Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

July 12
I read a bunch of Len Deighton some time ago, mainly sort of filling in blanks in the "Classic Spy" genre. I knew Michael Caine had starred in a couple of film adaptations, and when a few showed up on TV I recorded them. So this evening we watched Funeral in Berlin which was pretty good, but which also was obviously taking cues from the Bond franchise which had just kicked off - Caine's Harry Palmer is more of a goofball, there's the obligatory romance, and even the Walther PPK makes an appearance, but that's to be expected - if there's anything you can say about Hollywood, it's that they prefer making 300 variations on the same movie to making 1 unique movie - and to be honest it doesn't really take away from what is, at the end of the day, a fairly solid spy movie. I had forgotten a good deal of the details so the twist, when it came, was a bit of a surprise. Good movie, will watch the other one I've got recorded and look out for the rest.

July 8
I bought a GoPro HERO+ (which is about 2014 vintage) because I wanted to play with one without spending several hundred euro on the latest model, and I gotta say, the quality of this really doesn't make me inclined to spend any more on it. The USB connection seems incredibly flaky, and I've found a bug in the firmware whereby it creates files that are too large for the internal web server to transfer; the camera periodically gets wedged in some weird state where random iterations of power on/off, wifi on/off, plug out/plug in, etc. eventually return it to operation; the wifi occasionally fails outright and requires similar abuse to get it functioning; on the whole, this makes me wonder how the hell the brand got so popular if this was their top product four years ago. Tonight's new trick: there are 8 files on the camera. Or 2, if you believe the front panel. Or 9 if you believe Image Capture. It doesn't matter, though, because you can't download any of them via USB.

July 7
I had to renew my driving license, so visited the centre in Santry on Friday. As I've somewhat inured myself to spending two hours a day on the bike, it seemed obvious that I'd use the same means to get to Santry particularly given that the bus trip took about the same length of time. So this is how I discovered the (as yet incomplete) Royal Canal Greenway; essentially it's just the old towpaths repurposed to provide a mixed-mode route for pedestrians and cyclists. The surface varies wildly depending on where on the path you are and, sadly, how affluent the surrounding neighbourhoods are; there are also a few bike-unfriendly (and, I might note, wheelchair unfriendly) gates along the route I took; but on the whole it was a pretty nifty way to travel from Dublin 15 to Dublin 7 without having to deal with too much traffic. Of course, once I got off the towpath in Dublin 7 I was straight into the more usual cycling-hostile infrastructure: bike lanes which swerved into unmarked pavements, bike lanes which disappeared, an absence of bike lanes right where they'd be useful, and finally, at the Omni centre, a row of Sheffield stands installed too close to the adjacent wall to be properly usable.

But that was Friday, and today is Sunday, and today we had no agenda for hitting much of this same route other than to go for a bike ride somewhere where we wouldn't feel threatened by traffic at every turn. So we ran the slightly scary gauntlet from Castleknock village to the nearest canal path entrance (includes one roundabout, and a narrow road over a humpback bridge with no crossing point right at the entrance to the canal) and made our leisurely way down the path for half-a-dozen lock gates and back again. One of the bridges we passed is William Rowan Hamilton's graffiti spot, commemorated with a plaque above the towpath. We stopped in Ashtown on the way back for something to drink, then moseyed on home. Altogether a pleasant trip on a Sunday and something we'll probably do again if the weather favours it while we're still living in this neck of the woods.

Speaking of cycling... Phoenix Park, Castleknock Gate to Parkgate Street: (loosely based on watching my GoPro clips of this run, which I've been doing 4-5 days a week since May; the pedestrians, Lance Armstrongs and wrong-way cyclists are a daily feature, the OPW trucks pop up periodically to remind you that it's their park, not yours.)

July 6
We've started watching Clooney's Catch-22 and mostly I realise I don't remember much about the book beyond the absurdity (which is sort of the point, I guess), but it's very good so far.

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And that was the first half of 2019