Welcome to rho.org.uk, a little web site maintained by Rob Hague (see below). There's a variety of stuff here - poke around and see what you find.

Rob Hague


NaNoWriMo As mentioned above, this site is written and maintained by Rob Hague, an expert at talking about himself in the third person. Rob's homepage can be found here.

In 2002, he tried (and succeeded) to write a novel in a month. At some point he'll take the logo off the front page. But not yet.



I occasionally write things that might be of some use to other people (and isn't owned by some huge corporation or other). Some of this can be found here.

Mac OS X Odds & Sods


I've had an Apple iBook for a while now, an have generally been very pleased with it. I've created a virtual dumping ground for my musings about Mac OS X here.



This page is a collection of links to useful/interesting/fun stuff that I've come across.

You may have arrived here by mistake; if you're an opera fan, try roh.org.uk. If you're looking for Reproductive Health Outlook, they're here.


I also collaborate with Ben Chalmers to produce the Imaginary Movie Database, a site dedicated to those films that other sources seem to miss. We've not updated in a while, but we'll start again Real Soon Now. Honest.

About This Site and Whatnot

This site is basically a homepage for Rob Hague (webmaster@rho.org.uk). I'm happy to receive comments about the site, but please don't send advertising material, ways to Make $$$ Now, or Your CV.

If you want to keep track of updates to the site without the tiresome hassle of actually visiting it, bung the RSS Feed into your favorite news agregator (I use NetNewsWire Lite).

This site is generated by blosxom, with the following plugins:

  • theme
  • rating
  • meta
  • seemore
  • archives (modified)
  • entriescache
  • bloglikeapirate (disabled)
  • fixed
  • blox
  • interpolate_fancy
Power By Blosxom Get Firefox Creative Commons License: TEXT ONLY
Mon, 29 Dec 2003

Dave didn't whack my google, but it is nevertheless whacked


"Dave Whacked my Google" A few months ago, I was meant to be going to Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Experience, but unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute as it was inconveniently on the night I was flying out for UbiComp. Tori saved me the badge pictured as a souvenir. Another consolation prize arrived yesterday in the form of an e-mail from one Phil Bradley (who I don't know, but it goes to show that not all unsolicited e-mail is unwelcome). It cheerfully informed me that I was a googlewhack for gesticulating taramasalata. Yay the internet.

Wed, 17 Dec 2003

I've been Registered


I got a name-check in The Register today, for my sort-of-entry into their Jennicam eulogy competition. I'd like to thank my agent, and Tori, who pointed out the typo in the first place, and...

Thu, 11 Dec 2003

Metadata, Good and Bad


I've been looking into RDF recently, as I'm writing an XML-based bibliography tool (by the way, if anyone knows of an existing RDF vocabulary for describing citations in journals, please, please, please mail me and let me know what it is), and it looks pretty useful for a variety of things, including a messaging/blogging/browsing thingy I've been vaguely thinking about for a while now - more when and if I get round to writing it.

Anyway, while scouring the web for resources (there are lots, as long as what you're interested in is RSS; I'm not), I came across a nice antidote to metadata. Handy to bring you down to earth if you're getting carried away with the whole semantic web thing.

Towers, As Far As The Eye Can See


I don't normally just re-list links from other sites, but I found this link on SlashDot (which I made a resolution not to read years ago, and haven't, but I've subscribed to the RSS feed for the links), and I couldn't resist. Go programming silliness.

Tue, 09 Dec 2003

Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly

It's that time of year again; carol singers roasting on an open fire and whatnot. Last year, Tori persuaded me that it was a good idea to go halves on a seven foot six artificial tree, which was a good idea with the high ceilings of the place I was in last year, but a bit dodgier in our current flat. Nevertheless, it came up in conversation, so I risked life and limb getting it out of the loft (we don't have a ladder), and set it up.

I'd just finished, and we were decorating it, when Tori pointed out that you're not meant to put decorations up until the 19th. So I'm not allowed to turn the lights on, and it's sitting forlornly in the corner looking unilluminated and slightly sad. I'll post a picture of the tree in all it's glory when she lets me switch it on.

