Thursday, December 31, 2009

Was that it?

Well there you go. Blink and you miss it. Another year, another 365 days has whizzed past in the twinkling of an eye.

How was it for you? It's been OK at Chez Statto. Nothing remarkable (aprt from me notching my 50th birthday, but that's been coming for, ooh, fifty years or so)

It is scary how quickly the year passes by though, and it seems to get even faster as you get older.

Anyway, it's done and dusted, and time to look forward to 2010 - the start of the "one-ders".

Have a good one wherever you are - don't drink too much - just enough to get merry, and I'll see you all next year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I've had 24 hours to reflect on the yesterday's match, but I'm still fuming.

How can a side so totally dominate an opening half, be four nil up at the break and then throw it all away in 45 minutes of madness?

Who do you blame? The players? The manager? Both?

Dave Jones, hardly the most demonstrative of managers at the best of times said in his post match interview that the players had let the fans, and themselves down. He parried a question about an injury to Jay Bothroyd basically saying he didn't care at that moment and he needed a day to think about it all.

When questioned as to why he hadn't changed the system to adopt a more defensive approach in the second half, he said they (the opposition) hadn't changed anything apart from taking off a big centre back and putting a smaller one on so there was no need to change anything.

This is preposterous. It was clear to everyone else in the world (okay anyone watching or listening), that Peterboro were giving it all, so to go to 4-5-1 from his set in stone 4-4-2 was the obvious thing to do. The fans were saying it on the message board, the punters were saying it on the radio, but no, DJ knows best and 4-4-2 is the only way in his book.

He has a fair amount of detractors who say he is tactically tunnel visioned, and this rather sums that up.

Those who defend him say (amongst other things)
  1. He got us to a Cup Final
  2. We weren't berating him when we were 4-0 up at half time
OK, let's look at those two examples.

To get to the Cup final, we beat Chasetown, Hereford, Wolves, Middlesborough, and Barnsley. No disrespect to any of those sides, but none of them are top drawer, and only one (Middlesborough) a Premiership side at at the time, and a pretty poor one at that. Oh, and we lost that final to an equally poor Portsmouth.

And what about being 4-0 up at half time yesterday? Well, hurrah. So we should have been. When we play football it is inspiring, and after having (and failing to score with) 27 (yes, twenty-seven) attempts v Plymouth on Boxing, we must have been due to get one in the net. But it's not just about scoring is it? It's also about keeping the opposition out, and that's where we're not very good. In the first half we outplayed them and scored four. In the second half they outplayed us and we were crap. Didn't defend well, gave the ball away, thought the job was done.

So where do we go from here? Jones is talking about player movement in January. Hmmm. We aint got much money, even though I've signed up for next year already (that Premiership season ticket refund deal is looking a safe bet for the City money boys at the moment).

There are clearly some players who just don't cut the mustard. Paul Quinn has been poor since his arrival. Solomon Taiwo who came from Dagenham looks equally inept at this level, thoguh hasn't really had much of a chance. Why we turned down £6m for Joe Ledley last season is beyond my comprehension. I love Chops to bits, but his goals and therefore confidence have evaporated. Bothroyd is great 80% of the time and looks like he can't be arsed 20% of the time. Hudson our skipper is about as fast as me - if he was quicker he'd be OK.

So some will go, and some will come in, but don't expect any "stars".

And Dave Jones? My guess is he'll stay. Many are calling for his head, especially after yesterday. I've generally defended him, but my faith is waning and I'm beginning to think he's done all he can at Cardiff, but I can't see us giving him the chop - for a start we can't afford it.

So let's soldier on. Automatic promotion is already beginning to look a long way off, but we're still 5th and a playoff place at least should be nailed on (famous last words). A good Cup run too wouldn't go amiss, starting with Bristol City on 2nd Jan - first ever FA Cup match shown exclusively live on the internet by the way.

Let's just not give away any more 4 goal leads....

Monday, December 28, 2009

City throw it away: Peterborough 4 - 4 City

Well if I thought Boxing Day against Plymouth was bad, this takes the biscuit. I'm so annoyed this will be very brief.

