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SEPTEMBER, 2005 → ← DECEMBER, 2005

U-Bahn TV … Moved house … Hacking X11 6th of October, 2005 POST·MERIDIEM 05:16

The U-Bahn has small TVs constantly running in some of its carriages, which is the reason I now know that George Clooney’s priorities mean he will always put his work before a relationship, and that the recently-divorced Renée Zellweger has got together with Damien Rice. How did I survive without this in Dublin!?

I’ve moved house again, and am sharing a flat with a physicist named József. A week after moving in, I think I prefer people who know who Schrödinger and Paul Erdős are to psychologists and political scientists, my last flatmates, even now that I’m pretty sure I have social skills.

On Monday, Tag der deutschen Einheit, I did some actual hackery for the first time in aaaages. The good people at Duden Verlag sell (or sold) a version of the Oxford-Duden Deutsch-English dictionary on CDROM, with a Linux version of the program to access the DB, written using QT. The database format isnt anything I can work out, and given that while the dictionary itself is great—has pronunciation in the IPA, which is helpful when you can’t turn on your speakers, has multi-word definitions and sample contexts for the words, has stress information; all the things leo.org doesnt, basically—and given that I can’t access this CDROM on my computer at home from work, I wanted to extract the text from it and make it available on the web to myself.

So, how to do that when you don’t understand the database format? XEmacs Lisp, http://​hoopajoo.​net/​projects/​xautomation.​html, the XTEST extension, a bit of empirical testing to work out that you can’t simply have a cursor appear in a menu choice with QT, you need to move it in, and that the delay saving 40MB to my hard disk throws out the timing necessary for the testing. (GUIs are fuсk-complicated, by the way. Anyone who can program raw Xlib or Win32 has my eternal admiration.)