Wed, 03 Dec 2003

Poplee will bleeive ayhinntg they raed


Anyone with an e-mail address has probably seen the meme that begins "Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy...", and claims that it's as easy to read a sentence where the letters in the words are reordered, apart from the first and last, as one where they're not. It's very convincing, until you realise that it doesn't work. This page picks it apart bit by bit.

Wed, 19 Nov 2003

nXML-mode: How XML should Work


James Clark, writer of expat, editor of the XSLT Recommendation and all-round XML genius, has done it again, by writing an XML editing mode for Emacs that doesn't suck. In all fairness, PSGML-mode isn't terrible - I wouldn't have been using it daily for the last few years if it was - but it was an SGML editor with XML functionality bolted on, which meant it was unnecessarily complicated, and couldn't do anything useful without a DTD. nXML-mode is still in alpha, and doesn't have a pretty download page yet, but is nevertheless the bee's knees, the dog's bollocks, and almost any other part of any animal you'd care to name (except, perhaps, the dingo's kidneys). It's based on RELAX NG schemas (and comes with XHTML, XSLT and DocBook out of the box), works fine without any validation, supports namespaces, and autocompletes like a dream. Hoorah!

(It may seem like I'm getting a little overexcited about Yet Another Emacs Mode, but I'm getting my head down to write my thesis, and hence will be writing even more XML than usual over the next few months, so I welcome this like a plumber would welcome a new, revolutionary sort of self-assembling pipe. Or something.)

Wed, 12 Nov 2003

News is dead! Long live News!


Gmane A few weeks ago, NTK mentioned GMane, a mailing-list to NNTP gateway. I never really got into the whole newsgroup thing, so I didn't pay much attention. However, last week I noticed that the traffic from the blosxom mailing list was getting a little voluminous, and realised that a newsreader would probably be a better tool to handle it. I gave GMane a try, and indeed, it's far better. I'd recommend it to anyone subscribed to mid- to high-volume public mailing lists.

CoolURI 0.2


I've added a requested feature to the CoolURI Blosxom plugin; it'll now provide default flavours for URIs of the form blosxom.cgi/path/to/entry, where "entry" is an entry as opposed to a category.

Thu, 06 Nov 2003


... I've decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year. I have a thesis to be writing. Good look to everyone who is, though. As a side note, I've repaired the broken links to last year's "novel". At some point, I may even get round to editing it. But don't hold your breath.

Mon, 03 Nov 2003

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen


Usually, "comic book" is a term of derision as far as films are concerned. In this case, though, the source material is Alan Moore's excellent graphic novel, so it'd be more of a complement. Which means we're going to have to find a new term of derision, because the film is appalling. To be fair, I was watching it on a nine inch screen in the back of the seat in front of me, and the tape kept jumping, so I probably didn't get as much from the special effects as I would've done on the big screen, but this just meant that I paid more attention to the script. Oh, the script...

See more ...

Tue, 28 Oct 2003

Argh! My Life Points!

I've just caught an episode of Yu-Gi-Oh!, one of the current batch of lazily-animated Japanese tie-in cartoons, designed to sell things. In this case, it's a collectable card game, but the brilliant thing is that the cartoon seems to be entirely about people playing the card game. Now I know that Pokemon involved people involving engaging in the same sort of things that characters in the game do, Yu-Gi-Oh actually centres around two people standing around in little pods, drawing cards from a deck, and taking turns. They shout card names at each other, speak sotto voce to camera to explain their tactics, and wax lyrical about the rules for minutes at a time. Sheer genius, from a marketing point of view, at least.

Fri, 24 Oct 2003

Le fin de Concorde (or something)


In case you'd not noticed, today marks the final flight of Concorde, the worlds only supersonic commercial air liner. No longer will you be able to experience three-hour London to New York flights with an odd combination of in-flight vintage champaign and a passenger compartment as spacious as a National Express coach (apparently; I've never flown on it). A couple of high-profile safety problems didn't help, but the real problem was the cost; there were never enough harried executives desperately wanting day trips to New York to cover the inordinate cost of the fuel. If there had been more demand, the price would've come down, other supersonic air liners would've been built, and we probably wouldn't notice the decommisioning of Concorde. As it is, comercial supersonic travel is, at least for now, consigned to the history books along with that long pointy nosecone.

