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Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
July 17
Took me almost a month because I was checking for records I wanted to keep, but my MapMyRun account is now empty and deleted. Of course, I got spam from them the day I was finishing this cleanup.

July 16
Another hiatus. Sunshine: been and gone, more or less. Illness: also been and gone, more or less. Nothing of note watched, as far as I can recall - oh, wait, we watched Men in Black III which our DVR had, for some reason, recorded in two chunks with a few minutes missing between them. I'd seen this before, Mrs. hadn't. It's a fun movie, doesn't do a huge amount that the previous ones didn't already cover to some extent, but still enjoyable for all that.

Currently trying to coerce Django and OpenHAB to play nice with each other - specifically, getting Django to deal with OpenHAB's frankly terrible persistence model. This requires either defining all your persistence classes up front, which means they're out of date if you ever change any of your OpenHAB setup, or defining them on the fly, which requires doing things that I'm pretty sure Django isn't meant to do and I so far haven't managed to do successfully. Once you've gotten past that, looking things up may involve use of eval() which is just... ick.

July 03
Hmm, haven't updated this in a bit... we're melting with the heat, the cats are panned out wherever, the plants are alternately thriving and dying, etc. We're digging into Season 9 of The X-Files, but mostly not actually bothering with the gogglebox because, you know, heatwave.

Oh, somewhere in there we watched Darkest Hour which I think despite some of the protestations to the contrary actually does relatively ok on factual accuracy (I find myself wondering if any of the critics of the accuracy are in fact just miffed that they didn't get picked as the historical consultant) and I think, from what I've seen of archive footage and what not, that Gary Oldman absolutely nailed the performance. And yeah, there are bits that the filmmakers readily admit are pure fiction (such as the Underground scene) but have sufficient basis in fact that I'm inclined to shrug and say, "meh". It is kinda odd to go from visceral movies like Saving Private Ryan to this sort of abstract world where the war is happening to other people at the end of a telegraph; I'm not sure if that was an intentional theme in the movie, or if it was just a budget issue, or a "story focus" issue, but it's something you can't help but notice - petty political bickering and jockeying for place in Whitehall while people are dying on the front line. Anyway. Good movie, worth a look.

June 25
So just as I'm writing an email to customer support, I figure I'll give the app one last try, and lo it's started "Downloading Europe..." We had some internet weather yesterday evening which might have played a part in the slow transaction processing but still doesn't account for the completely obtuse user interface.

Plus, now I need to endure the "we timed out downloading a 4GB file, so let's START ALL OVER AGAIN. But before we do, we'll pretend the download succeeded, and try to unpack the files! Whee!"

*EYEROLL OF EPIC PROPORTIONS*

Almost forgot, we watched Jane Eyre staring ORSON WELLES and an uncredited Liz Taylor (as a child, obviously). Well made, visually striking, but then it turns out Mr. Welles had a hand in the making of as well as chewing up all available scenery every time he was on screen. An awesomely talented lad.

June 24
Currently suffering a hideous dose of manflu. Bleh.

Once again, TomTom Home proves itself to be Not Made For People To Use: I start it up, it insists on downloading a "Critical Update", runs the installer, restarts itself, and says, "A critical update is available" and my only option is to acknowledge this and watch the app exit. This is very, very basic stuff to be getting wrong. From previous experience, I'm guessing I'm going to have to manually download the "critical release".

Manual download. Install. App pops up a window - blank - that is stuck in the foreground so I have to move it around to close the installer app and clean up. Blank window shows spinning pinwheel of doom for a minute or so, then pinwheel and window disappear and "Application is not responding".

Force Quit and restart. "Your device is up to date". Go back to top level. There's a splash there saying "update available". This is just made of shit, basically. Maybe they've only one person in the office with a Mac, and when that person's not around they just churn out the Mac release and hope it works.

(Note, you can't click on that "update available" notification - you have to click around the app, which has many non-functional options, until you find the thing that lets you download the update.)

Ok, Map Update, and my subscription has run out. Click through the buying option. Redirected to the website to pay. "If you have purchased new maps or map updates you will find them in My Maps" There is no "My Maps" section in the app, and the app is still prompting me to buy the map I just purchased.

(In case you're wondering, I've actually tried to sort out problems like this with their customer service before. Took months, literally. They wound up having to extend my subscription because I couldn't use it when I'd paid for it.)

Aha, despite the fact that I have not one but THREE emails from my purchase, all suggesting that I have paid money for goods/services, the order on the website is still listed as "Inprogress". I wonder how long that takes? Maybe they can only sell during business hours or something.

June 19
Wrapped up season 8 of the X-Files. Dogget's first season: he's kinda not really the new Scully, and Scully isn't really the new Mulder. Dogget's sort of half-way - he's not in-your-face skeptical except when the plot needs him to be. And then Skinner's all, "sure, aliens, no problem". The "Scully's Baby" thread, particularly the finale, makes little sense and just feels like an obvious hook to retain viewers. As for Mulder when he does show up? How has he not been arrested for intruding on crime scenes? How does he even intrude on them?

