Saturday, May 31, 2008


I like a good wedding. Today we're at the Miskin Manor hotel just outside
Cardiff for the wedding of my wife's niece.

Loads of family and the weather's decent. Posting this in the lull between
photo's and the reception meal.
Sent with SnapperMail

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pressure Washer

Got my old pressure washer out of the garage today, hooked it up , hosed down the 2 cars, a bit of decorative brickwork around the front of the house, a few paving slabs and generally anything else I felt warranted a

I don't know about you, but I find using the pressure washer very invigorating and relaxing. Almost instant results, you can see where you've been and can see you've done a half decent job to boot. Maybe I should use it more often.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The cost of motoring

OK, everyone else has had their say so now it's my turn.
The cost of motoring, and particularly fuel prices is absolutely ridiculous. Yes I know the world price of oil is at a record high, but our (UK) prices were high even before that. It's getting stupid now.

I paid almost £1.32 a litre yesterday to fill up with diesel - that's getting on for £6.50 a gallon. I've just checked DallasGas.Com where yesterday our American cousins could get diesel for $4.11 and I presume that's a gallon (albeit an American gallon) which equates roughly £2 a gallon.

I know there are lots of other variable to chuck in - availability, transport cost of fuel etc, but someone's taking the mick here.

Add in the cost of vehicle excise duty, servicing, insurance and general wear and tear, and it's frightening how much it costs to drive these days.

Use public transport say the Government. Yeah right. I don't even know where my nearest bus stop is. My nearest train station is a mile and a half away. It would take me at least 2 hours to commute on public transport to my work (13 miles away).

I'm sure every one has opinions on this, but my preference would be scrap excise duty, set fuel prices at a realistic level (lower than they are now!) and have a pay as you go sort of scenario - the more you drive the more you pay. Whatever system we end up with has got to be better than what we've got now.

Meantime, Gordon and Alistair for all their platitudes are laughing all the way to the Treasury.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why do they do it?

Whilst down in West Wales this weekend I was talking to my sister who works for a well known voluntary organization for young people and who was doing some work with her new company HP laptop.

Proudly she told me it was 3G enabled, and ever the geek I asked her to show me and have a go myself.

First off, she connected to her company server. Ages, and ages and ages it took, ever though she had a signal. Once there, she said now I have to log in. She opened an A4 foolscap page (I kid you not) with a list of instructions about how to log in, which included various IP addresses, passwords and usernames and differening web pages she has to go through EVERY TIME she wants to connect to the system. And this is just to collect her email!

Now, in my sister's defence, although she's not the most technical person in the world, she's not a luddite or an idiot. "You have to do this every time?" I asked incredulously. "Yes" she replied, and I've spoken to out IT manager about it but he's (insert you're own word here).

Now if it was me, I'd politely take back the laptop to the IT manager, dump it on his desk and tell him "thank you very much but it's not fit for purpose" (or something like that).

Honestly, it was awful.


We've just returned from a short weekend break in one of my favourite places, West Wales, and in particular the St David's peninsula. My own jewel in the crown is Solva, a tiny village nestled at the end of a fjord like inlet. Once a prodigous fishing and business port, it now caters almost solely for the holidaymaker. It's a marvellous spot, so don't tell anyone about it.

The weather was a bit iffy. Saturday was fine, but windy and we actually made it to three beaches that day. Solva itself where we had a very windy picnic, Abereiddy where my soon to be 11 year old daughter pictured went surfing (though the surf wasn't great) and Whitesands where we went for a walk after a nice meal in a pub, probably the best know beach in the area, a wide expanse of sand that brings families, surfers and kayakers out in equal numbers.

Sunday it howled with wind all day and heaved down with rain, but as is typical for that part of the world in the evening everything calmed down and it brightened up for a couple of hours.

It's only about 110 miles from us, so we're really lucky and should get down there more often.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Treo 800w

There's been a lot of chat around the mobile device forums and blogs regarding the forthcoming Treo 800w - most of it's negative it seems, with people almost universally deriding the form factor in the leaked photo's saying Palm has still failed to innovate and it still looks like a Treo. Err, well it is isn't it?

My chum Murray over at Palm-Mac seems to be one of the few not of this opinion, and he makes some pretty pertinent observations (as usual), including the point that one of the reasons Palm aren't changing the form factor, is that it works. The Treo keyboard continues to be one of the most usable front mounted qwerty keyboards in the mobile world, no matter what anyone else says. Sure, the hardware buttons may be a bit naff looking compared to some of the so called "sleeker" devices in current production, but 1) these are probably pre-production photos, and the device may well change, and 2) a perception of naff buttons isn't going to stop die hard Palm users (and whilst there may not be shedloads of these in Europe, there sure are in the US) moving to a newer device when it's available.