White elephant of the skies, we salute you.

Thu, 23 Oct 2003

Transglobal Emporium - for all your luxury shed and caravan calendar needs.


I forgot to link to this last year, but I simply couldn't pass up the chance again. Transglobal Emporium, purveyors of the classic Luxury Shed Calendar, have added the Luxury Caravan Calendar to their range. Both would make tasteful additions to any home, or delightful christmas gifts.

A must for any lovers of Sheds or Caravans.

Mon, 20 Oct 2003

The Beginning of the End

It's the last talk, and they're about to turn off the WiFi, so this'll be my last entry 'til I get home. It's been a good conference; I've heard about and seen some interesting work, met a lot of fun people, and drank quite a bit of surprisingly good Seattle beer. One thing I've noticed is that I seem to fall naturally into the role of devil's advocate; I'm defending arty projects and ethnography to systems people one minute, then electronics and tracking systems to HCI people the next. It's nice that there's such a range of specialities at one conference; I hope it stays that way, as opposed to fragmenting into narrower venues.

My contribution...


I've just taken down the poster that I've been displaying (well, that a pinboard has been displaying on my behalf), and it occured to me that I should probably make it available online. So here it is. I'm planning to do a proper page for the Rainbow Group site in the next week or so, which would serve to fill out the details somewhat.

I be due for a keel-hauling

In honour of International Talk-Like-A-Pirate day, I've knocked together another Blosxom plugin - Blog-Like-A-Pirate. It also works from the command line, in case you're not a Blosxom user. Now there's no excuse for sounding like a scurvy landlubber.

Patent Pending?

I've just seen a presentation of a great piece of work from Mitsubishi Research. Basically, it allows you to use a normal LED to sense light levels, with only a microcontroller and a single extra trace on your PCB. This means it can be added to a device that already has an LED and microcontroller at give or take zero cost. What's more, as you now have both an emitter and a receiver, you can use it for short range bidirectional communication. It's very clever, very useful, and, unfortunately, very patented.

Now I'm not sure how I feel about this. Unlike, say, the one-click shopping patent, there are no technical grounds to object to it. It's original, non-obvious, and hasn't been done before. It's a piece of apparatus, and it solves a real problem (many patent systems require a physical instantiation and/or usefulness). However, it seems a crying shame that the technology can't be freely used and incorperated into other devices. The patent system was designed to protect the original inventors, allowing them to exploit the invention for a time while guaranteeing that it's (eventually) available to the public. This seems a laudable aim, but loses it's lustre when the exploitation rights are assigned to a corporation. I don't think that's really what's bothering me, though. I think it's that in this case, patenting the technology both reduces the potential for research, but also reduces the chance of wide dissemenation of the technology - even a slight per-device license fee would significantly reduce the cost benefit of the technique. Still, it was a very cool paper.

Cool URIs

As of this morning, I've officially released my first Blosxom plugin - CoolURI. It allows the use of extension-free, date-based permalinks, like the ones described in "Cool URIs don't change". It's pretty simple, but does the job well enough for now, and means that when something better comes along I won't need to change the URLs again. Which is the entire point.

Sun, 19 Oct 2003

Popped my eBay cherry


Today is a momentous day. Bands played, speeches were made, ribbons were cut. Or they should've been, for today is the day I put my first item up for sale on eBay. Actually, it's Tori's item; her iBook, that she doesn't use any more now she's here with access to my PC (which I tend to spurn in favour of my own iBook). Anyway, the auction is here if you're in the market for a robust, cute-looking laptop with a firewire port.

Thu, 16 Oct 2003

Licensing Rant

The software on this site is licensed under a variety of OSI-approved open source licences. UnityWiki is unambiguously a derivative work of PikiPiki, which is covered by the GPL, and hence is distributed under the same licence. The two original projects, Bookaroo and Newfile, are licensed under the MIT Licence (basically equivalent to the advertising-clause-free version of the BSD licence).

See more ...

