Friday, February 29, 2008

Application overload

In contemplating whether to get a Centro, I'm looking at my current Palm Treo 680 and thinking about the applications I'd use if I got the Centro. I suddenly realised just how many 3rd party installs I've put on the Treo. Here's a list of them all.

  • Bonsai. An "outliner", or list manager from Natara
  • Diddlebug. A freehand note application - excellent and free!
  • eWallet, from Ilium software for managing all my passwords, PINS and other "sensitive" information
  • Passwords Plus, my first password manager from Dataviz. Still like this one.
  • Documents to Go Professional Edition also from Dataviz. Superb. Can't be beaten for managing office documents on a mobile device.
  • Scrapbook. A handy little utility for notes/scraps of information. More flexible than the in-built Memopad.
  • GroupTextMessaging. To allow SMS texts to groups of people. Not otherwise easily done on Palm devices. Tricky to find the most up to date version but worth it
  • Quick News. A decent rss reader from Standalone
  • KB Lights Off. A super free ulitiy that allows you to "switch off" the keyboard lights thus saving precious battery life.
  • KeyCaps600. Another freebie, this excellent utility allows you to effectively do away with the Shift and Function keys, making the Treo truly a one handed device when typing. The first thing I installed on my Treo. Couldn't live without it.
  • Ringo from Handmark. For managing ring tones per contact and using MP3's as ringtones
  • Resco backup. You don't know how important a backup strategy is until your machine dies on you. This is one of the best.
  • Screenshot5. Neat utility for capturing screenshots for reviews etc.
  • Undupe from Stevens Creek software. Another freebie. However careful I am, I always end up with duplicate information in my calendar, contacts and tasks. This weeds them out.
  • Uninstall Manager from Northglide. The in-built uninstall doesn't always get rid of every file. This utility does a better job.
  • Volumecare from GoTreo. A lot of people say the Treo range suffers from low volume. I'm not convinced, but it could be better. This helps sort it out.
  • Bejeweled. One of the classic games from Astraware
  • Par 72 Golf. A free golf game
  • Titanic. Another brilliant game from Astraware
  • Virtual pool mobile from Celeris. First got this for my Treo 650. The graphics have to be seen to be believed.
  • Wordpop. Another classic and very addictive game this time from Smartbox Design
  • ereader for all those e-books. I actually struggle with ebooks. I'd rather a real book, but it comes in handy now and again
  • Minitones - allows you to find and allocate MP3's as ringtones
  • TCMP - a great way to play videos on your Treo - and free too!
  • Tom Tom mobile. Sat Nav from the kings of Sat Nav
  • Googlemaps. Does what is says on the tin.
  • Metro - local travel information for more towns and cities in the world than I'll ever visit. Another freebie too.
  • Weather by Deluxeware Check out if it's raining - currently in beta

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Misc stuff - it's a busy old week

  • Still thinking about a Centro......shall I, shan't I
  • Won at skittles last night. Haven't had chance to update the site yet. Probably be tomorrow. I started well but finished crap. Could be dropped next week.
  • Cricket nets tonight. That should damn near kill me. I don't suppose I'll be playing this summer now I've had provisional news on my op, but then I can hardly run anyway! Bones have been aching today, so a hard hour in the nets will really be a tonic. Maybe I'll just watch.
  • Helping out with some junior cricket coaching at Sophia Gardens Indoor Cricket Centre tomorrow.
  • City play Leicester at home on Saturday - seems ages since we walloped Wolves.
  • More junior coaching on Sunday (our club this time)
  • Back to work on Monday for a rest!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Palm Cento....tempting

Over at Palm-Mac, one of my favourite mobile/gadget blog sites, Murray has had his Centro delivered, and his first impressions are posted. Looks so far like he's pretty impressed with it, although it's early days. Full details of the device are available on the Expansys web site, and it looks a real bargain at £179 for such a well specced smartphone.

Now, if I flogged my Palm Treo 680 and HTC Vox on e-bay, I should be quids in....