City were 4-0 at half time against bottom club Peterborough, but managed to throw it away and end up drawing 4-4 at the final whistle.


So, two back to back matches against the two bottom sides in the division and we lose 0-1 and throw away a 4 goal lead in the other.

And we think we're Premiership quality. Do me a favour.

Software unlocking - how mad is this?

I've just bought and downloaded a version of Pinnacle's Studio video editing software - software I've used in the past but am now several versions behind on.

I've done this ostensibly because I've got a new digital video camera for Christmas. I downloaded the 2.6 gig file and installed it and then imported some footage from my new camera, which stores video in MP4 format. Despite having registered and entered the software key, the system then required me to undertake a further online activation to enable me to deal with MP£, DivX, MP4 and H.264 files.


Why not just unlock the ability to process those files by default? There's no extra cost. Seems completely stupid to me.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

No festive cheer: City 0 - Plymouth 1

You just knew it was going to happen. City's record against bottom of the table clubs isn't great and nor is their Boxing Day record - no win in 10 years and after spurning a host of chances throughout the match against a very poor Plymouth side, the visitors snatched a late goal that saw them to victory.

Chopra without a goal in 10 should have scored at least two, Hudson missed a sitter and had a header superbly saved, and Whittingham and Bothroyd were also profligate.

Plymouth should have been down to 10 men just before the break, when Rory Fallon, already cautioned, clattered McNaughton, but the referee, Mr Gibbs, bottled the decision much to the chagrin of most of the 24,000 crowd.

You sensed then that this wasn't going to be City's day, and on 84 minutes, Paul Quin who'd had a pretty dire game anyway flailed at a clearance on the edge of the box that only pushed the ball 2 metres towards an opponent, who's shot deflected off a defender and gave keeper Marshall no chance.

Dave Jones immediately substituted Quinn, perhaps making a point, but it was all in vain as City again struggled to impose against lowly opposition.

No promotion at this rate. Must do better against Peterborough in two days time.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Well that's me done for another year. Finished work today, and not back in until 4th January 2010!

It's been a busy year in work, and at home, with me getting my first year as cricket club chairman under my belt. I had no idea how much time that was going to take up!

I feel ready for a break now, and it's great that we're all home over the festive period, although my good lady has to go in for a couple of days between Christmas & the New Year to keep the wheels of the NHS turning.

Anyway dear reader, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are and whomever you are with. I hope you have a good one and that Father Christmas and 2010 brings you and yours what you desire.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free football? Maybe...

Cardiff City have been fairly creative with season ticket selling (as most clubs have been perhaps), and this time they've come up with another idea.

If you buy the 2010/11 season ticket (yes next season's) before the end of December, they will guarantee no price rise for the next 5 seasons, irrespective of where City are playing. Given that it's highly unlikely that prices would fall, but very likely that they'd go up, this seems like a no lose scenario. Mini-Stats next year's ticket is only £49 as an under 16 anyway, which outstanding value.

Additionally, for the first 10,000 that sign up, there's an added bonus. If, and of course it's a big if, City are promoted to the Premiership this term, those 10,000 will get a full refund on next seasons ticket, meaning in effect that you get to watch City in the Premiership for free!!!!

Add in the ability to pay in 5 interest free instalments, and you'd be crazy not to do this. I'm not crazy, and I've signed up!

Clearly, the catch is they want our money - or at least the guarantee of it now, but it's worth it if you can afford it now.

Too chilly for City: Match postponed

We've had no snow in South Wales, but it's proven too chilly to play footie. Today's scheduled Championship encounter at the Cardiff City Stadium was called off this morning due to a frozen pitch.

You'd have thought a new stadium would have things in place to prevent the pitch freezing, and so they have, but it's not been fully commissioned - would it have been too much to ask to get it done before the cold winter weather? It has been bloody cold here - down to minus 4 overnight, so perhaps not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless.

Are you happy with your kit?