Me? I'm not particularly wowed by what I've read or heard about the 800w. It'll be running Windows for one, not my favourite mobile OS. I have to say that I'm keeping a weather eye out for the iPhone updates to see what they bring, but currently I'm quite happy with my palm Centro.

On the road again

I've got fed up waiting for my outpatient appointment with the consultant to come round (this coming Friday) before I drive, so I've bitten the bullet and got in the car this week. ordinarily I'd have seen him 6 weeks post op and hopefully have been given the OK , but as you'll know, that appointment got delayed by 2 weeks through no fault of my own.

Anyway, I feel OK to drive and a short trip around the local neighborhood suggests all is well.

Generally, I feel fine, although by the end of each day the leg is aching and sore - the biggest problem is thinking I'm back to normal (or at least back to where I was pre-op) when patently I'm not. I'm fine sitting down, but any exertion and I know about it. I haven't even tried anything other than a slow walk yet, and yes, I'm still doing my physio exercises!

Worst of all, I'm still not sure the op's actually had any real benefit. The knee still grinds and grates and feels like a ratchet, which is really quite depressing. Still, we'll see what the consulatant has to say ion Friday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The FA Cup 2008 - the last word?

So, we came, we saw but we didn't quite conquer. Despite all the optimism, and hope it wasn't to be. Nevertheless, runner's up isn't bad. Once you get to a final you don't want to be the runner up, but if someone had offered that to City at the beginning of the season, along with the two trips to Wembley, I rather think we'd have taken it.

I've uploaded a selection of photo's from the day on Flickr, so you can see that we really did go and have a great day.

Key thoughts from the day:
  • We gave as good as we got, and City did us proud
  • If we have half the support and commitment we had there yesterday, next season should be a good one
  • David Jones has done wondrous things with a limited squad
  • It was a great experience
  • Wembley is a magnificent stadium - on a par with the Milennium Stadium in Cardiff - better in some respects, worse in others
  • The price of food/drink at the stadium is atrocious - over a £5 for a hot dog!
  • If City hadn't been in the last 8, I'd have wanted Pompey to win - I was born near Portsmouth
  • The booing and whistling of Land of My Father by Pompey "fans"and God Save the Queen by City "fans" was rather predictable, sad, and a reflection on the state of the nation(s)
  • Similarly, the bloke 2 rows in front of us, there with what looked like his family including 2 teenage childrn - a girl and boy, who spent half the match effing and blinding (with his son) and Portsmouth fans (who couldn't hear him anyway) was pitiful.
  • City fans were glorious in defeat, still singing, cheering and clapping their team, applauding Pompey (mostly) and doing the "Ayatollah"! In particular, one bunch made me smile on the way out singing "Wer'e the famous Cardiff City and we've lost at Wemberly, Wemberly...."
  • I'd never have managed the semi final a week after my leg op - yesterday was 7 weeks post op, and boy did it hurt at the end of the day, but I wasn't going to miss it for anyone or anything!
Up the City!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Disappointed but proud. City 0-1 Portsmouth

Well in the end it just wasn't to be as we lost by a single goal in the FA Cup Final against Premiership Pompey.
But we weren't disgraced and had a right old go at them.
I'm too tired and emotional to write too much just know (and the bus is wobbling about) so maybe more tomorrow. And my leg is sore.
Well done lads, I'm proud of you all.


Originally uploaded by statto1927

75 minutes before kick off. C'mon you Blooobirds!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Wemberly, Wemberly, we're the mighty Cardiff City and we're going to Wemberly, nauseum

I think I might have mentioned......

Almost there. Tomorrow's the big day out when tens of thousands of Cardiff fans descend on the capital and 25,000 of us get to go to Wembely to watch the mighty Cardiff City in the FA Cup Final.

I still can't believe it. Cardiff. In an FA Cup Final. No Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal in sight.

Much as I'd like to think we could repeat this, it's going to be a once in a lifetime experience. I'm sure my leg is going to be aching by the end of the day, but for just this one day I don't care.

I hope with all my might we win. I think we can win, but if we don't we've put Cardiff on the World map. Either way, I hope it's a decent game and we don't get thrashed. I don't think we will.

For the last time before I go.....

C'mon you Bloooooooooobirds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Printer Cartridges - Great Price, Great Service

There are some companies our there that provide a really good customer experience.

Then there are those that provide a truly outstanding customer experience. I've found one of these with Inksave.

I think I've moaned before on this blog about the cost of inkjet cartridges, so every time I have to buy them it gets me, and my bank manager in a bad mood, especially as I've had several bad experiences with cheaper "non-brand" products so tend to always stick to HP's own cartridges.

