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His Dark Materials (TV Series 2019– )
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Being The Geekly Diary of Waider
(may contain traces of drinking, movies, and sport)
December 03
Having a fun time with Homebrew (macOS package installs, not beer):
  • Me: I'd like to install a C library
  • Homebrew: Sure! Downloading Python3...
  • Me: wait wait wait, no. I'd like to install a C library.
  • Homebrew: No problem! Downloading Python3...
Apparently this comes from defaulting an unversioned python dependency to python3 (or python@3 or whatever) regardless of whether that was actually intended by the package author coupled with Homebrew's preference for its own builds over whatever you've already got (the system has Python3 installed already). I've done some listless poking at the net to try and find a way to tell it not to do that, but it's not trivially discoverable so I'm thinking it may be time to promote "get rid of Homebrew" on the Round Tuit list.

Encountering this was in service of trying to build something to figure out what's going on with my ZWave toys in more detail than OpenHAB seems to allow. It looks like everything fell off the network due to a range extender that didn't want to play, then magically returned to the network at midnight (network heal time is not midnight), except one device that still insists it's not on the network - even though its status is correctly reflected in OpenHAB. I dunno. And I have two phantom devices which the controller insists are online even though they don't actually exist.

December 02
So AirSane: run it on the same box as your SANE scanner installation, and it will make your scanner visible to any macs on your network. Much to my surprise this even works on my mac which has stopped supporting scanner sharing outbound. Installation was a little bit of a palaver as I was trying to build it on a Raspberry Pi which is running slightly older versions of libusb and libpng and doesn't have prepackaged versions of the newer ones. The libusb one is easy enough to fix - you can just wedge the missing enum value into the appropriate header file or use #define to set it to zero for compiling; the libpng one is slightly more annoying as you have to compile & install libpng-1.6, then likely rename the include directory from libpng16 to libpng, then make sure the linker picks up the correct version of the library at the end of compilation AND at runtime.

And voila, Preview immediately offers to scan from the networked scanner. Amazing stuff.

November 30
Did not manage to fix the TRV without it changing its name. More annoyingly, the controller claims it's showing up as both its old and new names; I don't think it actually is, I think the controller's just trying to tell OpenHAB about this device that it used know. Nostalgic z-wave devices, whatever next? I even went to great lengths to find a means of poking at the controller directly in an attempt to remove the record of the missing device, but the tool that had previously allowed this apparently no longer works.

Finished Dracula. I was surprised at how much of the original story made it into the 1992 movie, to be honest; a few details squeezed out for time, Lucy... embellished somewhat, and the whole Mina-being-a-reincarnation silliness notwithstanding it's actually reasonably true to the original.

What else? We've been ploughing through House - now up to Season 6, and House has sort of been mellowed a little due to his little vacation at the start of the season, but he's still an ass - and watching Season 2 of His Dark Materials, which is good but feels a little slow. I mean, ok, it's been a while since I read the books, and there's a lot to tell, but it feels like there's a lot of filler going on as well.

November 20
Been reading Dracula as threatened. I'm at the point where all the menfolk have told Mina to stay put while they do manly things, and Mina is mysteriously and inexplicably pale and oversleeping and not one person - not even the doctor who attended her best friend - is apparently able to put two and two together.

On Wednesday one of my TRVs disconnected from the network for no apparent reason, and refuses to come back without a name change. I'm sure I had a problem like this before but I can't recall how I fixed it. It's rather annoying.

November 14
I'm reasonably certain I watched Dracula in the cinema when it was released; I'm less sure if I've rewatched it between then and now. Mrs. recently listened to the audiobook so was kinda interested in seeing a movie version and this was the one we watched (there was another on TV recently with David Suchet as Van Helsing, but we didn't record it). Because I knew more or less how things panned out I spent more time looking at the visuals, I think. I don't recall paying much attention to them before; there's a lot of cross-fade stuff going on - eyes in the sky, faces, that sort of thing - and a recurring theme of fading into or out of a circle. There's a lovely visual gag where Vlad the Lad buys a newspaper while watching Mina; you see him looking through a window, then it cuts to his PoV and the paper is just floating there because he doesn't have a reflection. It's completely understated, and I don't recall noticing it before. Nicely done, Mr. Coppola. Oh yeah, Cary Elwes and Richard E. Grant in what are essentially bit parts. On the whole, though, I felt a little underwhelmed, and I think Mrs. felt that the departures from the book were a little too Hollywood.

