A rough account of I did with Emacs
- February 28
- Revived VMware somewhat through
judicious abuse of the registry. I think possibly the
ATI taskbar toy or some of the Compaq power management stuff is
causing the problem. I'll restore the bits one at a time and see
where it dies.
Progress Quest is
exceedingly funny and bizarrely compelling.
Micromail site update, in
time for our VAT rate increase tomorrow.
- February 27
- Updated the Ardmore Diving website for
my brother. Mostly just new prices, but there were a few other
things that needed tweaking as well. And if you're looking for a
dive trip in October, check out the site!
- February 26
- Hrmph. Oracle Developer 2000 has got to
be one of the worst development environments I've ever
encountered. As I said to one of the guys, it was probably
designed and built in 1983 and hasn't changed significantly since
ZDNet (and, by linkage, Slashdot) is running a story about how all
programming languages are essentially the same and thus there's no
choice for developers. Now, aside from the straight-ahead nonsense
value of the statement, isn't this exactly what that nice
Mr. Turing with his little machines proved all those years
ago? Further skimming of even the opening paragraphs of the ZDNet
article (I'm not going to link it. It's too lame.) make
declarations about J2EE and .Net dominating the programming
market, and better still, how VB is
procedural while VB.Net is object-oriented. Uhhh. Right. Two
things spring to mind here; first, this guy would probably make
the same comparison about C and C++, falling into the simple error
that object-orientedness is a language feature rather than a
programming technique; and second, in terms of looking
like an object-supporting language, well, the last time I did
hacking (middle of last year) it looked pretty much like an
object-supporting language to me. But what do I know? I code for a
living, as opposed to having been "a software architect for
several start-ups" and "an independant consultant and
Funnily enough, the Slashdot thread on the article is
more informed and so forth than the article itself. This amuses me
- February 25
- More hacking on PatchReport
today. Also a new server turned up for me to play with,
Damn, it happened again. My pilot-link
patch turns out to have been incomplete, in that it was missing
the Malsync support. Fortunately, the Internet Wayback Machine had a
copy of my old patch with the missing bits on it, so I was able to
fix the problem and update my patches page.
- February 24
- Good grief. Now my hub has died. How do
hubs die, exactly? Friction from the packets? Anyway, I went back
to CompuStore, which is expensive and poorly stocked, but is also
the nearest place to me and open on Sundays, and got myself a 3com 4-port hub. Bah.
Monsters, Inc. is quite a fun movie. The short at the start (For
The Birds) and the outtakes in the credits are absolute screamers,
- February 23
- Travelled to CompuStore, PC World, and finally to Maplin to get myself a new
fan. Nobody wants to sell Socket 7 kit any more, it
appears. I also picked up a monitor cable - again, far more
difficult to find than it should have been; everyone seems to
stock a million extenders (male/female) and no actual KVM-Monitor
connectors (male/male). The one I found was in a shop-soiled box
in the middle of a bunch of extenders, as it happens.
- February 22
- Went digging in Oracle, trying to modify an
export-to-CVS script to not
require privileged access. This is hard enough without the added
bonus of a hangover... still, I managed.
Willy at Micromail sent me
a complementary copy of "Homepage
Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed, noting that the Micromail site scores quite
highly (preen preen). I've just started looking at the book, and
I've already got a few ideas for changes. Plus I've been talking
to AjD about the site,
and he's suggested one or two things as well.
Tabbed browsing is just the coolest thing ever. Why have I not
tried this before? Of course, it would be nice if... you could
manually flip to the tab, rather than it popping up immediately,
and it would be nice if closing all the tabs except one didn't
lose you your entire Back-button history except for the remaining
tab, but still. Pretty.
I made it into NTK again, whee!
And not in the embarassing way that lead to my first
NTK appearance, either.
- February 21
- Woop. Office night out. BEER!
- February 20
- I've been hacking on Joe Shamblin's PatchReport
on and off for the last week (since d. mentioned it to me)
and I've made it (I think) better. Once I've finished the current
bout of hacks I'll be posting the modified version back to Joe to
see what he thinks.
Cleaned up my source code directory some more, mainly removing an
old set of duplicates from the Perl directory.
Did a bit of work on BBDB, continuing to kick
some bugs out of the dialing stuff and also making a command-line
interface for the testing.