But anyway, we'll be starting season 9 shortly.

Really impressed with Vodafone's site makeover.

Er, NOT.

  • On my laptop, the entire screen "above the fold" is taken up with useless information including an image that's about half the height of the available screen real-estate. This is not a small laptop screen.
  • My account details have been "upgraded" such that Vodafone apparently no longer have any record of my handset type (it's apparently - and I quote - "UnKnown Device"). That'd be the handset they sold me.
  • ...clicking on "over-the-air device configuration" here does... nothing?
  • ...and clicking on "Check your device insurance eligibility" brings me to a page which says, "Protect your device with Vodafone covered" and has a greyed-out "continue" button.
  • Speaking of upgrades, I can no longer check my upgrade eligibility on the site. I can't even find the option for it (I stumbled on it last week and it said "call customer service")
  • My billing presents a number of add-ons for additional data, none of which appear to be active (sample descriptive text: "50.00 MB Mobile Internet Passport; 0 MB of this add-on expires on 15 April 2018"). Clicking on "Manage add-ons" does not allow me to get rid of these because they don't show up there.
  • Billing also shows me three "Text unlimited" circles. Because I am so special I have three times the unlimited texts, eh?
Nice job, Vodafone.

June 18
MapMyRun's response to GDPR is to require me to grant them the right to ship my data wherever. And I can't download my data without signing up for their premium membership. So I'm going through what I've posted there, saving what I feel is worth keeping, and nuking the rest, in advance of deleting my account.

June 15
Justice League is another movie that I'd heard some poor reviews of, but turns out to be actually pretty fun. Goofy flash: fun. Sarcastic aquaman: fun. Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, and SECRET MYSTERY SUPERH aw seriously have you not seen the posters, promos, cast list, etc.? HENRY CAVILL. It's RIGHT THERE. Anyway, yes. All fun. Zack Snyder does need to be prevented from directing anything else until he can see beyond the physical attributes of his female cast (seriously, gratutiutous cleavage and butt shots are not a crucual part of the story) but other than that this was definitely a lot better than expected.

June 13
I regret to inform you that The BBC are at it again:
2018-06-13 10:05:02Minnesota raccoon's daring skyscraper scramble transfixes internet
2018-06-13 10:35:02Minnesota raccoon hailed as hero after skyscraper climb
2018-06-13 13:05:02Raccoon hailed a hero after Minnesota skyscraper climb
2018-06-13 14:35:02Raccoon hailed a hero after Minnesota skyscraper climb
2018-06-13 17:05:02Daredevil raccoon's Minnesota skyscraper climb


I mean, it's not like anything else important is happening, right?

June 09
Went to The Last Ship, Sting's musical based on the shipbuilding town and people of his youth. I've been looking forward to this and was only slightly disheartened to discover that the man himself wouldn't be on stage. To be honest, that was a bit silly in multiple respects; the musical performances by the male singers could all have been Sting if you closed your eyes. As musicals go, this isn't Oliver or Annie, a point to which the chorus draws your attention at the interval after one of the characters has collapsed on stage after a beautiful duet rendition of the title song. The chorus, in fact, reminded me a bit of Elaine, "your tour guide through South Central Los Angeles" from that Ice Cube track on account of this particular change in tone!

The cast: superb. The music and singing: superb. The story: well, it's The Englishman who went up a hill but came down a mountain except the Englishman is a dockyard crew or maybe the dockyard foreman and the hill is a ship and the parish priest was excised from the UK/Ireland run of the show and... what I'm trying to say is that the story's a bit derivative, but if you've read this site for long enough you know that I don't care about derivative if delivery is done well, and delivery was indeed done well. The set:

The set needs its own paragraph, basically. It's the uncredited cast member. A simple enough layout: a large backdrop that could be a dockyard gate or the inside of a ship, a gallery accessed by steps that could double for part of a crane, some movable bits in the foreground to make a bar counter, or dockyard detritus. Ah, but then. There were screens on rails that could be raised or lowered left, right and center stage, and with various lighting and projection they could be made opaque or transparent or somewhere between the two. These provided a street scene, a church, a house interior with a sudden fade-in of a couple dancing in the background as the older version of the male partner told the story in the foreground, and for the finale, well, of course, it turns into The Last Ship. Above the backdrop was another screen on which was projected skylines appropriate for the plot point at hand - the bow of the ship under construction, shipyard cranes, a lighthouse, and so forth. I'm giving it all this praise, but the real magic of it was that it wasn't a cast member - it supported the story without being a gee-whiz effect distracting you from what was going on. I'm just a nerd who takes note of this sort of thing.

Anyway. A very enjoyable afternoon, and I'd have happily walked out the door and back in for a repeat performance.