Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

March 24
Possibly the most enjoyable TED talk I've ever watched: A Museum of 4 o'clock in the morning. If this doesn't move you in some way you are a heartless creature made of stone. Mrs. Waider says she wants to rewatch it just to experience the way it all comes together again.


March 21
Well, that wasn't a heart-stopping finale to the Six Nations at all.

If you see the trailer that we saw for The Family, you might think, hey, a comedy. You would be wrong. Even trying to paint this as a black comedy doesn't help. The problem is that when it gets violent, it gets actually violent, not humourously violent. I'd draw comparisons to In Bruges, except that actually managed to pull off the "Is Funny Despite Dark Subject Matter" shtick, which this movie misses by miles. So basically, rent In Bruges or some other Brendan Gleeson movie, and leave this one on the shelf.

Hey, Dropbox.
Mar 22 11:03:41 zippy.local Dropbox[537]: ICARegisterForEventNotification-Has been deprecated since 10.5. Calls to this function in the future may crash this application. Please move to ImageCaptureCore
10.5. That's 5 OS revisions and 8 years ago.

March 18
Currently looking at changing the car, and holy crap have I not ever encountered such a range of crap websites since I was last looking for a job (or maybe buying a house). Given that the primary purpose of these websites should be to shift product, you'd imagine that basic things like "put an image on the website so that there's not a "broken image" icon in the middle of the page" might be attended to; you'd hope that the explanatory text would actually be present when some hapless customer clicks on the little i-with-a-circle; and you'd sort of expect that basic functionality like maintaining a running total of the car cost would continue to work during the time you spend on the site, as opposed to breaking at some point and never recovering. But no, I encountered all of this and more, including the Mini configuration website which simply wouldn't load, and some other website where, depending on which approach you took, you got one of two different configuration sites, one of which wanted full demographic info while the other just launched straight in. Also, the position of the marque in the market seems to have no reflection on the crapiness of the website; one of the most irritating sites to use was from one of the most expensive vendors, but a graph of expense versus irritation would not be any sort of linear curve, more of a randomly jumping squiggle.

Seriously. Totally amateur hour. Opel seem to have mostly got it nailed, but it's a bit sad to consider choosing a car based on who has the least crappy means of selling it to me.

March 15
Jack Reacher: boy, was that ever a waste of time for everyone involved, and me. First, you've got a movie based on a hard-talking, hard-fighting, hard-everything character that's very clearly cut to avoid showing e.g. people being shot (even though this is part of the actual plot) but the tone of the movie far outweighs anything that might have been deemed graphically violent. Then, you've got the scene where the two guys try to beat up Reacher in the bathroom; first he takes a lead-cored baseball bat to the back of the head, a shot that should have left him unconcious if not in a coma, and then we get two minutes of inexplicable slapstick culminating in one of the attackers knocking the other one out with a lesser blow than the one Reacher took. Right. Then there's the "let's put down our guns and fight this out like civilised men" bit in the closing sequence, which is laughable and stupid. And there's more, but really, just skip this. Don't bother. There are so many better things you could be doing.

Oh wait, there's one more thing I have to complain about: the completely over-egged All The Wimmins Find Jack Irresistable bit at the start. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is giving Jack the bedroom eyes. Jeez.

Somewhat better was The Fifth Estate, a Wikileaks movie; given the collection of unreliable narrators involved in the real-world version of events, any dramatisation is going to be questionable, but this was at least somewhat entertaining and intriguing. The bit at the end, with Cumberbatch-as-Assange mouthing off about the movie you're actually watching was a bit too gimmicky, and some of the WE HAZ COMPUTARZ stuff was silly as well - I mean, I always keep my laptop open on a tiled display of text windows, including a text-based twitter feed, an IRC client, random C code that scrolls for no apparent reason, and a bunch of shell logins to routers and what not. Because that's how I roll, yo. But hey, I'm sure it all looked cool if you weren't trying to see what it all was.

One last thing for the weekend: a pleasant evening with The Lads spent in Tramore, including seeing a pub band called Tabula Rasa playing in The Vic. These guys were good, and picked some unusual songs to cover. Including No Diggity. Seriously, four guys in a classic electric rock lineup - two guitars, bass, drums - covered No Diggity and absolutely nailed it. RESPECK, YO.


March 12
I am constantly amused and amazed at the snippets of family history I keep turning up that noone told me about (or told me about when I had no interest in paying attention).


March 6
Flight is a bit slow, but it's a good movie, and well worth watching. I was fascinated to discover that the crash in the movie, and the moves taken to avoid it, were based on a real event, albeit one that didn't work out quite so well for the plane and occupants.

March 5
Last night, the phone refused to get on the wireless network, so I wound up restarting the Apple wifi box which sadly fixed the problem. Reassuringly, however, it appears that the MacBook is still refusing to get with the program.

(I hate when a simple reboot fixes things with no apparent explanation.)

Recent diggings in the family tree reveal that a townland in Clashmore, officially designated Ballynamultina (that's how it shows up on Griffiths', and that's generally taken as the official land registry version from 1850ish onwards) is more or less randomly rendered as Ballinamultina over the course of about 150 years of newspaper articles; the latter spelling is definitely preferred, but the former crops up as recently as the 1970s. This probably is of no interest to anyone except me.

(We will not speak of the other renderings.)

March 1
Transcendence does not know what sort of movie it wants to be: technology is bad, or technology is good. And there are plot holes you can drive a bus through. And the ending is screwy. And frankly this is a waste of good talent (Johnny Depp? Morgan Freeman?). It is not an actual terrible movie, but it's definitely not an actual good movie, either.

Hurrah, Ireland v. England rugby, in which Ireland triumphed. I spent most of the match making smart-arse comments on Twitter, some of which may actually have been funny.

I am having persistent wifi annoyance chez Waider. I bought an Airport box to break the reliance on the crappy wifi doodad that my current ISP provides, and you'd expect that Apple hardware would talk to other Apple hardware in a nice, sane, reliable fashion. Instead I periodically get the wifi icon doing its "I'm looking for the network" thing, followed by said icon presenting me with itself greyed out and with an exclamation mark over it. I've tried futzing with the channels in use to avoid channels used by other visible networks, and I've tried randomly swapping from the 5GHz network to the 2.4GHz one and back, and I've tried disabling and reenabling wifi, and basically the only thing that seems to work is giving up in frustration and trying again ten minutes later. What's really annoying is that I'm sitting here with an iPad and an iPhone connected to the exact same access point, and neither is having any trouble - it's just the MacBook that's complaining.

(Of course it'll turn out that Apple is doing something "clever" like trying to verify that I've got an actual Internet connection, or that I'm reaching a DHCP server, and the DHCP server is unhappy with me, or the routing is flaky, but the Mac won't actually tell me that, it'll just give me an exclamation mark. Bringing to mind the classic criticism levelled at Unix many years ago: car designed by Unix guy has a single warning sign on the dashboard, a question mark; the experienced user will know what's wrong.)

(Problem solved by manually setting up IP address, which suggests it is indeed a DHCP problem, which once more points the finger at my ISP's crappy hardware.)

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