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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

August 27
Venom was an awful lot of fun. I liked that it was an "isolated" Marvel movie, with no (obvious) links to the MCU, so it wasn't staggering under the weight of epic continuity. Tom Hardy was surprisingly good as a comical loser, given the last thing I saw him doing was being grim in Mad Max: Fury Road, and the interplay between him and Venom was very well done. Brain candy, but good brain candy.

August 24
We are nibbling our way through Vikings and quite enjoying it at this point. I am also nibbling my way through Ulysses (original 1922 edition) and finding it perhaps more accessible and richer than the snippets sent to The Little Review., or perhaps now that I'm sufficiently familiar with them I'm getting more out of the text. Who knows, I'll soon no doubt descend into the confusion that is Stephen Dedalus' disertation on Shakespeare and get lost again.

August 22
Oh! Somewhere back in there I used the homie spec to rebuild my reverse-engineered interface to the EV charger; it's doing all the data collection my first MQTT-based attempt was doing, but also allows me to send a signal back to the charger, specifically toggling the software lock that prevents what the installer described as "the slowest crime in the world", i.e. where someone parks outside your door for 6 hours to steal your kWh. The interface isn't 100% where I want it to be yet - in particular it's using hard-coded credentials to pull data off the charger's API - but I guess I'll toss it into the workshop once I've removed the me-specific bits.

August 21
Been a distracted few days / weekend, including a road trip where I sort of winged the bit about "charging the EV" and thus got to see the car's panicked "you're going to charge me soon, right?" warning box (lowest I ran it was 10%, which is good for about 40km, which is comparable to when your petrol box starts beeping at you that you might want to find a hydrocarbon supplier soon; I wasn't paying attention but I think the warning was triggered at 50km). Lots of people asked me more or less the same questions about the EV, so both for them and to save myself some mental arithmetic, here's a brief summary: I should note that there may be some minor inaccuracies in the above, especially with respect to things I don't own or use (Teslas, CHAdeMO), and theoretical figures that various systems might promise as opposed to the practical figures I've experienced.

As mentioned, I'm still not thrilled with the route planning apps. Of the three I'm fiddling with, PlugShare has the most information, but also lacks, as noted, the convenience of picking stops for you to recharge at. I discovered on the drive home that if you're not on a planned trip but just hunting for nearby charging stations, it moves your location dot on the map but doesn't move the map. So after a few km you've driven off the top of the map and have to manually recenter it. ABRP... wants you to pay to use it in carplay mode. Pfft. And the in-car navigation (as distinct from the phone app that comes with the car) seemed not to notice some charging stations when route planning, but was perfectly happy to flag them up when I drove past them. As a result I wound up with one slightly suboptimal charge where I used one of the 11kW ESB charger sticks without realising there was a proper 50kW charger about 4km away, which would've saved me about 40 minutes of waiting. But I enjoyed a short stroll and a snack, so.

August 14
Fiddling with route planners for the EV: "A Better Route Planner" does the work of figuring out your stops for you, but I'm having some issues with the user interface; "PlugShare" seems a good deal more comprehensive in terms of both available charge points and access to more detailed information without subscribing, but doesn't plan your stops; and the EV's own routing app (on the phone) doesn't appear to allow for additional waypoints. None of the three seem to have the concept of "round trip", as in, "I'm driving to this location and will be driving back to my starting point some time after that", which seems... basic? I dunno. Maybe there's a huge cohort out there who just get in their cars and drive, never to be seen again?

August 13
Managed to cherry-pick the slightly broken debian box into installing a reasonably current version of SpamAssassin, which was about the most critical thing it was missing after last weeks' upset. I'm still debating how much effort to put into recovering this vs. setting up a new box from scratch with the user data preserved.

August 9
Started watching Vikings; as with other stuff we've watched, it's included for "free" on PrimeVideo and there are at least a few seasons - although it looks like only half of the series, alas. We'll see how it goes.

August 6
Sort of understanding what happened to the server:

August 4
Still not clear on what broke but the server is more or less back in working order.

August 3
Wrapped up Blacklist: Redemption. Not terrible, and while there was a bit of a cliffhanger and no more episodes because the show was cancelled, things were well enough wrapped up to not be annoying.

Had a minor oops with a server I manage where what should've been routine maintenance broke the box's connectivity. Fortunately I have scripts lying around to help recover from such incidents, but I'd forgotten I'd made them kinda slick:
$ ~/src/sh/ec2-drive-swap.sh -p awsprofile -s hostname
21:12:00 Collected sick instance ID 'i-deadbeef' for 'hostname'
21:12:02 Sick device '/dev/xvda' is 'vol-deadbeef'
21:12:03 Collected recovery instance ID 'i-feedbead'
21:12:06 Will attach sick volume as '/dev/xvdc'
21:12:06 Stopping i-deadbeef:
 waiting for 'i-deadbeef' to reach status 'stopped': ...done
21:12:33 Detaching sick volume vol-deadbeef:
 waiting for 'vol-deadbeef' to reach status '': .done
21:12:37 Attaching vol-deadbeef to i-feedbead:
 waiting for 'vol-deadbeef' to reach status 'attached': ..done
Sick volume is attached to recovery instance. Log in to i-feedbead and do your stuff, then exit the shell to continue
[drive recovery - exit when done] $ 
On top of that, when I logged in I discovered I'd left scripts on the damaged drive that mount and unmount the relevant partitions to allow it to operate as a chroot environment. Slick, I tells ya. And when I log out of the recovery shell, it reattaches the volume to the correct instance and restarts the instance. SLICK.

(just don't look at the code.)

At this point I've partially recoved the server but I'm still trying to figure out what actually went wrong, so if anyone still uses the DSPsrv and is wondering why they can't connect... that's why.

August 1
Weird failure on one of the decrepit macs: a file created in ~/Desktop didn't show up on the desktop, so I figured maybe logging out might be good (I have experienced failures in the past where the desktop process has become disconnected from its security context, or something like that). Logging out... hung. Since I had a shell connection to the same machine, I rebooted it. That hung, too. So hard power off, and... booting hung. At this point I was envisaging the annoyingly stereotypical "mac claims hardware is in full working order right up to the point it catastrophically fails"; however, I managed to boot to recovery, nothing looked amiss, and then booting verbosely showed an awful lot of errors that seemed symptomatic of problems in the signing infrastructure. But no, eventually it came back to life. I have no idea, and I am not helped by the fact that there's a good deal of alarming-looking log messages that are apparently safe to ignore.

Finished round one of my battle with the Variorum edition of Ulysses: I have read, after a fashion, the original publications from The Little Review. It's tough going in spots, wildly amusing in others. I am now looking at what I think is the original 1922 print of the novel itself, so let's see how that goes. "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan..."

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Your August Presence.