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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 25
And a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

December 24
So we decided we'd watch the Star Wars: A New Hope (wait, what, there are 2012 and 2015 versions of this in IMDb as well?) - well, ok, the 1997 remix, with the very obvious CGI additions, and you know what? It looks quite rough and unpolished next to the latest work. Ok, sure, 40 years of updates in movie technology, a uniform editing rather than layers of What George Did Next over the original, but still - the dialogue is so much less fluid, the acting that bit more hammy; you can almost hear the direction to Han Solo to look screen left and smile knowingly, it's that much of a distinct beat in the movie. I'm actually kinda surprised at this.

December 23
Saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night. It was awesome; I had been promised a good movie (by my circle of friends / acquaintances on the Twitters) and things that could be spoilers, and frankly I got all that was promised. The movie is, to my eyes, full of fanservice tips to the original trilogy, which is pretty much exactly what I didn't know I wanted (but I did). Given the possibility of spoilers, there's not much more I'm inclined to say other than that if you are even remotely a fan of the original Star Wars franchise, you should go see this.

One thing I will say, however: when The Phantom Menace came out, lots of pontification occurred along the lines of "Of course it's not as good as the original trilogy; you were a child when you saw those, and now you're a bitter and cynical adult and the style of storytelling (or whatever) simply doesn't have the same effect on you." I think The Force Awakens knocks this entire argument into the corner and beats it into a shapeless lump. I had my misgivings given Disney and the choice of director, but boy was I ever wrong. Again: go see this.

December 21
So I got this and downloaded this and then nabbed twincobr.zip and now I'm reliving a summer in the early '90s when I played this game every lunchtime on my break from working in the amusement arcade. PEW PEW PEW PEW FOOOOOM PEW PEW PEW PEW aw crap dead again.

December 20
Upgraded the Mac Mini today, and it failed to come back online. When I hooked up a screen to it, it had an inscrutable error message, and the only option was to hard-boot it. This got me a gray screen with a prohibition sign on it. After some fiddling around I got a recovery boot; I launched Disk Utility, which spun for a bit without showing me anything, and I quit it. Then I launched "Select Startup Disk", which allowed me to tell it to boot from, hello, what's this, the boot-up disk that wasn't showing up in Disk Utility? Fine, that'll do... Server booted, logged some messages pertaining to the boot cache, rebooted again, then came up but running extremely slowly. Eventually I was able to log in and noticed a bunch of complaints about disk1, which died months (possibly years) ago, and has been absent from the list of hardware for quite some time - it appears it revived enough to cause trouble, so I guess I'll have to actually replace it.

Found this in the logs, just now:
hfs: mounted Faulty HD on device disk1s2
Very reassuring.

December 19
Part two of The Bourne Identity: runs through the rest of the plot from the book, although I think it's maybe compressed a little and a few things definitely get left out - like Bourne's assault on Carlos' headquarters. Conklin is also reduced to pretty much a passer-by, which is a shame, because Conklin as Bourne's adversary drove much of the tension in the book. Still, I was again very impressed with how much of the book made it to the screen; even details about the climactic fight were retained. You should definitely see this - bearing in mind that it's not a crash-bang-wallop modern thriller, and scenes can last tens of seconds before a cut to another angle...

December 18
Screenclick, nee DVD Rentals, is no more, alas. The last movie I got from them was The Bourne Identity - Richard Chamberlain, not Matt Damon - so we watched part one tonight. It's extremely close to the source material, so much so that I was concerned that we'd have to obtain another disk to see it out to the end; and for a movie made at the end of the eighties, it's aged surprisingly well - sure, some of the clothes still have the epic '80s shoulders, and the cars are clearly all very dated, and noone has a computer worth talking about or a mobile phone - but it's very easy to watch it as a period piece at which point those elements become irrelevant. Looking forward to the rest of this.

December 4
What We Did On Our Holiday is a slightly dark family comedy starring Billy Connolly doing, well, whatever he likes. I can't tell if the kids in it were scripted or if they just let 'em say and do whatever they wanted, then edited it into the story. The whole thing is charming and while it's not (for the most part) laugh-out-loud funny, it'll keep you chuckling at the very least.

I found myself trying to figure out a little bit more what was wrong with Spectre and I think part of it was that by the time you get to the end of the movie, the major threat has passed and it's basically Bond out to save himself and the girl; once I pulled that thread, though, I realised that that was pretty much the case for all of the Daniel Craig Bond movies with the exception of Quantum of Solace, where "saving the girl" lines up nicely enough with "defeating the villain". Spectre's Bond was also veering back into the cheesy oneliners and the inevitable seduction of, well, I half-expected him to start on Q at the rate he was going. So in other words I've no idea quite what was wrong with it.

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Closing out the year - everything must go!