Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

April 29
Been a little quiet around here as Mrs. Waide is concentrating on finals and there's not a lot of movie-watching or nerdery going on. I've been recording stuff to watch when the exams are over, though.

I have worked my way through 2/3 of Len Deighton's Samson books, though (did I see his name spelled "Sampson" somewhere therein? I think maybe?) and... I don't know. The protagonist isn't exactly a likeable character; he's also a little odd in that he comes across as a competent field agent in bursts, but seems to spend most of the time involved in paranoia and office politics and basically not being a field agent, competent or otherwise, and maybe this is kind of realistic but it's the kind of realistic that you read a spy novel to get away from, I think. His wife's infidelity is a bizarre twist that seems to serve no useful purpose other than to undermine an otherwise strong character, and his best friend seems almost like a new character every time you encounter him. The books as a whole continue to reflect what I can only assume are Deighton's worldviews on things such as hairdressers and how much time one spends with them to obtain a suitably disheveled look, which is a bit tedious when it's repeated over and over. And he's also intentionally written the books to not require you to have read them all, but that doesn't really work when you've got a massive overarching plotline that's crucial to understanding the context and motivations; the net result is that the poor sod who reads them all (hello! raises hand) is treated to repeat introductions to characters he's already familiar with when they appear for the first time in each new story.

I think the bottom line here is that I'm still wondering why this author is as revered as he is; I've read far better.


April 14
The Girl With All The Gifts was a largely faithful conversion of the book to movie form, hardly surprising given the involvement of the book's author. If you're not familiar with the book, anything I have to say about the movie probably works as a spoiler here so let's just say it's a bit of a thriller, a bit of horror, but mainly it's more about people and moral choices and that sort of thing. The needs of the many, and whether or not they should outweight the needs of the few, as Spock might have it.


April 6
User Friendliness 101: your code said:
unparsable date: 2005-08-16 14:47:00
Now I have to go and read it to figure out what date format you were expecting. Your code should have said:
unparsable date: 2005-08-16 14:47:00; please specify date in ISO8601 format
or maybe
unparsable date: 2005-08-16 14:47:00; please specify date as YYYY-mm-ddTHH:MM:SSZ


You're welcome.

April 3
Pictures finally ordered: ran iPhoto, then kept hitting Retry until all of them were uploaded.

Various certs were expiring, so I now have Let's Encrypt! certs on this websever AND on my incoming and outgoing email servers. Nice! (My previous cert provider is apparently CA-non-grata after some questionable practices were discovered therein.)

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