A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- August 31
- Wow. Esat's modem contention during
Friday daytime is pretty sucky. Maybe I need to look into
implementing some sort of dialing pool on Gonzo
where it bounces around until it finds someone willing to answer
the damn phone... of course, it's not helped by the state of the
phone line, and there's no sign of the repair people at 4pm. I did
say Friday afternoon as opposed to
Drove to Killarney via the "scenic route". The Hotel
Europe is pretty swanky-looking, but I found enough rough edges to
be unimpressed. And why am I in Killarney? I've been invited to
the wedding of a friend of mine from school. John and Breda have
finally gotten around to their big day, and I'm gonna be
watching. Also checking out the bridesmaids, of course...
Oh, and the Eircom guy never
showed up. Really, what a shower of tossers. I wonder if switching
to NTL means it becomes
their problem to get the damn line cleaned
- August 30
- Hmm. I'm now on the XEmacs CVS access list for their
copy of the BBDB
package. I pointed out, with some amusement, that I don't actually
use XEmacs except to see what
I've broken in BBDB...
Office drinks. 'nuff said.
- August 29
- Phone seems to be mostly fixed. I phoned the
helpdesk people again after it dropped the line and refused to
give me a clean dialup, and they said they'd fixed it and there
was no fault showing at the exchange. Since I'm off on Friday I
asked 'em to call around then and verify that the line is
clean. I'm certainly getting less trouble than I was, but it's
still dropping the connection often enough to be irritating.
- August 28
- It really bites that
Java doesn't have a macro
language available to it by default, for stuff like conditional
compiles (you know, like debug builds) and, well, macros (like
writing the same damn piece of code fifteen times
- August 27
- Phone line seems to be clean. Hurrah!
Hopefully this is the real thing, not a temporary cessation of
noise like in the last couple of weeks. I should probably invest
in a 56k modem at this point.
Hahah. I spoke too soon. No sooner had I downloaded email and the
2.4.9 kernel patch than the
line got noisy enough to drop again. In theory, if they don't fix
it before tomorrow, we can claim, oh, £20 off them. Unless
they deem the fault to be due to "circumstances beyond Eircom's control", which is
generally the case.
The nice folk at Slashdot have
changed their URLs somehow that breaks snorq. It also puts your username and
password into the URL history in Internet Explorer, which is
really beginner-grade stuff to avoid. Nice one, guys.
Applied my shiny new kernel
to Klortho. Seems to work okay so far.
- August 26
- Spent most of the day at my parents' house
fixing computers. Discovered Windows 98's System File Checker in
the process. Also discovered a virus on Mom's
computer, infecting WSOCK32.DLL. Unfortunately managed to break IP
connectivity in the process of recovering from this, which fact I
discovered after I'd left for Dublin. Whoops #2.
- August 25
- Drove down the country to visit my niece and
her family, also my parents. Also to fix up a computer for my
brother; the latter plan stumbled somewhat when we discovered that
his current case is too small and is AT, not
- August 24
- My cousin's birthday party this
Ann-Marie tells me that a phone-fixit guy called around this
evening "to listen to the line". He repeated last
night's findings, i.e. that it's an external
problem. I seriously do not understand this
- August 23
- Oh hurRAH. Damn phone line is glitching
AGAIN. I swear some tosspot at Eircom is reading this, and
randomly frobbing my line to see what I'll write
next. As luck would have it, of course, there's a half-meg email
sitting in my mailbox, and I don't have anything set up for
partial downloads. Mutter mutter bloody mutter.
Wow. Service, of a sort. I phoned up again to complain, and this
happened after I'd established who I was, where I was calling from
(the phone company doesn't have caller ID?) and what was
Phone Guy: Okay, can you wait two minutes and I'll call
you back. I want to see if the fault is internal or external to
Waider: Uh, sure, okay.
F/X: Ringing Phone
Phone Guy: Mr. Westgate?
Waider: Uh, yeah.
Phone Guy: It's Eircom again
Waider: Uh, yeah. (thinking, "I
Phone Guy: The fault's external to your line. We won't
need access to your premises to repair it.
Waider: Uh, okay. Cool. Thanks.
 My roomie has the phone registered in her name. Despite my
logging the fault under my own name, the Phone Guy made the
 But it's best not to confuse the issue by pointing this
 Yes, I know, I should've ripped into him, asking him why the
hell this couldn't have been determined last week when I
first reported the fault. But I'm too nice for that, and
besides, is it his fault that some other phone jockey is an
In other news, I finally found the Compaq Auto (as in Car) Adapter
that had been delivered to the office by DCB, who used, once upon
a time, give a damn about customer service; it took me a whole
nine days to get a proof-of-delivery docket from them so I could
find out who'd signed for the delivery at our office, and then
when I opened the box I found that they'd sent me the wrong
adapter. This in addition to not responding to their sales email
address ("a lot of people are on vacation, so that mailbox
isn't looked at"). So I've asked about return and replace; if
I don't get an answer by tomorrow, I'm cancelling the order and
placing it elsewhere. What is it about getting good customer
service in this country? Why is it so damn
- August 22
- How did I get to be a SQL developer,
exactly? Not that I'm complaining or anything, of
course. But how?
Started hacking at BBDB
again, since I've been kinda lax lately about
- August 21
- Assorted CVS toolery at the office today.
Phoneline at home suspiciously well-behaved. This happened before,
mind; I registered a complaint, got a note saying nothing was
wrong with the line, and simultaneously the problems went
- August 20
- Redid my pilot-link
patch to accomodate the newest version from the Plucker
people. It's now pretty much entirely a malsync-only patch,
which is just as well as the original malsync patch site was dead
the last time I checked.