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Well I've had a letter from the hospital today with a date for my "pre-admission" clinic visit ahead of my operation for a high tibial osteotomy. It's in late March, so I guess the op should be shortly to a few weeks after that, beds permitting - this is the NHS after all.

Something to look forward to - not. Rather I'll look forward to having my knee fixed (hopefully), not the operation itself, or rather the aftermath of it.

I was going to say it's going to bugger up my cricket season, but I suppose I'm not currently in a fit state to play anyway!

Monday, February 25, 2008

PDA 247 - business as usual

Palm 247 did indeed have some problems at the end of last week as previously reported, but I'm glad to say it's back up now. It's one of my favourite mobile sites, and is visited every day. Keep up the good work Shaun & Co.


One things that's always nagged away at the back of my mind, is whether what man physically does to this planet in terms of moving weight from one point to another affects us/the climate/anything else.

Take for example this hole in Siberia. There's no two ways about it. This is a bloody big hole. And all the stuff that's come out of it has been put somewhere else. Now I know the earth's a big place, but eventually the weight distribution of the planet will alter - not just because of this one hole, but all the oil, gas, coal, stone etc etc that we're constantly digging up and moving to other places.

Does anyone else worry about this? No, I thought not.

Hmmm, maybe we'll all wake up dizzy one day when the planet starts spinning off into the distant universe because it's come off it's gimbles......

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sheffield Wednesday 1 - 0 City

City were unable to transfer their form from the FA Cup into the league as they went down 1-0 at Hillsborough. Not much info on the match as it's only just finished, but can't have been that impressive.

We'll check out the table later when all results are in, but I guess the play offs are a wild hope now rather than a genuine prospect. Shame really. If we could get another run going like the one we had over and after the Christmas break, we could make the top six yet, but frankly it's not looking likely. We still need a few more points to be certain of mid table mediocrity this year as well.

Let's hope we can keep the FA Cup form going. C'mon you Blooobirds!

Quack medicine?

Long time readers of this blog will know that my bones aren't the best. A recent visit to the rheumatology clinic had the doctors once again suggesting that I go onto a treatment called sodium methotrexate. It won't cure my arthritis but could (could not will) slow the disease down. That's OK except that it's got a list of potential side effects as long as your arm including hair loss and liver damage. Nice.

I've never held much store in herbal or non pharaceutical remedies after a rip off experience with a magnetic bracelet, but now's the time to give it a go I think.

Something called "Devil's Claw" has been recommended so that's one, plus of course the almost mandatory fish oil tablets that are as big as a.......well they're big.

Let's see how it goes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Palm 247 Problems

Strange goings on over at Palm 247. I haven't been able to get into this site for a couple for days now - I just get a few picture holders and some text saying "an error occurred while processing this directive".

I can't get in on my work, home or mobile browsers, so it's not me. I trust it'll be back up soon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

3G or not 3G

There's an interesting article over at one of my favourite blogs, Palm-Mac where the ever astute Murray is talking about 3G, the fast connection available on a lot of today's mobile devices - or rather he's talking about not having 3G at the top of his "must have" list any longer.

Most people in the technorati still see 3G as a must have, or the device simply isn't up to it. Murray's view, and one that I currently share (maybe because I've never had a 3G device) is that there are some inherent problems with it which often outweigh it's usefulness.

Not least amongst this is that it eats the battery life, and if like a lot of people you don't live or work in a 3G enabled area the constant searching for a 3G signal also affects the battery. Murray's happy in the main he now says with either WIFI or good old GSM networks.

I have a WIFI enabled smartphone, but frankly most often use GPRS even when I'm at home and have WIFI available - but that's because I think I'm not that worried about speed generally, and perhaps more importantly I have an unlimited data plan, so it doesn't matter so much if my data connection isn't the speed of light - it's not costing me any more.

Where I intended this post to go originally was along the lines of ever changing technology demands. A bit of the higher, faster, longer sort of thing, and then realising that higher, faster or longer isn't always the way forward.

Another example of this is that about a year ago several of the blogs I read were espousing non-touchscreen devices as the way forward - non of this messing about with styluses (stylii?) any more, and how Symbian or Windows Mobile Standard Edition was the only way to go.

