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Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
May 30
Gorgeous weather. Almost cooked some pepper plants I'm growing in a mini-greenhouse: sunroom plus mini-greenhouse + direct sunlight = temperature in excess of 35 degrees. Whoops. Once I put them in shade and fed them a bit of water they perked up.

Realised last week that for handwavy reasons, I've learned two and a half workflow systems (AWS SWF being one of the two, to give you a sense of what I'm talking about) from scratch in the last two months. That seems... excessive. Not claiming expertise in said systems, mind; just enough learning to know how to use them and compare them to each other, which is still a lot to be doing in two months.

May 29
The Expanse: now some way into Season 3. Dialogue is brilliant, Erinwright (or however you spell that) is an utter shit who can't get his comeuppance soon enough, Dr. Mao seemed like he was mellowing but then ... not (also Nurse, 1, Some Assembly Required was a bit icky), Christjen has definitely improved in my estimation as has Amos and frankly I'm thinking of Alex as something of a kindred spirit, not that I ever flew spaceraft for the Martian Navy. I've started reading the first book as well, and even early on there are small but significant changes - but they did retain Gruesome Death of Annoying Doctor pretty much as written in the book.

Midsomer Murders: winding towards the end of Season 6, and encountering a few we've definitely seen before. Current channels are backfilling Seasons 10 and 11 so not sure if we'll wait for more of that to show up or if we'll jump straight in to whatever we've got.

Waiting on vaccine notification, while watching people of my cohort getting one before me. It'd be lovely to get a sense of what the expected time between registration and injection is.

May 22
So if you have two backup systems, and one generates local files for upload to the backup location, the other one is going to keep finding very large amounts of changed data that needs backing up, and its backups will be correspondingly huge and slow. Which is something I thought I'd already accounted for, but perhaps a recent upgrade to Arq or macOS changed that. In any case, I've fixed that now, so instead of waiting for a glacially slow backup of 15GB to complete, Time Machine is doing ... 7GB. Ok, that's an improvement, anyway. I guess the giant SQLite database that requires the entire file to be backed up if I change a single byte isn't helping that.

(yes I have two backup systems: one is "local", using TimeMachine to drop files onto the previously-mentioned-on-these-pages ancient RAID box, and the other is "offsite", using Arq to drop files onto S3. The former's really handy - and has been used - for "oops didn't mean to delete that". The latter has never been used in anger, but is handy for "oops, the ancient RAID box finally died and I didn't mean to delete that".)

May 14
The Expanse: wait, they didn't just kill off $major_character, did they? Come on. I'm still enjoying the show, but "surprisingly kill off major player who you thought was invincible due to being major" is a trope I will not be sorry to never see again.

May 11
This came to my attention recently: Preliminary NTS Phase 3 Report for East Wall. I can't find the final version of the report, nor does the preliminary report appear on DCC's website, but it was linked to from a number of places and the above is a copy hosted on one of a local politician's website. I gotta say, I'm no traffic engineer, and maybe I'm biased because I live in the area, but the assessment of parking seems superficial at best. This one stood out:
Another observation was vehicles parked in a manner that blocks a resident’s driveway. It is likely that the drivers of these vehicles had consent of the homeowners to park at these locations as DCC Parking Enforcement received no complaints regarding this issue.
We constantly have people blocking our driveway without our consent; lessened somewhat by COVID, but never quite gone away. But we've never contacted DCC Parking Enforcement about it, because (aside from the fact that there was no parking enforcement officer for much of the time we've lived here) what are they actually going to do about it? Typically cars park here long enough to be a nuisance, but rarely long enough that you'd, say, ticket them or tow them if you were to factor in the inexplicable 30-minute grace period you get for illegal parking and the time it'd take for someone to actually get here and observe and so on. And I suspect I'm not alone in this attitude: I've reported illegal parking in the area maybe once in the past, and nothing was done about it then, and I can't say I expect anything to have changed in that respect because it's simply not a priority.

There's also this gem:
[I]t was observed that a number of vehicles were parked in an illegal manner on footpaths. At the times of assessment the impact of this issue to pedestrian accessibility was considered minor as drivers left sufficient footpath space for a wheelchair/pram to pass.
So, (a), that's a pile of crap. The cul-de-sac at Bargy Road, for example, is perpetually rammed so full of cars on the pavement that the only way to walk through it is in the middle of the road (one of the frequent offenders here is a DCC van, too); the pavement in front of Londis is often impassible to pedestrians because drivers thoughtfully don't want to block other cars from passing when they're stopped on the double-yellow lines, and good luck to you if you want to use any pavement around G.K. Hire during business hours. And (b), I'm sure we're all familiar with that bit in the Road Traffic Act and the byelaws where it says it's ok to park on the pavement as long as there's "sufficient footpath space for a wheelchair/pram to pass". Oh wait, there isn't one. Parking on the pavement is illegal, end of. If the attitude is that there's enough pavement to share between cars and pedestrians, why not narrow the pavement and make proper parking spaces? (also, the above doesn't account for two wheelchair/pram users meeting each other in the middle of a "tunnel" of cars, because there's never just one).

The irony of all of the above is that none of it actually includes our gaff, since we face onto East Wall Road and are therefore excluded from the whole thing.

