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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 30
Went to upgrade OpenHAB to 4.0 and figured that since I was doing that I should see about fixing up the TRVs which fell off the network and never came back. Simples: fire up an old, old copy of ozwcp, let it populate everything, ask the controller if the devices are dead, wait for it to report that they are, ask the controller to replace the dead devices, press the INF button on the devices, wait for the controller to tell me HURRAH THEY ARE RISEN.

This should be possible without having to drop out of OpenHAB but this part of the ZWave interface is completely opaque to me, to be honest (the options are there but I've never had them actually work for me, and I don't feel competent enough about my approach to report this as a bug).

Of course, the OpenHAB 4.0 upgrade did not actually happen: I'd read, noted, and forgotten that they've moved to Java 17, and the upgrader happily replaced my installation before keeling over and dying mid-upgrade when it tried to launch a script to migrate some data. Bad upgrade, no cookies. I recovered everything from a combination of downgrading, OpenHAB backups, and Time Machine but for some reason the launchd config is broken and frankly I'm too cranky about this to try and recover it right now. Maybe next weekend, since it's a long weekend.

July 29
There's a surprise: our original car charger was replaced under warranty and thereafter the controller app failed to work because it could only handle a single charger and the API was presenting both old and new chargers to it. I knew this because I'd reverse-engineered the API and hooked it up to OpenHAB via some Python scripting; as a result I really didn't much care about the app (which is almost useless anyway). I emailed the support address of the company anyway, got an autoreply to say they'd respond in three working days, and that was February 1st, and there's been nothing from them since. This morning I was poking around on OpenHAB and noticed it telling me that the old charger was "gone"; I checked my scripts, and sure enough, the old charger is no longer being returned by the API, and the app is once more functional. Although "functional" is a very generous term in this context.

Rewatched the first Mission: Impossible movie. It predates this website somewhat (well, this diary, specifically, since this website has been online in some incarnation or another since about 1995, the year before M:I was released). What I took away from the rewatch: Tom Cruise's look-at-all-my-perfect-teeth grin (and that's not a good takeaway. It's a deranged look.) Ving Rhames' technobabble and the other horrifically bad tech stuff (but hey, Usenet!). The practical goofs - which hand does Crusie use to catch that drop of sweat? How does a helicopter which likely can't fit in the tunnel without critcal rotor damage withstand the air buffeting of a train moving in the opposite direction? How come none of the noises Cruise makes in the sound-sensitive room are loud enough to trip the audio alarm even though they're all clearly loud enough? Smoking on a plane. The camera-glasses having pretty extraordinary pan/zoom functionality. The government buildings (Prague, Langley) with multiple phsyical security flaws, like unalarmed / unmonitored engineering access doors. Cruise somehow conveniently being blown by the force of explosion back onto the front of the train. It's really just not a good movie.

July 28
Oooh! Good Omens S2 is here!

Fiddling with some CDK stuff again. Seems like everyone offering you a tutorial on building a static site hosted in S3 uses exactly the same material - which looks to originate in AWS' public git repo - and wrapping it up variously in their pay-for / subscriber only / tracking-you-with-cookies website or video channel. The key thing you might be looking for - I was: if you don't want to use CloudFront, you need to allow public access to the S3 bucket hosting the files.

July 24
Ran out of other things, so started watching Citadel. High art it is not.

July 23
Away for a few days, watched a few movies... John Wick 4 was far more fun than I expected, and as an encore we watched the first in the series all over again which is really written well enough not to be the first in a series.

Without Remorse, on the other hand, is way overrated on IMDb at (currently) 5.6 stars out of 10. Incoherent, terrible storyline (a poor echo of the third season of Jack Ryan to some extent), forgettable characters, and a sound mix that rendered every ballistic event at 100% and every bit of dialogue at 1% so I kept having to flip the volume up and down. One to avoid.

July 16
Watching Douglas Englebart's epic 1968 demo and disappointed that the cameraman had to change reels just as Douglas was explaining the chording keyboard on the left of the console; there was a chunk more after that missing as well, but I would've liked to see that bit. Chording keyboards fascinated me when I first encountered one (this boi, specifically the QuinKey variant) but I never got around to trying one out.

It is to laugh. I have a script that pulls out the last movie I mentioned here. I only just noticed that it doesn't work with a bunch of recent stuff because IMDb movie IDs have overflowed 9 digits... (we have had a non-zero number of postmortems about this sort of thing at t'office).

July 15
Jack Ryan S4: Off to a good enough start, but it's starting to creak a little (running joke here: everyone is standing around asking, "what do we do, Jack?" because apparently he's the only one who can save the world...) so I can see why they might want to wind it down at the end of this season.

July 14
The Matrix Resurrections spent the first half-hour or so taking the piss out of itself and never quite gave up even after it sort of got down to the business of telling the story. Very much enjoyed, and it was nice that the nostalgia / fan-service wasn't the point, it was just icing on the cake. Unlike certain other sci-fi franchises I could mention.

July 13
So we wrapped Three Pines and I am Not Impressed. It did not need to be left on the stupid cliffhanger they chose to end on.

Side-by-side in the RSS reader:Think I see the problem there, mate.

Accidentally filled up the hard drive with videos offloaded from the bikecam... whoops.

July 11
Having tried a few random things I eventually restarted OpenHAB which caused the missing TRVs to return to service. Ok, fine. I really dislike "turn it off and on again" as a solution.

Oh wait, this is ZWave, where "OFFLINE" doesn't really mean "OFFLINE", and "ONLINE" means "I haven't heard from this device in over a week, but you just reset the controller so I'm willing to pretend", apparently.

Part of the shenannigans here might be that I was attempting to use SSM to "manage" the server hosting OpenHAB, the agent for which seems to be a complete memory hog. I've discarded that as I never really did anything useful with it.

July 8
Once again, two of my ZWave TRVs have randomly decided to stop reporting, and equally randomly decided to go into a state that from previous experience isn't documented (pressing the button on the TRV causes the display to flash rapidly; the display may also show the code "ES" which wasn't listed anywhere last time I looked). "A successfull link test will also terminate the exception mode described below." says the manual, which does not have said exception mode described anywhere, much less "below".

I presume I will be reduced to randomly poking at the devices until they mysteriously rejoin the network.

July 7
Living is an absolutely lovely piece of work. Pretty much no surprises the whole way, but that just makes it all the more enjoyable.

Three Pines continues to be excellent.

July 4
Started watching Three Pines, based on the novels by Louise Penny. I am mostly pleased with how this has turned out in the transition from book to screen; in particular, Ruth Zardo is perfect. I am sad that the unique Québécois swearing (Tabernak!) has gone missing, but I guess it'd need translation of some sort for a global audience; also, Agent Nichols is more of an outright klutz and not the more complex character portrayed in the book. The cadence of one book over two episodes is an interesting choice as it compresses the stories somewhat but I think it's done well enough that that's not a big complaint.

July 1
Came across this print today and was somewhat sad to discover it was a limited edition back in 20whenever. Looks like only 260 were made.

Watched the rest of The Escape Artist and came to the conclusion that the author came up with the ending first and then wrote the story into it. There's a criticial detail that should've been revealed early in the story (like, the first act, perhaps) that would've made this felt more cleverly constructed, but instead you get the clever bit in the second half and the first half seems to just be flailing around helplessly.

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