Now? It's all gone touch screen again. A look at some of the popular "smart" devices out there, and we've got the iPhone (of course), the HTC TyTn II and various other devices all touting the good old touchscreen.

I think I'm beginning to waffle now, but on one final point, I actually got my first look at a real iPhone the other day - in the hand so to speak (actually it wasn't my hand, but a colleague was demonstrating his new toy to me), and I have to say it looked absolutely brilliant. Now all I've got to do is wait for the unlocked version.......

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Gadget Merry Go Round

I'm back with the Vox (HTC S710) as my current smartphone of choice.
The Treo which I'd gone back to a couple of weeks ago had been behaving impeccably, but yesterday threw a wobbly - first the battery seemed to discharge at a faster rate than I'd seen for a while, and then the darn thing reset itself for no apparent reason.

So, in a huff I swapped sim cards and powered up the Vox.

Really, this switching around is making me dizzy. I just know I'll be fed up of Windows Mobile again in a couple of days and want to return to the Treo.

Now the Treo Centro is shipping (allegedly) according the Shaun over at PDA 247 (even though he hasn't paid for it!!) I'm going to keep a weather eye out for his and others Centro reviews.

It may be that this is the device which will replace the Treo 680 and it's inherent faults but superb interface, and the Vox with it's lovely small form factor, good looks and super screen but the ghastly and horribly clunky Windows Mobile.


A win for us at skittles tonight although I didn't play as I was late due to attending my son's prize-giving at school (Geography - well done Mini Stats!).

We didn't play that well, but we were good enough on the night to put the Cefn Originals to the sword by 289 pins to 271.

Promotion is still within our grasp!

C'mon the Dinas!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Last Great Western

Regular readers will know I hate travelling by train. My periodic business trips to London particularly as First Great Western regularly fail to get you to where you need to be on time or without some form of drama.
Today for instance the 06.55 from Cardiff to London Paddington arrived into Cardiff 15 minutes late because of a "trespass" on the line and then at Bristol became hugely overcrowded - standing room only because the previous train had been aborted at Bristol because of a door that wouldn't shut. End result 20 minutes late into London and a lot of hacked off commuters. And the unfortunate thing is it's nearly always like this.
I'm just glad I only have to put up with this once or twice a month.

Sent by Treo 680 from a First
Great Western shunter.

Monday, February 18, 2008

FA Cup Quarter Final Draw

So down to the last 8 - or 9 really because Sheffield United and Middlesborough have to replay. At this stage we probably wanted to avoid the big two (Man Utd and Chelsea) because the others are all beatable - and of course it would be nice to play them in the final!

So who did we get? The aforementioned Sheffield United or Middlesborough away. I'd have preferred a home draw, but hey, you can't be picky. Bring them on - either of them. C'mon you Blooobirds!

Sent by Treo 680

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Geograph - what a great idea!

I've stumbled across a great website. It's called Geograph and basically the premise is that the Geograph British Isles project aims to collect geographically representative photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland.

The way it doe this is by allowing users to upload photographs for every single OS grid reference in the land.

It's absolutely fascinating - I came across it when looking for a photo of a particular place, but then spent hours browsing - especially checking out some places from my childhood/younger days which evoke such strong memories - a real memory jerker. This one for example is a spot on the South Forty Foot Drain where I spent many, many hours at fishing as a lad when we lived in Lincolnshire - though the trees and bushes have grown a bit in the last 20 years or so!

I love this so much I've already registered and uploaded some of my own photos. As well as showing a pictorial view of the British Isles, there are also some stunning photographs out there. Can you do better?

FA Cup 5th Round City 2 - 0 Wolves

The Bluebirds cruised into the quarter finals of the FA Cup for the first time in 80 years with a dominant display against close Championship rivals Wolves.

City were ahead in 90 seconds after JFH's beautiful flick allowed Peter Whittingham to split the offside trap and have a clear run at goal, slotting home coolly under Welsh No. 1 Wayne Hennessy.

