Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

March 24
So we watched Mockingjay: Part 2. Aaaaand, well, yeah. It honestly felt like a walk through the expected beats from the book, and there was yet more of that "Great Heroine to Disintegrating Teenager" rapid transition stuff that I didn't much take to in Part 1 (I dunno, perhaps this is an intentional point that I'm missing because of my lack of overlap with the target audience in several dimensions). It's not in any real sense a bad movie, and perhaps one of the dimensions I don't fit is that I've read the books - I imagine if you hadn't, there'd be a lot more surprises and interest in this movie for you. All that aside, though, it really felt flabby - this could easily have been rolled into Part 1 and the whole mess trimmed down to a single feature-length movie without losing any significant plot points.

March 23
Upgrading to iOS 9.3 was a barrel of laughs for my increasingly creaky iPad (it's a second-gen model): I wound up having to do a full wipe and restore before it'd get past the Active Your iPad screen. Annoying, given that the iPhone upgrade went without a hitch. Also annoying is that several of the new features (the nighttime colours mode, and the entire News app) are Not Available To Me.

March 20
Not necessarily new, but recently-identified annoying UPC/Virgin Media broadband behaviour: router stops giving out DHCP addresses. This manifests as various things on the network claiming they can't get internet access, and specifically for mobile devices, falling back to GSM access. Pfft.

Other recently discovered weirdness: directory trees including a directory named "Backups.backupdb" (or perhaps just ones ending in backupdb?) appear to get special treatment from the OS X kernel, specifically that you can't go mucking around with those trees in certain ways - setting file times, renaming files, or deleting files. This is without doing anything wacky like setting ACLs or BSD flags or what have you. Rename the Backups.backupdb component to something else and presto, protected behaviour stops. I discovered this while trying to make my "pretend you're Time Machine" Linux backup script emulate Time Machine closely enough to allow me to open a backup thus created with Time Machine, something I've not yet confirmed is possible.

Some googling of the above leads me to the Time Machine Safety Net, a kernel extension which basically steps in over all your permissions and overrides them. And it comes with a bypass command to allow you to go back to whatever abusive thing you were doing. Nice.
waider$ /System/Library/Extensions/TMSafetyNet.kext/Contents/Helpers/bypass
bypass <cmd> <arg1>...<argN>

March 15
9:07 this morning:
Drobo disk pack has completed rebuilding your data.

March 12
Had a work colleague and his wife over for dinner.

March 11
Drobo is still, four days later, doing its drive juggling. It emails me every so often to remind me.

March 7
Irreglarly-scheduled man flu in progress. Bleh.

My Drobo had one of its 2TB drives go clunk (that idea is still scary, even if the 2TB is multiply redundant) so I had a replacement shipped, and fitted it today. The first fitting was slightly impeded by the presence of a dustball which prevented the contacts from, er, making contact. Once I got that sorted it started remirroring all the data, so I now I get to wait for it to stop doing that.

March 4
The Martian was pretty much as good as I'd been told, although having read the book it's hard not to wonder why they opted for cutting this sequence instead of that sequence, and so forth. I felt like there was a missing bridge between "I need to double the battery life of the Rover" and "I'm doing a multi-day trip in the Rover", but I think that was the only bit where someone not familiar with the book might have a brief headscratch (or, I dunno, completely ignore it). The dialogue was also a bit oddly and obviously cut to gain a lower certificate, which was mildly annoying. Still, watch this, it's great.

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Marching on