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Hacker's Diary

A rough account of what I did with Emacs recently.

October 31
Weird home automation glitch: data from the EV switching its magnitude randomly - for example, battery charge showing up as a value between 0 and 1 instead of 0 and 100 (percent). May have been a glitch in a third-party interface I'm using, and required some manual and unpleasant SQL to fix archived data.

October 29
I am struck by the fact that there doesn't appear to be a default media manager in macOS. I'm looking at a bunch of movie clips, some of which iMovie knows about, some of which came from Photo Booth, some from Chime?, and then the raft of photos distributed around my various hard drives, and separately there's the iTunes collection and the stuff it refuses to match with its algorithm, and there isn't a nice neat library application to tie all this together usefully. And of course the various apps that do play with Media want to maintain their own indices and possibly even copies of the existing files. I can't help but wonder how much space I'd save by identifying duplicates and replacing them with hard links, Time Machine-style.

Clocks have changed! So far only two items in the house needed updating: the cooker and the microwave, since neither are "smart", and I'm quite okay with that thank you.

October 28
The Batman is about an hour longer than is necessary, and really drags between the action setpieces. Pattison as Emo Bruce Wayne is actually pretty good. The "are vigilantes good or bad" thing is a bit heavy-handed, and was already done far better with Christopher Nolan's Batman. I absolutely did not recognise Colin Farrell, which sort of raises the question of why you'd cast him in the movie if he's going to be unrecognisable... Moody Gotham was pretty cool, and the Batmobile was pretty decent other than that it had nowhere near enough screen time. There's a good shorter movie hiding inside this bloated whale of a thing. Also the IMDb trivia page is full of people who need to get themselves a blog or something. Trivia about the movie, folks, not your personal theories and philosophies in a long rambling blob of text.

Nerdery! I picked up one of those cheapy "spy cameras" to keep an eye on the cats, and boy howdy is it a real dose of "get what you pay for". Aside from the various security issues I have with it, the app you need to use to access it locks up frequently, and while the picture quality is generally good the audio is terrible and possibly is interfered with by the camera's WiFi antenna. In any case, it's quite sufficient for use with the cats, but I'll definitely be keeping it in a sandbox network away from things I actually care about. I may also engage in a little reverse-engineering to see if I can ditch the controller app in favour of, say, a webpage or something.

October 27
Endeavour wrapped up reasonably well, other than that gunshot in the churchyard; what was that about?

October 24
The Jigsaw Man is unlikely to ever have been a contender for any awards, but it's got a plot, and characters, and mostly hangs together well enough. It feels to me like a 70's rather than an 80's movie, but maybe that's just because they didn't have a budget to make it more polished. On the other hand, they had Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, and Susan George, so maybe they spent all their money on the cast?

October 23
How did we land on watching The Maltese Falcon? I'm not entirely sure, but it was fun. There's an interesting sequence in it - where The Fat Man explains to Sam Spade the origin of the eponymous bird - that was shot all in one single seven-minute take, but it was done with multiple cameras so the finished version has a dozen or more cuts in it. It's the sort of thing that later movies achieved with continuity people and multiple set-ups, and later movies still would ensure you knew it was all a single take by using a single camera viewpoint for the entire thing, so it's a bit of an oddity. But that aside, it's kinda fun.

October 22
We were in sight of Skellig Michael today, so obviously we had to watch The Last Jedi. It's such a shame that Rian Johnson wasn't kept on to finish out this trilogy and instead of doing something interesting they just wrapped up with Abrams' wallowing nostalgia-fest. Last Jedi had a lot of good things to say and did so without whacking you over the head with them, while its sequel was prety much wall-to-wall, "hey remember the time Thing happened in Movie that one time? That was cool!"

October 21
Watched The Man with the Golden Gun on something of a whim; when the Bond reruns come around, this one often seems to not make the list, or I miss it, or something. Having watched it with a fresh pair of eyes... yeesh. Clifton James referring to various Asian people as "pointy heads" was, I'm sure, funny in 1974 to a particular audience, but now it just comes across as meaningless racism, and James' presence in the story doesn't make any sense unless it was a cheap attempt to hook in a particular demographic. Which I suspect maybe it was. That aside, the movie's just a bit rough, really. You could see the director trying to veer Bond a little more towards the book version - a bit cold, a duty-over-all sort; but Roger Moore wasn't that person and it really just jars instead of being convincing. Anyway. It was of its time, or something, I guess.

October 20
Safety Not Guaranteed is an absolute gem. There is nothing to dislike about this movie.

It's been a while, what else has been going on?

We've worked our way through most of a season of Cold Case and it's not terrible even if the setups are a bit contrived. There's a reasonable amount of misdirection keeping you from guessing the protagonist, and it's mostly lacking in side-story distractions. Also the music is generally awesome.

I ploughed through Jane Casey's entire collection of Maeve Kerrigan books in very short order, and having seen Liz Nugent repeatedly acknowledged I figured I'd read one of hers. Boy, was that ever a depressing read. One of those stories where the protagonist just keeps getting away with more and more things and you figure, hey, they'll get there comeuppance, and ... it never happens. (uh, spoiler. yeah.)

October 6
October happened while I wasn't looking.

I read Dune years ago, probably far too long ago to get the whole "Arabs and Oil" allegory, and I vaguely recall watching the David Lynch movie at some point. In any case, we watched Mr. Lynch's disowned Dune this evening and I can't say it's quite as bad as he makes it out to be. I guess he's more put out that it's not the movie he wanted to make? It's certainly got some cheesy effects that don't really work, and it's got a bunch of inner monologue / voiceover exposition that's a bit wince-inducing in places, but it's hard to communicate all that was in the book without indulging in some of that. On the whole it didn't feel like a waste of the two-hours-and-change runtime. Once the second part of the "modern remake" lands on streaming I think we'll probably watch both of those, but not before.

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