10 minutes later a superb move saw Whittingham pull back a ball to JFH on the edge of the box who sidestepped and curled a shot into the top corner of the goal, reminiscent of Nathan Blake's great goal against Manchester City in the same competition in 1994.

Normally I'd have wanted at least one more goal, especially with almost 80 minutes left, but City's dominance meant Wolves hardly troubled Enckleman in goal, even when they went 4 up front.

It was a superb performance by the whole City team, but my stand out player was teenage midfielder Aaron Ramsey who I thought was outstanding on the day.

So it's into the last 8, and although Man Utd and Chelsea still remain in the draw, the competition is as open as it's been in years - even League 1 side Bristol Rovers are still in it after beating Southampton. Well done them.

Bring on the big guns...C'mon City!

Sent by Treo 680

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Half Term Stuff

We've been off this week as it's half term.
"What?" I hear you cry, "...we've only just gone back after Christmas!"
Indeed Tempus does Fugit although it is only 5 weeks since the kids went back and we packed the deccies away.
The weather's been glorious this week. We spent the first couple of days in Lincolnshire as previously posted, and then it's been car servicing and decorating.

I've also been pottering in the garden, one of my favourite pastimes, pruning, planting some seeds and other odd jobs. Today it's turned bitterly cold though.

Tomorrow I think we're off to the pictures. Bethan our youngest (10) is going on about a film called "National Treasure" which she says is like an "Indiana Jones" film. We'll see.

On Saturday of course it's FA Cup 5th round day and Jim (13) and I are off to hopefully see City beat Wolves and earn a quarter final draw, whilst the girls are off visiting and shopping all things weddings as Bethan's going to be a Bridesmaid in August.

Sent by Treo 680

Another skittles defeat

After a storming first half to our skittles season that saw us thinking (complacently perhaps) of promotion, the wheels have fallen off somewhat recently. Last night saw us fall to our 3rd defeat in four matches - hardly promotion form. Away at the Pilot in Penarth we were unable to put together enough consistent rolls to get the points. Read all about our exploits at

Sent by Treo 680

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hard earned point:: Coventry 0 - 0 City

Sounds like a hard earned point in a fairly dull an uninteresting match at the Ricoh Arena. Still, a point's a point, and after two defeats I'm sure Dave Jones will be happy with a point away from home. Plymouth & Ipswich above us in the table both won and so move further ahead of us.

A break from the league programme now as we take on Wolves at home in the 5th round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Not to dream too much, but if we win that one, we're in the quarter finals - how good would that be?
C'mon you Blooobirds....

Splash ID goes to v 4

Splash Data, purveyors of mobile software to the masses have just announced v4 of their Splash ID software. Essentially, this is a "wallet" or "safe" type piece of software that allows you to store all of your sensitive information such as passwords, pins, banks details etc in one secure place. I've used Splash ID on my WM device, and it's pretty decent at what it does, although I prefer one of it's rivals, "eWallet".

Best of all though, Splash Data have versions for the Palm, Windows Mobile and the Blackberry, so unless you have a Symbian device or iPhone your needs will be covered.

Here's what Splash Data have to say about the latest version.

We are ecstatic to announce the release of SplashID 4, the biggest SplashID update ever.

SplashID 4 is completely updated for both Windows Mobile and PC, adding all of the features users have requested most:

NEW! - Enhanced security features: auto lock-out after 10 failed attempts, password strength meter, and a password hint option
NEW! - Web Auto Fill: one click option to open websites on your desktop and login automatically!
NEW! - Four additional data fields for filling in information, including an automatic "date modified" tracking field
NEW! - Add additional desktop users and synchronize multiple SplashID databases
NEW! - Email encrypted SplashID files to other users - from the handheld even!
NEW! - Toolbars give you one click access to features where they are needed the most
NEW! - Updated icon set with enhanced high resolution graphics
NEW! - Fully Vista compatible

The included All New SplashID 4 Desktop software also adds powerful new ways to view your records. In addition to the traditional List View, the desktop application now offers a Tree View and a Panel View, making it even easier to manage and organize all of your information.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Woe. City 1 - 2 Norwich

Just a quick update as I'm away. City went down 1-2 at home to the Canaries today making that 2 defeats in a row. Need to get back on track pretty quickly against Coventry on Tuesday. 10 weeks ago I'd have bitten you hand off for mid table mediocrity, but now I want a play off place. C'mon you Bluebirds!

