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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

November 28
Oh for the love of... we had a POWER CUT tonight. After the Mac had spent a couple of days "verifying backup" and had finally gotten down to the business of writing its first Time Machine backup in over a month. It's like Steve Jobs is out there somewhere trying to pressure me into a new Mac.

November 26
Various hardware failures are gradually being reined in. Still trying to move things around so that I can send the MacBook in for repairs, because the shop said 7-10 days for repairs due to their current Christmas rush, and I want to make sure that I have access to things from the laptop during that time. The laptop will be going to the shop with an alternative hardrive, but the one that's in it is APFS-formatted, and I have nothing else in the house that'll read that format (old Mac Mini and older MacBook, basically) hence the shuffling around of things. The Drobo finally finished its disk assimilation, so that's back running at its normal speed; I looked at upgrade options, and it seems the best I can do is to upgrade to a 5C which gets me an extra drive bay but is limited to USB connection; it supports USB 3, but the Mac Mini doesn't, so this is a net downgrade in speed. I can also get a 5N, but that uses a "slightly incompatible disk format" which means I can't simply unload the drives from the old Drobo and stick them in the new one: I have to do an actual disk-to-disk copy which means (a) waiting a couple of weeks for it to complete and (b) getting a bunch of extra disks because I'll need space for 2x the amount of data. Neither of these is terrifically appealing, given that the problem is speed rather than capacity, so I guess I'll be doing some more research.

November 24
Wonder Woman was rather a lot of fun, and I admit I didn't figure out who Aries was almost until the reveal. I'm pretty sure I watched the TV series at some point as a kid but I've no recollection, to be honest. Anyway. Good movie, good plot, good jokes, good action sequences. It's not high art, but it's an enjoyable way to pass the time.

November 20
So, disk saga. I am now at: MacBook appears to have a dead component in the CPU->HDD chain, which I am told might be the HDD connector (apparently about €100 to replace) but could also be something blown on the logic board (apparently a significant portion of the value of the laptop to replace). Of the hard drives, I suspect they're fine since I've had no further problems with them running on SATA/USB hookups. Still, I have an RMA number for the SSD so I may just return that to be on the safe side.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I chose this time to upgrade one of the drives in the Drobo, which means it's now into its week-long period of moving things around on the drive in a completely opaque fashion so I've no idea how close it is to finishing - or how far away. I think I'm gonna look into doing a direct upgrade of this, i.e. one where I buy a new Drobo shell, maybe even a NAS unit, that I can swap the drives straight into; I seem to recall reading that this was possible. More research required.

Oh, and for amusement value I came home this evening to discover the entire z-wave network had decided to stop working - or some such thing; after some poking around I decided that the best thing to do was bounce the controlling software (OpenHAB) and sure enough things started coming back online after that. This is one of those cautionary signs for people considering home automation.

(Another is the fact that some of my TRVs have become very hungry for batteries.)

November 17
My Cousin Rachel was kinda meh - the scenery was about the only good thing going in it. The rest of it, well, I don't know how much to blame on the source material and how much is just simply a film I didn't enjoy.

November 14
Hardware disasters continue: this evening on the way home from work, my bike chain snapped. Frickin' AWESOME.

Hmm, so what have I been up to?

There was a trip to London and a trip to Seattle, both work-related. The latter involved a ten-hour stretch on a plane, so on the way over I watched a bunch of Mr. Robot, Halt and Catch Fire, and Preacher. Preacher is wickedly funny - Starr's "audition" had me giggling constantly throughout - but I'm kinda feeling like it's not going anywhere. Mr. Robot is constantly messing with your head so you've no idea what's actually going on at any given time. And Halt and Catch Fire... it's a bit overegged in places, but it's basically catnip for me. Premise: Silicon Gulch, or whatever you want to call Silicon Valley In Texas, right about the time the PC clone market was starting up. It's got enough realism to be credible, they've made the chief software geek a woman which is a pretty bold (and commendable) move - and to add to that they've got another woman doing some of the heavy lifting on the hardware side. The two male leads are basically Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, except their Woz is wound somewhat tighter than I think the real one ever was (woz?). Season one fades out with them having created their clone PC, the band's broken up, and the geek women are starting to get into high-speed telecoms, so now I want to watch the rest of this (total 4 seasons).

It did occur to me at one point that the showmakers looked at their works, declared it to have passed the Bechdel test because hey two strong female leads talking about something other than a man, and decided they didn't need any more women "feature characters". Also they come up with rather a long list of excuses to show Cameron in the act of putting on or removing items of clothing. But this is sniping, a little; both Cameron and Donna are given real roles within the series.

Moviewise, the only thing I can recall right now is the other night we watched Birdman, which is absolute genius and totally should have gotten an Oscar for the editing job. There's a visual gimmick that I'm not going to mention because if you watch this without knowing about it, like I did, it's something you gradually become aware of and then you can't stop noticing it and wondering at how awesome it is. Obviously I really enjoyed this!

Oh yeah. We watched 25th Hour as well which, well, it was a rewatch (last watched June 29th, 2013), and it's an okay piece that kinda falls flat at the end - which is more than I thought of it last time round. Also Brian Cox should be prohibited by international law from attempting an Irish accent ever again.

There was also the failed hard disk saga.

Books: mostly reading Philip K. Dick, John Le Carré. I've fallen a bit behind my Goodreads Reading Challenge, but given that I stupidly challenged myself to read two books a week that's hardly surprising.

November 13
Having spent two weeks getting my Mac back to a bootable disk... it looks like the logic board has died, so I've gone from SSD (zippy!!!) to HDD (not so zippy!) to HDD connected via USB (positively snail-like). About the only upside is that there's no heat being generated inside the computer by the HDD, since it's hanging off a cable on the outside.

November 12
Virgil Brigman back on the air...

Since I last updated here, I have: had a SSD fail, hence the downtime; been to London and Seattle; watched a movie or two, the entire first season of Halt and Catch Fire, the last of Preacher Season 2, and whatever's currently available of Mr. Robot Season 3; read many books; and spent an inordinate amount of time trying to recover from the failed SSD despite having not one, not two, but THREE backups to work with. Sagas may be forthcoming, along with consumed media reviews. For now, though, there's a bunch of random stuff to catch up with.

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