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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

September 30
Spent some time reacquainting myself with my GoPro HERO+ notes this week for no specific reason I can recall; after a good deal of noodling around with autoexec.ash files I arrived at the conclusion that something on my laptop is effectively hardcoded to treat the camera as an image capture device even when I'm trying to put it into RS232 mode. Oddly enough, the serial-port-access-to-linux mode seemed to be more reliable, but I wanted to do some interactive fiddling with the ambsh side of things because writing new autoexec.ash files, then trying to get the camera to run them, then inspecting the output is really tedious and requires a bunch of manual, physical actions.

Our pedestal fan (brand "Valuline", probably purchased from the now-defunct Argos chain) started making unpleasant noises and generating more heat on the motor casing than I was comfortable with, so that's gone into recycling and has been replaced with a Black+Decker fan which was more expensive, has a longer warranty, looks to have better build quality, but still shipped with no batteries for its included remote.

Street Kings is mostly in the "not terrible" category. The first half is definitely better than the second, which sort of loses its way a bit, especially the confrontation towards the end. Also, the completely mixed messages at the end of the movie feel a bit like a cop-out. Ha. Cop-out. It's kinda funny, because one of my primary complaints about the Star Wars prequels was that Anakin's shift to the dark side is this flip-flop thing: "I am good" "Come to the dark side" "Ok!". This movie has a more gradual shift in the main character, but it still doesn't sit right. Clearly I cannot be made happy.

September 29
I think I've watched The Ninth Gate at least three times now, and this is the first time I was watching smaller things in the movie because I'm familiar with the plotline. So I spotted the bit where they get out of the sportscar at the chateau, and someone hasn't applied the handbrake because the car rolls backwards. Among other things. I'm still annoyed that in jettisoning the Dumas subplot from the book, they left themselves with an unsolvable puzzle - how to relocate Ms. Telfer after the Rolls gets away from them. They resolve this by picking a direction at random; this is a carefully reasoned decision in the book and is based on the subplot. They even had the information they needed to follow more logically - Telfer's family name - but they didn't bother with it until after the random decision.

Anyway. It's time I read the book again, only there's no ebook of it available, alas.

September 22
I've been meaning to rip a bunch of DVDs onto a DNLA server for ages but basically hadn't gotten around to figuring out the options. This evening I successfully ripped a DVD to the server and then figured out which of the 27 options I needed to activate on my media setup to enable surround sound. It's overly complicated and I wish there were some sensible defaults but at least I know it works.

September 17
I've had No Maps for these Territories on DVD for ages but somehow never even got around to removing the security seal; somewhere along the line I'd absorbed the incorrect notion that it was a visual counterpart to the article William Gibson had done for Wired or whoever on U2's rolling engineering works that makes their shows possible, but it's not that, it's Gibson in a limousine talking about ... everything. The funny thing about him is that he's got all this thought out, or at least seems to, but the delivery makes it come across as if he's just coming up with these really deep thoughts completely ad lib. The video is very much of its time: jerky camera and harsh cuts when we're not doing the Gibson-talks-to-the-camera stuff. Is it good? I don't really know.

September 15
Marlowe was frankly disappointing. Neil Jordan! Liam Neeson! Colm Meaney! Jessica Lange! Based on a book by John Banville! How could you go wrong? Well, by muddling up the editing so the whole thing doesn't really hang together, for starters: there were a few cuts early on where I took a minute or two to figure out what exactly had happened the timeline. Some scenes seem to just ... stop: Neeson says something half-way pithy (never even close to the level of classic Marlowe), and then cut to some scenery or something to allow the audience their moment to absorb it or laugh or, I dunno, roll their eyes vigourously. This could've been a contender, to coin a phrase, but alas no.

September 14
...and that's a wrap for Reacher season 1. Quite good: big, dumb, not trying to be cleverer than it needs to be, funny... I'd watch more of this.

September 9
I had watched Blood Diamond years ago, so long ago that the only dim recollection I had of it turned out to be incorrect. I'd definitely forgotten the fate of both Arnold Vosloo and Leonardo DiCaprio. It's a good movie, but grim, and there's probably a lot I'm missing in terms of how it might be seen by people from the parts of the world it's set in.

September 8
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: it's getting a little strained, but it's still a whole lot of fun.

September 5
Well, I thought that a few extra seasons of The Blacklist had come unlocked, but no. So we wound up watching the first episode of Reacher, and it's kinda big and dumb but also pretty much what we were looking for, so that'll do us for a week I guess.

September 2
We wrapped up The Tick: they stuck the landing, pretty much, which was nice given that they didn't get a third season. And then we watched the three Star Wars prequels over the course of a few nights. Clones is definitely the weakest of the three; I think all three suffer somewhat from not knowing what's going to happen next, so they actually improve marginally on a rewatch. There's an awful lot of handwaving in the stories if you think too hard about it, which I guess Lucas didn't. In any case, I think we'll probably watch Rogue One next to bridge into the original trilogy. Maybe.

The Mercedes Me developer website seems to have lost my little home automation project. This is annoying because I don't believe I had a copy of the setup anywhere, and now I need to go and recreate it (it's basically a bunch of onboarding stuff for OAuth to allow me access to the API). On the plus side this may reset my access count for the limited APIs.

Ah, they've cancelled the "Bring Your Own Car" tier of access. Which of course is the one I was using. Someone had reverse-engineered the app's API for a different home automation system to the one I use; maybe I can port that or something. Sigh.

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