Wed, 15 Oct 2003

Talking about Talking

I'm sat in a talk about blogging, so it seems appropriate that I should tell the world via the wonder of RSS. I should probably start listenting again now, though.

Mon, 13 Oct 2003

I'm blogging this right now


I'm writing this from UbiComp in Seattle; just in case you don't believe me, here's photographic evidence:

I've only skimmed over the programme so far, but there looks to be a lot of interesting stuff here. This afternon I've got to do a one-minute talk to persuade people to come and see my poster. At some point, I should probably decide what to say.

Thu, 02 Oct 2003

The Other King Is Dead...


The Brunching Shuttlecocks may be no more, but various bits of the site live on at The Self-Made Critic, The Book Of Ratings, and, as of today, Lore Brand Comics™. Slumbering Lungfish, Lore's blog, is also worth a look.

Wed, 01 Oct 2003

Coke uses GPS to track prizewinners


It looks like UbiComp-like location aware technologies are making their way into the mainstream. Apparently Coke are planning to use GPS receivers in winning cans to seek out people and present them with HumVees or large amounts of gold. I'm not they've really thought this through - aside from the technical issues of putting a GPS recevier in a can (what happens if you open the can underground? Or on the wrong side of a tall building? Or in a reasonably thick tent?) , I don't really think that buying a can of carbonated beverage with vegetable extract can reasonably be taken to imply that you give your consent for a multinational corperation to track your movements. Maybe there's a shrink-wrap EULA on the ringpull, but even then it's probably a case for Lord Denning's Big Red Hand.

Sun, 28 Sep 2003

Fun with NTL

Having spent far too much of another Sunday trying to work out where the problem with the web is due top my ISP or Safari having one of it's spats, I've learnt two things. One is that NTL tech support operators are somewhat startled if the first thing you say to them is "Your web proxy inktomi1-cam.server.ntl.com drops the connection if you send it an HTTP POST request longer than about 1.1k", and the other is that this site, that Ben pointed me at last time this happened, has all the answers. (To be fair, once the NTL guy had got over the intial shock, he did give me the list of alternative proxy servers, but they were only numeric IPs, which for some reason didn't work on Mac OS X).

Mmm... Blowfish...

After looking for ages, I've recently found SSHKeychain, an Aqua-integrated ssh-agent thaat works the way I want it to. Other agents have done the job adequately, but SSHKeychain has a bunch of little features that make it stand out from the crowd. It'll run in the menubar (so it doesn't take up space in the dock), but more importantly it makes use of the Keychain. Not only can you store your passphrases in there, but the agent can forget keys when the machine sleeps, and ask you for the (Keychain) passphrase on wake, or the next time the agent is accessed.

Now I just need to get round to sorting out an on-demand wrapper for SSH tunnels...

Fri, 19 Sep 2003

Prepare To Be Boarded...

...For it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Yar! Shiver me timbers, splice the main brace, and so forth. (Note to self: avoid calling Tori "wench", lest ye be forced to walk the plank)

(Avast, I be raising a flagon to shipmate Jason Clark, who be joining me in Blogging-Like-A-Pirate. Aaarrr!)

Update: Simon has piratised his web page in admirably minimalist fashion, and of course one of my favourite comics is officially It Be Walky! for the day. Yarrr!

Now Powered By Blosxom

Phew. That was a hairy ten minutes or so. I managed to completely trash my docroot directory whilst trying to move the testing and ready Blosxomed website to the new host (called, with absolutely no connection to Steven Kitson, "ocelot"). For some reason, rsync didn't seem to want to do the right thing. Anyway, it's all sorted out now, so the site is officially generated by Blosxom (statically at the moment, but I plan to have a mixture of static and dynamic eventually). Archives are all there, but not linked to - I'm planning do some reworking over the weekend, now everything is in place.

Mon, 08 Sep 2003

Still Blosxoming

As Tori was away at the weekend, I got the chance to sit down and get my head around Blosxom. Once I'd reminded myself that XML is a means to an end, and not an end in itself, I started to see ways in which I could distort it to fit my own weird designs. I've now just about got it doing what I want, but things need a little bit more polishing before it goes live.

Wed, 03 Sep 2003

Good thing, bad thing

Good Thing: Getting a poster accepted at UbiComp 2003.