- August 19
- Hungarian F1 day; Schumacher easily won the
race, giving him the Drivers' Championship for the second year
running and for the fourth successive time. Barrichello's second
ensured Ferrari their third consecutive Constructors'
Championship. Jordan didn't do so well; Trulli was hampered by a
refuelling problem and then mechanical failure, and Alesi was
still learning to drive his new car, although his tenth-place
finish was pretty good for a first outing.
Dialup problems cleared up long enough for me to determine that I
couldn't VPN. Man. If it's not one thing, it's
- August 18
- Lazy day. Watched "Air Force One"
(not terrible, but certainly not Harrison Ford's best work) and
"Stealing Beauty" (a must-buy soundtrack, definitely; the film was
rather pretty, too).
- August 17
- *sigh* Dialup still causing
grief. But at least the POP server in the office is behaving, and
it looks like IMAP's working
well, too. Although not from outside.
Spent the latter portion of the evening at a
- August 16
- Whoever designed the components of HTML
forms should be shot. Twice. With a shovel. I mean, why is a
textarea not just another <input...> tag? Or why
can't you specify that one of these components should be big
enough to fill available space, as opposed to a fixed number of
characters or whatever?
- August 15
Dialup seems to be okay right now. Maybe the lack of rain has
- August 14
- Donal flew in from
Amsterdam this evening. Beer was had. Whee!
- August 13
- Phoneline problems have mysteriously cleared up. HRM. Further
investigation reveals that it may well be a REN problem; plugging
out the phone on the same flylead as the modem seems to cure the
problem. I'm still getting LCP timeouts from Esat, mind.
Of course, as soon as I'd written that, the connection went back
down the toilet and gurgled at
me. Actually, I can hear the static on the
At this point, having gone through cable-swapping, kernel frobbing, and more
in a week than I've previously had to do all year, I'm beginning
to think I might need to ditch my infernal modem and get myself
yet another box to pile in the corner. Whine.
- August 12
- Still having problems with the dialup. I
think maybe I'll phone Eircom tomorrow and see
about having the line tested. In the meantime, I've given in to
inevitability and switched back to cellphone
dialup. Welcome, as the man said, to the world of the
- August 11
- Cured my "can't mount
/export/share" by moving stuff around until I
could mount the damn thing. BFI, and all. I still don't
know what the problem is.
Dialup still flaky; e-merge
still better than Esat. I've
decided to rebuild Gonzo's
kernel; as soon as I started
on a 2.4.7 build, I noticed the Slashdot announcement that 2.4.8
had been released. Gah.
- August 10
- Did a little more work on the vcal toy (it
now knows a bit about recurrence rules).
Having some pretty bad problems with my dialup - the line keeps
dropping, or failing to connect. I wonder if the line's noisy or
something. I can't decide if it's just Esat, either, although the e-merge connection seems to be a
bit more stable.
- August 9
- Bit hungover this morning. Apparently I was
complaining to someone about music at 4am; I certainly don't
Got the vcalendar hack approximately working; it feeds what it
finds into Emacs' diary file,
so in theory Emacs should
alert me when I have a meeting to attend. Then I started reading
the iCalendar RFC and it
made my brane hurt.
Went sorting through some more ancient sourcecode, and found a toy
I'd half-written ages back to help you to read Japanese by looking
up the character under the cursor and displaying it in the
minibuffer as you cursor through the text. I can't recall why I
stopped hacking on this; possibly something to do with the
monstrosity that is Emacs'
foreign language handling. After some fiddling, got it to do
lookups on possible character meanings as well as
- August 8
- Started hacking a little elisp to deal with
text/vcalendar crap, since that's what the boss uses to
schedule meetings and suchlike.
Tag Rugby finals: we won. From the wrong end of the league,
i.e. we got the Wooden Spoon. Which still entitled us to a plaque,
which was cool. And, of course, much carousing
- August 7
seems happy with 2.4.7; also, the SB Live! driver grew a
/dev/sequencer while I wasn't looking, so I'll have to
see if it actually works with my Korg now.
Updated Micromail's site
- August 6
- UGH. Won't someone please tell the Irish
weather gods that summer is supposed to be about sunshine, not
Bought a line-out-to-cassette gadget for my car, so I can use the
player in the car. It works reasonably well; sufficient bass
causes it to distort horribly, though.
Building a 2.4.7 kernel for
- August 5
- And today's acts: Ash, Stereo MC's, Texas,
Fun Lovin' Criminals, Placebo, Teenage Fanclub, The Avalanches,
Feeder, The Sawdoctors, and a whole host of depressing bands in
the Witnness Café tent while we sat outside drinking and
- August 4
- Spending today and tomorrow at the Witnness Festival. Today's
attended acts: Dope Smugglaz, some english pianist/violin combo
backing a northern-irish singer, Lee "Scratch" Perry,
Eagle Eye Cherry, The Walls, The Waterboys, The Charlatans,
- August 3
- Ugh. Hangover day.
Hurrah, phone back. Downloaded Robert Fenk's changes to BBDB, and uploaded
Did some more hacking on the diary helper; now it knows all about
month rollovers, except for the entry back-filling code. Saves me
a few more file edits.
- August 2
- Kevin's second-last day today. For Kevin's
"benefit", we went out on the town
after work and pretty much destroyed ourselves,
really. All good fun, of course.
- August 1
- Today, we "went live". Tons of
free food in the canteen!
Tag Rugby: beaten 14-2 or something. The main reasons for this
were (a) we were playing against the invitation team, i.e. the
insane folk who turn up hoping there's a spare game going, and (b)
the referee seemed to know less about the rules than we did,
leading to much confusion and the awarding of a penalty try for no
good reason. Oh, and (c) we kinda sucked, anyway.
Still no phone line. Bah.
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I'm making progress; I'm banging my head against the wall at a faster pace.