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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

March 31
Dogville is distinctly odd (narrated, minimal sets) and rather grim. It's not clear if I enjoyed it, but it was certainly well made.

March 30
Hurrah, I've joined the ranks of iPhone users. Oddly enough, this is my second i-Gadget, and I have bought or been involved of the purchase of five i-Gadgets, and these two sets do not overlap (I'm not counting my 18-month Vodafone contract as "buying")

UPC modem appears to have gotten a firmware update. Perhaps that was why it caught fire and exploded the other day (ok, figuratively rather than literally exploded).

March 28
Arrived out this morning to discover UPC modem online-but-not, not sure of the timezone or the time, had restablished itself as the dominant DHCP server, had switched off a bunch of options like UPnP, etc. I can only conclude that this piece of junk is unable to handle DST shifts. Just like people, really.

March 27
I am finding Instapaper more and more an invaluable addition to my browsing toolbox. To be more specific, it's proven a great way to temporarily bookmark something in a way that none of my existing toys caters for; I have periodically gone on bookmark cleaning sprees but there's always some crap left lying around that I've been meaning to read as soon I get around to it, and of course it's hidden away in a bookmark folder and I forget it. I used tag such stuff as fodder in del.icio.us, and keep a RSS bookmark of the fodder folder, but then you've got to go back to deli to delete the thing once you're done with it, and I never found a Firefox plugin that handled that the way I wanted, and now I use Safari anyway... now I tag "tl;dr" articles with the "Read Later" bookmarklet (it's on the Instapaper site), and then when I feel like reading something I just pull something off the stack there, and let Instapaper automatically archive it for me. Anything I want to actually delete, I delete, and anything I want to keep for later, like a tech how-to, I put in a folder. What an excellent tool.

March 25
Happy Birthday, Mom!

March 23
I came up with a nifty idea to solve my Fink abuse: extend Fink's VirtPackage module to include those things that the Apple package manager knows about. There are a few minor problems with this, such as the fact that Fink packages are named system-foo-bar while Apple ones are named com.apple.bar.foo, and also (apparently) the data in /Library/Receipts doesn't necessarily reflect the actual state of the system. The biggest problem, however is that querying the list of packages, and then querying each of them for version information, is slow - a minute of wall time on my laptop, for example. Caching might resolve this, but it's a bit appalling that a bit of XML processing takes so damned long.

March 21
as I said to the brother...Google Video is alarmingly slick.

March 20
Thank you peer pressure. I've reactivated my ArseFace account. I was somewhat surprised to discover that the site is very friendly to my creaky Palm T|X. I'm sure at some point I'll include some sort of feed from there to my "real" website.

Rather a disastrous end to the Six Nations. England almost, but didn't quite, beat France, but it doesn't matter since we conceded at home to the Scots. Gah. Our ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is one thing I wish we could forget how to do.

Rewatched: Inside I'm Dancing. Still a great movie.

March 18
I would complain about my current travails with Fink here, but someone would then tell me to shut up and install MacPorts instead, and, well, that doesn't get anyone anywhere.

But anyway, the current list of complaints goes something like this:That's all, I'm going back to hacking on info files now.

After a bit of yelling at the screen I have my system Apache2 instance back up and running with Fink-provided Apache::DBI. Hurrah. Of course, it doesn't actually work yet because the Fink MySQL install also comes with unusable bundles. Le sigh.

For every good movie, a bad one? Dead Man Running takes all the good parts of the likes of Lock, Stock... and its ilk, throws them away, and replaces them with unfunny jokes, crap dialogue, and the most unconvincing fights I've ever seen. About half-way into the movie I came to the conclusion that they'd spent all their money on 50 Cent (yes, he's in it), and had none left for stunts. Or plot. Or, you know, anything that might have improved the movie.

March 17
Happy Shamrock Day, or something.

9 is one of those odd movies that I have no recollection of adding to my rentals list, no recollection of why I might have done so, and a good deal of satisfaction that I did. It's a quirky post-apocalyptic piece which might be a kids' movie if it wasn't so dark, and aside from a somewhat vague ending it's all rather good.

March 14
I didn't watch any rugby this weekend, but the surprise of the tournament was that England struggled to a draw against Scotland. Ireland, more or less as expected, sent the Welsh packing, and France blithely steamrolled Italy into the ground.

March 13
Hrm. Interesting (minor) problem with Fink and my CVS server: in order to make things work the way I like, I added my (real) user account to Fink's (fake) CVS group, and the update-passwd script doesn't seem to handle this. I wound up manually adding the group entry by flailing at dscl for a bit. And then Fink re-ran the script at some point and appears to have undone my flailing. Oh well, it'd be no fun if these things actually worked like you'd expect.

Wow, that's embarrassing: at some point I (or one of my scripts) changed the permissions on some web pages to prevent access to them. By my best guess some time in December last year. D'oh.

Oh dear, there's the culprit. I updated the script that indexes the workshop pages to use tempfile(). Which by default creates secure files. And I did this in October last year. D'OH.

I really enjoyed Avatar. The story is a bit lightweight, and there's a few boneheaded details, but on the whole this is a good movie and an absolutely spectacular visual treat. One to see on the big screen.

March 12
Dear Livejournal,
Please confirm you are a human below.
isn't a very polite way of talking to your users. I mean, "Error"? Seriously?

Rewatched: Run, Fat Boy, Run. Utterly predictable, and none the worse for it.

March 10
The Hangover was one I wasn't going to bother with, but someone told me it's actually better than you'd expect. And lo, it actually is. It's really slow to get started, however, but once it gets going it's got plently laughs with a slightly dark undercurrent throughout.

March 9
The Tale of Despereaux: the trailer is a bit more promising than the movie, which has a voiceover and a few didactic overtones, but on the whole it's quite a bit of fun.

March 7
I had an odd issue with a shared Google calendar I'd created: of all the people who were allowed access, I was the only one who couldn't actually see it. I got it sorted out today by removing and re-adding my own account to the calendar using another "admin" account, but The Brother had already tried that so I'm not sure why it worked for me.

March 6
Movie rewatched: Wedding Crashers. Admittedly I wasn't paying too much attention this time around as I was engaged in conversation.

March 3
Franklyn is... odd. I guess it's pretty well done and all, but it's one of those dual storyline movies, except it keeps the stories separated so long that you kinda spend too much time wondering when and how they're going to mesh.

March 2
Terminator: Salvation: isn't particularly bad; in fact, it's a fairly acceptable action movie by itself, with the exception of the needless Precocious Child Who Is Vital In Some Pointless Way. What really lets it down, at least for me, is the number of sly back-references to the other movies: whole lines of dialogue, and visual motifs like the motorbike versus truck sequence which may even have gone so far as to ape the camera angles of Terminator II. Still, I guess it does what it sets out to do: it's a bubblegum movie.

March 1
Reinstalled the CVS server on the Cube. I should really package it up as it's fairly handy to do so in a reasonably independant fashion.

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"we're one-sixth through the year" - Phantom