Yesterday I was doing some important work for my cricket club that I need to complete by today when my black ink ran out. As I'm still not allowed to drive, it was either a taxi to the local PC World store (adding another £15 -£20) to an already extortionate cartridge cost, or find someone who could deliver fast.

A quick Google brought up a couple of possibilities, and I plumped for Inksave for no other reason than they aren't that far from Cardiff (Swindon).

To make sure they had stock and could deliver next day, I rang rather than ordered online. The lady I spoke to was helpfulness itself, confirming that they always despatch 1st class and as it was late morning I should get deliver next day (Royal Mail permitting!). So I placed my order for cartridges at roughly 50% - 60% of the cost that I'd have paid if I went to PC World.

10 minutes later, the lady rang me back and said the cartridges would be despatched direct from their supplier by recored delivery (at no extra charge to me).

This morning at 9am, knock on the door and there they were. Absolutely outstanding.

This sort of customer service is what wins customers over, and it's unbelievable that some bigger companies and corporates can't or won't realise that. It works for me and Inksave have now got a new and loyal customer. I know where I'll be buying my ink stock from in future, and I recommend that you give them a try too. You'll be impressed.

Other good customer service companies
I won't tolerate poor customer service, I'll move my custom elsewhere. When checking out new companies I always check their customer feedback/reviews where possible. I'm sure everyone has got their own ways of deciding what's good or bad about a company and how/what it delivers. For me it's value and customer service. Here's a couple of my best picks:

  • Inksave (obviously)
  • Photobox Photo upload/storage and photo gifts - great site, fast delivery, but not the cheapest
  • Amazon UK 99% positive, only a couple of minor glitches in all the years I've been using them. Wide range, generally competitive and good delivery
  • Sporting Kicks Needed a Welsh flag fast (don't ask). Ordered 2pm arrived next morning

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The FA Cup

Have I mentioned this lately? No?

It's coming round quickly now. Thankfully as you can see from my previous post I'm off my crutches so I will be able to get to Wembley unaided, though slowly but I don't think I'll be running anywhere just yet.

Everyone's getting excited (well all the City fans anyway) and we're looking forward to the biggest day in the Club's history. Shirts are washed and ready, flags are sorted, caps waiting and we all know the words to the FA Cup Final song "Bluebirds Flying High" by James Fox. I even bought the CD. I think it's a good song, but then I would, wouldn't I? If you haven't bought it yet, why not? We could win the FA Cup AND get to No. 1!

Rehab update: Almost there....!

As it's now been 6 weeks since surgery I've been full weight bearing, although I have to say somewhat tentatively since last Thursday with the aid of a crutch (I ditched one). I still haven't seen the consultant since week 2 post op due to "unforseen circumstances" in the NHS, though I'm scheduled to see him end of next week.

Went for my latest physio appointment yesterday, prepared for a shouting at, but she was I think ok with my progress.

As usual I thought I was streets ahead, and as I'm now weight bearing this would be my last appointment with her.

Oh no.

She's given me a few more exercises (of which more shortly) and given me an appointment for another 3 weeks when, in her words "We'll get you in the gym and work you a bit harder". Hmmm.....doesn't sound like much fun to me...

The exercises are primarily to build up muscle strength and tone as the muscles waste surprisingly quickly when you aren't using them. Even I can see that my left leg is no where near as strong as my right, even though I tried to convince her that there wasn't much muscle tone there to begin with!

Here's a couple of the exercises she's given me. Try them for yourself (no seriously) and see how easy or hard they are when you've got 2 good legs!

Stand on one leg, without supporting yourself by hanging onto something. Keep standing there for 20 or 30 seconds (if you can). Right, now shut your eyes and see how long you can keep standing on that one leg.
if you're anything like me, I was shaky after even 15 seconds, and when I shut my eyes it took about 5 seconds for me to put the other foot down - and that was on my good leg! On my bad leg I didn't get as far as shutting my eyes!!!

Quads (front of thighs)
Stand with your feets slightly apart. Then slowly bend you knees (and this bit's important) keeping your knees directly over your feet (ie straight back, bum out) and keep going down as far as you can. That hurts......

So, although I feel fine, I need to build my muscles up a bit. There's still some tenderness around the wound site and some soreness/stiffness by the end of the day.
At least though she gave me the nod to dispense with the bloody crutches once and for all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wonderment - something works as it says on the box!

I have for several years been promising myself that I'll get around to transferring all my VHS-C video tape to digital. I've got loads of these tapes recorded on an old (well about 10 years old) Panasonic NV-RX18 camcorder.

