August 2005 Archives

24 August 2005

Time Left

Since my last post on this matter, I have received a number of complaints (well, one complaint actually) that the stated time remaining in that article does not update to reflect the passage of time. In order to rectify the problem, I have now included a "countdown" on the sidebar-thingy on my web-page.

I hope that that is the end of the matter.

The bouncing around the screen business has been rejected on two grounds:

  1. It is aesthetically unacceptable
  2. I don't have a clue how to do it
  3. I have better things to do with my time

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: PhD

24 August 2005

Robotic Operational Being Engineered for Rational Troubleshooting

R.O.B.E.R.T.: Robotic Operational Being Engineered for Rational Troubleshooting

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link

20 August 2005

How I Paid for College

Cover of How I Paid for College
  • A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theatre
  • Marc Acuito
  • 288 pages
  • ISBN: 0747576580
A novel I picked up for £3 from Fopp when I was down in Bath. I bought it 'cos it was cheap and just wanted something to read whilst I had some time to kill on a rainy afternoon.

I wasn't really expecting much, but somehow I seem to have demolished the 300-odd pages in less than a week. It isn't a book that's going to change the world, or even change anybody's life, but it's quite fun, and doesn't suffer in the way `teen coming of age' movies do, in that they left the sex and drugs in.

To be critical, the book is annoyingly American, not so much in the cultural sense (which is obviously part of the book) but in the language of the book itself.

Probably wouldn't pay more than £3 for it, or even buy other books by the same author, but I can think of a few people who'd enjoy it as a light holiday read.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Books

20 August 2005


Crash Poster
  • Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon
  • 113 min, 15, Broadway
This is another film that proves my point about how much better it is to see a film without having been exposed to excessive amounts of publicity, previews and trailers.

Crash is a film that it's very hard to explain what happens, but in general its an exploration of stereotypes, particularly racial stereotypes, but also looks at the idea of "good" and "bad". Refreshingly, the film avoids many of the Hollywood clichès, and it's nice to see Sandra Bullock doing something a bit different. It was also nice to see a film that wasn't just an ego trip for a big name, but instead a serious of well developed characters that played second fiddle to the film itself.


Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Films

15 August 2005

A child at 27

lots of yummy lollies Why is it I still find great delight in being able to unroll the stick from a Chupa Chop lolly when I'm 27? Why for that matter do I still get great delight in eating them?
Also why can't I find a chupa chop website?

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Food

11 August 2005

The deadline looms


I just handed in my intent to submit form, which is the bit of paperwork the university needs in order to start going through all the red tape needed to find an external assessor (and in my case an internal assessor, as my original internal is now my supervisor).

Amongst other things, the form states that I intend to submit by the 18th November, which by my reckoning gives me 99 days to finally finish the damn thing off. In fact, I've just written the following script, which knowing me, I will be checking every ten minutes from now till then. In fact I'm tempted to set it as a prompt command....


handin=`date -d "18 November 2005 12:00" +%s`
now=`date +%s`
left=$(($handin - $now))


echo $days days,  $hours hours and $minutes minutes
99 days, 2 hours and 0 minutes

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: PhD

08 August 2005

The Algebraist

The Algebraist

I picked this up for a fiver in Fopp, during one of my occasional rash spending sprees (I think I bought I couple of CDs and a DVD at the same time), but having read it, I feel guilty for having paid so little for such a good book. I'm a pretty big fan of Iain — both his sci-fi and his more mainstream stuff (although I think the distinction is pretty blurred, especially with things like The Bridge and Walking on Glass), and one thing I particularly like is his ability to generate a whole new 'universe' with each new book.

By contrast to his earlier 'Culture' universe, this civilisation is much less advanced, being restricted to STL (slower than light) travel and communication, and the outlawing of AI (which were so prominent in things like Excession).

If I were to criticise this book, I would have to say it leaves me wanting for more, particularly a desire to know what happens to some of the well developed, but under utilised characters in the book.

Anyway, I loved the book, and am planning on rereading Excession in the next few weeks.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Books

05 August 2005


It came as a bit of a surprise when I read this:
You have two publications to your name in fact:-
  • Rigid block distinct element modelling of dry-stone retaining walls in plane strain, with M. Claxton, R. Hart & P.McCombie, in ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 131, 3, pp 381-389, 2005.
  • Distinct Element Modelling of Masonry Retaining Walls, with R.Hart and M.Claxton, in Proceedings 6th Australasian Masonry Conference, 185-194, Adelaide, Australia, July 2001

The second paper I knew about, but the first (in a real journal!!!) was a big surprise to me. What's more, after I managed to get a copy from the e-journals service, I realised that it really is a lot of my work.

Time to go update my CV :)

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: PhD