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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 24
Beloved: make it stop, make it stop, make it stop. Awful. Went on too long, was incoherent, and I don't care how many people on IMDb say that it was a "difficult book" or that reading the book would somehow help, that totally misses the point. If a movie can't stand on its own it's just not good enough, and this movie can't even lie down on its own, it needs help to do that much. A new contender for Worst Movie I've Ever Seen.

July 21
Down In The Valley: a slow-burning movie that doesn't seem to start until it's almost over. Storywise it's sort of like Cape Fear, but with more delusion than menace. Not convinced I'd recommend this, really.

July 16
You never realise quite how many rude bits are in a movie like Jersey Girl until you watch it with your beloved's mother... it's a great movie, though. I don't care what the critics had to say.

July 15
So I asked, and she said, "yes". Whee!

July 13
Amelia is a fairly straightforward movie about Amelia Earheart, with very little outside the celibrity points of her life: transatlantic trips (as captain and as pilot), marriage, a possible affair, product placements, and her final flight. Nothing particularly outstanding, and nothing particularly bad.

July 12
Well, I kinda got it working, and kinda not. Handbrake ripped a file called DVD_chapter_01, and... filled it with the entire contents of the DVD before proceeding to do the same with DVD_chapter_02. D'oh. The problem, as noted, is with the encapsulation being used in the code, and I'm faced with either figuring out how it's all working (and why my attempts to modify it are being ignored), or making massive changes at a much lower level; the latter would have the side-effect of being applicable across Windows, Linux and MacOS since it's in the shared code section, but part of me wants to know why it is that the higher-level code isn't also shared since it's effectively system-agnostic stuff.

July 11
Spent an interesting hour trying to bodge support for splitting a DVD into files by chapter into Handbrake (MacOS version, natch) which is complicated by three things: I don't know the codebase, I don't know Objective C, and I'm not entirely convinced of how the encapsulation works in the codebase. But, I've got something working, I just need to see if it's what I thought it was. Which requires waiting for it to get on with the job.

July 10
Finally got around to watching The Wizard of Speed and Time, which I've had for ages... it's quirky as hell, but the animation is awesome.

Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure is a Kevin Spacey-narrated 40-minute summary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's failed attempt to walk across Antarctica and the subsequent almost unbelievable escape he and his entire crew made from the polar region. It's been trimmed somewhat from the version I read in Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage to the Antarctic; missing details like the guy who lost his foot to frostbite, and what happened to all those nice doggies they brought with them, but on the other hand there's only so much you can fit into 40 minutes and the story is, quite frankly, amazing. I can't say I'd recommend this if you're actually interested in the expedition, but if you've never heard of it this is probably as good a place to start as any.

July 8
For handwavy reasons the physical location of this site is changing in the near future. Assuming we do everything right, the site shouldn't actually be affected, but you know how these things work... if the site vanishes or my email bounces, I'm at a very guessable GMail address.

The Notebook is another fine example of my assertion that it's okay to do a completely predictable story if the delivery is good. I really enjoyed this, despite knowing pretty much how it would all work out.

July 3
I am going back and forth on Fink's benefits. On one hand it's handy to just be able to randomly install some Linux-ish package and have it "just work"; on the other hand, the things that don't just work, at least for me, generally tend not to work because of some fundamental failure in Fink itself, and not the packaging or dependencies or whatever. I should probably at least offer a patch that I'd cobbled together to address some system-provided dependencies that were missing from a recent release, which I patched, and then lost the patch due to an upgrade to a more recent release. (Oh boy, that's a bit of a run-on sentence. Did you follow all that?)

Anyway, all that was brought on by trying to verify that I'd not made any syntax errors in updating the "fetch" part of the RSS toy; it now sends ONE email when a feed is broken, and keeps a log of the error in the database. Handy for when someone's RSS feed is broken over a weekend and I'm getting reminded of the fact every half hour.

The Invention of Lying is, as one reviewer put it, a good idea in search of a script. I don't like Ricky Gervais' humour to start with (or at least, I was never a fan of The Office), but I'd been told this was actually pretty good. It's not. It doesn't even have a consistent idea (ostensibly, the movie's world has no concept of lying, but in reality, it's a combination of that and people spontaneously saying exactly what's on their mind, but only when it would be "comical" to do so) and really it just winds up with being a poor repetition of the same extended gag coupled to a simplistic why-can't-people-see-past-the-surface plot. This could have been so much more (think Jim Carrey in Liar Liar, except that instead of being only able to tell the truth, the hero is the only one able to tell a lie), but ultimately it's a waste of 90 minutes.

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Ah, the rain again.