking at logs I didn't wholly understand, I managed to get it working; I know the MIT guys are really smart, but the Kerberos admin tool doesn't even have any sort of command-line completion built into it - it's an absolute pain to use.

Also, here's Apple's doc on integrating Kerberos with your regular login. By editing files. How uncouth! Although it doesn't appear to apply to my OS X 10.5 install...

April 8
Note to self: before giving someone else code to test, make sure it builds first... I forgot to include a file in the RVP distribution, so my bug-reporting contact was unable to test. D'oh.

April 7
Little by little... due to a software update at the weekend, the Mac got rebooted, so now the AFS stuff is fully installed. And after some tweaking (and installing a control panel, sorry, preferences pane) I have managed to connect to my AFS server. So now I need to go back to the documentation and figure out (a) how to set up a user directory on this damned thing and (b) if my plan for this - disconnected and connected access to the fileshare - is actually going to work. There's a pretty good chance that by the time I get that far, the server's hardware will have succumbed to bit-rot or something.

April 6
Ruadhrí and Marina's daughter was christened today, so that had me out of the house for most of the afternoon. Since I came home I've mainly just been poking at random crap on the web. I will be bundling up the new RVP code for testing, however.


April 5
After much fidgetting (including missing a very obvious bug), I think I've managed to sort out the RVP encoding problem flagged to me last month. Now to clean up the debug code a bit and ask the bug reporter to test the fix.

After two earlier attempts - watching movies after a certain point on the clock isn't always a good idea - I finally rewatched the rest of The Maltese Falcon. As Bogie movies go, it's nowhere near as good as Casablanca or The Big Sleep; in particular, there's a lot of really poor acting and a few dubious cuts, but it's not terrible.

April 4
Had a day off work today, so rather than sit at home tooling with the laptop I wandered around town. Stopped by the pub on the way home, messed around with the Palm Pilot while there, and that's about the extent of computing I got up to yesterday...

April 3
American Gangster: a little bit of Scarface, a little bit of GoodFellas, and a little bit of Blow. Actually pretty damned good, and definitely worth seeing.

April 2
Slowly continuing to tip away at the AFS stuff... installed the Mac client tonight, but it wants me to restart my machine to finish the install. What is this, Windows?

April 1
Still haven't managed to get the RVP encoding quite right. Docs would be great, but then this is Microsoft we're talking about, and legend has it that the only real docs for their SMB protocol are the various implementations.

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Waider
Fooled ya!