- February 19
- Swapped out Gonzo's
fan for the one in the 486 only to discover that that's also a bit
whiny. I guess I'll need to actually purchase a fan, bah
Smarry mentioned a thing
in his LiveJournal that
I'd had once before for timesheet tracking: a desktop clock that
you can use to monitor how long you spend on a given task. I asked
him about it, and while waiting for a reply, I threw one together
myself using my Perl Monitor
module. Wow. Code reuse in action. I feel, uh, whatever. The new
toy is in the workshop
- February 18
- Aie. Gonzo
is definitely unwell. Just fell right over. Now, this could be
because of my hardware fiddling yesterday, or it could be
something wrong with the new kernel. So, I'll try rolling
back the kernel to see if it
improves things. Of course, I used my RPM cleanup script to
wipe out the older kernel files only last
KABOOM! Some poking on the web indicates that this may be a
problem with the USB stuff, which you can see features in the
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Unable to handle kernel paging request at virtual address 89cb4000
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: printing eip:
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: c0112647
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: *pde = 00000000
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Oops: 0000
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: CPU: 0
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: EIP: 0010:[do_page_fault+359/1200] Tainted: P
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: EIP: 0010: Tainted: P
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: EFLAGS: 00010203
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: EIP is at do_page_fault [kernel] 0x167
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: eax: c408a000 ebx: c0b228e0 ecx: c408bf19 edx: 0000693d
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: esi: c46979e0 edi: c01124e0 ebp: 40ebd000 esp: c408bf1c
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: ds: 0018 es: 0018 ss: 0018
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Process setiathome (pid: 6625, stackpage=c408b000)
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Stack: c099f36a c408a000 c408a000 c099f768 c0166d5d 00030002 00000002 00006300
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: c1577a40 00000202 c1577a40 c1577a40 ca87191c c15af620 c0314920 c011cce0
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: 00000246 c0314540 00000000 c02ff5a0 00000000 c011d2a7 c0314920 c0119a7b
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Call Trace: [flush_to_ldisc+221/240] flush_to_ldisc [kernel] 0xdd
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Call Trace:  flush_to_ldisc [kernel] 0xdd
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [8139too:__insmod_8139too_O/lib/modules/2.4.9-21/kernel/drivers/net/+-18148/96] rh_init_int_timer [usb-uhci] 0x5c
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  rh_init_int_timer [usb-uhci] 0x5c
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [__run_timers+176/224] __run_timers [kernel] 0xb0
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  __run_timers [kernel] 0xb0
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [run_all_timers+23/32] run_all_timers [kernel] 0x17
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  run_all_timers [kernel] 0x17
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [bh_action+27/80] bh_action [kernel] 0x1b
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  bh_action [kernel] 0x1b
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [tasklet_hi_action+80/128] tasklet_hi_action [kernel] 0x50
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  tasklet_hi_action [kernel] 0x50
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [do_page_fault+0/1200] do_page_fault [kernel] 0x0
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  do_page_fault [kernel] 0x0
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: [error_code+56/64] error_code [kernel] 0x38
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:  error_code [kernel] 0x38
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel:
Feb 18 14:01:40 gonzo kernel: Code: 84 b4 00 00 00 ba 01 00 00 00 eb 0d f7 46 14 05 00 00 00 0f
After several more crashes, I think I've found the source of the
problem: the fan I tried to fix. Seems it had simply stopped
dead, and the machine subsequently overheats. So the machine is
currently running in case-open mode so I can prod the fan if it
sticks again. The machine has been up for an hour without
crashing, which is better than it was doing earlier.
Discovery #2: I did, in fact, miss some files when upgrading the
laptop harddrive, but as previously stated they were on the old
drive. Now I'm looking for a front-end of some sort for
dump/restore that will allow me to point and
click the appropriate files back into place and, well, I'm not
finding one. So I've done a little manual reading instead and
restored the files I want off the main tree for slow but careful
Discovery #3: toys and such for the laptop! There's a page
about installing Linux on the Armada M700 at Compaq's website, and there's
also a tool
for frobbing the M700's LCD brightness. Whee! The latter was
linked off a page
about Linux on the Armada E500, but much of the stuff seems to
apply, so that's cool.
- February 17
- Came back from Bob's place with a
hangover, a Microsoft
Sidewinder 3D Pro joystick, and a dual-processer AMD box. That
makes eight computers in the room right now, three of
which run more-or-less constantly and two more of which are
known-bootable. I really need to do something about that...
A little more tweaking and I had enough of a PXE boot working
to get me a NFS mount of Klortho's backup files, and whoosh,
restore. Followed by a little mad scramble to accomodate the fact
that I'd moved the partitions around some. What I need to do now
is get a mounting kit for the old drive (so I don't have to keep
swapping the mounting kit around) and then set it up with Windows so I can
just swap drives around as necessary. It's more trouble than dual
booting, but I like the separation.
This is nice:
/dev/hda4 15559588 3485612 11283580 24% /
Giggle value: the files for the PXE boot are named with variations
on "honk" and "oof". I just need an
appropriate bootup graphic now... (hi AjD!)
HMM. I suspect I may have missed one or two files in the
changeover. But they're still on the old drive, so I can sort that
out easily enough.
fan is whining again. Problem solved by dismantling, cleaning, and
remantling. I took the opportunity to clean up some of the cabling
while I was rooting around, and it promptly rewound itself into a
different sort of mess.
booted with a newer kernel as
a result of the reboot, and SETI@HOME has
crashed twice with some sort of memory allocation error. In fact,
- February 16
- Fitted the new drive, then started playing
with PXE which is enormously fun and I wish I'd investigated it
before. Didn't quite manage to make a useful PXE recovery setup,
since I had to abandon it all in favour of a party at Bob's
- February 15
- New computer bits arrived. 20GB hard drive
for Klortho, and a Hauppage USB TV device. Things I should have
researched before buying the latter: 1. Framerate; 2. Linuxability.