I can play them back on a video deck via a VHS tap adapter but it's raw footage, never edited and frankly, how much longer will VHS videos be around?

I've always struggled though to find the right inclination, tool or time to take this fairly mammoth project on, so some off time with my leg has given me a real opportunity to look at this. Then, as if on cue, I got my regular Savastore offer email offering the "Dazzle Video Creator" for £21 GBP. Nothing gained I thought, though reading reviews and tales of people trying to convert analogue video using one of these things suggested I'd be in for a hard slog.

Install went easily - once I realised it wasn't going to work on my Vista desktop, and installed it to my XP desktop.

Only other slight blip was - no manual. But it has got a "wizard". That's OK once you've worked out which set of leads you need, as none came with the unit other than it's own USB lead. So, after hunting through boxes of assorted AV leads I eventually found the one I thought I needed. Plugged it in and hit "capture". Video yes, audio no. Quick swap of the leads (yellow for video, red for audio) and bingo. Captured perfectly, rendered perfectly and the bonus...?

The software is Pinnacle Studio 10 Quickstart - better than my currently installed v9 and just as simple to use. I'm really impressed with the quality of the burned DVD. For £21 this was an absolute bargain. Only another 20 or so tapes to do now....

How difficult does it have to be?

You know what I'm talking about - those pesky "validation text" images you see when you sign up for something online or want to add comments to a blog.

Now I don't mind the theory, they do after all serve a purpose in foiling those dratted netbots that do all sorts of things automatically without human intervention, but there is a limit to my patience with the darn things.

Tonight I was signing my daughter up for Windows Live Messenger so that she can chat to all her school chums who use this service. Everything went fine until we tried to enter the validation letters on the site. I admit my eyesight isn't what it used to be, but it's not that bad. My daughter's eyesight at 11 years old is perfect.

Between us, with both trying to read the same text letters against the "background pattern" we must have failed with our entry about a dozen times before we got it right. If my daughter hadn't been so keen to get this thing up and running I'd have ditched it after about 3 attempts. Ludicrously difficult to see what the letters were against the image background being shown.

Hot, hot hot

Good 'ol Brits. We spend the last 6 months moaning about the cold, wind, rain and after 2 days of near summer we're now moaning about how hot it is and how it would be lovely if only it cooled down a bit.

Being at home after my op it's been interesting to watch the growth in the garden (well I think it's interesting anyway). With the recent damp and now warm conditions, you can almost see the plants growing day by day. It's quite remarkable and really quite astounding if only you stop to think about it.

Frankly, the garden's been to rack and ruin as I've been too immobile to do anything, but now at least I'm at the point where I can wander around the garden (wander is a bit grand - it's only 30ft x 20ft). Another few days and I'll be able to start tackling some of those weeds!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

AVG Free 7.5 support ending 31st May

I've used the free version of Grisoft's AVG's anti-virus software for a long time now, currently at v7.5 - I used to be a Norton fan, but got fed up with:
  • Annual payments to "upgrade" when the existing version was doing quite all right thank you, which also meant...
  • More bloat and "functionality" that I didn't want but had to install
  • Problems with a couple of programs that didn't like Norton AV
Back to AVG, v7.5 is no longer being supported after 31st May, so if you're a user, and judging by the numbers of emails I get with "Checked by AVG" tagged at the bottom, there are a lot of you out there, you need to upgrade to v8.0 asap.

It's a 45mb download available from this link. Judging by the slowish download speeds, I reckon a lot of people are upgrading today!

If you want enhanced AV protection you could upgrade to the paid version at £30 or go for the whole hog internet security suite at around £40.

13,141 Minutes to go.... I write until Cardiff City kick off in the biggest match in their history.

What? hadn't I mentioned that they are in the FA Cup final on 17th May? I thought I had...

Anyway, although it was never in doubt, I received confirmation last night that our tickets had been bought, safe and sound (thanks Cardiff City Supporters Club) . It seems the only delay had been working out what size bus we needed!

Hopefully I'll be off my crutches by 17th (it's 6 weeks today since the op), and though I'm sure I won't be entering any marathons for a while I'll be able to make it from the bus to the stadium - I can always lean on Mini Stats anyway....

Oooer, it's getting exciting. Have to start thinking soon about which City shirt I'll wear, which hat etc etc...., and saving up for the extortionate price of burgers/snarlers/drinks/programmes etc that'll no doubt leave me fleeced by the end of the day - and that's without the ticket costs and bus travel!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Diamond Geezer

Big day in the mobile industry yesterday, as HTC announced the latest in a long line of mobile devices. This one's called the "Diamond". Hmmm, but what's different? We'll there had been a huge amount of hype leading up to the event, and it turns out that the big talking point was HTC's "revolutionary" Touch Flo 3D interface. We've already seen the Touch Flo on a couple of HTC's offering's but this is the first time we've seen the 3D bit.