A few of my cyberworld acquaintances have been getting through smartphone devices at a rate of knots recently. Murray over at Palm Mac seems particularly restless of late, and can't seem to find his ideal device, and Gavin one of the PDA247 regulars is equally, if not perhaps a touch more hard to please. Between them I reckon they've gone through about 5 devices in the last few weeks.

Murray I think is looking likely to go down the two device route, as he's getting an iPod Touch for Christmas (I think). His current latest phone, a Nokia E72 as I suspected it would is proving good in form factor but not so great in the OS stakes.

Personally, and luckily for me, I don't have any real desire to move from the iPhone 3G at present. I'm very happy with the device, and it does pretty much everything I want to, in a way that suits my use. My contract runs until May 2010 and at the moment, I'd be quite happy either to keep the 3G device or upgrade to a 3GS if the costs are the same. Of course, by then, we'll probably know whether there's a 4th gen iPhone on it's way, and if Apple follow form, that'll be shipping around July, so it might well be worth my while holding on for a couple of months.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quiet times

There's not much happening at Chez Statto currently, other than the inevitable build up to Christmas, so I haven't posted much of late.

No doubt once Santa has visited there'll be shiny gadget news to post (I hope), but until then, I can't see much to report about.

I managed to wipe my daughter's iPod touch a few days ago - I think because it hadn't been synced with a PC since I upgraded to Windows 7 and pressed "Erase and sync" when prompted after I plugged it in.

I've also just done exactly the same bloody thing with my iPhone on my Mac, but thankfully it only wiped the music not the apps, so re-syncing my tunes wasn't very painful!

I'm also trying our Garage Band's ability to make ringtones, and that's proving remarkably straightforward

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another good win. Boro 0-1 City

Another great but hard earned win for City today at the Riverside. Ironically, we listened to the match on the radio in the car on the way back from Middlesborough where we'd been for a christening this morning.
Sadly our timings didn't allow us the opportunity to get to the match.

It sounded like Boro had much of the play but couldn't finish, whilst City, joint top scorers in the Championshiop couldn't fashion many chances either. In the end, it took a freak goal, Chris Burke's 30 yard free kick into the box evading everyone including defenders and 'keeper.

Worryingly, Peter Whittingham limped off injured, McNaughton didn't last the 90 and Kelvin Etuhu, who came on for Whitts in the first half, was himself subbed late on.

Nevertheless, after a torrid November, City have put 3 back to back wins together, two of which were away at West Brom and Boro. They are massive wins and will make the dressing room a happy place.

C'mon City1

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas is coming...

Well, the old Christmas tree has gone up today. I bought it at the weekend, and my daughter has been nagging me every day since to put it up. Although I don't mind putting the outside lights up early, getting the tree up too early isn't what I like to do, but tonight I relented.

The cat (a 4 month old kitten) likes it. She's been an absolute nightmare all evening pawing at the decorations, chewing the branches and generally making a nuisance of herself. I'm sure she can't help it but it's hard work keeping her away from it.

So, a few weeks with a tree in the living room. Bizarre, but there we have it.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Massive win: WBA 0-2 City

City travelled to the Hawthorns this evening without a win there in many a year, and despite a win last Saturday, far from in their best form of the season. It was always going to be tough against a side many expect to bounce straight back into the Premiership.

But City won, and in the end won handsomely by two goals to nil against the Baggies. Chris Burke opened the scoring on 18 minutes following his stunning goal on Saturday with another raking left foot shot from outside the box.

The Baggies piled on the pressure early in the second period, before a significant point on 81 minutes when WBA 'keeper Scott Carson was sent off for violent conduct. After the inevitable substitution, new 'keeper Dean Kiely saved Whittingham's penalty, but he made amends with the rebound to seal the points.

This is a massive win for the Bluebirds. It's not just the three points, but three points against the second placed side, a side fancied to go up automatically, and it should instill a huge amount of confidence into a side that has been sorely lacking that in recent weeks.

Another big match on Saturday, when they travel to Middlesborough. Let's hope they can pull off a similar result there.

Up the City!

The Crap Blog Detective: Crap?

