Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

October 31
One of my coworkers was talking about WSGI the other day and pronouncing it, more or less, "Whiskey". I like that. I mention this because I just managed to rather trivially get WSGI working on a non-server MacOS install:

Far less painful than I expected. Now to bolt Django onto it.

October 27
Star Trek: Into Darkness was panned by a whole bunch of people, but to be honest I found it a bit of a lark. They could have done without the reappearance (again) of Spock Prime. This is good fun and has some nice touchpoints from the second Star Trek movie (which I've not seen in a long, LONG time) but don't take it too seriously.

October 26
After leaving the new Open Directory setup running overnight, I checked on the system this morning to discover that it was unresponsive and something had apparently eaten all available "application memory", according to the error on the screen. I did note yesterday that one of the laptops previously joined to the directory was spamming the server with connection attempts, which was causing denial of service; this is pretty weak behaviour for both client and server. I have petty enough reasons for trying to make this setup work, and I may just abandon it entirely.

...yup, looks like that's the best option. I don't know what's wrong with this, but it's OS9-era error messages - negative numbers with no useful explanatory text, and frankly I'm not inclined to pursue this further. I imagine the real solution is to completely wipe the system and start over, since it's been through rather a lot of abuse, but I can't say I'm enamoured with the prospect of that, either.

Hmm, this thread on devicemgrd chewing CPU was both interesting and pertinent to my observations; running the included SQL command both dropped the process from 80%+ CPU to 4% and got it to release a whole lot of RAM.

October 25
New iPhoto: still fails to export everything as PNG when I ask, but now it presents me with a list of the things it failed to export. I can't select or copy the list, it doesn't tell me why it failed, but I guess this counts as progress...

Duh. That problem I'd mentioned with checking out Gramps versions was, of course, pilot error on my part. Of course, the usual bout of fix a bug, find a bug ensued.

Upgrading the server to Mavericks was the usual barrel of laughs: once again, I forgot that it uses for its DNS, so once you upgrade the base OS it loses DNS access. Whoops. Post-reboot, Open Directory was (apparently) finally trashed enough that trying to switch it on gave me the option of creating a whole new setup, which is something I've been meaning to do anyway. So, off it goes.

Shiny new toys don't appear to be able to access Revenue Online Services. Poor timing for that to happen.

October 24
Apple's shiny new OS X Mavericks (terrible name) duly installed on MacBook. And today I see there's a bunch of application updates, including iPhoto - wonder if that'll cure the crashiness I've been seeing recently.

Of course, having written that I immediately caused iCal to beachball by ... creating a new calendar entry. Pfft.

October 20
I stumbled across Pythonista completely by accident - I was looking at iPad-based editors, and the guy who makes Pythonista also makes a pretty keen editor - and I am, to put it mildly, rather stunned. It's a fully-operational Python IDE and execution environment, so you can write and run python scripts directly on your iPad. And it includes not just the standard Python libraries, but also some extras for things like image manipulation and interfacing with the iPad's various subsystems. And the editor is itself extensible using the environment itself - you write some python using the included editor library, attach it to the Actions menu, and ta-da, your editor now has a shiny new feature. This is pretty spectacular stuff, and I'm rather surprised it got approved as an app since I was under the impression that any sort of scripting was banned by the app store. Anyway, I think I'll be fiddling with this quite a bit.

October 19
Watching more Sopranos. Finally, someone I was waiting on to get ... edited ... got written out. More of this, please.

Also, I found Tony's psychiatry session in this episode (Full Leather Jacket) a bit, I dunno, clunky - it really seemed to be playing up the Dumb Mob Boss angle, when it's clear that Tony's a smart enough guy.

October 18
Had a bit of a shouting match with online entertainment last night - neither Netflix nor iTunes wanted to play movies on the AppleTV. Eventually rebooted the AppleTV out of frustration at which point - ta-da! - it all worked. We're cancelling the Netflix subscription anyway; we've already got Screenclick, and iTunes is cheap enough for one-off rentals that we don't actually need to be paying Netflix monthly for a service we don't really use.