To be fair it looks like a pretty decent device if you check out all the specs, and you like that sort of thing.

However, it appears the industry (or rather the blogs I read), and particularly Palm-Mac and 247 aren't entirely falling over themselves with joy and gushing praise of this device? And the reasons?

Well I think Murray at palm-Mac who seems especially astute about these things sums it up nicely:

"I was following CSM's coverage of the HTC launch today and it is funny that yesterday they were calling it the "iPhone Killer" and after the launch that had slipped back to "iPhone Challenger". So guys, which is it? Sounds like they are now not so sure themselves.

It looks like a fantastic toy with a couple of possible flaws...only 4gb of internal storage (when the iPhone is now virtually minimum 16gb) and NO external sd card capability says to me...mistake...and add in the small 900amh battery and it makes you wonder if what looks like a small battery on paper will be able to cope with the heavy duty specs and swishy swooshy interface. You would like to think that HTC have done their homework and after testing have opined that the battery will be suitable for what looks like their flagship device."

Certainly the battery could be an issue - the much derided Treo 680 battery only packed 1200mAh, and this one's 300mAh less - although admittedly you can't necessarily compare like for like other than rated power.

And what's this about no external card storage. Sure, there's lot's of memory, but people like to put stuff on external storage cards and many find it easier to transfer their stuff that way than via syncing.

We'll have to wait and see what the man in the street thinks of it. Anyway it might all be moot when Apple bring out their next gen device later this summer.

And whilst I'm on the subject of HTC, am I the only person in the world who doesn't like their HTC Home Screen Plugin? All black and uninteresting?


Scary day today. First day we've let Gizmo (left) out since he moved in with us. He's been pining to get out since day 1, but we've dutifully kept him inside for 2 weeks.

You're always thinking "when we let him out will he come back...."

Well, today was the day to find out......he shot into the garden like a rocket as the door was opened. Sniffed around slowly for 5 minutes then legged it over our 6ft fence into the field next door. No amount of dish rattling, toy bell jingling of calling would bring him back....and I'm certainly not in a position to chase after him on my crutches!

20 minutes later he re-appeared (it's about a 7 foot jump from the other side of the fence, and he's got a dodgy leg!).

He then completely ignored me, and jumped over the fence the other side into the neighbour's garden. By now I'd resigned myself to accepting his exploration and that he'd either eventually return or he wouldn't. He did, but then legged it back into the field again! Now though, happy to report he's back, safe and sound looking as if he's no idea what all the fuss is about!

We're barred all exit routes for the rest of today, and we'll give him another go tomorrow.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Rehab update

It's a couple of weeks almost since my last update - when I told you about the "physio-terrorist", so how have things been going since then?

Well, in the main pretty good, but it's not all rosy. It's nice to be weight bearing, even if that's really tentative like walking on egg shells. I have in all honesty had moments when I've dispensed with one crutch or put down more weight than I'm supposed to (for God's sake don't tell the physio), but it's not easy and although there's no pain as such, I'm still very tentative. I'm still happier on both crutches, but even then after a short walk or up and down the stairs a couple of times my leg starts to ache and if I don't keep it up, it does still swell up a bit.

Also, there's one bit of my wound which isn't healing properly. Not the end of the world, but annoying, and my GP has given me some antibiotic cream for that. knee still crunches and clicks as much as it did before! Whether that will improve in time (to a degree) as there's still some swelling and muscle wastage which needs to be sorted I don't know. Damn well hope so or this has been a complete waste of time.

The final downer is that I was supposed to go back and see the consultant at the end of this week, get re-x-rayed and hopefully get the nod for driving (or at worst a date for when I can). However I had a letter at the end of last week saying that "due to unforeseen circumstances" the appointment is canceled and they'll "contact me in due course". What the hell does that mean, and where does it leave me? I'll chase them up this week.

Overall, though I'm making progress I do think it's not happening as quickly as I'd hoped, though to be fair, the surgeon said minimum 6 weeks, and it's only just over 5 now. I'm just fed up of the sticks now. I'll be bloody glad to see the back of them.

Oh well....keep taking the tablets and doing the exercises.....

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Stattos City player ratings

I know City still have that big match to play, but that's a bonus that all City fans will enjoy win or lose. The hard work has been up to this point, and therefore in keeping with just about every other footie fan in the world, I'm going to rate the players for their efforts this term (by squad number).

