Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 6
One more endorsement from my week of goofing off domestic maintenance: Colm Murray at The Shower People. It's a shame that the general standard of service in Ireland is so poor that I have to identify things that should be a basic standard for anyone, but still: Colm was polite and helpful on the phone, immediately identified the problem, showed up on time, did a speedy job, and left the place clean and tidy.

(For comparison, other people I contacted over the week didn't get back to me, didn't get back to me for several days by which time I'd found someone else, didn't record the fact that I'd already told them I'd found someone else so I got a second call several days after the first, and so on. This stuff isn't hard, people. Get it together.)

I've turned up a few details I didn't previously have in the General Registry Office's new online BMD records at irishgenealogy.ie. The available data is, however, a little disappointing (although understandable, given the hodge-podge of source data used), as is the lack of a useful facility for ordering actual paper copies (which you need to get the full details of any given record); your only online option is a fully-authenticated replica certificate (legally valid, etc. etc.) at €20, or to fill out a form and post or fax it to Roscommon if, like me, you're just looking for a photocopy. Plus there's no direct link from a given record to "order this record" which seems like a major oversight. Ironically, the form for photocopy requests indicates that the photocopy can actually be emailed to you at no additional cost. I can only assume that when they say a photocopy, they mean an actual photocopy, as opposed to "pull up image record #17 from the database and print it off", and the mental obstacle of dealing with a fill-out paper form might act as a natural throttle for people who might otherwise be requesting records willy-nilly...

If you're on Facebook, this article may be of interest. Short version: Facebook changed friends-list privacy settings in a manner that left the author exposed to someone who had endangered her in the past, and Facebook subsequently made it so that friends lists were public so that she had no prospect of undoing the damage other than leaving Facebook entirely - a course of action I wholeheartedly recommend. The middle bit about totalitarian regimes feels a bit overcooked (it may not actually be, just that it felt that way) but there's some good stuff in there on dependency and so forth.

July 5
Off to Bob's for the annual summer barbequeue. For the first time in as long as I can remember we actually had some seriously bad weather (a couple of torrential downpours) but there was still enough non-rain weather to allow us to sit around and laugh at reactions to the "Shocker" sausages JC brought over from Switzerland - perfectly innocent-looking sausages loaded with jalapeños and habaneros.

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Now entering Q3