Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

February 26
Accidentally deleted a bunch of files. Restored them from backup. Contained within the tree was a Dropbox folder, which is now attempting to deal with something like 2,000 files which "changed". Also not sure of the wisdom of restoring a backup of a dropbox folder, but we shall see.

February 25
Apparently some people didn't like that Love and Other Drugs had a happy ending. Obviously, they weren't paying attention to the advice the male lead gets from the older guy at the convention. This is a decent movie, with some great dialogue and a nice bit of heart to it.

(Also, you essentially get three choices for how a movie like this ends: the happy ending, the sad ending, and the ambiguous ending. None of these will please the critics, and both the sad and the ambiguous endings will often tick off a lot of your potential audience, too.)

Captain America: The First Avenger pretty much rocked from start to finish. Not a whole lot more to say about this. Don't forget, there's a scene after the credits (mainly a plug for the next movie in the franchise, but stick around for it anyway).

February 19
Jon Rosenberg (he of Goats fame) notes that he has to send a fax. It really is bizarre that somehow, scanning a piece of paper with your signature on it in low resolution and sending it over a low-grade connection-oriented transmission medium is somehow more authentic than, say, emailing a document with a scanned version of your signature pasted onto it. Even a bitmap of a document with your scanned signature, for those concerned that the document and the signature might be somehow separated.

I installed Apple's shiny new messenger toy and transferred most of my accounts to it; the only one that can't move is my even-more-seldomly-used-than-the-rest MSN account, for which iChatMessages doesn't have support. I did a quick look around to see what's on offer, and the first thing I looked at wanted to reboot my machine as part of the install, so I didn't bother. I have mixed feelings about switching from Adium to a closed-source vendor application; on one hand, closed-source vendor application with no support for MSN. On the other hand, most of what I've recently done with instant messaging on the Mac has been blocking spammers. Arguably I should just switch the damned thing off.

Doing a little more noodling around with the RSS toy. Nothing of consequence, and it's really effort I should be putting into my Learning Java Through Porting Perl project.

February 16
The Guard is fecking brilliant. That is all.

February 11
While looking at coverage tools for Perl I noticed PerlySense, which declares itself to be a "Perl IDE backend with Emacs frontend". It's one of those things that triggers a cascade of module installations, some of which required a bit of help to install, but eventually I had all the pieces in place and tried to get the Emacs integration sorted.

Emacs on a Mac runs with your default shell environment, i.e. anything you set in your .bashrc or .bash_profile doesn't get included. This includes my custom PATH and PERL5LIB settings. Since this is something that has occasionally bugged me before, I did this:
   (if (not (string-match "=" envstring))
       () ;; there's a stray empty string in here
(setenv (substring envstring 0 (string-match "=" envstring)) (substring envstring (+ 1 (string-match "=" envstring)))))) (split-string (shell-command-to-string "/bin/bash --login -c env") "[\r\n]+"))
which is a bit unpleasant but does the job. So now I could add the following:
(setq ps/external-dir (shell-command-to-string
                       "perly_sense external_dir"))
and expect it to actually work. Which it did.

However, the next chunk of integration, which loads the perlysense elisp files, failed, because... one of the files is missing a close-parenthesis. You know, the sort of error you'd find if you ran what you distributed (or, as is the hip phrase, "ate your own dogfood"). Once I'd figured that out, I ran into a problem with Flymake, which for some reason wasn't able to make use of my newly augmented shell environment, and once I'd fixed that I got another Flymake error indicating, approximately, "something is broken, I'm not telling you what, and I refuse to function".

So that's a waste of half an hour, and now I have a bunch of crap modules sitting in my dev environment - after all these years, you still can't uninstall modules via the CPAN tool.

February 8
Some more work on the PTSB stuff: it's back passing tests now, and the page-scrubbing code is a bit cleaner. I had hoped to use XML::XPath to handle some of it (since it's the ideal tool for the job) but a trivial test script keeled over with an error that indicated it was trying to fetch a DTD off the web, which isn't something I'd like my code to be doing casually, so I opted in favour of some vague contextual substitution. But at least it's using a HTML parser rather than a mess of regular expressions... now to see if I can get transfers working again.

Oh. Just noticed that BoI have had another makeover, which means the code for that isn't working. Awesome.

My Mac server stopped notifying me of new mail via push a few weeks back. I was mildly annoyed, but not enough to dig into it too far. I did find a solution this week, though, and I've posted it to a thread on the topic at Apple's forums - checking & updating your notification certificates on OS/X Server.

BoI: the new site is (mostly) nicer to parse, but it's still got its irritations: what is with, for example, leaving a hidden input out of a form, and requiring some javascript to insert it and submit the form? Anyway, balance check is back in action for the BoI site, modulo fixing the tests.

February 7
I'm at home for two days as we're having some work done on the house. Having given up on Cat Physics, I've turned to my somewhat neglected PTSB code and gotten the "list beneficiaries" bit working again. Funds transfer is still broken, however.

February 6
Cleaning spree resulted in briefly breaking the RSS toy. D'oh.

BT: credit may be forthcoming for the mishandled cancellation, but I am assured there are no guarantees that this will be the case.

I have been populating my Linked-In network, and it would appear that contacts from there are showing up in my chat client, presumably via federation with GTalk. Interesting.

February 5
Cleaning... of a virtual sort. Scrubbing assorted crap out of the various computing devices, mainly. Also a little bit of transferring assorted scribbled notes into files so I can discard the scribbled notes, and then maybe delete the files once I'm sure they're no longer of use. Apparently computers boost productivity somehow.

February 3
BT: the saga continues. I am told that they can't find my cancellation, and therefore I owe them for a domain registration they haven't been responsible for for over a year. This seems... off, to say the least.

Green Lantern was a bit top-heavy, with all the exposition at the start, the various "characters stand around explaining stuff to Hal - i.e. to the audience" bits, and so on, but it was on the whole pretty fun. I'm glad they opted not to do a hamfisted "comedy" treatement like the miserable mess that was Green Hornet (tip: all the good bits are in the trailer for that disaster).

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That whooshing noise... was that a month flying by?