01 Peter Enckleman 8/10: Since arriving on a loan from Blackburn after Kasper Schmeicel's return to Manchester City "Enck's" has been superb. In truth the defence has helped but we finally seem to have found a decent keeper. Surely Dave Jones must make this a permanent move in the summer.

02 Kevin McNaughton 8/10: The side always looks better when "Nauts" plays. He's versatile, tenacious and quicker than he looks. City always look good when he's playing. Only downside are those dodgy hamstrings...

03 Tony Capaldi 7/10: I wondered what Jonesy had done when he brought Capaldi from Plymouth. He looked all at sea for a while, but has settled in well and nows looks solid. That long throw is reminiscent of Andy Legg too - and led to our goal in the semi final!

04 Gavin Rae 7/10: Another one whom I doubted at the start of the season, Rae has got stronger and better as the season progressed. Started to see more attack mindedness from him in the back endof the run in.

05 Darren Purse 5/10: What can you say? His heart's in the right place and he gives it everything when he's got the chance, but is error prone and has made way for Johnson & Loovens for most of the season (rightly so). Must be gutted by the limited number of appearances as he's Club Captain. Will he stay? If he does, and Loovens & Johnson do too, it's another bench season for him next term.

06 Glen Loovens 9.5/10: Almost pipped my winner to a 10/10. The "Loovenator" has been awesome this term. with Johnson the defence looks rock solid. Not so much will he stay as can we keep him? Easily one of the best if not the best defender in the Championship, and my daughter's favourite player (it's the flowing blonde locks).

07 Peter Whittingham 6/10: "Whits" should be one of the best midfielders in the Championship. Who knows, he might be? The trouble is when he's good he's brilliant, but when he's not, you don't know he's on the pitch. Clearly can score some brilliant goals, and probably technically the best player in a City shirt. Need more consistency from him if he stays.

08 Robbie Fowler 4/10: Arrived on a media tidal wave, looked unfit, was unfit and never really got going before injury curtailed his season - but still scored 6 in 12 appearances. You can't take away what he's done in the past, and if you believe what you read he seems focused on getting another year's contract. If he really is fit, I'd give it to him.

10 Stephen McPhail 6/10: Another Whittingham, McPhail too often flatters to deceive. Could be so, so good, and just occasionally shows it, but doesn't get forward enough for me. Should be banging in 6-8 goals a season at least and has to learn to pass forwards rather than sideways and back (though that might be due to the limited options up front?).

11 Paul Parry 8/10: The Welsh Wizard, Parry was switched from the wing (where he's awesome) to striker (where he's as good if not better than anyone we've got in that position). When he runs at defenders they don't know how to cope. City are a different class when he plays and look much more ponderous when he doesn't.

12 Roger Johnson 10/10: My player of the season. Just pipped Loovens to this. Johnson has been immense. Consistent at the back, rallying the troops, scoring goals and collecting MoM awards for fun. His partnership with Loovens is superb. If he stays long enough should be City's captain at some point in my opinion. Same again next term Roj.

13 Michael Oakes 4/10: Looks shaky between the sticks and has never really inspired me with confidence, and obviously hasn't inspired Dave Jones either. Thank God for Enckleman (and Schmeicel).

14 Warren Feeney 3/10: Dave Jones has made very some strange choices regarding bringing in (alleged) strikers and this is one of them. Never understood what anyone saw in him, though obviously he helped the Jacks gain promotion when he went out on loan to them.

15 David Forde 1/10: 3rd choice keeper behind Enckleman and Oaksey. Not good enough for City on the limited appearances we've seen I think and will almost certainly go.

16 Joe Ledley 8/10: City's own, born and bred. Brings a spark to the midfield when he plays there but can be solid at left back too. Gets forward, scores goals and has a huge future. Has already turned down a Premiership move, but can he keep doing that? I think not. It'll be sad to see, but he will if the money and deal is right.

18 Trevor Sinclair 6/10: One of the trio of "old stagers" brought in (Fowler and JFH being the other two) and looked solid early doors down the right flank. Then got injured, never really recovered and has struggled since.

19 Riccardo Scimeca 2/10: Out nearly all season with a career threatening injury. Good to see him regaining fitness. We missed him big time in the middle of the park. Can he recover that form, and his place next season?

20 Steve Thomspon 3/10: I remember the "Tommahawk" announcing himself at Ninan Park on debut a season or two ago with a superbly taken brace in front of the Grange End. It's been downhill all the way from there for the former Rangers man. Clearly not on Dave Jones "must keep" list he's been transfer listed all season, but it appears that no one else wants him either and is therefore low on confidence. He works hard, and I'd love to see him turn the corner and bang in a hat-trick but I just don't think it's going to happen. Not in a City shirt anyway.

