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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 31
Wrapping up 2017: Avengers: Age of Ultron was a bit like, uh, I've forgotten which other Avengers movie, in as much as it felt like a stepping stone rather than a movie in its own right. Nothing wrong with it, really, just that it didn't feel like it could stand on its own.

Terminator: Genisys was actually a better movie on that scale; sure, there are some nice visual callouts to the previous movies but this one can stand on its own and works pretty well for that.

Both movies suffer a little bit from the Superman/Matrix problem: you keep making the bad guys stronger, but you have to match them with the good guys, because everyone knows the good guys are going to win, and in the end it's just a bunch of really, really epic punch-up sequences.

In other media: managed to reach my GoodReads target of 100 books, which was stupidly ambitious and I'm somewhat surprised I reached it. Last book on the list was John le Carré's The Pigeon Tunnel, which is actually poorer than his fiction because, I guess, life doesn't always make for neat little bow-tied stories in the same way as fiction.

December 29
I'm finding the iCloud Drive a little perplexing. Not only does it seem to get stuck (currently: uploading 492 items for the last... who knows how long), but it's also purporting to be downloading stuff that I know for a fact is only on this laptop. I'm trying to migrate away from Dropbox, not least because of its questionable "integration" practices.

(and yes, that's an article from 2016, and Dropbox have subsequently made a big fuss about how they're not doing that any more. But, y'know, they also had that whole thing where they lied about how their encryption was applied, so forgive me if I'm a little skeptical of their PR.)

December 27
Star Wars: The Last Jedi: really enjoyed. Not so much fan service as The Force Awakens, although people are tripping over themselves to "reveal" the existence of the "I've got a bad feeling about this" line in the movie. Kylo Ren continues to be a terribly disappointing bad guy, but it feels more intentional here than in TFA, and it works better. The Irish Tourist Board certainly got their money's worth for the Blaskets. And I really liked the use of humour in the movie, some of which was directed at the Star Wars franchise itself. There's a bunch more I could say but it'd be leaking into spoiler territory.

Got home early enough to watch another movie on the googlebox: The Guard was on, so we watched that. And we'd both forgotten that the ending is left ambiguous - somehow I had a final scene for this movie in my head that doesn't actually exist. Ah well.

December 24
Doing a bit of password scrubbing; tried to sign in to AOL, of all things, and got a message that I needed to accept some terms and conditions; clicked, and got not one but two error pages. Clearly the best thing I could do here is delete the account.

Also discovered that ICQ still exists, yet AIM has been shut down. Who would have thought?

December 23
I think it's safe to say at this point that the Mac is back to full health; my suspicion at this point is that I damaged the cable in some way when installing the SSD, and I didn't secure the SSD in place, so that eventually moved in such a way as to (a) corrupt the SSD and (b) prevent the cable from working properly. I did not make the mistake of leaving the SSD unsecured this time!

'tis now the season, etc. meaning that modulo family visits and an on-call shift I have a few weeks of Not Working in which to attend to things I have not been attending to, foremost among them some genealogy work, but there's also a backlog of random nerdery to look at - one of which is removing the Google Ads from this site: they've never served any useful purpose and I don't particularly want to be part of the tracking system.

December 19
Cable arrived, installed, OS installed, data migrated. Curiously despite data migration I am being prompted for things like my iCloud and DropBox passwords, which I thought would be included in a migration, but ok.

December 17
There should be a cable in the post tomorrow that might fix my laptop. If it doesn't I'll be submitting it to a repair store.

Launched one of the Microsoft Office products, which presumably due to my recent hardware shennanigans requested a license key; when I entered it it told me it had been used too many times. OK, guess I'll just use the Mac office tools then. Paging AppCleaner, cleanup in /Applications/Microsoft Office...

December 14
Backup complete.
Total time elapsed: 2 days, 7 hours, 33 minutes, 11.000 seconds

December 12
Technology status update: I am still trying to get a complete backup of my unwell laptop, which hasn't had same since mid-October. Latest behaviour is to run some of a backup then error out without, you know, an actual error. At this point I've proactively freed up space on the backup drive and connected to the network with a cable rather than wireless, so hopefully this will increase the chances of a successful backup run. I'm also attempting to use my old BlackBook (my original Mac laptop, 2006 vintage) but that's been hampered a little by software so out of date that you can't use parts of Apple's website with Apple's own webbrowser.

Started watching the X-Files from the beginning with Mrs. Waider. We're four episodes in so far. No cellphones! No mention of the Internet! It was a simpler time...

December 8
Churchill was mildly entertaining but also, it turns out, completely full of lies. So there was that.

December 7
So of course it spent a couple of days backing up, and then failed (silently; no errors anywhere) and has now started a new backup. Fortunately it only took 3 hours to do the preflight this time...

December 5
This is the sort of hardware nonsense I'm currently enduring:
Preflight complete for "Macintosh HD"...
Time elapsed: 5 days, 21 hours, 15 minutes, 48.000 seconds

Note, that's just the preflight. It still has to copy a few GB of data.

December 4
In which Mrs. gets her H. Dip (Comp Sci). Huzzah!

December 1
Y'know, I was convinced that The Lobster would be a bit of fun. No, it was weird, but not in a good way, and miserable, and ultimately a waste of however long it ran for. I think whichever IMDb commentator said it'd have made a good short was on the right track, if a touch generous.

(If this marks me as some sort of theatrical Philistine, fine. I've already made clear my liking for movies in which things explode and neurons need not apply.)

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Burning down the year