Touchy Emacs

I use Emacs as a music playing interface, and I thought it would be nice try to create a pure touch screen interface, just … because.

The only OS that would install on my old Surface Pro 2 was the prerelease version of Ubuntu 16.04, Xenial Xerus.  Apparently kernels between 2013 and a couple of weeks ago dropped support for the wifi card in the Pro 2, so, but Xerus has it.

And everything works fine.  Except the multitouch.  Apparently Unity only has support for four-digit gestures, and it’s apparently impossible to remap these gestures.  (This is what hours of googling told me.)

To make Unity stop doing this crap, you have to build your own version.  This page explains how, but I’m just going to reiterate what it says, because some things have changed slightly.

sudo apt-get build-dep unity
cd /tmp
mkdir unity
cd unity
apt-get source unity

Then edit this file:

unity-7.4.0+16.04.20151218/plugins/unityshell/src/unityshell.cpp.  Comment out this line


And then build.

cd /tmp/unity/unity-6.8.0
dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc -nc
cd ..
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
apt-get remove unity-autopilo

Then install touchegg.  You need to create mappings between gestures and the events that Emacs will respond to.

 <property name="composed_gestures_time">0</property>
 <application name="Emacs">

 <gesture type="TAP" fingers="2" direction="">
 <action type="SEND_KEYS">space</action>
 <gesture type="TAP" fingers="3" direction="">
 <action type="SEND_KEYS">p</action>
 <gesture type="DRAG" fingers="2" direction="UP">
 <action type="SEND_KEYS">Control+v</action>

 <gesture type="DRAG" fingers="2" direction="DOWN">
 <action type="SEND_KEYS">Alt+v</action>


Etc etc.  And here’s the result: A Surface Pro 2 playing in the kitchen while I’m programming on the patio:

I kinda really wanted to delve into creating a proper touch interface for Emacs, where you could define gestures as you want with a simple (local-set-key [(swipe up three-fingers]) ‘do-something), but this stuff seems like it’s way immature.  Still.  After all these years.  Or perhaps I’ve just not found the right documentation on dar webs.

Posted in Emacs, linux | Leave a comment

Beau Travail

_1310266It’s nice that the Earth has two sides, I think.



Posted in holiday | Leave a comment

After the last redesign, it’s been speculated that probably isn’t going to survive much longer.  It’s sad, but it’s difficult to see what the business idea with is these day.  And the way they’re chopping the useful features is weird.

For instance, I’ve been using the events page for years to time my holidays.  If I’m going to, say, Berlin, I’ll scope out what’s going on on nearby dates to see whether I should go there a bit earlier or a bit later.  But then they removed the option to change the location: You can only look at the events that are “nearby”, based on the IP address of where you’re browsing from.

It’s…  it’s…

Even more absurd is that the functionlity is still there.  They’ve just removed the user interface.  If you Google the latitude and longtitude of a place, and enter them in the URL, it’ll tell you the events:,151.209900 in Sydney.


Anyway, somebody mentioned, which is apparently an old, free clone of  Sort of.  There a nice Python GUI script that’ll extract your old scrobbles from and upload them to  It works perfectly.  Takes a while, though.

libreThe feature set is kinda not there.  It’ll list your scrobbles, and do some statistics.  And that’s it.  No events, no discovery, no nothing.  Except some free music they’re pushing.

If you look at the commits, it’s pretty dead.  So it kinda seems rather pointless.

Everything is bad.

Posted in music | 1 Comment

Even More Ears 2016

Posted in live, music | 2 Comments

All Ears 2016


Posted in live, music | Leave a comment scrobbling problems

The past few months, I’ve noticed that only a fraction of the music I’ve been playing has been scrobbling on  But I just put this down to general flakiness — I think everybody pretty much assumes that they’re closing any time soon after the last disasterous redesign (where all the useful functionality disappeared (but we got a mobile-friendly design)).

But last night I noticed something:

lastThe only things that scrobbled were tracks I’ve ripped from vinyl!  The only things that didn’t scrobble were tracks ripped from CDs!  So I traced the Emacs scrobble library and saw that the only difference was that with CD tracks, scrobble.el sent over the CDDB ID when scrobbling, and with vinyl tracks, it naturally didn’t.  Because no such data existed.

I commented out the CDDB ID stuff, and then everything started scrobbling perfectly.

When I send over API calls with the CDDB ID set, no errors are reported, but the scrobbles are silently discarded later, and do not show up in the library.

So…  A bug introduced during the redesign or something?  I don’t know.  Since that data is superfluous, anyway, it’s no big deal.  And since is probably closing, nothing matters.

Boo hoo.

Posted in music, mysteries | 1 Comment

TSP1986: Zastrozzi: A Romance

I’m apparently part of the Tilda Swinton Underground now, where we swap rare, unavailable Tilda Swinton TV series and shorts.

Or something. In any case, I got a copy of this 1986 British TV series from a kind reader. It’s rather good. Bits of it are brilliant. And some bits, er, aren’t. Have a peek here.

shot0107 png

If you happen to have stuff that I’ve been unable to find (marked on this page with “-“), please let me know at

Posted in Tilda Swinton | Leave a comment