November 07
Saturday, March 251st, 2020: (not my joke) House M.D. season 4: well, ok, so they wrapped up the "choose your own attendant" silliness mid-season, and not quite in a way I expected (I figured for sure that Kutner would be out, but once they removed the competition aspect he's actually growing into a useful character). Chase is more entertaining now that he actually appears to have grown a spine, although obviously part of that is because he's no longer working for House. The two-part season finale was seriously heavy on the drama and kinda pushed House hard into being an actual human which was frankly odd; I'm sure we'll come back for the next season and he'll be back to his old self - we'll see, I guess.

Oh, I see "His Dark Materials" is starting up again on BBC. Cool. Although it's disappointing that the author has been making the occasional bid for membership of the League of Disappointing Authors. Being disparaged for behaving like an ass is not censorship, it's social pressure to not be an ass.

Someone keeps talking about an election, but they've been talking about things on the brink and imminent results for the last four days so I've no idea what that's about. Last I checked the Guardian "live coverage" was making articles out of tweets and descending into babbling incoherence.

HomeKit now has all the TRVs, and switches for the boiler and the radio. Apparently I can set up an always-on iPad as a "hub" and have it be "intelligent". Ho ho ho. Silly marketers. Statistical analysis and a bunch of rules does not intelligence make.

November 01
Once I managed to get one stable item into HomeKit, it appears the app as a whole stabilised, or possibly it was one of the other random things I did... anyway. All TRVs now present and controllable in the Home app, along with the boiler booster switches. For some reason OpenHAB isn't allowing me to add a tag to the single smart socket on the network, which means I've not been able to get that onboarded yet.

The HomeKit collection of devices is a little weird, to be honest, and I don't know how much of that is HomeKit and how much is the implementation of the OpenHab-to-HomeKit bridge. For example, all my TRVs are battery-powered devices which have a setpoint (write), a battery level (read) and a current temperature (read). This is a HomeKit Thermostat object, except that also wants a read/write "heating/cooling mode" selector and doesn't have a battery channel; or it's a HomeKit TemperatureSensor object, except that's a read-only device (and the battery channel is limited to a "battery low" on/off signal); or it's a HomeKit HeaterCooler which seems to overlap heavily with Thermostat and again, doesn't have a battery channel. I will no doubt need to tinker with this some more, the annoying part of which is that if I mess up, the bridge withdraws the object from HomeKit, and when I add it back it's lost whatever information it had about that object, like which room it belongs to and whether it should appear in "Favourites" or not.

October 31
Finally closed out Star Trek: TNG Season 5 & Season 6 by watching the two-parter Time's Arrow. For some reason - maybe it was the combination of one Metalman Equinox, one glass of Faustino I rioja, and one shot of Green Spot - this was a really engaging and entertaining feature-ish-length episode. I mean, ok, a bunch of apparently clever people asking the android, who tells you every second episode that he feels no emotion, if he feels some fear or depression or other, you know, emotion now that he knows he's going to die is completely stupid no matter what way you try to slice it, and Irish O'Landlady in 19th century San Francisco was almost as cringeworthy as Paddy Mc Colonist and his Merry Men from whatever episode it was, but I still really enjoyed this.

Scoreboard: We've got four episodes left; the first & second from season 1, and episodes 4 & 5 from season 7. Horror Channel has just started on season 6, so we're going to have to wait a few weeks to catch the episode 7 rerun, and then it remains to be seen whether Horror loops back to the start again or whether we'll just need to put a reminder somewhere to keep an eye out for the first two from season 1.

October 28
After way too much effort I managed to get one of the TRVs to show up in Apple's HomeKit app in full bidirectional mode (read/write, as opposed to just a dumb thermostate which the rest of them are appearing as). This is using OpenHAB plus the HomeKit plugin for same plus, well, a python shell with requests loaded, a terminal window for log monitoring, and a good deal of swearing. I only needed to create a container for the two parts of the TRV (Sensor and Setpoint), then add a dummy item for the mode, then tag everything in exactly the right way.

Going by experience to date, none of this will show up in the app tomorrow.

October 26
House M.D. Season 3 ended with a bit of a bang, and season 4 so far is basically MasterChef: Hospital Edition. I'm fuzzy on how this pans out because the three principals from the first three season are still getting credits and the occasional cameo, but I'm pretty sure at least one of the MasterChefs winds up on the new team as well. Oh, and Foreman's story arc is sort of Nelson Muntz HA-HA material.

We have not watched an actual movie in ages.



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