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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 28
"Is this the end of the Celebrity?", asks BBC, during a weekend-imposed break on its daily coverage of a celebrity trial. Betteridge's Law alive and well.


July 25
I am still amazed that in the 21st century, 2020 no less, Apple still doesn't seem to quite understand how to do virtual desktops. I mean, I'm sure there's some responsibility on the part of app creators to use the right API calls and what not, but I am constantly surprised at things like "clicking Dock icon doesn't get you the window you're looking for because you're on the 'wrong' screen" or "we flipped you to a particular desktop to show you this window, then we hid it behind everything else", or worst of all, "a modal window is open somewhere but we're not going to allow you to find it without going through all your desktops and flipping apps until the modal window is on top". Maybe I'm misremembering, but I'm pretty sure my FVWM setup back in *checks calendar* 1998 didn't have these problems, and that's in an ecosystem where everything is user customisable so nothing is guaranteed to work.

(Overnight, my Mac restarted due to a kernel error of some sort. It's an 8-year-old MacBook Pro, so it's probably getting a little senile. When it relaunched all the applications that had been running, some wound up where they had been, in terms of virtual desktops, and some just piled on top of the first desktop, and one appeared with a window in both places. I understand there are third-party apps to manage this sort of nonsense. I don't understand why, though - MacOS introduced virtual desktops in 2006, so they've had 14 years to get this right.)

July 24
Pick (tv station, a Sky property apparently) continues with the insane ST:TNG scheduling: an episode showed up in the guide as 30 minutes long, meaning the "recording" started half-way through.

In other broken tech news, an office-related training course broke so hard while running in Safari that I couldn't even close the browser window. I don't know how you break something that badly, but please stop.

A little goofiness:
Season 192%
Season 2100%
Season 388%
Season 485%
Season 573%
Season 60.0%
Season 70.0%



July 13
True to form, one cable station decided to muck up the last few episodes of Season 5 of Star Trek: TNG, showing episodes at random, the aforementioned bait-and-switch, and a few other screwups. The other cable station has launched into Season 3, which we'd previously seen the second half of, and this station has a better track record for both showing episodes in order and repeating them within the week, so we've a chance of actually finishing this season.

Oh, we also started watching House M.D. to fill the gaps left by the broken Trek schedule. I watched some episodes of this years ago - probably first-broadcast era - but Amazon Prime Video conveniently has the whole thing.

I have some code (don't I always?) that tries to parse some TV listings into a catalogue of upcoming things we might be interested in, and one of the heuristics it uses is that if there's a 4-digit number in brackets in the description of the show, it's probably a movie. Right now that particular heuristic is picking on a PBS TV series on the American Civil War and listing it as a series of movies from the 1860s...


July 10
Still watching Star Trek, despite Virgin Media's best attempts to scupper that. Tonight we discovered that a DVR'd episode had been replaced with ... some sort of UK-based Cops-a-like. Fortunately, we had a couple of other episodes on hand.

We also zipped through Tales from the Loop. It's an oddball thing; beautifully done, slow, dark, occasional sparks of humour, sparse music contributed to by none other than Philip Glass. It definitely feels like a perfect extrapolation from the source material - watching the epsiode with the "hover tractor", I had a weirdly visual recollection of seeing the painting it was based on but now that I look for it it's not really like what I recalled. I also can't place my recollection of it, and what little digging I've done suggests this stuff can't be older than, say, 2005 or so - possibly the retro setting makes my memory of it seem older.

Cute that they used a musical cue to tip you to a time shift in one of the episodes. Damned if I could name the year, thought... (I looked it up - 2001).


July 4
Fixed an inconsequential bug in a script I wrote in 2002. This means the inconsequential bug might be old enough to drink. I've known about it for a long time, but it's been sufficiently inconsequential that I never bothered fixing it.

July 1
Despite Virgin's best efforts we have completed Season 2 of Star Trek: TNG! We're currently ploughing through Season 5 from Pick while the Horror Channel zips its way through the rest of Season 2 and drops us into whatever part of Season 3 our previous episode mishap occurred in. And I still haven't done any more than idle poking at the disk image I took of the old DVR before I sent it back.

Somewhere in migrations from Mac to Mac, MacOS to macOS, and iPhoto to Photos, I seem to have mislaid a bunch of pictures. They're all still on backups, of course, but they're no longer in the Photos app, which is... a little annoying to say the least.

Finally shut down my completely useless Amazon Associates account: I rarely tagged things with it, and never got any significant quantity of traffic, so I've been meaning to close it for ages. The last time I looked I couldn't find an easy option for this, now there's a Close Account link that's so abrupt I thought it hadn't worked. I then hacked on some of the local scripting that supports this diary to strip out any mentions of the account I'd inserted, and web beacons as well. Long overdue.

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Waider
Lockdown over, took summer with it.