I don't know whether to be honoured or offended.

An anonymous individual, going by the the pseudonym of "The Crap Bog Detective" has left a comment on a previous post suggesting that if I didn't blog any more the world would be a better place, or words to that effect.

Having had a quick peek - and that's all, at his blog where it seems his only intent is to slag other people off and see what sort of a reaction it gets, can't say I'm overly bothered by his comments. I'm not either going to bow so low as to delete his comment. It's a free world after all.

If people don't want to read my blog that's fine by me. I certainly won't be joining the throngs (well 24) followers of his blog.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Any DIY astronauts with a few bob going spare?

How's about this then? Fancy being propelled (sic) into space by Virgin? Richard Branson's dream of bringing space flight to the masses (or very rich and famous more like - it's only 6 at a time) comes a step nearer.

This BBC article
tells you more. Who's first?


I've purchased a couple of items from Amazon recently and been disappointed by the packaging (or not) that the item came.

To be fair to Amazon I suppose, these were sellers selling though Amazon, not Amazon itself, but as the customer, to me it's one and the same thing.

The first item was one of these wind proof lighters. I wasn't expecting any velvet box or anything, but I wasn't expecting it just to be shoved loose into a jiffy bag with the small paper instructions also loose in said jiffy swirling around together.

I've also has an 8GB SD card arrive in exactly the same way today - loose in the jiffy bag. No plastic case for the card or anything. I appreciate that online retailers don't have the overheads of high street retailers, and don't need fancy showcase boxes, but not even a plastic cover for an SD card? Where do they get them from? Do they come in a job lot via a tipper truck an just get piled onto a warehouse floor? Maybe they do.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Website move complete

I've now completed the migration of my cricket club's website from my own ISP free webspace and built in Serif's WebPlus, to a Google Sites website. Everything has gone OK, and I'm quite pleased with the results.

Next step is to set up some other people in the club who can edit it, so everything's not entirely reliant on me.

You can checkout how it all looks at

Getting better: City 1-0 Preston

Despite alleged strong words and hard work on the training ground, much of the first half of this match had echoes of last week's disaster against Ipswich. Dave Jones made several changes, including altering 75% of the back line from last week.

The first half was very scrappy with few fluent passages of play from either side, although City looked most likely to score. Chopra and Bothroyd both let decent chances go astray.

The second half was a different story though. Gerrard went down after a clash with fellow defender McNaughton and went off for stitches - whilst he was off, City went one up courtesy of a great strike from Chris Burke. Gerrard didn't return, Kennedy replacing him, and then Jones swapped Chopra for McCormack. Chops has looked out of sorts - no goals isn't helping, but when Ledley limped off injured, that sub looked to be a luxury City needed to hang on to. With all three subs made, but a goal up, City were playing the best football they've done for a while, playing with pace and width. Preston were admittedly chasing the game by now, but City unlike several recent performances hung on for the win and a valuable three points.. Two away games now, so perhaps less crowd pressure. C'mon City, let's get a run going.

Up the City!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Mac update

Time for an update on my venture into the world of all things Mac.

So far, it's all going swimmingly well with a few exceptions. I'm getting used to the Macbook Pro which I find to be a very nice machine. That multi-touch trackpad is just a dream to use and I never miss a mouse

Currently my main uses are email, browsing, some (albeit limited) wordprocessing, some minor spreadsheet work, Twittering and updating my Google Sites cricket club web pages. In many ways I guess it's being used like an expensive netbook, but I'm cool with that.

Other than the trackpad, the bonuses for me are a great battery life, a superb screen and virtually no noise operation - fan is almost inaudible, keys are quiet and you almost never hear the hard disk. I still drool and dribble over the design, and luckily, being aluminium that's easy to wipe off.

The ability to connect and write as well as read my NTFS formatted external drive is a boon too - not sure where that came from, but it appears Snow Leopard may have that ability hidden away but not publicised very well. The web is full of people saying they can't without some dark magic, but I can and I'm very glad of it.

There are a couple of things I haven't yet managed to get to grips with, but I suspect that's a matter of time/use.

