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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

September 30
Loaded up DVDRentals queue with Sopranos seasons. Got disc one from season... FIVE. Went back to queue, bumped the priorities on season two discs, sent back the unwanted (yet) disc.

Got disc one season FOUR.

Found the small print on the site that says, "don't put more than one season at a time on your list". Apparently they can deliver one season in order, but not multiple seasons.

September 29
I've been using iPhoto to keep tabs on the various scans, etc. I've been collecting as part of family tree research, and I've found that particularly with large images it's really, really crashy. This is kinda annoying, as I'm never 100% sure if it's lost anything in the crash.

September 24
I have been doing a little hacking around on my much-neglected RSS toy of late; this reminds me in passing that the official Dilbert feed started not including strips but instead directions to go view the strip on their site, which sort of defeats the purpose of putting it in RSS (but I'm sure generates advert revenue). I'm impressed that they chose to include this message as valid RSS entries rather than assuming that you can put all manner of arbitrary HTML into your RSS feed and, hey, it worked for the guy who looked at it in his browser... but still. Dilbert hasn't raised more than a smile from me in a long time, and I can't be bothered looking for a "fixed" RSS feed or hacking one together myself, so blammo, that's off the list of things I read.

I got the shiny new iOS. Mainly I'm finding that, well, it's shiny - most of the new features, such as they are, are kinda irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

September 21
More Sopranos. I am amazed at how many annoying characters this show is turning up - people who you're kinda waiting impatiently for them to get written out. Or who I'm waiting on, anyway.

September 19
Back watching Sopranos episodes again. The season two opening montage was a bit drawn out, but it's ticking along nicely.

I went to TEDx Dublin last week. I had to bail out before the third session, due to previous commitments, which meant I missed Robin Ince. However, I did get to see the cofounder of Fighting Words, and a guy talking about an art/encounter space he'd opened up down on the quays near where I used live a few years ago. Of the rest: they ran the Quantum Locking video from whichever TED that happened at. That was a bit disappointing as (a) it's (relatively) old, (b) it's available for free online, and sitting in a theatre watching it on a big screen isn't exactly what I was expecting, and (c) I'd seen it already. Of the remaining talks, two were entertaining, one was incomprehensible because of the combination of delivery and material, another one was incomprehensible because the speaker didn't actually appear to have a point, and one was poorly rehearsed and over-long for the information being put across. I do think that having all presenters give fifteen minutes was a mistake; Fighting Words guy could clearly have done with another three minutes, while the lesser presentations would possibly have been more focussed if they'd had less time to waffle. On the whole I'm glad I went, but I was definitely expecting better.

Oh, but I did sign up for a membership of the Science Gallery.

September 15
The Madness of King George was funny, and sad, and not wholly divorced from history. Definitely worth watching.

September 12
I found an interesting thread on one of the Apple support forums about backups missing system files; the short summary is that there's an option in Time Machine to disable the backup of system files, which gets stored in /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine.plist, and there seem to be some situations where this option is engaged without being explicitly requested by the user. So, good to know. Apparently trashing the file and toggling Time Machine off and back on is sufficient to fix the problem. So, if you rely on Time Machine, now would be a good time to check this option, and also you may want to consider hacking together something that can monitor it.

High-falutin' discussion Chez Waider last night, discussing the concept of relative time. Using a Greg Egan story for illustration, of course.

September 8
I'm getting piecemeal results from the OSI Map Viewer, and the NAI Census website is offline for non-static pages - did someone kill a database in the Civil Service this weekend?

Trying to rsync some files off an old laptop here - MacOS 10.7 - and it's stalling on certain files without producing any warnings or errors - just sitting there doing nothing. Bizarre.

September 3
Last week was spent in Bath and Bristol for time off featuring movie-watching, book-reading, a bit of tourism, and an unplanned bout of food poisoning. That last bit pretty much sucked. Movies watched: Full Metal Jacket, The Prophecy, Beowulf and Avatar - all of which I'd seen before except for The Prophecy, which was a sad day out for all concerned and not something you need trouble yourself with. Christopher Walken, you're better than this, dammit.

I will note (possibly again) that mobile internet coverage in the UK is unbelievably bad, and this is in a country where they're raving about the 4G rollout that's more-or-less happening. What about finishing off the 3G rollout first? There's parts of Bath and Bristol, and the railway line between, where I could just about get a 2G signal - and parts where the signal dropped entirely for calls as well as data.

Also, hello Marriot Hotel Bristol, why is it that paying customers have to pay extra for WiFi, while any cheapskate hanging around the terrace can get it for free? (I vaguely recall encountering this phenomenon before, possibly in Spain).

Recovery of the Mac Mini is... getting there. I've abandoned my efforts to repair various broken things that, while broken, are sufficiently functional to use. So I have no idea what's going on with the OpenDirectory setup, but it's allowing me to log in and what not, so no point in fussing over it. I still need to backfill a bunch of email from various cached versions, and fix up a few other things, but for the most part it's limping along in a mildly usable fashion.

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