Sent by Treo 680


Originally uploaded by statto1927

We're in Lincolnshire this weekend, visiting my brother who lives in a village on the edge of the fens.
I spent my formative years (between 10 and 20) growing up here and though I was glad when our family moved away, I now find myself drawn more strongly to this bleak flat landsape than ever before.
Today we've been at a place called Surfleet Seas End where the river Glen meets the tidal river Welland before the latter winds it's final journey into the Wash. It's been like spring today, sunny and warm, but I can vouch that when the wind sweeps across the north sea, this can be a very cold and windy place. I love it.

Sent by Treo 680

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Palm Centro to be available in Europe

The Register and subsequently other sites are reporting that the Palm Centro, pictured, is to be available in Europe, and at the very tempting price of £199. It looks almost identical to the Treo 500v Windows Mobile based device, but of course this baby runs Palm's OS. There are a few differences, including a less well specced camera than the 500, but for us this side of the pond it is at least a new Palm smartphone. Looks like it could be available as early as next week.
Now, where did I put my piggybank.....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Online transactions. Sorry sir....

I want to buy tickets for the City v Wolves 5th round FA Cup tie. As an "ambassador" (meaning I was gullible enough to buy my season ticket up front last May), I get first refusal on our usual seats for this game.

But can I buy them online like any other normal ticket? No.
Looks like I'll be on the phone as soon as the ticket office opens tomorrow morning. So much for modern technology.

The beautiful game

And no, it's not football......
I haven't posted much about my skittling exploits this season. Not sure why, we're doing OK. In fact we're right up at the top of our league with a real chance of promotion as we move into the second half of the season. A tough match tonight against the "Ex's Boys". You can follow our exploits via our very own website as

We lost by 4 pins......Grrrr!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Palm-Mac on Palm

Murray over at Palm-Mac reflecting ona 1src podcast makes some very pertinent observations of where Palm is sitting at the moment, where they're going, and why Palm die hards might be dallying with Windows Mobile - but only until Palm come up with their next offering. I think I sit in that camp. He sums it up very nicely....

"Facing facts here, people do not leave palm and go to windows mobile, on the whole, because they think that the latter is a vastly superior system and is far easier to use and to live with (because it certainly isn't)....oh no..on the contrary, they mostly leave because their new win mob smartphones have better specs and do something they need that the palm treo currently cannot do but most certainly will be able to offer in a year or so time. When the new treo can do that I'll wager that the simplicity of the palm o/s,which I''m sure will be maintained, will be a powerful draw to them when mated with higher specced and stylish new palm devices and should see the palm devotees returning."

Monday, February 04, 2008

I can't believe it!

If you ready my post over the weekend about my trials trying to get through to an emergency insurance helpline you'll know I'm not best pleased. I had calmed down enough by Saturday evening to send a vitriolic email off to the complaints department. As yet I'm still awaiting a reply.

6:30pm tonight, the phone rings, and it's Homeserve. Gosh I thought, ringing me in person to deal with a complaint.

Wrong. It was some outbound agent asking me if I wanted to extend my policy. I suggested to him that I did not.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Wondrous Wales

Just a quick one as I'm all posted out today...

Wales v England at anything is always a tricky time in our house. I'm the only English person, my wife and children being Welsh. But I've lived in Wales since 1980 - 27 years - which is longer than I lived in England, so loyalties are always divided, especially for the big matches, such as today's Six Nations clash at Twickenham.

As regular readers will know I'm a football fan rather than a rugby fan, and the only rugby I normally notice is this one.

What a great one it was too, as Wales recovered from a poor first half to beat England 19 - 26 on their home turf.

And who was I cheering for. Actually, it was Wales.

Stoke 2 - 1 City

City's run came to an end at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon as Tony Pulis's big Stoke side beat the Bluebirds 2-1. The curse of the Manager of the Month award strikes again. How often does that happen?

