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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

August 30
Back from honeymoon. Nothing appears to have gone crazy in my absence (although my cable TV tuner was crashed when I returned, and crashed again after about an hour of being on).


August 18
Got married.

August 17
Finally got a semblance of a VPN working, in the end using good old PPP-over-ssh. Funnily enough, this works fairly well without DNS as the stuff I'd otherwise want DNS for - fileshares from the server in the house - operates quite happily using mDNS. The setup is hokey and the current connection speed is dog-slow, but it's working.


August 12
I'm sure there's a reason I'm still with Vodafone, but it's got nothing to do with their customer service. I tried phoning at 8pm on Friday to get a new SIM activated, and despite their website's claims that Billpay support is a 24x7x365 operation, the call first seemed to be ringing out, and then eventually connected to an IVR which asked for my Vodafone phone number, which it then decided wasn't a Vodafone number at all, and then disconnected me saying I had made too many invalid choices (accurate, perhaps, given that "staying with Vodafone" is one of those choices.)

The Adjustment Bureau is a whole lot of fun. There's a bit of "leave your brain at the door", but not a lot, and some of the dialogue and action was sufficient to make me laugh out loud (literally, rather than, you know, just going "LOL"). I can't find anything negative to say about it - maybe the last reel was a bit flatter than it could have been, but I couldn't possibly suggest how to improve it short of ditching the Hollywood ending for something darker. Which would jar against the tone of the rest of the movie. Go see.

All this talk in the UK about banning people from Social Media to prevent rioting is nonsense, but this is a particularly interesting comment from Cameron:
[...]rioters were using the BlackBerry Messenger service, a closed network[...]
(my emphasis, quote taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/aug/11/david-cameron-rioters-social-media) which raises all sorts of questions about what he was thinking or talking about. Is a text message not similarly closed (*cough* Echelon *cough*)? What about a landline phonecall? What about an instant message using, say, an opportunistic encryption plug-in (such as is available by default in Adium and Pidgin)? Is he arguing that all conversations should be open, just in case a riot is being planned?

Mainly, I think it shows that he hasn't a clue what he's on about, but there are ... implications.

August 10
Trying to get my VPN setup working again. I'm pretty sure I used have a PPTP setup that worked, but that may have been when I had a server connected directly to the Internet rather than sitting behind a NAT device. Right now, it looks like the GRE portion of the PPTP conversation is being filtered, and the IPSec stuff looks like a complete non-starter. If only I wrote this stuff down somewhere...

(Let us ignore, for now, the fact that PPTP exists in MacOS X Lion, but is hidden away in the command line interface (serveradmin) and somehow picked up a long-departed DNS server as the one it wants to offer to any clients that happen by.)

August 7
Paul is fairly typical Simon Pegg material; comedy, a bit of action, and the occasionally surprising bit of serious gore. It's a bit slow to get going, but on the whole it gradually reels you in until you're absolutely glued to it. Worth a look.

I see "Verified by Visa" now appears to be pretty much mandatory. What a fetid pile of crap. This was noted while dealing with Vodafone's website, which also continues to be a fetid pile of crap (their "webmail" suggests that you use "the latest version of Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 6"), so I suppose it's appropriate.


August 6
Rebuild the chroot environment for my CVS server. Because I refuse to let go of this creaky technology.

August 5
The Long Good Friday is, I guess, what a gangster movie used be before the likes of Lock, Stock broke the mould. It's an odd sort of movie for a gangster movie, however; while it's got the requisite (and somewhat dated-looking) violence, it's also focussed a lot more on the characters, particularly Bob Hoskins', than it is on the action. It occurred to me while I was watching it that a key difference between a film made in 1980 and a similar one made more recently is that the older films have no compunction about including scenes where nothing seems to happen, not even a minor plot advance - case in point, the first scene where the chaffeur (Eric?) is shown outside the church. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I think more modern movies drop all of this stuff, and yet still typically run a minimum of 30 minutes longer.

Hmm, if I keep that up I'll sound like a grumpy old fart talking about how things were in my day... anyway. This is an interesting piece of work, but I'm not sure I'd rate it a must-watch. Oh, and the "distinctive" theme music is like the theme from a bad TV show. Ick.

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