23 Darcy Blake 3/10: Another up and coming youngster with bags of potential, his arrival in the 1st team has been overshadowed by that of Aaron Ramsey's and thus has made only limited appearances.

30 Aaron Ramsey 8/10: "Rambo" has burst through into the 1st team and looked completely at ease. A couple of magnificent performances, especially in the cup run have made his mark not just in the team and Championship but has also got Premiership interest going, and allegedly there's talk of a move to Manchester Utd. He's certainly got the potential. Another one we really need to try and hang on to. he wouln't get into the MU 1st team yet, so maybe a buy and loan back would be the best for everyone?

36 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 7/10: Another big name signing last summer, and another one along with RF who looked unfit (though not as unfit as RF) at the start. Clearly his best years are behind him, but he's still good for 75 minutes (today he looked like a spring chicken for the whole 90) and has scored some sumptuous goals including that one against Wolves in the Cup. Can we get another year out of him? Do we want to? Maybe big man.

Dave Jones (Manager). Great appointment as manager I thought at the time. And so he proved, up until the start of this season when we looked a shadow of our former selves. Sure, there was no money in the kitty for players, and the squad was small but this was essentially the same team that had been top of the Championship, or near the top for 3 months last season. Just not getting the players to tick. I was even one of those last December wondering whether he should go - no, at one point I said he should. But to be fair to him (and Peter Ridsdale), he took it all on the chin and just got on with it, and to be in with a shout of the playoff's up until the last 2 or 3 games and be in the final of the FA Cup, well....who's doubting him now? Do the Ayatollah Jonesy!

Peter Ridsdale (Chairman). Arrived under reign of the lamentable Sam Hamman (Boo, hiss) to sort our financial problems out. What? Ha ha, on the back of his form at Leeds? Surely you jest. No sir.
To be fair to Mr R, he does seem to have put his past behind him, and whatever his motives for doing the job at City, I for one think he's done a remarkable job behind the scenes. Well done Mr R. Please, please, please don't now bugger it all up by doing something silly.

Super finish to league campaign: City 3-0 Barnsley

City polished off the league season in style with a superb display at Ninian Park, seeing off their FA Cup co-semi finalists Barnsley 3-0.

In truth neither side had any league concerns and it could have been a typical end of season bore draw. But the City players still had to impress manager Dave Jones with THAT match coming up and they surely did - in spades.

To a man they were magnificent and a 1-0 half time lead courtesy of a superb move finished by Paul Parry was the least they deserved.

Playing the flowing football so often missing this season they added two more through Joe Ledley and a bizarre goal by Kevin McNaughton that looked from our end like it was a cross. They were so in command at times it looked like a training game, and there were plenty of "Ole's" in evidence from the 14,000 crowd.

The fans man of the match was Joe Ledley, but where we sat the consensus was on a brilliant match by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

After the final whistle the team did a lap of honour applauding the fans for their support this season to the sounds of "Men of Harlech", "Que sera", "Rockin' all over the world" and soon to be No. 1 "Bluebirds flying high". Great game, great result, great day.

Now there's just that little matter of an appointment with Portsmouth at Wembley on May 17th when hopefully the Bluebirds will take the FA Cup out of England for only the 2nd time, having been the side to do it previously in 1927.

C'mon you Bluebirds!

Just one downer. On a lovely Bank Holiday weekend, how come only 14,000 turned out to watch City's last game of the league season? Where are all those additional 11,000 "fans" that have tickets to the FA Cup Final, or the extra 19,000 that made the trip to the semi-final? Hmmm.

Spam a lot

I last wrote about the devil that is email spam back in September, and another post from David at Palmblogging has resurrected my ire on this one.

David says that he, thankfully gets very little spam. I get a lot. Bucketfuls. On my desktop PC, I use the excellent Mailwasher Pro to filter out all the crap on my ISP servers before I download it, but on my mobile devices I can't - therefore I get all this rubbish but I do make sure the first thing I do once it's download is trash it before opening it. Inevitably though from time to time I'm too quick to click on something or click the wrong button and just opening a spam email carries risks.

I've spoken to my ISP (Pipex, now owned by the dreadful Tiscali) about spam filters, but too be honest they weren't very helpful, acknowledging there is a problem but being very wishy washy about what they can do about it (a lot more if you ask me).

So, we're currently stuck with the problem of spam. Actually spam reached it's 30 year anniversary last week at reported by the BBC at the time, so it's not a new phenomenon.