Roger Johnson opened the scoring, but sadly for Stoke with his second og in 3 games. Stoke scored another after the break before JFH gave us some hope. But it wasn't enough and we'll have to put our top 6 aspirations on hold until the next match. C'mon you Bloobirds!

Photo's on my blog from my Treo - hurrah!

It's taken me all day to work out (when I haven't been fixing leaky cisterns), but I've finally solved the problem of being able to post photos with my posts to this Blog.

It's done via Flickr. Ive created a Flickr account, used the tools option which gives you the opportunity to set it to upload photos to your blog by email, and voila!

Actually it wasn't that simple. Is anything? My first 10 goes or so failed miserably, despite double checking all the settings and following everything step by step. I then decided to try from my Googlemail account which is also set up on my Treo rather than my default Pipex account. Bingo!

Don't ask me why it's working from one but not the other, I really don't know. But I can now post photos and text directly from my smartphone and that's brilliant.

Well chuffed.

The picture above which I used for this test is one of my favourite places - Solva harbour, Pembrokeshire.

Sent via a Treo 680

Leaking cistern update

After my leaking toilet cistern episode this morning (see below) and "emergency call" problems, I steeled myself, got a wrench out and tightened the offending sealing screw/bolt thingy.

After all that it seems to have done the job. I think the wife needs some smelling salts.

Statto & Matthew Maynard

I'm trying to set up to be able to post photos to my blog via Flickr, but I'm having trouble at the moment. This is a test post sent directly from Flickr, but I can't get the darn thing to work via my Treo, despite following all the instructions for posting photos to a blog via email. I wonder if it's a T-Mobile issue? I've left a post on the Flickr Help forums, but no response yet.

Incidentally, the photo here is me receiving my Dinas Powys CC "Clubman of the Year" award from Matthew Maynard (Glamorgan and England) at our 125th Anniversary Dinner last October (smug).

Emergency......we'll be with you in a minute. Or two. Or when it's too late.

Well it's not an emergency as such, but it is a pressing issue, unless you don't mind water all over your bathroom floor. You need to bear in mind that I'm not very good at DIY. I've been known to have a few disasters in my time building Lego or fixing a bike puncture. In fact my wife goes into a nervous twitchy mode if I even glance at my toolbox.

So, the sight of a dripping leak from our toilet cistern heralded thoughts of calling out a plumber. That can be very expensive round these parts - if you can find one who's got a slot free in the next three months that is.

Then I remembered that we have plumbing emergency cover from a company called "Homeserve" which we've had for years, and we also have some short term "free" covers for dripping taps and leaks. "Aha", I thought ideal.

I dug out the paperwork and then lost myslef amongst the myriad of exclusions to the cover, which don't explicitly say "we don't cover leaking toilet cisterns" but probably does.

Anyway, I thought, let's give them a call. The worst they can say is no, then I can rant "What's the point of having the b****y cover!" and cancel all my policies with them. So I rang them.

That was an hour ago, and I'm still on hold waiting to be put through to an "advisor". Good job it's not a major plumbing emergency like a burst pipe or I'd have drowned 40 minutes ago.

I haven't even been periodically told "My call is valued" or "We're experiencing a high volume of calls and will be with you just as soon as we can". Just an hour of inane bongo drums and some woman going "Ahhh, aaahh, oooh, oooh" . Not even a real song!

I know the country is deep withing the grip of a natural disaster (we're in the UK so that means it's a bit breezy in places and some parts of the country have had 3 inches of snow).

For God's sake, they're an emergency helpline.

I'll update this post when I get through - 63 minutes now and counting - but I'll bet they won't cover me.

I gave up after an hour and 20 minutes.

Friday, February 01, 2008


Here's the BBC website's weather symbol for my postcode for today.
I think this may be a case of hedging their bets, don't you?

And, at 11:30pm, for what it's worth....
  • It hasn't snowed
  • It hasn't rained
  • It's been sunny
  • There have been very few clouds - and those that there were were nice, white and fluffy.
I wish I could have a job where I could be paid for giving wrong information....