November 2005 Archives

29 November 2005

Obelix et compagnie

Cover of Obelix et compagnie
  • René Goscinny et Alberto Uderzo
  • 47 pages
  • en français!
This is the first book I've read cover to cover in a foreign language. I have to say it was hard work, but it's probably done my french a world of good, as it's been suffering from neglect since the day after my GCSE.

Think I'm going to try a Tintin book next, and actually make more of a concerted effort to learn all those useful words I kept having to look up. The only one that seems to have stuch is sanglier, which I can't see me using in everyday conversation.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Books

18 November 2005


Sigh... the time ran out on my little countdown clock, so I've had to redefine time to ensure that I can finish on time. I've taken much the same approach as the progress bars do on Microsoft Windows. :-) timeshift

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: PhD

07 November 2005

Guy Fawkes Night

Mushy peas We went over to the firework display on the Forest Rec on Saturday, and apart from the excellent "firework extravaganza", the highlight has to be the food. If memory serves I got through a portion of mushy peas (with loads of mint sauce), a hot dog (with completely caramelised onions, ketchup, and mustard), a corn on the cob (with lots of butter, and just the right amount of salt), and a few roast chestnuts (definitely the most disappointing - I reckon they were undercooked)... oh and I have a toffee apple in the fridge, which I'm hoping hasn't gone bad yet. Not sure how much that all cost, probably less than £10 I reckon.

The whole thing was somewhat marred by some idiot letting off a firework in the crowd right behind me. Thankfully nobody was hurt.

Also I'm pretty impressed that any photo website has a category: Home > Food and drink > Vegetables > Greens. Bonkers!!!

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Food

04 November 2005

Drowning in data

arghh... I just can't cope any more. The CFD cases I'm running at the moment need about a gig of RAM to run in. That's big, but it's manageable because I only need to run one at once.

The problem is that because there's a slight possibility that I may need to do further analysis on the data at some point in the future, and so I save all of that to disk every now and again (every 25s of simulation time, or 18 hours of real time, for up to four cases running simultaneously)

Net results: over 1 Gb a day being added to hard drives that are essentially "nearly full" almost all the time.

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: PhD

02 November 2005

Spam, spam, glorious spam

My spam folder now contains 50,000 junk e-mail messages. This works out at 83 messages a day or one message everry 17 minutes, since I started automatically filtering spam messages back in March 2004 (600 days ago).

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Computers

02 November 2005

Freecell ban

A number of people seem to have noticed that I've developed a bit of a freecell addiction lately, and to be honest over a hundred games in less than three weeks is probably getting a bit obsessive. So given the short amount of time I have left on my PhD, and the general arm twisting and guilt trips of various people I've self-imposed a ban on freecell (and any similar type of distraction that I know I'm bound to replace it with). :-(

In case you are wondering, I managed 86% wins, with a longest winning streak of 20 games and longest losing streak of 2. Statistically, (again using my losely remembered A-level Maths) that means the 95% confidence interval for my success rate is 79% to 92% (also it's more likely that I'm worse than 86% than better than it)

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: PhD

01 November 2005

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-rabbit

Gromit posing
  • 85 minutes, U
  • Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes
There's just no way you can not like this film. It probably helps if you are familiar with their earlier TV appearances, and have a passing familiarity with British culture (especially of the 'tup north' variety) as there are lots of in jokes, but even still you'll find yourself quoting the film for days after. "I'm just crackers about cheese!!!"

The trivia section on for the film is interesting. e.g.:

The film required 2.8 tons of Plasticine in 42 colours and 1000 baby-wipes per week to wipe it off animators' fingers.

Rating: 4/5

Call me "Totty" :-)

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Films

01 November 2005

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Ghost in the Shell 2 Poster
  • Manga style animation, 100 min
  • Japanese, English subtitles

My first ever anime experience. Not really sure what to make of it really. I can understand why its such a niche market, even if you make allowances for having to read subtitles, and for the fact I didn't see the first movie, the plot was pretty hard to follow, although I think I did a lot better than the bunch of teenagers who I overheard saying things like "I just didn't get it" on the way out.

Having thought about it a bit, I think the problem the film has is that it's trying to be both dramatic (in terms of the action) and thought provoking (in the sense of what is really the difference between a machine and a human, blah, blah, blah)

I don't think I'd recommend it, but I did see potential in it, so I don't think I'll rule out watching more Japenese films in the futute.

Rating: 2/5

Posted by Robert Hart | Permanent Link | Categories: Films