I need to spend some time with the iWork suite. I'm sure Pages (wordprocessor) has a lot to offer, I just wish I could get it to save to Word format by default - maybe it's possible, I just haven't found the setting yet. NeoOffice can.

I've tried editing some photos in iPhoto without too much joy. I've also download the GIMP, but that looks like it could be overkill. I've got a £50 voucher from my birthday for the Apple Store (we have one in Cardiff now), and I'm toying with getting Photoshop Elements 8 (I have v2 for Windows and like it a lot). Having said that, I'm not sure the Macbook Pro's 13" screen is designed for lengthy photo editing sessions.

One other thing , coming from a Windows background, I wish screens could open up full screen width. By default most screens open up leaving plenty of room either side of the active window. I don't know why, but that irritates me to hell - again, there might be a setting somewhere that resolves that - either that or I have to learn to live with it.

Having the MBP has also seen me make more of a concerted effort to utilise the "cloud". As I've previously noted, I've started to make far more use of the exceptional Dropbox online storage solution, whilst MobileMe keeps my contacts and calendars and email all nicely synced.

With one of the two websites I manage in the process of being migrated to Google's Sites and the other one heading that way, I'm doing more and more stuff in, and via the "cloud" - and it feels good.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crap: City 1-2 Ipswich

Well this was an afternoon to forget. Freezing cold, wet and windy, and taking on Roy Keane's Tractor Boys, a match I'd long had down as a potential banana skin.

City looked dire all day sitting off the opposition, lacking movement and, it seemed from where I was sitting any desire or ambition.

Even when they went one up courtesy of Peter Whittingham's 13th strike of the season (he'll be gone come January I reckon), there was still a sense that the game was far from over.

In the second half, City got even worse (if that were possible). Enckleman on for the injured Marshall made some farcical attempts and kicking and throwing the ball out, and it looked only to be a matter of time before Ipswich, who were by now having most of the ball, scored.

And so it was. Despite a couple of late substitutions City couldn't get a grip on the game, and Ipswich wrapped it up with their second shortly before the end.

City were roundly booed off for what was a hapless performance. They'd better buck their ideas up and soon or even a play-off place, let alone automatic promotion will be far beyond them

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wheels, tyres and stuff

Tomorrow I'm going to get my wheel alignment on my car checked out. I had some tyres changed last week, and normally these places "urge" you to have your alignment checked at the same time - this time they didn't.

I had the other pair of tyres done earlier this year, and at the time the alignment was done. The result was that my steering wheel is now off-centre - it looks like I'm constantly turning the wheel to the right slightly just to go in a straight line.

There's no vibration or anything, but there is a constant pull slightly to the left. I seem to be getting through tyres at a rate of knots, and my fuel consumption seems to be dropping slightly, so some-thing's not right.

Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow and hopefully (!) it won't cost too much!

Web site changes - Google to the rescue

As regular readers of this blog will know I manage a couple of web sites. One is the Chepstow Male Voice Choir site (my Dad sings in that choir), and the other is the site for my cricket club, Dinas Powys CC.

Over time I've used - and still do, different software for creating and maintaining these sites. Currently, the choir site is done in an old version of Dreamweaver, and the cricket site in Serif's WebPlus X2 program. Both have their pro's and cons.

Dreamweaver is a far more technical program, although my knowledge of HTML is very sparse, and I use very little of the power of the program remaining pretty much within the wysiwyg part, although I have been known to get my hands dirty with code occasionally.

WebPlus touts itself as a much more user friendly program, hiding most technical stuff right away from the user - it can still be a very powerful program if you put the time and effort in, but as you generally go no-where near code (or need to have any grasp of code) the results can be somewhat crude if you don't take care. To be fair, I've been using Serif products for years - their desktop publishing program PagePlus, WebPlus, DrawPlus and PhotoPlus and always found them to be very good both value wise and capability wise.

Either program though leaves me with some dilemmas.

If I'm not at my desktop I can't edit, update or maintain the sites. Even if I'm using my Macbook I'm stuffed as these are both Windows programs and I haven't installed Windows on the Mac - yet.