Bad Thing: Said conference clashing with the night I'm meant to be going to see Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Thingummy. Dammit.

To Blosxom, Or Not To Blosxom

That is indeed the question. I'm 90% finished with my ad hoc Python Script, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes to use Blosxom in the long run, as I get to leverage all of the great plugins people write for it (and would probably contribute one or two of my own). I think I've figured out a way to do what I want to do with it, so this weekend I might suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Perl and try again.

Wed, 23 Jul 2003

Why 1984 wasn't like "1984"


Apple's famous commercial for the release of the Macintosh, shown during the 1984 Superbowl, is probably one of the most famous, and most effective, TV ads in histroy. This page not only has a Quicktime version of the ad, but also has an interesting scholarly analysis of what it means, and where it sits in a wider context.

Wed, 04 Jun 2003

Look at me, MA

I've not updated the page for a while, as I've been a little busy since I got back from Switzerland. In the two months (eep - I didn't realise it was that long until just now) I've been back, I've been to Roman and Carries wedding in the US (and very nice it was too), got my MA (which basically means that I'm entitled to wear a longer gown, should I want to), and done more than a few supervisions. However, the exams have started now, so I've finally got nothing to distract me from doing the PhD work that I badly need to do if I'm going to finish anywhere near December.

Which obviously means that I'm thinking of rewriting the software that generates this site.

I've been considering Blosxom, which is certainly a very neat piece of software, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to get it to work with all the existing XSLT stuff, which I don't want to throw away. We'll see what happens; I'm sure I'll pick the option that wastes the most time. Damn my subconscious.

Fri, 04 Apr 2003

A Conversation


I found this page when idly browsing wilwheaton.net while waiting for a kernel image to transfer of a serial line (which, by the way, takes an age, and eventually failed for reasons that are, so far, unknown. Bah.). I think it sums things up quite nicely.

CompSci History


This page has a load of links to information about almost every programming language you can imagine, but more importantly, it has a five-page diagram showing where they're all descended from! OK, it's not that exciting, but I find it interesting. There a couple of mistakes though, so I might have to assemble my own version...

Tue, 18 Mar 2003



When I find myself actually agreeing with the actions of Anne Campbell, you know that something's seriously wrong.

Mon, 10 Mar 2003

The Jargon File


The Jargon File's old homepage seems to be unceremoniously redirecting visitors to random Linux-oriented sites, so the link goes to a mirror. If you've not heard of it before, it's "a comprehensive compendium of hacker slang illuminating many aspects of hackish tradition, folklore, and humor." Taken with a grain of salt, it's fairly interesting, and you can easily get lost in it for hours. I particularly like the AI Koans and A Story About Magic.


Follow the links in a MacSlash story about web badges, I ended up skimming Apple's Guidlines for Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights, and noticed the following, fairly broad, prohibition:

3. Variations, Takeoffs or Abbreviations: You may not use an image of a real apple or other variation of the Apple logo for any purpose.

"Any purpose". Thousand's of unimaginative still-life painters must be quaking in their boots.

Fri, 31 Jan 2003


There haven't been any updates for a while, as I've been busy settling into my new surrounds in Switzerland, where I'm doing a 3-month internship at IBM's Zurich Research Lab. I don't have an internet connection at home, so I can only add updates from the lab, but I should be able to manage that now and again.

2002 (38): Jan (3) Feb (1) Mar (6) Apr (2) MayJun (3) Jul (4) AugSepOct (6) Nov (9) Dec (4)
2003 (40): Jan (1) FebMar (3) Apr (2) MayJun (1) Jul (1) AugSep (7) Oct (14) Nov (5) Dec (6)
2004 (23): Jan (4) Feb (1) Mar (3) AprMay (5) Jun (1) JulAug (2) Sep (4) Oct (1) Nov (2) Dec
2005 (19): Jan (2) Feb (2) MarAprMay (4) Jun (1) Jul (1) Aug (2) Sep (4) Oct (3) NovDec
2006 (4): JanFeb (2) Mar (1) AprMayJun (1) JulAugSepOctNovDec
2007 (1): Jan (1) FebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec