Sunday, November 30, 2008

All square: Jacks 2-2 City

So, all square at the Liberty stadium after an early morning kick-off. City at least turned up to this game, after the dismal effort in the Carling Cup a few weeks ago.

The Swans looked good in the opening 15 minutes and went ahead through a blatantly offside goal after 18 minutes. City slowly got into the game, which was a typically fierce local derby. Joe Ledley equalised with a cracking shot just on half time that their 'keeper could only half parry into the net.

Just after the break, the ref gave City a penalty for what seemed a fairly innocuous challenge on Chopra, and Ross McCormack duly slotted to give City the advantage.

Then disaster struck as Stephen McPhail, captain for the day in Purse's absence, and already yellow carded, kicked the ball away at a throw in and rightly got a second yellow and the inevitable red. OK, it was a heated and tense derby match, but "yikes" to use a Murray term - you just don't do something that stupid when you're already on a yellow. He's bad enough just passing sideways and backwards anyway, but maybe Jones will now realise he's also stupid - he was also sent of in the Carling Cup match against the Jacks if you remember. Who says lightning doesn't strike twice?

The Jacks then turned the screw, and only resolute defence from City, for who Enckleman between the sticks was in form kept the Swans out in a wave after wave series of attacks.

Then just before the end, Britton, for the Jacks got red carded for a second bookable offence, and in the dying minutes with 10 aside, City looked the more dominant.

After being down to 10 for so long, the Swans will see this as two points lost. I was hopeful before the game, but will take a point on the road any day.

Up the City!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

iPhone update

Posts have been a bit tardy this week, for which I apologise. It's been a very busy week - I've been up to London twice, and when I haven't been in London, it's been skittles or football at City - I've hardly been able to draw breath.

And in the midst of all that, my Christmas present has arrived! Ok, so it's not Christmas now, but we weren't thinking about that hen we ordered it, and before the darn thing arrived, I'd had an email telling me what my first bill was going to be next week! As I'm already paying for the contract, and it would be a rush to have ordered it later, and no end of people will be trying to activate iPhones on the big day, it made sense to open the box straight away......well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

In addition, I'd made arrangements with T-Mobile and O2 to get my number ported using a PAC code. In a way I'm sorry to be leaving T-Mob. I've been with them for years, and they've been good value and (mainly) faultess in their customer support. But they don't carry the iPhone - O2 do.

And I have to say it's been a pleasure dealing with them. The online ordering was faultless, as was getting my number transferred, which happened exactly as predicted. O2's online "my account" thingy is I think a tad clearer and more professional looking that T-Mob, but that's a subjective opnion.

Anyway, never mind all that....what about the phone?

Well, it is of course early days, but I have to say I'm already smitten. Leaving Palm is a wrench after so many years, and I'll hang onto the Centro as a backup. But compared to the Palm OS, the iPhone's OS is fantastic. It's easy, intuitive, clear, bright, colourful and responsive.

I'd worried about the on-screen keyboard, being a big fan of the Treo and Centro front mounted hardware keyboard. But the iPhone's just takes agetting used to. It's different, certainly, but very uable. I'm already up to using two thumbs to type with, and I don't think I'm making any more errors than I did on the Centro's small spaced 'pad. The auto correct feature works well for me too.

Having so much network connectivity on a device is new for me too. Used to plain old GPRS, I now have Edge, wifi and 3G. The latter does tend to eat battery, but is relatively quick when out and about, and it's easy to turn off and on. I've alreadu signed up to the free Cloud/BT Openzone wifi that comes with the contract when in a train station yesterday. The wifi is set up once then just detecs in future. Don't have to do anything.

Applications are clear and easy to use. I've already added Twitterific for my Twittering, and Newstand for my RSS feeds (thanks Murray). I've stashed a load of albums on there as well.

Safari appears to be a decent browser - after Blazer that's not hard (!) but it really is good, and the ability to zoom in and out and switch to landscape just by turning the device is superb.

I'm very, very impressed and loving it to bits. There'll no doubt be some more soon, but I'm off for another play!

A big thanks to Murray over at Palm-Mac for some hints and tips and pointers to a couple of apps. Nice one mate!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I've succumbed to Apple

Yes I've got an iPhone. Actually it's a very early Christmas pressie,
but you've got to get it set up haven't you?

So far first impressions are staggering. So easy to use, I'm already
getting quite quick on the on-screen keyboard and the quality of the
display is superb.

Safari over 3G after Blazer on Palm PS is every bit as good as I'd

It's amazing. Sorry as I am to be deserting Palm, I feel that I've
moved up another level - or two...

More later

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A game of two halves: City 2-2 Reading

This was a real game of two halves. City started on fire running Reading ragged with pace, with Chopra, McCormack and Bothroyd all starting. They ram angles, got the ball wide, played it on the floor and Reading couldn't keep up. The opening goal was inevitable, Routledge latching on to a great through ball and finishing superbly

Redaing struck back, City getting done by a fast break from our own corner kick for the second time in 3 matches. Them one of the central defenders felled Chopra with an elbow and it was down to 10 men for them.

City went in front again when Chopra was bundled over by 'keeper and defender, McCormack's shot having enough to beat the keepeer who got to it.

Half time, City 2-1 up and the opposition down to 10 men. Looking good.

Second half, City were a shambles. in 45 minutes. The conced after 5 minutes of the second half through shocking defending and I don't think we got a shot on target in the entire half. We gave the ball away aimlessly, and did everything as badly as we'd done well in the first 45. Dave Jones will not be a happy man, and the team were booed off at the end for their inability to kill off a game we should have had the ability and desire to see out.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Up the Dinas!

Played indoor cricket again today - our club, Dinas Powys plays in a league at the National Indoor Cricket Centre in Cardiff, part of the Swalec Stadium, Glamorgan's home ground (formerly Sophia Gardens).

We managed to win, and I did ok - bowled my two overs for 7 runs (no mean feat to go for that few in indoor cricket, and then helped knock off the 84 we needed for victory with an unbeaten 15 or so with the bat. Very satisfying, and proves there's life in the lod dog yet. My knee, wasn't very happy about it though. Don't tell my orthopeadic consultant!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Plymouth 2-1 City

Poor defending just before half time enabled Plymouth to score 2 goals in a couple of minutes that effectively sealed this match. Although Chopra got one back in the second period, and City generally played better after the break, they never looked like dominating this game, and frankly were well off the top of their game.

Wayne Routledge making his loan debut looked good, and you can immediately tell that he's got enough quality to be a Premiership player - as does Chopra, but elsewhere we just looked ordinary.

The early defending was awful - we could have been 2 or 3 dwon inside the first 10 minutes, and that's surely something Dave Jones will need tolook at. We seem to have reverted back to the pass sideways then backwards then hump it up the field sort of football.

Reading at home on Tuesday evening. We'll have to improve if we're going to get anything out of that one.

Still no T-Mobile

Still can't access my T-Mobile account via the web site. Apparently the techies are still working very hard. Two and a half days now (at least) Grrr....

Ashes to Ashes

Mini-Stats is having a 1 to 1 coaching session at the National Indoor Cricket Centre, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.
I thought therefore, whilst I'm here I'd post some piccies of the ground where the first Ashes Test between England & Australia will be played next year.
As you can see, there 'aint much grass on it at the moment! I also hope the weather will be warmer and drier next summer tha nit is at the moment too!!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Some things really annoy me. No really annoy me.

I've been trying to log into my account on T-Mobile Uk for 2 days, and all I get is an annoying message saying, and I quote:

Sorry, but My T-Mobile is offline at the moment. Our techies are working really hard to sort this out, so please try again in an hour or so..

Well they've got that wrong. Never mind an hour or so, I've been trying for 2 days! And as for "Our techies working really hard", bless their cotton socks, they're obviously not working hard enough.

Actually, all I want to do is check my bills to make confirm that I'm actually getting a better deal than I could with the iPhone on O2....are the cracks starting to show?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


No, don't panic. I haven't got one.

In London today and had a bit of time to kill so wandered into a Carphone Warehouse on Oxford St to play with an iPhone. I've never seen one close up before, and certainly never played with one.

