Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

November 27
Alice In Wonderland isn't your grandfather's Lewis Carroll; it's Tim Burton telling the story in his way, which is sort of taking the characters and a handful of events from the book and rearranging them into something with more of a consistent narrative. The result is funny, a bit scary (if you're in the PG or younger audience), and generally what you'd expect from a Tim Burton movie. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't rave about it, to be honest.

A Bunch of Amateurs, on the other hand, is a must-watch. There's a little bit of the cringey comedy that I don't like, but for the most part this is an excellent piece of work and props to the Isle of Man film board for putting it together.

November 26
Websites are HARD... logged onto one of my life/mortgage cover provider's site this morning to attempt to update my contact details, and got a 404. Fantastic. Did you people even test this website before making it live?

Wow, it's even better than I realised. There are maybe seven items on the same pull-down menu, and only three work, and two of the three go to the same page. Irish Life: FAIL.

AHAHAHAHA. Brilliant. I used one of the functional links to submit a customer enquiry ("fix the forms, dammit"), which apparently generated an email to their customer service account... which bounced. Pure genius.

November 21
I'm reading Interface for the umpteenth time, and this particular edition (which replaces the last one I loaned and didn't get back) is riddled with typos including one which looks like someone actually proof-read it and "corrected" it because they didn't understand the grammar - one of those homonym-type errors like using "should of" instead of "should have". I'm sure at some level the authors must be at least mildly bothered that their words can't be rendered correctly after multiple reprints.

November 20
Patched up the Finance::Bank::IE modules to cope with the new page layouts, which are easier to parse with reasonable accuracy. Version 0.24 has been uploaded.

November 19
I've a vague idea I'd watched Bullitt a long time ago, but watching it now I'm not so sure. Classic piece of work, with a legendary car chase and a good enough story. Worth watching.

MBNA helpfully chose to direct an early-morning purchase to my new, not-yet-activated credit card, resulting in some phone-chasing for me to get things sorted out. Thanks, guys, but you know, I'd entered the CVV code for the card, you think maybe you could have matched it up to the right one... of course, now that it's been activated manually, I still have the little checkbox on their website that suggests I activate my card.

November 14
Continued on-call. At least I got some sleep.

Somewhat pleased to find I can now pay my credit card off with my Laser debit card. Except, er, my bank just switched from Laser to Visa Debit. D'oh.

I discovered the above while checking why my Perl modules to access the site had stopped working. Turns out they've tweaked the site again, so I guess there'll be a new Finance::Bank::IE some time soon.

November 13
Took me all of thirty minutes to break Mail in the new MacOS release. Apparently all the fixes will be in 10.7, but for now the crashes should be "less frequent". Annoying, that.

On-call this weekend, and it's a bit of a doozy.

November 12
Sort of figured out the LWP::UserAgent stuff. Mainly what it means is that my attempt to use a mock object for testing is stymied by the particular bit of code I want to exercise being at the end of the method I actually need to mock... d'oh.

Glee. Jailbroke the AppleTV and logged into it. Step one: back up the entire thing since it's a pain in the ass to enter various usernames, etc. with the on-screen display.

November 11
Somewhat confounded by some Perl code not doing what I want: I'm using LWP::UserAgent and playing around with basic authentication, and I can't seem to get it take the code path that produces the correct headers. Bizarre.

In other news, whee, shiny new MacOS. I have not yet investigated the shininess, but I understand there will be some improvement in the crashiness of Mail.app when connected to Exchange servers.

November 6
Successful manly day. Our new sofas arrived, so I dismantled the old one, took it downstairs, and reassembled it. But that was the minor task. The major task was tackling the plumbing problem with the dishwasher, viz. that someone had connected the hot and cold pipes under the sink the wrong way around. I had attempted to fix this during the week and discovered I didn't have sufficient tools; today I picked up a sufficiently large adjustable spanner which, along with Mr. Friendly Pipe Wrench, allowed me to swap the connections around with minimal spillage of water and no swearning. Once I'd done it, and checked in a somewhat obsessive-compulsive fashion that there were no leaks, we put the dishwasher on, and lo, it worked as intended. A strange but understandable operating feature: if the incoming water is too hot, it was letting it cool before activating the wash cycle, which meant a 1-hour wash was taking five hours or more. Now it goes straight to work. Go me, etc.

November 2
More "I really wish": your RSS feed should be, you know, an RSS feed. Not, say, a HTML page. I've written a little too much code to cope with the vagaries of RSS spec interpretation without having to detect that what used be a feed link is now a redirect to the blog it used feed for.

November 1
I really wish websites that offer to "Remember Me At This Computer" would actually do so.

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