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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

March 30
Wanted was actually a lot better than I was expecting, which is to say it's a reasonable action movie wherein ridiculous stunts and a flimsy plot combine to while away an hour and a half. Not worth running out to see, but not one to avoid, either.

March 29
It's hard to watch Casablanca without expecting the characters to ham up the classic lines like "Here's lookin' at you, kid"; you keep having to remind yourself that this is the source, this is where all these lines came from in the first place.

March 28
Quantum of Solace was pretty good. It's very much in the spirit of the first movie in several respects, most of them good. Bond is once more the star, not the gadgets; some more rough-and-ready parkour-style chases; an opening car-chase, a route also pursued (hah!) by the first Transporter movie; and on the downside, the hammering home of a message that didn't need to be hammered home - in this case, the mellowing of Bond in the face of reality. On the whole, worth seeing.

March 25
Happy Birthday, mom!

Spent a little bit of time tooling around with the contents of another Sony device that fails to store MP3s as, well, MP3s. Didn't do a whole lot with it, however.

March 22
More hacking (due to more on-call). Still poking at the moto4lin stuff, although more specifically the P2K interface. I have some ugly code which seems to work but is ugly, I have some clean(ish) code which doesn't work, and I have some completely other code that uses the clean code, and does work. I don't quite understand how this can be. I'm gradually figuring out what's stopping the clean code from working, however, and it seems at some point I need the OS X equivalent of libusb-on-Linux's "tell the kernel to stop talking to this device so I can interface with it directly" - which the ugly code mentioned above achieves using sudo kextunload, which is, well, ugly. For now, though, I'm trying to figure out why, when I get the phone into P2K mode, the test tool doesn't work, but the application (moto4lin) does.

Abandoned the geekery in favour of doing some much-needed domestic work. Ah, the glamourous life of the geek.

Bangkok Dangerous started out reasonably well, but went downhill around about the time they introduced the deaf girl as the love interest (who, although deaf and apparently unable to speak English, could understand Nic Cage perfectly well when he mouthed phrases at her) and ultimately wound up at a pretty abysmal ending. Don't bother with this, even if you're a fan of Cage.

Well, I was warned up front that Pride & Prejudice was a chick flick, but to be honest I found it quite enjoyable - there's a lot of humour in it, particularly in the characterisations of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Collins. I will note that I kept looking at MacFayden's Mr. Hardy and thinking, "yes, but he's not Colin Firth". And Keira Knightley appears to have been made for this sort of role.

March 21
On-call for the weekend, so since I'm stuck indoors I figured I'd hack a little. Some of my personal-use scripts have either fallen into disrepair or never really worked properly in the first place, so the first thing I did was to clean those up. All apparently working now, so my personal TV guide is back in action.

This weekend is the final weekend of the Six Nations tournament, which Ireland has been not exactly storming through but still winning all their games. First game of the day: France do a major stompy dance on Italy. Ouch.

Updated mailman.pl to cope with poorly-formatted UTF8; I believe SpamAssassin should do this, but it could be that my version is a bit out of date.

Revisiting an attempt to build Moto4Lin on MacOS, while watching England gradually give up their dominating lead over Scotland by conceding penalties. Which is how Scotland beat them the last time I watched the Calcutta Cup match. Unfortunately, it seems like that's their only hope of a comeback, as they keep losing elsewhere in the game.

And ultimately they lose. Finally, Ireland/Wales, the big one: slow start, brilliant post-break scores, then some silliness resulting in a comeback for Wales, ultimately costing us the lead with five minutes to go. A set-piece move at the Welsh end got us back in the lead with two minutes to spare. And a final cliffhanger: a Welsh penalty inside the Irish half with only seconds to go... and it fell short.

And that's how Ireland won their first Grand Slam in 61 years. HPLY SJOT, as the man said.

Rancid is a so-so thriller. It doesn't seem to have anything particularly wrong with it, but it also seems to be fairly by-the-numbers. Not a complete waste of time, but not one to rush out and rent, either.

March 17
Watched Stardust again; still excellent. I'm almost caught up on (re)watching things I've purchased at this point!

March 15
Watchmen: watch it. The only thing that didn't work for me was Snyder's reprise of the slow-motion-in-mid-action-sequence technique as used in 300; aside from that, I thought this was as good an interpretation of the graphic novel as could have been hoped for. The casting was bang on, and what really amazed me was how much of the original plot remained intact - there were a few discards along the way, and a few alterations to retained plot-points, but on the whole it was pretty much a straight lift from the original work. An absolute must-see, but be warned it's a little heavy on the gratutious gore in a couple of places...

March 10
Seabiscuit is ostensibly a movie about a horse, but it turns out to be a lot more than that besides. The fate of the horse in question was loosely paralleled by depression-era America, so it's probably a timely movie to be watching. It's pretty good, and definitely worth seeing.

March 9
Spent a little too much time arguing with Fink over the fact that I didn't want it to try downloading a file from a mirror... when you find yourself single-stepping through the code, it really is someone else's problem.

March 8
A Walk In The Clouds is a fairly undemanding romantic drama, and is really only a little bit spoiled by the somewhat unbelievable depiction of the disaster towards the end. Nothing earth-shaking, but a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

March 4
Despite the name, Scenes of a Sexual Nature is more about the dialogue than the scenery - it'd be more appropriately titled something like Conversations of a Sexual Nature. I couldn't really get into it, as nothing much was happening for the 90 or so minutes that it ran to. And it's one of those increasingly popular ensemble pieces, meaning there's a good dozen leading characters with storylines that you're constantly wondering about the relationship between, since that's how these things usually flow. Except I was sufficiently disinterested in the whole thing to not really care if the stories were interrelated or not.

Had to reboot my laptop on account of some software patches. When it came back, some of the stuff I'd spent time trying to figure out a while back with Perl libraries was broken again, revealing to me once more that I still haven't figured out how to cleanly integrate Fink into the system. Grr.

March 2
If you've not seen The Princess Bride, you're really missing out on a classic. If you have seen it, you'll understand why I watched it last night for the umpteenth time and still enjoyed it as much as the first time.

March 1
Stay: started off rubbish, went downhill a bit, and rose to mediocre before the end. On the whole, picking a less offensive MacGuffin might have improved this movie, but not by much.

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A-marchin' we will go