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
Wed, 05 Oct 2005

Spam plagiarism

Like a lot of people, I use a bayesian spam filter, trained to sift the crap from the mail I'm interested in. It's pretty good; I can't remember the last time I got a false positive, and most spam goes straight into the junk folder. One or two still get through, though. Appending random poetry to the end of the message worked for a while, but training makes that less effective. However, today I received a message with the following tacked on the end:

Watching anything from a Michael Moore documentary to a CBC investigative report, I know I like reality. So why do I hate (and I mean that with the full intensity intended by someone who rarely uses that word) reality television shows? Because reality TV isn't insightful commentary. Voyeuristic melodrama that is anything but real has no chance of being more than annoying and boring. I used to think blogs were to e-zines what reality television shows were to dramas. Now, I think the comparison would be more effective if blogs were perceived more like independent film. And reality television scheduled in between soap operas.

My first thought was that random poetry had become more sophisticated, and vaguely topical. However, as I read it I became less and less convinced. Turns out that this was in fact written by a human; a quick Google search reveals the original post on someone's Blogspot blog. This may have been going on for a while, but it's the first time I've seen it. I think it's an interesting development; the blogoshpere is providing spammers with a near-infinite supply of chatty, lucid (more or less) prose that's far more realistic than machine-generated text could realistically hope to be. I'm not sure how effective bayesian filtering will be against such techniques, but my guess is that it more or less neutralises the positive score as an indicator, meaning that the negative score is more important. I'm curious to see what happens.

Tue, 04 Oct 2005

McCarthy - the Zach Braff of Computer Science


Turns out that John McCarthy didn't just invent pretty much all of the concepts in modern programming languages four decades ago, he also predicted the web. Yes, I know that various people from Vannevar Bush onwards have done so, but it's still impressive.

Mon, 03 Oct 2005

Online WIMPs


This looks quite interesting; a (fairly successful) attempt to simulate a standard desktop metaphor GUI using dynamic HTML. I don't think it's necessarily the way to go about the problem, though - the desktop metaphor is starting to creak around the edges after three decades - but it's still worth a look.

Mon, 19 Sep 2005

Shiver Me Timbers!


Aaar! As ye may well have noticed, today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. This day be notable for two reasons; firstly, everyone is talking like a pirate, and secondly, there be significantly more people on the seven seas using software written by me. Hoist the mainbrace!

Thu, 08 Sep 2005

Internet history, Manufactured for Your Convenience


The Million Dollar Homepage has had a few articles in the press today; basically, someone who's about to start University is flogging permanent space on a mosaic-like page by the pixel (well, by the 100-pixel block), in order to finance his studies. It's brazen, it's novel, and I like it. Good luck to him.

Tue, 06 Sep 2005

Inequality and Risk and Paul and Tim


Paul Graham is always worth a read, and his recent essay on inequality and risk is no exception. It revisits a topic that he's written on before, namely that the economic inequality caused by rewarding productive behaviour (his example, starting a start-up) is a good thing, as it drives people to create wealth, thereby raising the general level of wealth for everyone. I agree with the basic thrust of the argument, but diverge when it comes to the details - for example, how much to tax the rich. Tim Bray (he of XML fame) has written an interesting and lucid response. I think my own opinion lies somewhere in the middle of the two viewpoints, but I'm not yet sure exactly where on that line.

Sun, 04 Sep 2005

JustZIPit - The bright side of hard disk failure


On Sunday, the hard drive on my PC decided to give up the ghost. Fortunately, I managed to get the important stuff backed up before it went entirely, but it does mean I've had to buy a new disk, and spend far too long yesterday and today reinstalling things (fortunately, as I've got the iBook as well, I can do work in parallel, but it's still a pain). Anyway, I was casting about for a free (as in beer) Zip utility for Windows (2000 - I've not got XP), and I came across JustZIPit, a neat little piece of software that disposes of the overdone UI of WinZip and its clones, and replaces it with two actions; click on an archive to decompress it into a folder in the same directory, and select a context menu item to produce an archive from a file or directory. Nice.

Tue, 23 Aug 2005

Wil Wheaton is right...


...this is the coolest watch ever.

Sun, 21 Aug 2005


Yesterday, I knocked up a quick CGI interface so that I can post to this site more easily (hidden behind SSL and only accesible via a different hostname, natch). On the plus side, this means that I might update more frequently. On the down side, it means that I managed to accidentally publish several test entries. Oops. Still, normal service has been resumed. I hope.

Tue, 19 Jul 2005

How Things Work


Almost anyone who grew up in Britain will be familiar with Ladybird books - small, thin hardbacks that went from basic reading ("Dick has a ball. See the ball.") to fact-filled fun for older kids such as their "How Things Work" series ("What's this, grandad?" "It's like HowStuffWorks.com in a book." "What's a book?" etc...). Anyway, someone's gone to the trouble of scanning in the 1971 and 1979 editions of How Things Work... The Computer, and they're great. I particularly like the 1971 idea of "A small digital computer designed for the businessman" (top left).

Tue, 28 Jun 2005



I just typed in my name while trying to customize Firefox's search behaviour, and it seems that I'm no longer the internet's number one source of Rob Hague related information! This site is only the second hit in Google. Some other Rob Hague in Australia has taken the crown. I'll have to think of some way I can regain my Number 1 status, which might be tricky as my eponymous nemesis has actual content that people may want to look at, as opposed to just a random bunch of stuff and pictures of disected chocolates. That's just not playing the game.

Mon, 16 May 2005

Azuro lanuched


Azuro was officially launched today, along with our power-saving product PowerCentric. Yay!

Sun, 15 May 2005

Ring my friend, I said you'd call

As of about 4:20 yesterday, I am now sufficiently qualified to manage a Kwikimart. Woohoo!

Tue, 10 May 2005



From this article on Disney's plan to relaunch The Muppets:

As if to illustrate this point, when I contacted Disney its vice-president of corporate communications for Europe replied: "Disney has deemed irreverence as one of the five core equities of the Muppets (humorous, heartwarming, puppet-inspired and topical being the other four)."

I would say that's pretty much case closed.


Thu, 05 May 2005

Don't forget to vote


Who Should You Vote For?

(Especially if you live in March East.)

Mon, 28 Feb 2005

Creative Commons


I've added Creative Commons licences (both human- and machine-readable) licences for the text of the site. Note that these apply only to the text, and not to images or other stuff (I may change my mind about that latter). I'm working under the assumption that, if people want to, they'll copy the material here anyway, so I may as well make explicit the conditions I'm happy for this to happen under.

Sun, 06 Feb 2005

The Cutting Edge


While going through my BlogLines feeds this morning, I came across this article on SlashDot. It caught my eye because it's about the BroadBand Phone, which was developed and initially rolled out at AT&T Labs, Cambridge, during my time there. My time there before my PhD, four years ago. Honestly, if I didn't have RSS keeping me up to date with the latest news, I don't know what I'd do.

(Check out the BroadBand Phone out, though - it's a cool project, and it's good to know it's continued in some form despite the closure of the lab.)

Wed, 26 Jan 2005

The children! Won't somebody think of the children!


Understatement of the year so far: Sun.com is not structured to attract children. Maybe they've had a problem with hordes of eleven- and twelve-year-olds signing up for OpenSolaris.org email...

Wed, 05 Jan 2005

Oh dear


You are HP-UX. You're still strong despite the passage of time.  Though few understand you, those who do love you deeply and appreciate you.
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