A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.
- October 31
- I hooked up a little free ("free", meaning I'm the product)
monitor to poke at the public-facing side of my internet
connection and record latency and outages and the like, and one
interesting thing is that packet loss increases, in some cases to
100%, when we're watching episodes of Elementary on Prime
Video. However, last night's entertainment, coming to us from
iTunes Apple Movies Apple TV did push the latency
noticably higher, but didn't result in packet loss. Make of that
what you will.
- October 30
- Finally caved and ordered myself an empty Synology 420+ chassis
to replace the aging Drobo: I'm sure I've an entertaining month of
data shuffling ahead of me but at the end of it I'll not be
depending on an increasingly haggard Mac Mini and its creaking
Rewatched American Hustle.
I'd actually forgotten most of the details and had invented a
shooting that didn't occur. It's a great movie, though, even
without the gunplay I was expecting...
- October 23
- The humour in Riddle of the Sands was largely subtle
and understated, unlike that in The Lady Vanishes.
Having seen Hitchcock's version, I imagine I was a little spoiled
for this, but it's the same sort of overblown "humour" that made
me turn off The Producers about five minutes in -
basically, people very quickly getting hysterical and literally
babbling over each other's speech. This is, as I understand it,
stock-in-trade for "screwball comedy" of this era. It's
painful. Angela Lansbury's hinting-into-cockney accent
was about the most subtle thing in the entire movie. And in case
you missed the fact that Cybill Shepherd was somewhat
underdressed (for the entire movie), they even gave Elliot Gould a
line to point it out.
- October 22
- I read the source material for The Riddle of the Sands
years ago, but for the life of me the only thing I could remember
about it was the location - crucially, I couldn't recall if the
hero(es) had found an actual plot, or were chasing a phantom. The
movie turns out to be pretty decent all by itself and, according
to what I'm reading, is a fairly faithful adaptation. There's a
good deal of comedy in it, surprisingly, at least until it gets
down to the proper business of intrigue and spycraft. A good yarn,
and a well-made film.
- October 16
- Went to this thing called a "cinema" where a whole bunch of
people can watch the same movie together. Cool idea except for the
dork two rows back who apparently needed to explain to their
companion either some details that just happened or some details
from the previous movies. Not sure it'll catch on.
So, the much-delayed No Time To Die. Mostly, I enjoyed this. I found there were parts
that dragged, and parts that were eye-roll inducing (M moralising
about his pet weapon and the state of the modern world in general
was particularly creaky;
Safin's bad-guy philosophy was, well, the sort of thing you'd
expect for bad-guy philosophy, so it escapes the eye-rolling to
some extent.) Palermo's brief appearance hardly seemed to justify
Ana de Armas' presence on the poster down at the end of the road
here, but it was a lot of fun. And there was a good deal
of fun in the movie, and not all of it the sly wink of previous
Bonds - some of it was more in the vein of Indiana Jones, the sort
of "now what?" expression of surprise / dismay when Bond
runs into an unexpected obstacle to whatever his current goal
is, although there was that stock "Action Hero Quip" towards the
end that really felt laboured. And speaking of action, there was
plenty of that as you'd expect, and some of it damned
impressive. Land Rovers seem to roll over awfully easy, though -
you could make a pretty good parody safety advert with cuts
from the various scenes where they show up. Most of the surprises
were already trailed in the run-up to the movie, but there were
still one or two that I didn't quite anticipate until they were
almost - or already - on-screen. And there was a run-through of
previous characters that gave a "we're putting the band back
together" vibe - the classic silver Aston Martin with the toys,
the throwback to Casino Royale in the opening sequence, Felix,
Jamaican accents, Blofeld, a cat, Q, M, Moneypenny, a disfigured
bad guy, even a portrait gallery of previous Ms hanging in the
background of one piece. Given where it all went to it'll be
interesting to see what they do for Bond 26.
Oh, and there was one really jarring goof: Bond uses his fancy
electronics-disabling watch to lethal effect, then
immediately talks to Q over his electronic
earpiece. I'm not normally one for being picky about movie
consistency, but this one was jarring enough to be obvious in the
moment it happened. They could've put in a single line of goofy
technobabble to explain it away, but I guess chose not
to? In any case. There were a few other things in retrospect that
didn't quite work out when I thought about them, and a few things
that maybe were a bit off when I was watching them that sort of
worked out ok once I thought about them, but nothing
quite as jarring as the watch gag.
Anyway. You'll probably want to see this.
- October 13
- (a) there was no other shoe; (b) somehow 46% of the people who
reviewed this book on Amazon gave it five stars. I gave it a
begrudging three on the basis that I have read far, far worse
books, but wow, this was a bit of a stinker.
(I checked a few of the 5-star reviews. Several of them seem to
complain about the same things I didn't like, but they still give
it five stars. There's no accounting for people.)
Oh and of course as soon as I observe that the VM connection is
stable the damned thing goes and bounces twice around 2am. Maybe
they moved their unannounced but scheduled maintenance to a more
- October 12
- Updates here have gotten sporadic, haven't they?
Chewing my way through Neal Stephenson's Fall or, Dodge in
Hell which, ehhhhh. I can't decide if it's an author allowed
loose without an editor or people to advise him, or a joke that
ran away with itself, or what, exactly. It's basically "people get
uploaded to the cloud where they recreate mainly Christian mythos"
(which view probably mainly reflects the fact that I haven't
expended much effort on seeing how much of that Christian mythos
is based on prior art, so to speak). I am, as they say, waiting
for the other shoe to drop, but I am beginning to fear there isn't
actually another shoe.
We're into season 2 of Elementary, so that's good; we're
contemplating going to an actual cinema to see Bond, and
continuing to pick up episodes of Midsomer Murders along
the way. Oh, and season 8 of Endeavour showed up. Three
episodes really aren't enough to call a season, but I guess we
take what we can get.
The Virgin broadband connection seems to have stabilised
somewhat but whether this is due to less people working
from home, lower temperatures, or some other random factor I have
no idea. I did find some temperature readouts on the gateway box,
as previously mentioned, but they don't appear to correlate
usefully with either a known temperature scale or the random
I did have one interesting WTF moment recently where I plugged the
laptop ethernet cable into an otherwise unused powerline
connector, at which point the entire network promptly lost its
mind. The only thing I can think of is a broadcast storm of some
sort, possibly caused by the fact that we have a non-mesh wireless
network and the aforementioned powerline connectors and
maybe something created the logical equivalent, in this topology,
of a spanning-tree loop. I don't know, and given that it happened
during working hours the expedient fix was "turn things off and on
again until it works" rather than diagnosing the
problem. Might be getting on for time to pack in the
franken-networking and replace it with something like a bag of
mesh WiFi devices.
previous month | current month| next month
It's Q4 and I'm not carrying a pager!