The framerate isn't bad, but it's occasionally annoying -
especially when the station isn't properly tuned and the screen is
thus a complex mass of uncompressible snow. The
alas, seems to be near nil at present due to sneaky, er,
proprietary compression stuff. Gah.
- February 14
- Happy Valentine's Day. Bah
Micromail update today.
You know, the Microsoft
bashing on the ILUG mailing
list is really, really tiresome. I mean, sure, I have my
own little bitches at them, but it's directed, not just arbitrary
baseless comments for the sake of appearing to be one of the
cognoscenti or something. Really, guys. Grow up.
- February 13
- YAY! Laptop returns! All healthy and so
Finally I have defeated Reports in mortal combat. In fact, I've
done a whole lot of really neat stuff that I can't tell you about
because people get upset when I mention company-related stuff on
my website. So you'll just have to imagine I'm describing a pretty
tidy hack here.
- February 12
- Still not got the Reports server
sorted. This isn't software; this is torture for
sysadmins. Also, playing with Locales is amusing, for very, very,
very small values of amusing and large values of LART! LART!
- February 11
- Wrestling with Oracle Reports server in the
office. It is not a pleasant piece of work. With the printing and
the X and the screaming and the bwahah hey
- February 10
- I really suck at X-Wing, btw.
It's kinda amusing watching Outlook trying to preview a 5MB httpd
access log. Especially the way the whole interface pretty much
locks up. Also, IE keeps jumping to the front. What's that about?
If i put a window on top, I expect it to stay there, modulo modal
dialog boxes from other applications.
I collect the strangest links sometimes... someone on LiveJournal has picked up
one of my FROST.BOB
II pix for some reason. And I've found one of my party
pictures over on FARK.
- February 9
- Figured out what was up with Eudora: it was
trying to download my entire website as a collection of mail
folders. Uh. Not particularly clever, that. Especially not
displaying any indication that that was what it was doing.
More X-Wing. Found my Tie-Fighter boot disk, which solved the
EMS-vs-SoundBlaster problems. Notably, it's a DOS 6.22 disk,
rather than a Windows recovery
- February 8
- Rediscovered X-Wing. Spent some time trying
to make an appropriate boot disk (remember those?). Also relocated
Novastorm, but it keeps freezing up and otherwise flaking out.
For some reason, EMM386 (remember that?) kills
the SoundBlaster. I tried swapping cards around in case it was a
hardware problem, but no dice. And where did I get three
SoundBlaster cards, anyway?
Installed Eudora 5.1 to see if I'd recommend it to my folks. Set
up IMAP. Pointed it at the mail
server. It promptly hung itself up, and eventually I killed it,
after which it sulked. Even after a reboot. So, sorry, no
- February 7
- I've been playing with the leftover bits of
my brother's old P133 (well, it used be mine before it was his)
and I've now got a Windows 95 OSR2
box on which to browse. It's not really healthy enough to do any
hacking with, though.
- February 6
- And today, Klortho went back to the shop for... the fifth
time. This time, I've included a sheet of paper on which I've
described the fault exactly, and also included a floppy disk with
an image which shows the fault. Belt & Braces approach.
- February 5
- You know, Oracle Application Server 9i is a
big nasty hack. But I know a lot more about it as a result of
some trial-and-error work today.
Also found out a bit more about Emulex Lightpulse
cards. Having a "toy" Sun box is quite
Mozilla 0.9.8 is out. I
wonder if they've fixed the "can't delete a folder via
IMAP" bug yet? Only one way to find out, I guess...
Had a look at x0rfbserver
today, and was disappointed to discover that (a) it wants me to
install a Windows-lookalike
library, (b) it's written in C++, and (c) it will require abuse to
compile on Solaris, which is
exactly where I'd like to use it. Gack.
Did some work on BBDB's
phone-dialing stuff. I need to figure out a useful way of testing
- February 4
- Waiting for the UPS express delivery goop to
show up so I can ship the laptop back. Since my employer's office
is out in the boonies, "express delivery" means they get
it to you by three o'clock the next working day.
Installed XEmacs again to
look for a few bugs in BBDB. I can't recall
uninstalling it; must have been when I was cleaning up the mess
- February 3
- The crossword toy is still
running. Evidently I need some more rules for it.
- February 2
- Hacked up a thing to try arranging spaces in
a crossword grid, given the list of clues and the length of each
answer. Caw! Squawk!
Spent the evening dining, wining, and watching High Fidelity
- February 1
- Laptop returns. Accompanied by a note saying
that no fault was found. Hello, Tri-Tec, you are IDIOTS. Phoned Compaq support again
and explained the problem. Compaq issued a third RMA, and
have promised to monitor the process this time to make sure I get
the laptop repaired.
works fine on the laptop but I can't figure out what exactly I did
to make it work, since it's not working on Gonzo.
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