I have to say I was jolly impressed. It felt a bit big and uncomfortable in the hand after the Centro, but that might have been compounded by the fact it was locked to the bench with a huge lump of plastic at the end of a long wire, and I'm sure you'd get used to it once the shackles were off.

Navigating it was a dream, the screen was bright and clear and through the wifi connection you could see how quickly and neatly stuff like mapping worked.

I was particualrly interested to test out the on-screen keyboard. Clearly in this type (sic) of situation I couldn't get close to being comfortable with it, and made loads of errros, but again, I think that would pass with time. My fingers aren't too big, so that would help. Not entirely sure about the lack of tactile feedback though - iPhone users may like to let me know how they fare. Most of my text entry is short emails and SMS messages.

Safari was great - makes you realise BIG time what you haven't got on the Palm.

I think the thing that made the most impression with me was just the overall clarity about the various screens, and the extra real estate over any device I've previously owes also plays a part here, but it was the clarity rather than the size that hit me.

I'm very impressed.

Inevitably fairly soon a bored looked chap cam up and asked me if I needed any help. I said "Not unless you can get me extra minutes on the basic tariff", and he just shrugged and walked away...well not quite, but he didn't even try to "sell" it to me. And he did walk away.

Oh well. Either I'll come into some money and go for the £35pm package, cause I think 75 mins for the £30pm one is pants, or I'll just lust from afar.

I also crossed the road into the T-Mobile shop to look at a G1. Sadly, neither of the models (a white one and a black one) seemed to be working. Still not keen on the form factor. I don't like the "chin", and I've decided as far as keyboards go it's got to be front facing or on-screen - none of this slide out rubbish.

I also though the white one looked like it was made of very cheap plastic (let's face it, most phone are made of cheap plastic, but some just looks cheaper than others). The black unit looked much better on the eye, but I appreciate that's a wholly subjective view. Either way, it didn't look like it could hold a candle to the iPhone, though without seeing it working that's also a subjective statement. And the salesperson was even less interested in me than the Carphone Warehouse one had been when I told them I already had a monthly T-Mob contract.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I don't like cricket - I love it...

Well I've managed to get myself elected Chairman of my cricket club. I can't say I had a burning desire to do it, but there was no one else standing, someone's got to do it, and I think I can do a job.

There will be the inevitable club politicking and back-biting I'd guess, though in the main it's a friendly club, and it'll mean some additional committment, especially during the summer months - what with running the club website (, coaching the U15's it wasn't as though I didn't have enough to do.....there we go.

Christmas lists

More Christmas shopping tonight, though to be fair we didn't do that much. Coming along - not too many gaps on the family list now, but haven't really started on the kids yet!

I'm still not sure what I want. Must be my age. I quite fancy a "Seasick Steve" album. Heard quite a few of his songs this year and I have to say I like them, but it is an acquired taste.

I'd "like" an iPhone, but that's wishful thinking, because I don't want an O2 £30 pm contract - and they're pricey anway. It'll come down in time. That's what I keep telling myself anyway!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eagles shot down. City 2-1 Palace

This was a tale of 4 penalty decisions. After 30 minutes Chopra cut into the penalty area, and stumbled under a challenge. No-one appeared to think it was a penalty except the ref. Still, we don't mind. Chops stepped up and swept the ball home for a 1-0 lead. Then twice more in the first half, City had good penalty shouts turned down for handball - clear as daylight from where we were sat behind the goal, but the ref waved them away.

And finally, in injury time, after Palace had equalised before half time, and Ledley had put City 2-1 up on 53 minutes, Eddie Johnson was brought down by the last defender when in on goal. The defender saw red, and Chopra saw his shot saved by their 'keeper.

All in all, a satisfying day in that we won all three points, although to be honest it wasn't a classic by a long way, and Palace may feel hard done by. Everyone's man of the match it seems, the fans, the sponsors and me, was the returning Prodigal son, Michael Chopra. They say, a player should never go back, once he's left a club. Well he is back, and we reckon that's a great thing. The only question is for how long....

Up the City!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spam, spam, spam

Interesting article over at BBC Technology today about the closure of a host provider which has reckoned to reduce the amount of spam (where?) by about 70% - though it's not all good news...they reckon it won't be long before the spammers just move elsewhere.

Interestingly the amount of spam I get has reduced remarkably recently. My braodband supplier is Pipex (I know, I know....) now owned by Tiscali, and since Tiscali took them over the service is much worse. I've been threatening to move for ages, but that's another story.

Anyway, some time ago - a year or so back, I emailed Pipex ranting about the lack of a spam filetr on their services, and they fobbed me off with the usual rubbish saying it was too many technical issues or they just couldn't be arsed. About 3 weeks ago I was browsing the forums at thinkbroadband sad git that I am, and I noticed that the Pipex Forum was referring to a "spam" filter. I duly logged on to Pipex, and lo and behold, there in my email configuration is a spam control checkbox. I checked it and saved - and got an error. Tried about 3 or 4 times andgot an error every time, cursed in frustration and logged out. But my spam count plummeted. I checked in a day or two later, and my spam control box was ticked (hooray) and was obviosuly working.

The amount of crap in my in-box - or rather on Pipex's servers before I check because for several years I've used the rather marvellous "Mailwasher Pro" as a client end spam checker, has reduced from anywhere upwards of 30-40 junk emails a day to no more than 1 or 2, and these are gnereally identified as spam anywayin Mailwasher, so easy to pick out.

I'm dead chuffed, and as spam feree as I've been since about 1998, but why didn't Pipex tell me this option was there?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blackberries are for eating...

You know, sometimes we just get things into our heads that won't budge. RIM certainly appear to be targetting the more commercial market sector with their BlackBerry Storm - the photos on it's Storm web pages suggest a more chilled out type of phone - images of people playing guitars and so on, but I just can't think of a BB as anything other than an enterprise/business device - and bar the Pearl and Curve a fat one at that.

I know it's wrong. I haven't even held one or seen one up close for months (sort of tells you the sort of people I don't hang around with) even though they're issued to some people in my organisation, but if I was looking for a personal phone I'm pretty sure a BB wouldn't even come into the reckoning because of my perceptions about what sort of device it is. It's very ironic too because most people think my Centro is a BB.

So what does come into my reckoning?

Well, like Murray over at Palm -Mac, one of my regular reads and someone who I think has a very perceptive view of these things, I have come to the conclusion that I don't need an all singing, all dancing device. I certainly don't need Exchange compatibility. I prefer a front mounted keyboard, not because I want people to think I've got a BB, but because I've genuinely found the Treo 650, Treo 680 and Centro by far the most "usable" phones I've ever had.

I don't generally play music or watch videos on my dveice, though have both loaded "just in case".

I don't browse a lot, but that's because 1) the default Palm browser is crap, and 2) the Centro doesn't have wifi - GPRS is OK for RSS feeds, but you don't want to browse graphic intensive sites with a crap browser over GPRS.

Murray recently siad he wants email, a list app, Docs to Go and not much more, and actually, though I've got loads of apps stored on my Centro, that's about all I use too.

So what takes my fancy?

  • iPhone, but I can't get a decent (comparable) tariff to my current T-Mob contract
  • Google G1...maybe. Form factor is not my cup of tea
  • Nokias? Not keen on their smartphone design and not generally a fan of Symbian
  • (see above)
  • Sony Xperia - not at that price!
  • and so on....
Guess I'll be hanging on to the Centro for a does the job

Jingle Bells

Joy of joys, there's 42 days left until Christmas (I think), and No.1 son has just had his birthday, so that means Chrimbo shopping is on the agenda.

My good lady and I both come from large(ish) families - in the numerical sense rather than bodily design, and that can make the shopping a bit of a job. At the last count, with her side (parents, brothers, sisters, spouses and children) there are 19, and on my side 15 (be 16 next year!).

That's before you start chucking in aunties, uncles, close friends, kids friends, teachers etc and the inevitable "secret Santa" at work, and of course pressies for our kids and each other.

Anne's side of the family decided a couple of years ago that they'd have a £5 limit on gifts - not because they're skinflints, but because were (mostly) past the material "wanting" (I'm happy with a pair of socks) and also because of a recognition of Christmas being more about giving than receiving.

My family are going the same way - at least we've cut down from giving everyone in the immediate family a "main" present and a "tree" present - a tradition that started way back, for reasons that pre-dates my knowledge, even though the "tree" present was normally something very cheap.

The kids of course get spoilt rotten.

Anyhows, if we didn't break the back of it last night, we certainly made a start, and will have another go in a week or so.

What's on my list? Don't know really.....I'd like an iPhone (wouldn't we all?) but I can't get a deal as good as my T-Mobile one. The pay monthly starts at £30 for a measly 75mins....

The socks look a good bet...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rainy days

I've been to Kettering today. Up at just after 6am. It's a 3 hours drive (3.15 with a very quick stop for a coffee) from Cardiff, and most of that was in conditions just like this picture. The weather was truly awful for travelling today.

I used my Centro and Tom Tom to navigate the last few miles, and it was 100%. What a great invention.

The journey home was worse. The rain wasn't too bad (until I hit South Wales where it was if anything even worse than this morning), but there had been an accident on the M42 and we sat for an hour going nowhere, so it was a 4 hour journey back. Almost seven and a half hours in the car today, and then, as soon as I was home, very quick bite to eat, and back down the the National Indoor Cricket Centre in Cardiff for the junior indoor league presentation (our U13's didn't win the league - but they did enjoy themselves) followed by Mini-Stats having a 90 minute training session there. Just got in now - 9:30. Busy old day.

Going to work for a rest tomorrow.

Not out

Well, we played out game of indoor cricket. Our opponents were the "Lahore Warriors", and sadly they were too good for us - but only just. They scored 94-5 in their 10 overs, and we ended up about 15 short - not bad for a team of 6 containing one old crock (me) and 2 U13 juniors!

My biggest contribution was taking a fierce catch about 5 yards from the bat that was hit VERY hard. My hand is still tingling now, 36 hours after - but it stuck!

Bowling was OK off 2 paces (dodgy knee). Batting is best forgotten - I did bat, and wasn't out, but I didn't lay a bat on too many!

Foolishly, I've decided to agree to play next Sunday too.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I've done some silly things in my time.

Tomorrow I've allowed myself to be talked into playing an indoor cricket game for my club.

Don't get me wrong, I am (or was in my time) a relatively competent cricketer. But now I'm overweight, unfit and have a dodgy leg. What possessed me to agree to this lunacy, which is only suited to young, fit, athletic and speedy types?

James (Mini-Stats) is also playing, so it'll be nice at least to have a father-son combination in the team. He'd better not run me out.

Happy holidays

We've been a bit lax in booking next year's holiday. It's November for goodness sake, and nothing sorted!

Well it is now.

Next year we're going to Kefalonia, one of the Greek Ionian islands. We threatened to go a couple of years ago and didn't, then threatened to go last year and ended up next door on Zakynthos. In 2009 we're finally going to get there.

We're going to be staying half board in a hotel in Lassi - not an authentic Greek town by any stretch of the imagination, but the location is great - right on the beach, and views from the hotel are stunning across the bay to Lixouri.

Can't wait.....

Not happy. QPR 1-0 City

This wasn't how it was supposed to be. It was supposed to be a winning return for Michael Chopra, with the lad scoring the winner with a beautifully crafted free kick, or mesmerising run on goal.

Not a kick in the teeth after being reduced to 9 men.

City were down to 10 after 26 minutes after skipper Darren Purse picked up a straight red, for reasons which will no doubt become clearer than is evident on the BBC's live text page. City appeared to be having the greater possession, but against 10 men it appears the pressure from QPR eventually told with a goal conceded in the 79th minute.

Of course I can't say, I wasn't there, but reading between the lines, City were more and more frustrated, and Comminges picked up a yellow in the 84th minutes, quickly followed by a second in the 86th minute, and he too was off. And that, as they say, was it.

So, after being unbeaten in the league we've now been done twice in a week, so time to start picking ourselves up and getting dusted down. The problem we now have is injuries and suspensions from red cards leaving us a bit thin on the ground for next weeks match against Palace.

C'mon you Bluebirds!!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

PC itis

If you've been following my posts recently (and if you haven't why not?), you'll know I've been having a few problems with my main PC, fondly known as "Stattings".

Well the last week's been a rollercoaster. There have been several times when I've been ready to chuck it in the skip, as it's dies, frozen, and just refused point blank to do anything. Other times it's been like a dog running through treacle, and sometimes, well, sometimes it's worked properly.

I've been inside it's innards checking RAM seating, dust removing, and generally poking around. I've virus checked it, spyware checked it (few tracking cookies mostly), caressed it, updated programs and still the damn thing has been playing up.

It's been stable now for, ooh I don't know, about 24 hours, but I'm not holding my breath.

I do know my multimedia card reader has stopped working, though why that should affect anything else I don't know.

I guess I'll just plod along, but it's like walking on eggshells at the moment.

As a slight aside, and it may be related though I'm not convinced, Firefox has been playing up lately. I'm still running v2 so maybe I should go to v3, but it's been sooo slow. I hate Internet Explorer with a passion. Google Chrome is decent enough and I liked it when I tried it before,
but FF is what I'm most comfortable with.

When I "Check for updates" in FF, it tells me there are no updates available. How mad is that. v3 is out there......

Oh well. I think I'll go and watch the footie now (UEFA Cup)

Who's that coming over the hill (again)

Lordy. Haven't posted since Sunday - been too busy, but what a post to get going again with!

Cardiff City have secured the return of Michael Chopra on loan from Sunderland until 1st Jan, and rumours abound that we're trying to get him back on a more permanent deal.

"Chops" of course is a former Bluebird, having come to us dirt cheap from Newcastle, and he quickly became a Ninian Park legend, scoring goals for fun before being shipped off to Sunderland for £5m big ones in July 2007. We didn't want to see him go, but it was good business for a club in so much debt.

However, he's not been starting regularly for the Black Cats, and with City's two main strikers both out for at least a month with hamstring injuries, we needed a replacement and fast. Sunderland it seems were keen to let us have him back for bit. I know the fans will love it - I do!

And what's all that about a hill? Well, being footie fans, we have songs for players. For Chops, we sing the Automatic's, "Who's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster?

"Who's that coming over the hil? It's Michael Chopra, it's Michael Chopra!"

Up the City!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

2nd November

On this day 49 years ago, a small screaming child entered the world.

49 years later I'm writing in my blog - a lot's happened in those years. Far too much for me to recall - my memory (as well as my eyes, ears and rest of my body) isn't what it used to be) maybe I should have started blogging years ago (if blogs had existed). Anyway, Happy Birthday to me and all that. My daughter wrote in my card "49 isn't old. Next yeear you'll be 50 - now that is old!!!" Thanks for that one Beth.

I share my birthday with the following people (amongst others):
  • Daniel Boone (1734)
  • Burt Lancaster 1913
  • Keith Emmerson (of ELP fame) (1944)
  • My sister in-law Sue (can't divulge the date)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

City 1-2 Wolves

City were torn apart in the opening 8 minutes, courtesy of some dismal defending it has to be said, gifting the black country side a 2-0 lead.

City looked shaky and tentative, but after Bothroyd limped off with a hamstring in jury, Championship top scorer Ross McCormack pulled one back on 19 minutes with a great finish after a swift move down the left hand side.

City were denied a couple of penalties after McCormack had been brought down, and an Eddie Johnson cross appeared to have been hand-balled. The crowd urged City on, and the atmosphere was as good as it's been all season, but it wasn't enough to lift City, who are now down to 6th spot.

The sponsors (whoever they were) man of the match was Joe Ledley, which surprised me and about 17,000 other fans as he was awful tonight when he had the ball - the rest of the time you hardly knew he was on the pitch. 'Keeper Tom Heaton was equally bad, his kicking so awry you wonder how someone can kick a ball so badly - especially when they get paid a handsome amount for doing so.

My MoM amongst a bag of generally unimpressive players tonight was Peter Whittingham, who worked hard - he's not always good at that, is creative and brings another dimension to City. I just wish he'd learn to shoot.