Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 30
Another rewatch: Juno. It's better the second time around because you know that the snappy dialogue isn't all that the film has going for it.

December 29
After some minor restructuring and a lot of testing, the PTSB module in Finance::Bank::IE now sports 100% code coverage in testing. I've also knocked together some code to anonymise pages saved off the site so that they can be bundled as a test suite with the code. It's a bit ugly in places, but it's a start, and I intend to use it as a basis for refactoring the code into something a bit more structured. Ironically, three of the current tests don't actually work if you test against the live PTSB website, for handwavy reasons.

Possibly one of the most useful Cook's Aid websites I've ever stumbled across: The Cook's Thesaurus. I'm only sorry it's not an iPhone app for those times when you can't find that one thing when you're shopping and want to know what you can use instead.

It's been long enough since I read the book that I'm not sure if The 39 Steps took liberties with the story, although I do recall noting that the book lacked any sort of twist while this particular screen version comes with at least one and arguably more. I'm also not convinced that the love interest in the book was quite so strongly played up, and looking at plot notes from other versions of the film it seems that quite a few more significant changes were made somewhere along the line. But that's not to say that I didn't enjoy it - it's a decent piece of work.

We also started watching Time Bandits but, eh, I think you really need to be a complete Gilliam fanboy to watch this. Abandoned after about half an hour when it didn't seem like it was going to improve.

December 27
Linkfarm code appears to be exhibiting signs of senility, which may have something to do with my choice of storage mechanism (NDBM + Storable, last time I looked). I should probably look into that.

Rewatched a couple more movies: Die Hard 4 was one of them and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the other.

December 25
Can't quite recall what we watched in the post-Christmas-Dinner food coma, other than the Doctor Who special, which we'll be watching again in HD tomorrow since it's on our only HD channel then.

December 24
More RSS toy hacking, or rather hacking in support of the RSS toy. Some time back I'd made some small changes to my Fink installation to allow it to recognise that there's a good deal more installed in the native Perl than Fink currently declares, which in turn allowed me to work around the problem of Fink installing a version of libxml2 that Just. Doesn't. Work. Since then, I've upgraded Fink, which overwrote my changes, but I didn't notice because I tend to leave months go by without making significant changes to the RSS toy. Yesterday I discovered it was broken and rather than trying to fix the Perl 5.10.0 installation up, I figured I'd backtrack and use the Perl 5.8.8 distribution which Fink hauls around with it. Except that ran into some long-ago tweaking I'd done on an individual package to allow me to install XML::RSS... it took about an hour of poking to figure this out, in the course of which another toy got a minor update, but really I'm thinking it might be time to redo the RSS toy in Java, if only as a learning exercise for myself.

Yes, Java. I need to work with it for handwavy reasons anyway, and it's always better to have a project to play with.

Man. Every time I try doing something with Eclipse I wind up spending more time downloading and attempting to understand what's going on than I actually spend on the original task. This time around I thought I'd try out Maven, since I'm told it's a convenient way to handle external dependencies like, say, Hibernate; it installed as advertised, but the big shiny link it dropped on the splash page is a 404, and when I tried following the quickstart demo the build failed with a missing class and no indication of who's supposed to provide it. AWESOME STUFF, GUYS. It's almost as much fun as Gentoo.

December 23
Taking Woodstock is kinda fun, although it seems to have suffered at the hands of the critics for not showing more of Woodstock itself (to which I'd say, wasn't there some other movie you could have watched if that's what you wanted?). I can't say it's a must-watch, but I mostly enjoyed it.

I'm moving stuff around on the home network, so right now I have MySQL replication set up. Which is nice, as I'd been curious about how to do that.

Also tweaking some of the RSS toy internals, mainly because it's been spewing an error every half hour for the past, er, month or two because Certain People are not serving parsable RSS in their RSS feeds, and it's broken enough that my previous attempts to work around this failed.

December 22
Watched most of Enemy at the Gates and Armageddon on account of them being on TV. Both previously watched; the former is good albeit occasionally draggingly slow, and the latter is exactly what you'd expect from a blockbuster: things explode, people crack wise, and physics is abandonded as being no fun in these sorts of situations (Except Where Required By Plot).

December 19
Somehow, I'd never seen The Sting; not even excerpts. And it turns out that a little bit of hammy acting and an awful Irish accent aside, it's quite the excellent movie. Of course, as I said before, the problem with watching a con movie is that you suspect that everything is a con; for this movie, that doesn't quite pan out, but there's certainly a few things on the go aside from the obvious one. Watch this if you get the chance.

December 14
Got my AirPrint working last night. Printing from either iPhone, or the iPad. It's almost as if someone said, "hey, these things should Just Work" (no thanks to Stripey Fruit Computer Company that I had to download a third-party app to cause this to happen).

December 12
Christmas Shopping 2010: order gift online. Discover that vendor doesn't do gift wrap. Email recipient(s) to warn them not to open the box when it arrives. Repeat.

December 6
How very first-world. I have internet and cable TV and gas and hot water and central heating, but my cold water feed is on the blink.

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