The other main problem is that only I can update the sites - they're hosted on my personal web space and I'm the one with the programs and files on my PC.

I need a solution that will allow me to edit the sites from anywhere, on any machine, and ideally allow others to contribute. The solution? Google Sites.

I've been fiddling with the idea of this for a while, but am now taking the plunge and am moving the cricket site over to Google Sites.

There are issues - it's not as flexible as Dreamweaver - or even WebPlus, but what it does, it does well, and more easily in many ways than either of my two current solutions. And of course it's free. I get more space than my personal web space gives me (which might ultimately be a blessing in disguise as hosting these sites has ultimately kept me from moving from Pipex/Tiscali/Carphone Warhouse as an ISP and the service from them is frankly getting more dire by the day).

I can (when I'm ready) move my domain name over so people are still pointing at I can allow other people access to edit and maintain (use with caution!!)

Have a look and see what you think.

The current site is at

The new site will be at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Idea Organizer for iPhone

Saw this on Web Worker Daily today, and it might be a useful app for those iPhone users looking for a basic app to record their ideas/notes whether written, photo or audio based.

Idea Organizer is an app for the iPhone that I recently discovered that makes logging those ideas incredibly easy. There are other ways to do what it does, some via built-in tools offered by Apple itself, but no other solution brings all the features and functionality together in the same place.

If you take lots of simple notes, it may be worth a look.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sky on demand - on my PC!

One of the things that came as a surprise in Windows 7 was the announcement that it would include a Sky player as part of Media Center - and more excitingly Sky subscribers - such as myself, would be able to access content for free.

Disappointingly, the Sky Player wasn't initially available, but it is now!

This evening, after reading about it in my PC Pro RSS feed, I opened up Media Center and got the update. The player requires you it install Microsoft's Silverlight, a web application framework (no I don't understand it either).

After the update and Silverlight install which took all of about 3 minutes, I logged in to Sky (I already had a registration), and bingo! Live Sky TV on my PC.

I was expecting a few random crappy channels, but no - Sky News, Sky Sports News, Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Sports Extra, ESPN, British Eurosprt, Gold, MTV, some kids channels including Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel (please God don't tell my daughter).

Amazing. I tested it out on Sky Sports 1 which is showing the Preston v Newcastle game. Full screen I got some initial buffering messages. The picture quality wasn't bad, but you can choose from High, Medium and Low. I eventually settled for low, and re-sized the pic to about a 5 inch x 3 inch box, and it was highly watchable. The High quality setting suffers from very occasional buffering but the quality is superb, although the buffering did settle after a while. Here you can see it running top right of my screen, with Blogger and Tweetdeck also running.

For info, my broadband connection isn't very fast - I'm supposed to get up to 8meg, but in all the time I've had this I scratch around just over 2meg.

I'm well chuffed with this - especially as it ain't going to cost me any more than my normal Sky sub. If you're not a Sky subscriber, you can still access this, but it'll cost you - £15 a month I think, but better check.

Once I whack this on my other W7 PC, We'll be able to watch Sky on 4 different device in the house. Overkill? Maybe, but very cool.....

Oh, oh...growing up

Reached a big watershed moment today. Went shopping for jeans for Min-Stats, and found the biggest junior ones went up to 14 years. He's 15, and they'd have come half way up his legs!

So over the the adult section, where the smallest sizes are marginally too baggy and too long (but he'll grow into them).

Bizarrely, the biggest junior size we could find would have cost £18. The adult ones.....£9.50. The shop...M&S!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Freshen up

I thought it was about time I gave the blog a bit of a freshen up, so I've smacked a new template on it. Hope you like it. I think it needs a change every now and then to liven it up a bit.

Camcorder suggestions

Ok, next up in the shiny gadget stakes is a replacement camcorder. Currently, I've got two camcorders - a JVC VHS-C model of many years vintage that's about a foot long and half as high, which hasn't been used in anger since about 2003, and a Sony TVR19E Mini DV model of about late 2003 vintage which is still used as our main camcorder.

