Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 24
DSPsrv status: broken again. I was logged in when this happened, but not as root, which is really annoying, because what happened was that the disk errored and went read-only, preventing things like sudo from working, so I couldn't force a reboot. I tried hammering at the disk for a bit hoping to trigger a kernel panic, but failed to do anything other than cause the last remaining writable partition to error and go read-only, so now I've got a dead terminal session on the box, and will have to engage remote hands to reboot it again. Have made a note to remount the disks with panic-on-error rather than readonly-on-error, since the box is already set up to reboot 30 seconds after a kernel panic.

And yes, I'm working on virtualising the whole thing.

Oh, and in case you're wondering: of course I haven't heard from Vodafone since I asked about cancelling an unused SIM on July 10th. Two weeks ago. Good to see they haven't raised the quality of their service unexpectedly.


July 19
TomTom saga is paused: they've acknowledged the bug, told me there's a fix in the works, and will extend my subscription from the point at which it's fixed. This is still no excuse for shipping broken product, mind you.

I reread The Good German for comparison with the movie. The book plot is (no surprise) a good deal more complex, but there are more fundamental changes that do raise a few questions - one of the characters changes sides, for example, and fairly significantly. And it's jarring, because he's one of the "good germans" of the title.


July 15
Amazon's summer party, wherein actual sunshine occurred.

July 14
DSPsrv is back. I am advised by Colin that it's possible to get an EC2-hosted server unblocked for email use - something that became possible some time ago, and I missed - and given that this was the principal reason for retaining DSPsrv at its current (co)location, I'll be looking at setting this up and maybe virtualising DSPsrv.

July 12
Continued TomTom Saga: now it turns out there's apparently a known issue with the combination of Mac and the GPS unit I'm trying to update; CS suggested I try using, you know, Windows. AWESOME.

I've politely declined and asked them to let me know when they've fixed the "known issue", and to extend the one-year update subscription I purchased to cover the fact that it isn't actually working right now.

I will note that throughout this their CS guy has been polite and helpful, but obviously there's only so much that you can do as a CS guy when there's a fundamental problem with the product you're supporting.

In other news, DSPsrv.com is off the air again; annoyingly, it seems like it's still running, so the reboot-on-kernel-panic thing hasn't kicked in. I'm attempting to get remote hands to reboot it, but due to GIANT HANDWAVE this is non-trivial. I may just punt and move the whole thing to EC2, except then I need to cater for the fact that where it's located right now it has SMTP outbound routing, while running in EC2 is pretty much a guarantee that you won't have outbound SMTP to anywhere.

July 11
I bitched about the TomTom thing on The Twitters, as you do, and got a response of sorts directing me to call their customer service. Very nice guy on the phone basically told me to delete All The Things including the app and reinstall. Done that, still failing - not a surprise, as the problem looks like I'm getting a corrupted download from the server, and given that it's consistently corrupted, I don't imagine repeating the process over again without changing something on the server is going to fix it. We shall see what they come up with next.

July 10
Good to see that TomTom's map update service is about as smooth as Garmin's (i.e. clunky, reeks of "written by engineers in the nineties when noone knew what the Web was"). I particularly like that the address form wants my gender (mandatory field, natch) and if I cancel out it remembers everything I put in except the country. I guess if your competition sucks, there's no real impetus to do any better, eh?

Speaking of, I had a very pleasant interaction (to my shock) with Vodafone's customer service as I attempted to cancel a Vodafone Broadband subscripton which hasn't been used in a long time (signed up when I moved into the current digs and had no other Internet connectivity, then started using it intermittently in the iPad when travelling). Pleasant person was very helpful, and gave me a reference number for the cancellation request. That was last Sunday, and of course I still haven't heard anything from the cancellation team. Because, you know, every extra day they don't process my cancellation request is an extra day of money they can charge me. Thanks, guys. Reassuring to know that despite a helpful custsrv you're still as sucky as ever.


July 8
I didn't know they'd turned Joseph Kanon's book into a movie, but The Good German captures a lot of the book while at the same time paying homage none too subtly to wartime movies. A good movie with actual characters and a story, it has me inclined to go back and read the book again to see what was changed.

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Boom. H2.