Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

May 30
Well, that's a bit crap. I'm usually signed into Google using my gmail account (as you'd expect), and I have my waider.ie account set up as an alternative email address. I got a Google calendar invite to the latter, so I clicked "Yes", only to have the calendars site tell me I'm signed in using the wrong account. So I signed out, signed back in using the waider.ie address instead, and got exactly the same error message. For bonus points, the .ics attachment fails to engage usefully with iCal (appears briefly in the calendar, then disappears again). And just as I was thinking that between them, Apple and Google might have made a useful set of calendar tools.

May 26
In the interests of A Java Project At Home I've been attempting to port my Perl RSS toy to Java. I've started with one of the adjunct tools (I'd call it user management if the toy properly supported more than me as a user), but this has led me to port Sajax to Java - mainly because it's an interesting exercise in programming, but also because the alternatives seem to involve Frameworks, and this isn't an enterprise application - it's an exercise in programming so I can learn a language I'm not sufficiently familiar with. The port isn't quite done yet, but the part I thought would be hard - essentially, matching JavaScript function calls to Java code - turned out to be one of the simpler pieces. Much harder has been figuring out what the hell the Perl code I'm working from actually does.

May 19
While checking the Luas website this morning I noticed they had a reference to a twitter feed with the username official_luas, so I thought I'd go look and see what was there. And I found an unregistered account; my initial thought was that they'd announced the account before registering it, but it transpires that they used have that account, and had only just renamed it to Luas, and neglected to re-register the old name. And, obviously, neglected to update their website fully (as of about 5pm it was still showing the wrong feed on the Travel Updates page). Anyway, nice guy that I am (ha ha ha, no really) I registered the account and pushed a dozen tweets into it on the current status of the Luas from their own site, from some other Twitter account, and from my own commute, and left a note to the effect that they could DM me to reclaim the account. Long story short, the account is now back in their hands. PR disaster avoided, etc.

The thing is, the official feed is useless. As I came home this evening, the feed basically said the same thing as the website, and completely failed to mention the fact that the entire city side of the Red Line was shut down for 20-30 minutes around 6 o'clock. This despite the fact that the Luas Control Centre was doing PA announcements every 5 minutes or so to keep people informed. Their current update is 5 hours old, and the most recent update to the travel status page says, "It is estimated that a full Red Line service Tallaght to The Point will resume around 8.45pm" - at 10pm. Did you meet your estimate? Is the service now running?

Dear Luas People, a small suggestion: allow the Control Centre access to publish to the status feed, and hook the status feed directly to the twitter account, and quit this messing around pretending it's a "social space". Make it useful and timely, otherwise there's little point in anyone actually subscribing to it. Me, I'm going back to what I did during the Snowpocalypse - twitter searches for #luas.

May 14
Happy Birthday, Dad!

May 13
Miss Potter is a bit of a chick flick, but it's fun.

May 11
Finished one of the most terrible books I've ever had the misfortune to purchase today. I've been reading it since last year, mainly out of a sort of bloodymindedness, and today I got to the last page - or at least the last one that mattered; the rest of the book was receipes, a thread through a family tree, a bibliography, some acknowledgements and a glossary. The truest words of the book were those at the end of the afterword:
Thank you for reading what I've written so poorly
(my emphasis, obviously).

A funny thing happened with this book, mind you. I've been reading Neal Stephenson and company's The Mongoliad, a speculative history set in the 1200's featuring Frederick the Holy Roman Emperor, various popes, and a gaggle of religious and quasi-religious orders of knights. And lo, in the middle of The Burghers (for that is the terrible book), the author decides to trace his lineage - a bit speculatively - back to a similar era. This description, which in itself encapsulates many of the features that make the book terrible - repetition and poor writing foremost among them - stars Frederick the Holy Roman Emperor, various popes, and several of the quasi-religious orders of knights mentioned in Mongoliad. An odd coincidence.

May 8
Fiddling with Eclipse again. Trying, in fact, to understand the bits of Maven that I want to use, and obstinately avoiding reading any actual documentation.

May 7
I was pretty impressed with Dreamgirls for the first half-hour or so, largely on account of the spectacular music, but once it got into full-swing musical mode ("let's sing this argument instead of speaking the lines") and the music changed from full-bore Aretha Franklin / James Brown hollering to more sorta easy-listening stuff (and ultimately disco), I got sufficiently bored with it that I started goofing around with the web. If musicals are your thing, I'm sure you'll enjoy this; it's just not for me.

May 1
The Ice Harvest was recommended to me a few years back, I recorded it over Christmas, and we finally got around to watching it last night. Can't say I was blown away by it, and John Cusack is one of those actors who I'd happily watch advertising cleaning products. There's probably a good rule of thumb that says a flashback sequence at the denouement indicates that either the movie is confused or the creators/backers think the audience is dumb, neither of which bodes well for the movie itself; in this case, I'm guessing the latter was the case, as I can't say the plot was particularly complex. There's a similar sort of vibe to Fargo or Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead, but this movie doesn't approach either in terms of quality. Not necessarily one to avoid, but it's hardly must-see movie-making, either.

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MAY! Let's RIOT!