Intrinsically there's nothing wrong with the Sony. It's relatively compact, I've got an extended battery so I can get 3 hours shooting out of it, and the picture quality aint bad. But it is still heavy if you're carting it about all day. We're off stateside at Easter to the land of the Mouse, and as we'll be on our feet for a fortnight walking around the parks I think it's time to upgrade to one of the newer HDD or flash based compact units like the Samsung F30 pictured at the top of this post. These are barely larger than a compact camera, and are very light, and can easily be slipped into a pocket.

The trouble is, I don't know which one to get. Typically I'm up to my ears in users reviews from Amazon and other sites, and have been trawling the displays in Curry's and Comet. I don't want to spend a fortune - I'm not Steven Spielberg - I want something that I can shoot basic video with, transfer it to my PC (or Mac - and that's not always straightforward looking at reviews because of the format some of these things record in) and edit it and burn the resulting output to DVD for playback on a PC or TV (for those luddites in my family that haven't embraced the digital age).

The Samsung is only about £140 which seems like real value (if it's any good), but I'm also looking at the Panasonic SDR26 units and lower end Canon Legria series.

Has anyone out there got one something like this who can give me some feedback ?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dull, wet and windy and a last minute loss. Barnsley 1-0 City

Dull wet and windy. And that was the game. The weather not much better.

And to cap it all, City concede in the last 15 seconds of added time. AAAAARGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Not much to say really, and I'm not in the mood, so I won't.

Nuff said.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hurrah for our lads!

A bit of a "big up" for our cricket club, as this week our Under 13's were crowned champions of their indoor league campaign, having won all seven of their matches against some mighty opposition.

In context, Dinas Powys is a very small club (with big support), and we don't have the resources of the big clubs around this area. Our junior section is coming in from the cold, having really only got back on it's feet three or four years ago, and we're way behind most of the bigger clubs in this respect.

However, on their way to the title our U13's dispatched Cardiff, Newport, Pentyrch and Lisvane (amongst others), some of which claim not only county, but international level players.

As Chairman of our club I'm hugely proud of the lads achievements this year. They made the final of their outdoor league campaign, and now have gone one better with this title.

Our club should be safe in their hands.

Up the Dinas as we say.

You can read more about us at

Obvious caption of the year

This picture appeared on the BBC website regarding Children in need. The caption read:

"Terry Wogan (centre)...."

'That' handball - update

Thierry Henry now says the right thing to do would be to replay the match against Ireland.

Well he would say that wouldn't he, knowing full well there's not a snowball in hell's chance of it ever happening.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

'That' handball

Ok, let's get things out in the open. People cheat. They do it all the time. There are very few of us who could honestly say we've never cheated at anything - ever. I can't.

(Before I go any further and get sued or accused of nefarious activity of my own, on the basis of cheating by nicking this photo from the BBC website, I'd just like to give a shout to them, and AFP.)

In sport, it's rife and I think, especially football (which is sad to say as a supporter of the game). Watch any football match and you'll see shirt pulling (not allowed) diving (not allowed), people rolling around in agony (and then up on their feet in two seconds) and so on.

We're told by those in the know (people unprepared to take it on) that it's not cheating, it's about gaining an advantage (albeit illegally), and if the ref didn't see it well tough - let's all blame the man in black that someone else cheated.

And to a degree I accept this. Play hard (but fair). If the ref (in any sport) was to penalise every single breach of regulations, one of two things would happen.

1) cheating or undertaking nefarious acts to gain an advantage might just be eradicated as people come to realise that you just can't get away with it, and/or

2) matches would take so long a 90 minutes footie match would take a day to complete. So it happens and you live with it.

Think about the shenanigans that goes on in any penalty area at a corner. Anywhere else on the pitch the ref would blow for a foul. In the area pople get away with it because the ref would be giving 20 penalties a match. But why doesn't one of them (or the ref's association) say, OK we will. It would soon stop it.

But then there are instances like last night where Thierry Henry, so deliberately and obviously cheated to gain an advantage it's hard to stomach. But who's getting the flack?