I try to be careful about where I give my email address, but these days with so many sites demanding your email address as a mandatory username for access, it's hard not to give it out - especially for someone who uses the Internet as much as I do, and with the best will in the world, you can't control what happens to your data, or who gets it once you've clicked "submit". I dread to think how many people and organisations have got information on me. And if I knew it would probably scare me stiff.

Many of my problems I think cam from an online purchase of a watch a couple of years back. At the time I was getting very little spam, although it was a menace even then.
Then, all of a sudden I started getting loads of emails offering me Rolex's and other timepieces at incredible prices, and ever since then it's spiralled out of control, with the usual subject matter of most spam (great deals on anything from watches to viagra and other more obviously explicit stuff). It's really really annoys me, and I just wish the online industry would take this seriously and do something about it.

Star Wars Day

Spotted this over at David's Palmblogging site this morning. How I missed this as a Star Wars fan I'll never know!!!!

Today is of course Star Wars day - "May the Fourth be with you...." What a cracker!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dinas Powys CC up and running for the season

My cricket Club, Dinas Powys CC finally got their 2008 season up and running today with the 2nd XI beating Newbridge by 108 runs - a comfortable victory in the end.

It's been a dismal start to the season with the last two weekends warm up matches being called off due to rain and the 1st XI match succumbing today as well.

My good lady drove me up to the ground this afternoon for a couple of hours and I hobbled over to watch the 2's on a slow, damp, green, and very grassy wicket, but it was just nice to see some cricket being played. The 1 and 2's look strong this year so hopefully will do well. There's also a Sunday friendly fixture list and a Midweek League as well as junior squads at U9, U11 and two teams at U13, the latter squad being the one I coach.

Of course following my op there's no danger of me playing this year, or even perhaps ever again competitively. Might have to stick to the coaching and keeping the web site up to date.

So the club's looking healthy. All we need is some nice summery weather to go with it!

DVD's on the Palm

One of the things I've always wanted to do since I've had my Palms is play movies on them. Watching a widescreen movie on a 320x320 pixel screen isn't the most satisfying experience, but if you're stuck somewhere (on a train, at the airport, waiting to pick your daughter up from dancing/guides) catching a few minutes or even all of a movie on a phone is bearable and breaks the tedium.

I've tried a few routes, all have been fraught with some problem or two, even though it's supposed to be easy to do. Find your DVD ripping software of choice, load the DVD, rip it, load it on your Palm and hey ho.

I've always majored on TCMP as the player on the Palm because a) it's free and b) it's as good if not better than any of the paid for options. I believe the free version is no longer being developed, but it's still widely available on the net - just Google.

Getting the DVD ripped has been my problem. I've tried a few solutions.
  • Pocket DVD Wizard just wouldn't work for me. The video would rip but I couldn't get any sound other than a choppy static, no matter how much I tried and fiddled with codecs
  • Palm Media Studio just kept crashing
  • Fair Use Wizard I couldn't get the hang of
In the end I got results with DVD Catalyst 3. It's a commercial program, but at just under 13 groats in English money It's not bad value - and importantly it works for me.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What does a Palm device and a Ford car have in common...

There's a decent debate going on over at 247 following a post about people who have only ever used Palm devices not knowing what they are missing - like driving a Ford - knowing there is better out there for the same money. Better "what" he doesn't say, but the implication is WM (and Symbian, and presumably Apple) are way better than Palm, and presumably he doesn't like Fords very much either.

As longtime Palm user and a Ford driver, I don't give a monkey's what this guy thinks. I like my phone, and I like my car. They both do what I want them to do well, and I don't feel ignorant of other devices or cars, and frankly I don't care what other people think about that.

As it happens dear reader, you know that I also sport a Win Mob device so that chucks the argument about being ignorant of other devices out of the Window (sic).

And I've also had Renaults, Fiats (now that was hard work) and even a Lada.

Happy Birthday Mum

Today would have been my Mum's 81st birthday. Happy birthday Mum.

City Stuff

Looks like City will have a new defender for next season. The BBC website is reporting that the Bluebirds are set to sign Miguel Comminges (there's a good Welsh name) from Swindon Town after the last match of the season. He's their supporters player of the year which is always a decent benchmark. Nice hairstyle too.

On other more pressing matters, I'm still waiting for news of my FA Cup final tickets. I shouldn't be worried - after all I'm an Ambassador Season Ticket Holder (which means I'm gullible enough to pay months in advance for next seasons season tickets, if you get my drift) which guarantees us tickets. Our tickets are being bought one of the main men, if not the main man of the Cardiff City Supporters Club as a job lot with a whole bunch of ambassadors so that we all get to sit together. should know soon. Into May now, so 17th is approaching fast. Must get my shirt out an iron it!

Up the Blooobirds!