Oh yeah. We're still watching The Expanse; the end of season one was kinda, "wait, was that the finale?", and now we're into Season 2. Don't like Amos. Don't like Christjen. Like Miller, like Holden, like Naomi, kinda like Alex, indifferent to pretty much everyone else on the show. The worldbuilding is pretty awesome, and I'm probably gonna pick up at least the first book once we've watched a bit more of the series.

May 07
I half-watched Drive Angry. Whatever Nic Cage says about his actual motivation for being in this, it really comes across as a pay-the-bills job. Which was something that apparently William Fichtner and David Morse and a few other names I recognised also needed to do. Skip.

May 02
Fixed a long-standing bug in the Emacs code I use to write this stuff. It's still buggy, just marginally less so now.

April 30
In addition to The Expanse, we're also working our way through Midsomer Murders which like several other things we watch is one of those shows we've sort of haphazardly consumed when it's on without taking note of series or episode since every episode is a self-contained thing. We're midway into Season 5 at this point, and my programmed recordings stopped at Season 6, and currently the various channels which broadcast this are off in the high double-digits somewhere (there are at least 21 seasons of it). It's satisfying brain candy, despite this small, fictional region of England having a higher rate of murder than your average city and, typically, an oversexed / drugged / cross-bred population as well (some part of which inevitably turns out to be the root cause of the deaths). The only thing against it, per se, is that the episodes are two hours long, so it's not really made for mid-week viewing.

I had a bunch of other random stuff captured on the DVR, so I watched The Heroes of Telemark, staring Kirk "Spartacus" Douglas and Richard "Dumbledore" Harris. The latter's haircut and general demeanour made him look like an outcast from a Beatles movie, which was slightly distracting. The movie wasn't great, to be honest. It sticks surprisingly close to reality, since it's based on actual events, but in at least one case this seemed to be used as an excuse to inject a moment of slapstick in the middle of a sabotage raid (the guy who can't find his glasses) and it was just jarring. The constant presence of bullet ricochet effects every time there was shooting was distracting - it was like the sound designer had this one track of bullet noises they kept reusing over and over. And, y'know, if you've got one guy on your team who knows where to plant the explosives, do you really have him lead the entire group into enemy territory? I'm no military strategist, but it seems like you'd keep him back from action until it's time to set the bombs... Anyway. It's not terrible, but mainly I only watched it because I'd heard about the last surviving member of the raid dying (in 2018, I believe) and some time after that noticed that the movie was coming up.

Backup completed, then spent a day or two telling me it was "cleaning up", which means that for the dozen or so failed backups it had created some directories full of files, all of which are basically duplicates, and it had to go and delete them. After the aforementioned "day or two" I got tired of waiting for it and told it to skip the cleanup, which means it'll probably wedge it on to the end of the next backup. As noted on other media the progress bar and progress logs for the backup process make no sense at all (unless, I supposed, you work at Apple) so it's hard to tell at any given point how long the backup has left to complete.

April 28
Casting about for something new to watch since we ran out of Ripper Street: we've decided to give The Expanse a spin to provide artificial gravity see how it works out. One episode in and: (a) I'm a bit confused as there's a lot of set-up going on; (b) they've put a lot of effort into their set design, and very definitely want to show off a lot of that, even if a goodly chunk of it is post-production greenscreen fills. Jury currently out due to insufficient data.

Mucking around with one of my stupid toys I was stupidly pleased to be able to knock together a macOS-like notification inline in a web page as part of a Tampermonkey script, so I don't have to pop open the console to see what it's doing. The notifications even fade in and out, although I stopped short of trying to capture the "slides in from left, then slides back out again" effect.

More on the nerd front: since I fixed the RAID unit and the random laptop crashes caused by a faulty battery, I turned Time Machine backups back on. This led to the discovery (rediscovery) of a NEW problem, which is that the Airport Extreme 5GHz WiFi channel spontaneously keels over after a certain amount of traffic has passed. Or time, I'm not sure which. It comes back again, but by the time it does, Time Machine has gotten upset and dropped its disk mount. After a couple of rounds of this I switched the laptop over to the 2.4GHz channel and it's been stable for the, uh, week or so it's been catching up on several months of not doing backups.

And in weird nerd tech: an email in my gmail account appears to have spontaneously deleted itself twice. Not in the spam bucket or otherwise pending deletion; simply Was No Longer There when I went looking for it. Didn't even show up in the trash the second time, but I was able to recover it by logging into the GMail web UI. I have no idea.

April 16
Drobo FINALLY completed its juggling some time before 11:00 this morning, so I am no longer in fear of random power outages. I still need to go figure out (a) whether all the crap I'm storing on the Drobo needs storing and (b) whether maybe it's time I invested in something that's not dependent on a Firewire 800 connection for shipping data on/off. And maybe (c) do I need a UPS and (d) should there be an offsite copy of any of this in addition to the current offsite stuff.

Wow. The final episode of Ripper Street was a bit of a stinker. Basically, everything they needed to do was wrapped up in the first 20 minutes or so, and then they just faffed around for anothr 40 minutes for no apparent reason. There were a bunch of flashback scenes which gave them an excuse to show a recreation of the Ripper's final victim, albeit only flashed on screen twice. There was the needless and pointless death of a character who had already been written out of the storyline. And, in the end, they just ran out of things to do, I guess. The whole thing felt like a massively wasted opportunity to go out with a bang.



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