All of which is to say that The Heist was a nice, goofy piece of work that I'm amazed I hadn't heard of (Morgan Freeman and Christopher Walken?) and one that I really enjoyed.

Continuing to hack on Gramps, and even at this late stage in my participation in the project I'm finding out things that are assumed rather than stated outright - in the most recent case, just because you checked out the 3.4 branch from the gramps-mac part of the tree doesn't mean you're actually getting Gramps-3.4. Pfft.

October 13
UPC had a sizeable outage today, taking out both TV and Internet chez Waider. Coincidentally there was a bunch of ESB folk digging a hole in the ground just around the corner. Anyway. During outages like this, i.e. when my cable modem can't get connected, I get access to log and status pages that are otherwise unavailable. From what I could see we've had regular outages, just not when either of us is in the house to notice. Not that this surprises me, since I have my own hacky monitoring that shows approximately the same thing.

October 12
In case anyone on FacePalm is wondering where I've gone, I decided to delete my account since the only use I've made of it recently is to tell people I don't use it. I'll probably do the same with G+ as soon as I've made sure I'm not using it as a login for anything.

A word of advice if, like me, you're haphazardly researching your family tree: if you email yourself a link, or snap a screenshot of a website, add a note as to why. I'm looking at a link to an old newspaper I emailed myself some months ago, and trying to figure out if the item of interest was the obituary with the huge list of mourners and mass card givers, or if the paper itself was of interest and this just happens to be a convenient jump-off point to get to it...

October 11
Watched Enemy of the State on Netflix (I think this is about the second thing I've watched since I subscribed some months ago...) and it's really funny to see how much of this movie could be run as-is today without altering it. Sure, you'd have to update the cellphones to something more modern, and the only reference to the Internet I noticed was Gene Hackman's character mentioning email exactly once, but still. A surprisingly topical movie given that it predates the WTC attacks, the PATRIOT act, etc.

October 9
Shiny new 2TB drive added to replace the dead 250GB one. Slightly alarmingly, the Drobo started flashing all LEDs at me, but it appears this is telling me it's rebuilding the array to take advantage of the upgrade in available space.

October 5
Hmm. I appear to have some class of performance problem:
Oct 3 04:29:18 zippy.local com.apple.backupd[41286]: Copied 24.5 MB of 16.33 GB, 128138 of 352390 items
Oct 3 07:29:18 zippy.local com.apple.backupd[41286]: Copied 81.8 MB of 16.33 GB, 128140 of 352390 items
Oct 3 08:29:24 zippy.local com.apple.backupd[41286]: Copied 82.2 MB of 16.33 GB, 128142 of 352390 items
Oct 3 11:29:19 zippy.local com.apple.backupd[41286]: Copied 82.4 MB of 16.33 GB, 128144 of 352390 items
Oct 4 08:29:17 zippy.local com.apple.backupd[41286]: Copied 82.5 MB of 16.33 GB, 128159 of 352390 items
Oct 5 02:29:12 zippy.local com.apple.backupd[41286]: Copied 82.6 MB of 16.33 GB, 128184 of 352390 items

Ah, interesting. It looks like one of the drives in my Drobo unit died, which appears to have impacted its capacity somewhat negatively. I discovered this by firing up the dashboard, which wasn't running, as the Drobo is located in such a way that the currently-red LED which would have tipped me off to this failure is facing the wall rather than, well, me. Also, the regular monitoring wasn't working, so no software-based alerts either. Sheesh. And when I fired up the dahsboard, it wanted to update itself and install some Java. And now I have the updated dashboard, post-reboot, and it wants to update itself again... some days these tools are more trouble than anything else. Anyway, time to replace that drive, I guess.

October 4
Beautiful Creatures seems like the sort of movie the Twilight saga aspires to - supernatural powers as a cipher for adolescence, fine, but clever dialogue, intelligent characters, and so many other things done right that the vampire series just seemed to flounder with. Also, lead actor looks like the offspring of Johnny Depp and John Cusack, so in my opinion he'll do well (assuming he doesn't explode in a ball of self-destruction first).

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