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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

January 30
And then I managed to grind the server to a halt, so I had to reboot it, and when it came back... the original backup share was working just fine. I have NO idea.

January 29
Kitchen works continue. There's about another day of putting in cabinets, then there's some electrical work, painting, the counter tops... it's surprisingly disorientating, made worse by the fact that our kitchen / dining / living area is a single open-plan area, so even sprawling in front of the idiot box in the evenings is a production.

In pursuit of the Why My Backups Aren't Working theory, I moved the old laptop's backup to a new drive, added that to the Time Machine share, and did the magic to allow the old laptop to understand what had just happened. And this appears to have worked. So now I just need to move all my backups around. Thanks, Apple!

January 25
In the midst of having the kitchen redone right now. Everything is, today, covered in sawdust, and I'm taking ten minutes to manage the simple task of making a cuppa because I keep forgetting where I've put things.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is sort of a romantic comedy but in a vein not dissimilar to Wristcutters: A Love Story. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't rave about it. I do like Steve Carrell as a SRS ACTR, though - he's actually pretty good at it. Keira Knightly seemed to have a dose of crazy eyes throughout the movie.

January 20
I have added a link to my twitter feed to the end of the home page at waider.ie. Because why not?

January 19
Came across an amusing discovery in family-history-related searching this morning: a great-grandfather fined for letting his goats wander on the public road. The fine was a shilling, plus a shilling court costs, and defaulting on this would have resulted in a brief spell in Waterford Gaol - with hard labour!

I have (somewhat rudely) scraped a website offering a large number of records - public, I might add - but poorly indexed and with no apparent facility for correcting errors. Oh, and there are more records available than are returned by the search/navigation interface. So now that I have the records, I'm beating them into a database and doing some cleanup on the way (e.g. is this date an actual date? Does this address look right?) at which point I may engage the purveyor of said records and enquire if they'd like a cleaned-up copy of their data.

January 18
My iPad is misbehaving. Mainly, it's crashing more frequently than it ever used (which in the past was pretty much never). I fear it may be exhibiting signs of senility, i.e. memory impairment.

January 12
So I am having a thought about the failed backups, and it is this: the drive hosting the backups is also hosting non-network-shared backups for the server which is sharing it out. In other words, you've got /Volumes/Backups, where the local backups go, and /Volumes/Backups/Shared, where the networked backups go. And I think maybe the permissions applied to keep the /Volumes/Backups bit happy is occluding the /Volumes/Backups/Shared bit, thus leading to my current problem. Fixing this does not look like a trivial matter.

January 11
Stand-Up Guys: starts slow. Slow enough, in fact, that I was a bit disappointed and thought that in spite of the great interview I'd seen with Walken about the movie, it was going to be two old guys shuffling around and speaking awkwardly for 90 minutes. Not so. At the point at which they break into the pharmacy, and Walken's character is looting various prescription drugs because his co-pay on them is really expensive, I was giggling. Then they got to the bit with the car. OH the car. That was where the movie just took off (much like the car) and didn't slow down until some point after the closing credits. You could, in fact, say that it ran off the cliff at the end of the movie and just kept going. Strongly recommend this one.

January 10
How sweet. The OS X update appears to have totally hosed the aforementioned Time Machine backups; they're there, but the logs are full of this:
copyprivs[72483]: Could not set ACL permissions for [some file], error: Result too large
and the share isn't showing up in the clients.

And while I'm being peeved at what MacOS is doing without telling me, I should note that my "export all photos tagged with X" workflow broke yesterday - iPhoto maxes out the CPU and needs to be killed - and I haven't yet managed to fix it. I did briefly wind up with a bunch of events containing photos which declared in the Event view that they had no photos.

January 9
Ah, another cheerfully lumpy OS X Server upgrade. Apply update from AppStore as prompted. Notice that a few services no longer appear to be running. Figure I needed to reboot the server anyway (for Time Machine related problems). Server comes back up. No sign of SSH? Weird. Launch the Server app to see what's up, and - OH. Right, it needs to actually update things. So, er, why didn't it do that, instead of disabling a bunch of crap and then just sitting there waiting for me to figure it out?

Time Machine problems: there is, apparently, a known bug - and let's call it that, because it certainly doesn't seem like it could be called anything else - whereby Time Machine locks you out of your backup. The scenario seems to be: remote backup to share, whether it's from a Mac Server or from a Time Capsule; client machine drops dead in the middle of the backup, e.g. through power failure; backup remains locked open, complete with AppleFileServer processes and connections stuck in CLOSE_WAIT or even CLOSED. I have tried:The only thing that's actually worked for me when this happens is to reboot the server. Clearly there is some state being held somewhere that I still haven't figured out.

January 8
The things you can do for free in this country... this morning I read through a 166-year-old surveyor's book, and this afternoon I was leafing through a stack of papers recording tenant details, all handwritten, the oldest of which was over 200 years old. I even got to take some photos of both items.

January 7
How strange. I could have sworn that when I started hacking around with Django, my Mac Mini (running OSX Server) had Django installed on it as part of providing support for Python-based webapps. Now it appears it doesn't, and I'm wondering how the hell I imagined that in the first place.

January 6
I finally signed up for my National Archives of Ireland and National Library of Ireland "reader's tickets" today, and spent a couple of unstructured hours nosing about haphazardly for family history-related items. Took a few snaps of things that interested me on the iPhone (NLI) and iPad (NAI - no phones allowed in the Reading Room). I need to organise myself to identify a few interesting sources to go fishing in, and revisit both locations with a camera. Of principal interest to me are the Lismore Papers and the Mansfield Papers, both of which potentially contain land records pertaining to my ancestors in the early 1800's.

As part of the above, I used a microfilm reader for the first time in my life. The NLI ones are much more stylish, what with electric motors and all; the NAI ones are hand-spooled - but to be honest, once you've located the area of interest, you're inevitably hand-spooling anyway so that the damn thing doesn't shoot by under your nose. I did find myself wishing for better controls - more magnification, something with which to tweak the contrast - but on the whole it was pretty neat looking at things like my great grandfather's baptismal record and my great-great grandfather's marriage record (both of which I already had details of from other sources, mind you).

January 4
I'm not fully convinced yet, but I'm beginning to think that (global-set-key "^X^C" 'suspend-emacs) might actually be a very smart thing to put in my .emacs.

It's only taken me about 20 years to even come up with this, mind you, so I don't want to rush into it.

(Clarification for non-tech and/or non-Emacs people: this changes the default behaviour of the application's quit key-sequence, which is hardwired into my brain in a sequence that goes, "Save changes, Quit application" from a million-and-one hasty edits made with Emacs, to put the application to sleep instead so that when I inevitably discover I need to make further hasty edits, I can pick up from where I stopped.)

Back to watching The Sopranos again. The season 3 finale was, er, a bit dull, and no real incentive at the end to come back for season 4; similarly, the season 4 finale didn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm. I'm past the half-way point now, and still waiting for any sort of pull from this series beyond "and when are you going to kill off this annoying character you've just introduced?"

January 1
Happy New Year!

As a good start, I've uploaded the version of Finance::Bank::IE I've been using for the past several months; this removes MBNA (who are no longer a going concern in Ireland) and adds rudimentary support for AIB and AvantCard. While I'd prefer to have more polished versions to offer, the code sitting in CPAN has been a bit out of date for a while and really, that's not right.

Maybe next I should fix up the tests for this stuff, and finish off the rearchitecting I was doing on it, and, oh, I dunno, redo the whole thing from scratch just because...

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And off we go again!