Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

February 28
Attempting to haul the remainder of the Finance::Bank::IE into the test framework I've set up. I'm trying to minimize the 'API' changes (as much as there's anything you could consider an API) but I'm also trying to standardise how these modules behave somewhat. Really, I'd like to just make the whole thing more properly object-oriented, but the standard for Finance::Bank objects, such as it is, is a bunch of static class functions instead. I may change this for my own branch of the tree, perhaps as an example of how I think it should be done.

Ha. Bank Of Ireland have also done a minor update: they've used their Phishing page to advertise their new deposit account. Lovely.

Mildly disappointed to discover my new domain registrar doesn't support slaving zones off external servers - it's not a big deal, but it was nice to have a master server that I had full control over. Still, their customer service responded within an hour, as opposed to my previous registrar, whose customer service email was discontinued at some point, and a message I sent in November was auto-replied to (to tell me that the email support had been discontinued) in February. Good riddance, you suckweasels.

February 27
MBNA seems to have, once again, made a cosmetic tweak which breaks the Finance::Bank::IE::MBNA module. Since I was doing some restructuring in this space I may not have a quick fix, so if you use this code: find the bit that matches 'current balance' and replace it with 'outstanding balance'.

I finally finished reading Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and I stand by what I said previously (and repeatedly, to anyone who'd listen): it's a terrible piece of writing. The essence of the book is recapitulated in the last chapter, and frankly that alone would probably suffice for someone casually wondering what it was that Darwin was actually on about. The depth of research and thought behind the book is impressive, and the general outline - pitching difficulties at his own theory and then explaining how it withstands them - is all good, but it's the specific form that all this takes that's the killer. I feel like reading a bunch of trashy, lightweight novels just to clear my mental palate.

February 26
Seems like the proxy issues may actually have been some latent weirdness on an overloaded Mac, but I remain suspicious.

Beat The Devil completely failed to hold my attention. I watched enough of it to get the story, but I was reading something else at the same time. Mainly I got this to see Bogey at work, and, well, he was good, but not good enough to save the film. About the only thing that did catch my attention was a very modern-looking camera-following-protagonist scene early on, which must've been done with some clever dolly and focus-pulling work as I can't see someone attempting that sort of shooting without a steadicam rig or a lightweight camera.

February 25
Get out and vote! You don't need a polling card, you just need to be registered, and if you don't vote, you have no right to complain about your democratically elected government.

Somehow I had never seen Star Trek: Insurrection. A fun movie, filled with the sort of self-aware humour that, I think, was something of a hallmark of the TNG movies, and it works nicely here. A little heavy-handed with the parallels to Earth History™ at times, but for the most part a good story, well captured.

February 23
Apache as proxy isn't entirely as transparent as I'd expected it would be, to the extent that I think I'm going to switch it off. I get occasional redirect errors from LiveJournal, and Instapaper is giving me a never-ending "Saving Page..." message, and I'm pretty sure the only thing that's changed is the proxy setup.

Also, it'd be nice if Safari had the option to start up with all tabs from the previous session reopened. If it has such an option, I can't see it.

February 22
I've seen the discussion before on how you can't easily / reliably / consistently transliterate Arabic names into English, but right now I'm looking at a list of Gaddafi (BBC, RTÉ), Kadhafi (RTÉ) and Gadafy (Irish Times), and recalling vaguely a period in the past where someone was using Qadaffi or similar, and I'm thinking it'd be nice if these various sources could agree on a uniform transliteration per well-known person. At least, RTÉ, you could pick one and stick with it. (First World Problem, I know)

February 20
After all the SourceForge fun and games, the Fink CVS repo has returned to service, but fink selfupdate-cvs bombs out with an error (it's trying to find fink.cvs.sourceforge.net, which doesn't exist) and the fink update-all is currently bombing with an error about being unable to find system-dev-java or some such. Grr.

I had the ... fortune to play with Windows 7's restore-from-backup functionality today. It's strange fiddling with something like that after using the Mac's Time Machine: Windows gives you a powerful, hands-on interface to the backed-up files, and can restore in place, and all that. And yet... it doesn't need to be that complex. Time Machine is typical of the Mac/Windows split that makes Mac users so damned smug: It Just Works, and more to the point, you don't need to think about it to use it.

February 16
Now that it all seems to be operating sanely, I've shut down the local mysql daemon on the Cube. I've also moved proxying off it to the Mac Mini.

February 10
Well, that was slightly unexpected: switching off SSL on the database connection solves the problem. Somehow I was under the impression that SSL was mandatory when talking to RDS; evidently not.

February 9
My shiny new database connection isn't quite right yet: the server where this stuff runs in the real world (as opposed to on my home network) doesn't seem to be making SSL connections, even though the command-line mysql client is happy to do so. Some issue with the Perl DBD::mysql version, I suppose.

February 8
Over the past two evenings I've moved, with very little effort, the RSS toy off the MySQL replicated setup I'd constructed at home and into RDS, Amazon's "MySQL-in-the-cloud" offering. The fact that the latter is essentially MySQL with a shiny front-end has made it fairly simple, although I've still got to figure out exactly what I'm doing with access control and there were a few hiccups as I fiddled with user accounts and what can and can't be left in a database dump (short answer: you don't have SYSTEM privileges, even with your root account, so anything that requires same won't fly - as best I can tell).

It looks like it's made the whole thing significantly faster, too. Neat.

Movie re-watch: When Brendan Met Trudy. This really is such a fantastic piece of work, especially if you consider yourself even remotely a film buff. I've seen a good few of what it references, but strangely enough very little John Wayne. Anyway, if you see this coming your way, watch it.

February 2
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency turns out, in the end, to be slightly more violent than Adams' creation which is why, I think, I couldn't figure out the whole plot before the reveal; that quibble aside, I think the tone was perfect and I'd definitely like to see more of this.

February 1
La Dolce Vita, is, I'm sure, some sort of classic, but personally I found it to be a long, rambling movie with no real point or story.

previous month | current month | next month

Woah. Where did January go?