Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

December 31
It was on telly, so we watched Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Well, bits of it, anyway. It's fun, but not a patch on the first movie.

December 30
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is easily one of the best thrillers I've seen in a long time. They've retained a startling amount of the book, but that's incidental; you don't need to know anything about the book for this film to work for you. The casting is spot-on, the pacing is excellent, and the soundtrack is more than just a bit-part player in the finished product. Definitely go see this. For comparison, we're expecting the DVD of the Swedish version (from 2009) as soon as normal postal service resumes.

December 29
District 13: Ultimatum lacks the metric armload of parkour I'd expected, and steals the basic plot from its predecessor, but on the whole it's actually quite a good sequel that doesn't lean particularly heavily on the first movie. It does get a bit cheesy right at the end, though, which is a shame. Still, worth seeing.

December 28
Found a review of Corel Linux I'd written in 1998. Put it on the hairballs page.

Attack the Block's trailer might lead you to believe this is a goofy movie, particularly since Nick Frost is in it. There's a little bit of goofy in it, but there's a good deal of suspense and gore, and really the goofy is kinda eclipsed by all that. It's a good movie, mind you.

Mongol was also pretty good. I'm not sure how it matches up to reality, mind you. And the occasional skips in time (wait, how did we get from pregnant Borte to Borte with some-years-old-kid with no other signs that time had passed?) were a bit distracting. Probably worth treating as we did: it was on the box, so we watched it.

December 27
I'm reasonably sure that I've seen the original (1976) version of Assault On Precinct 13, but I can't quite recall other than being familar with the title. I think the main problem with the remake is the pacing: there are periods where you'd imagine the forces outside should be pressing in for an attack, but no, they're not, because the people inside are busy having Serious Dialogue and the attackers are too polite to interrupt. A few surprise deaths (i.e. the people that genre and formula dictate should survive) and Ja Rule's character seems to be there solely so that there can be someone who refers to themselves in the third person - he's not even decent cannon fodder. And finally, the endgame: where the hell did the forest come from? One minute we're in suburban Detroit, the next we've got a forest chase scene with no transition. Anyway. Aside from those minor quibbles, this is a so-so action movie that'll pass the time while you're waiting for something better to show up.

December 26
Happy Feet: not massively sold on the musical side of it - the singing was impressive, but in places seemed to be a bit too busy - but the story overall was a bit of fun.

December 25
Merry Christmas... movies so far: Rango (looks like it's a terrible movie for kids, at whom I surmise it is at least partially aimed, but we loved it, especially the Not Clint Eastwood bit), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (the reviewer who described this as "Victorian Lethal Weapon" pretty much nailed it; it sort of tips its hat to the literary Holmes, then moves off in a completely different direction), and Mission: Impossible III which was one of those "it's on the telly, let's watch it" options - I missed most of the denoument due to arranging accomodation for visitors, but I've seen it before, and it's pretty much Exactly What You'd Expect.

December 21
So I hear on the news that Ireland is planning on some legislation intended to make it even more illegal to download stuff, that the guy who leaked the screener of some movie I can't remember the name of is getting an actual custodial jail sentence, and now I read that some pro-music-industry group is slating Google for "not doing enough to block downloading of music", and I try to remember what year it is again, because this sure feels like a rerun of the Napster years.

December 19
I've zipped through a few books on the Kindle recently, too quickly to get around to the not really laborious process of making them appear on my website under "Reading". I think this reflects part of the insidious nature of the beast: convenient access to a massive library at your fingertips, coupled with portability, variable font size for those of us who are getting a little old, and (most recent realisation), it's far more convenient to read a book on the iPad app at night than it is to deal with one of those useful but fiddly book lights that clips to the book you're reading. This last is why I read The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo in a handful of late-night binges rather than a little here and there over the course of a few weeks.

December 18
Take Me Home Tonight is another movie in the "why the hell did we rent whatever this is?" "oh wait, it's actually not bad" "ha ha, this is funny!" series. It's basically an 80's movie made in 2007: lots of bad hair, shoulder pads, synthesiser music, etc. It doesn't quite stick to genre in as much as The Dorky Kid and The Jock aren't mortal enemies (the latter is dating the former's sister) and there's a bag of cocaine trundling through the story, but it's still fairly formulaic and well done enough that when The Dorky Kid has The Heroic (and stupid) Moment, you're cheering him on.

December 17
So now I have iTunes Match. What have I just got myself, exactly?

December 16
"What DVDs do we have?" "Uh... Submarine" "What's it about?" "Er...". So we had no recollection of renting this, the trailers for other movies didn't quite reassure us that it was something worth watching, and then... the movie was actually pretty excellent. It's not rush-out-and-buy brilliant, but it'd fit in nicely if you liked Juno, for example - although it's welsh and the protagonist is far more likely to put his foot in his mouth. I think I'd probably watch this again.

December 15
UPC app (a) disappears from Apple Store (b) starts working. Bizarre.

December 14
Quite enjoyed The Negotiator; it's a good setup and a good execution of that setup. Worth a look.

December 13
Hah. So it looks like my current UPC broadband experience - broadband disconnects and then spends an inordinate amount of time trying to reconnect, before the router reloads and then comes up immediately - might actually be associated with my attempts to use Remote Record. Certainly it looks like there's a strong correlation between attempting to use the app and the broadband wonkiness. Awesome.

December 12
Installed UPC Remote Record app. Tried to log in. Discovered I'd forgotten my credentials. Reset credentials on the UPC website. Relaunched app, logged in, app immediately crashed. Relaunched app which now had me logged in, poked around a bit. Hmm, looks ok. Tried to set something to remote record. Timeout. Tried to search for something. Timeout. At various points through the day, continued to try setting a remote recording, and continued getting timeouts. Read the FAQ. "if your Digital+ box is in Eco mode the system won't work". Shiny.

December 11
Oddness with Twitter last night: attempting to put "'zon" in a message, and it got "corrected" to "'son". Twice. I'm still not clear on what was actually doing the correcting. Serves me right for trying to be, y'know, hip.

Limitless was a bit of fun, but I think it could have done without the triumphant ending - I'm currently chewing my way through the book it was based on to see how that worked out originally.

December 9
French Connection II shows its age. Somewhat. Lots of character-building scenes where not a whole happens that didn't happen in the scene before. Really crap fight choreography. Popeye the Sailor is less of a cartoon than Popeye Doyle. Still, not actually terrible.

December 3
Added a new toy to my local MRTG setup which counts the number of UDP & TCP tunnels running on the router. Mainly so I can figure out if there's any correlation with the times when the thing decides to give up passing traffic.

December 1
Shiny new iPhone arrived to replace the catted one. Restore from iCloud was a bit ... lumpier than I expected:

Interesting aside: the last message I got on the phone prior to its premature death was my setup code for Google's two-factor auth. What happens if my phone is inaccessible for a week? Must read up on the two-factor FAQ before I switch it on...

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