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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 19
I'm recharging. Updates will be intermittent or possibly not happening for the next while.

July 18
Another plan-vs-reality day: not only did things in the office not pan out as I'd intended, I also wound up passing up on the gym in favour of "a beer" with some coworkers (why does it take so long to find the beer you were looking for?) and on top of all that I left my phone at home - which had a half-dozen text messages on it when I finally did stagger in the door. D'oh.

July 17
I came across some C code some time back that's so badly written, I've use it as part of a spot-the-errors interview question. I made a brief attempt to clean up some of the more egregious bugs this evening; it compiles to a command-line tool for mucking with parts of my phone that I can't otherwise get at, and I've used it in the past to (for example) upload a certificate to my phone such that it can connect securely to my webserver. The code, well, it's horrific. I cleaned up about two thirds of the warnings produced by simply compiling it, and that made it at least run in some fashion, but as soon as I tried to download a file off the phone it crashed. Needs more work, I guess.

July 16
I thought the Nicholas Negroponte presentation on my TED talks podcast was going to be another round of OLPC coverage, but it's actually from 1984 and concerned with things like touchscreen interfaces and computer-assisted learning. It's particularly interesting to see a hypertext-like multimedia system that predates the popular web by a decade, and also to see Nicholas talking about the engineering impossibilities of a touchscreen - the latter is particularly amusing given the more recent multitouch demos at TED.

July 15
Yet more fruitless BoI debugging. I switched off keep-alives and image-loading on Firefox, and it still works, so that means there's no magic image which makes the thing work and it's not down to the presence of a Connection: header. In the mean time they've updated their DNS such that the Safari-friendly site is no longer a bare IP address, so I can simply point Safari (and the Perl code) at that. Since that's functional, I'm going to release a patched version of the code to CPAN with the fix until such time as either I or the bank figures out what's going on. Version 0.13 uploaded as of about five minutes ago...

Also, because I can:
PING ipv6.google.com(2001:4860:0:1001::68) 56 data bytes
64 bytes from 2001:4860:0:1001::68: icmp_seq=1 ttl=60 time=83.2 ms
64 bytes from 2001:4860:0:1001::68: icmp_seq=2 ttl=60 time=80.9 ms
Yes indeedy, I apparently have successfully set up IPv6 connectivity via a 6to4 tunnel. w00t, as the cool kids say.

July 14
More time spent trying to figure out what's up with BoI's site makeover that it won't work with Safari: more blanks drawn. It's rather annoying, it is.

July 13
Some minor tooling around with old cellphones today, but mainly resting after yesterday's exertions.


July 12
5 miles in the Phoenix Park in just under 33 minutes, despite rain, wind and cold. Hurrah!

July 11
Rise: Blood Hunter is even worse than I was told it was. There's nothing good I can say about it, at all. Avoid.

Congrats to the little sister and the brother-in-law who are now the proud parents of a little baby girl.

July 10
So, I was disappointed that nothing exploded in National Treasure: Book of Secrets, but aside from that it was pretty much what I expected - brainless fun with some pretty neat stunts thrown in. I didn't quite expect the plot line for Ed Harris' character towards the end, mind you. And by "didn't quite expect" I mean "felt the heavy hand of Disney and/or Focus Groups in" or perhaps "was quite disappointed by". There's a fairly obvious sequel (trequel? triquel?) setup, too, but that's ok. I'd happily watch another one of these.

July 9
My cellphone reception at home has gotten worse recently. I am suspecting the current crappy atmospheric conditions may have something to do with it, but it's really annoying because it has resulted, a few times, in me sending a message at a reasonable hour, not noticing that the reception dropped out while I was trying to send it, and the phone then actually sending the message at some slightly less reasonable hour when there's a brief recovery in the network coverage. It's tempting to set something up that samples signal strength every minute or so over a period of time to see how bad it gets.

July 8
More SMS frobbing. Added yet another bloody script to the pile I already have. Still, I think I've mostly managed to clean up the backlog of, well, mess that I've been accumulating since, oh, about January...

July 7
Spent about an hour trying to puzzle out the BoI website weirdness. I've now hacked the relevant Perl modules to present the login sequence exactly as a working Firefox session does, and it still fails. So that discounts formatting issues, browser detection via headers, javascript sneakiness, etc. The only remaining avenues for exploration are random timeouts and emulating a browser session completely by pulling all the images and scripts each page refers to. Which positively fills me with joy.

July 6
Continuing my obsessive attempts to archive SMS messages... at this point I have at least a half-dozen scripts to do much the same thing, because I keep adding bits and then eventually scrapping the lot because it's gotten out of hand. The problem is actually due to the fact that nobody seems to bother with the finer details of SMS as stored on the phone: sent messages aren't tagged with a timestamp, timezones are never set, etc. So the current mess attempts to correlate the messages with no timestamps with my bill, which I then have to manually verify. Just think what I could be doing with that spare time or brain capacity if I wasn't dedicating myself to this silliness!

More shopping and pursuit of health today.


July 5
Busy day: recycling, shopping, gym, getting rained on... The Long Goodbye was on, so I figured I'd watch it, having been talking to Ruadhrí about Raymond Chandler recently. It wasn't great. The picture quality was rough, the sound was awful (as in the mix, as opposed to the specific copy they were broadcasting) and about the only thing that really caught my attention was the clever use of the theme music throughout, particularly the way it continued from scene to scene - changing format from score to song and back again along the way. Clever, but not enough to save the movie from mediocrity.

July 4
Didn't much like No Country For Old Men. It's too long, it goes nowhere, it doesn't appear to have a point. There was one minor source of amusement: there's a character in it named Ellis who, when he finally shows up, looks not unlike Warren Ellis. I've no idea if this is deliberate or merely coincidental.

July 3
I was starting to think that Run, Fatboy, Run was another one of those "cringing is funny" English movies that I don't find funny in the least, but it just got better and better until by the time they got to the actual race I was practically cheering for the main character. Excellent piece of work, if a bit slow to get started; definitely one to see.

July 2
Booked some time off work for later this month. No idea where I'm going (if anywhere) or what I'm doing other than Not Working.

Keeping the Perl stuff for talking to financial institutions running is like playing whack-a-mole. I sent an email to BoI customer service about the fact that Safari can't talk to their site, and got an acknowledgement that this is the case, but in the meantime my MBNA perl code has stopped working on account of a change on the MBNA site. The fix is handy enough - the login form's name has changed - but it's annoying to have to keep doing this.

July 1
Seems it's just as well I didn't go to the gym last night, as I was pretty knackered half-way through tonight's session - I'd probably have keeled over 24 hours ago, I suspect. No idea why, though. It's not like I've been up late or anything.

I'm cleaning down some accounts on things I never really used, hence the vanished last.fm widget on the left side of the website.

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Waider
OH good. More rain.