Mostly, the ref. I heard Liam Brady, Assistant Irish Manager on the radio this morning effectively say you can't call what Henry did cheating, the problem is the ref didn't act on it.

Oh please. Come on. Give the ref some slack. He may have missed it. He may have seen it fleetingly and though it was one of those regular "handballs" rather than a Diego Maradonna moment. Whatever, if he saw it he should have given it. But he didn't.

But that doesn't detract from the fact that a role model to millions, deliberately cheated in a match being watched by millions, so blatantly to everyone (except the ref) and then had the gall (gaul?) to sit down at the end of the match and tell Richard Dunne, yes I handballed, but hey I'm sorry. Have a nice summer, I'll send you a postcard from South Africa.

Other notable Frenchmen have said how terrible this was and they're not proud of what happened. I'll bet they'll be cheering loudly when France play their opener next summer.

FIFA have done their usual retreating from the firing line issuing a statement saying the ref's decision is final. Gutless.

I don't accept this wasn't cheating at the most dreadful level at all. Henry should be retrospectively penalised. Make him miss the World Cup.

It's hard to argue that there are degrees of cheating. It should be black and white, but it aint. But there are some circumstances where someone should stand up and be counted. Henry, FIFA, the French Football Association, anyone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Dropbox again, and other sync stuff

One of the cloud programs I've started using much more since getting my Mac is Dropbox. I've installed Dropbox on each of my desktop PC's, my Macbook Pro and even my Eee netbook. Now I have a Dropbox folder on each of these machines, and whatever I put in that folder is automatically synced to the "cloud" every time I connect to the net, and s therefore available on whichever machine I access it on.

I only have the free version of Dropbox at the moment, but that gives me 2GB storage, which is plenty for the use I need at the moment. For stuff that I need cloud storage for that's specific to the Mac I have iDisk via Mobile Me.

The other thing that's worthy of a mention is the Xmarks plugin for Firefox, again installed on each of my machines which means my Firefox bookmarks are automatically synced across all machines. Cool.

I still do have some concerns about cloud storage. It's fine until a) the cloud isn't available, and/or b) something else goes horribly wrong. I hope it doesn't, but it might. But in the meantime, it's working for me, and I'm getting quite excited by what the cloud can offer.

Mac news

I've downloaded Neo Office for the Mac to give it a try. So far I've used iWork's "Pages" for my wordprocessing on the Macbook. Although I haven't actually done that much WP, Pages does look fairly useful, and very much a page layout program in a desktop publisher sort of way.

However, neat and easy though it undoubtedly is, I've struggle with a few basic issues. Number one in this is that I need to access documents from other PC's apart from the Mac. I therefore want to save documents as MS Word format. Although I can do that in Pages, I have to specifically select that every time I save a document (unless there's a setting I can't find).
Neo Office, which is a free open source program based on the same code as Open Office provides the ability to always save as a particular file type.

In just a couple of minutes I already feels slightly more comfortable with Neo Office that I do with Pages. I'll continue to give both a fair crack of the whip, and see where I go.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wales 3-0 Scotland

There will be some debate about whether Wales were good or Scotland were bad after this match. The truth is, it was a bit of both.

I went to the match expecting a tough game, even though it was a friendly. Scotland's performances of late have been decent, and Wales had a really young looking side - no Giggs, Bellamy and some of the other older players around.

The visitors could have gone two up inside five minutes slicing the Welsh defence open, only for Hennessy to make good stops. After that, it was all Wales, with the impressive former Bluebird Aaron Ramsey pulling the strings. He set up the first goal from Edwards after an impressive 1-2 and cross from the right wing. On half an hour, Simon Church slotted home after another good move to make it 2-0, before Ramsey ran through the Scottish midfield and defence to slot home past Cardiff City keeper David Marshall to make it 3-0. It should have been 4-0 minutes later but Marshall saved well, although Wales had a great shout for a penalty turned away by the Swiss ref.

In the second half the inevitable substitutes disrupted the flow of the game, but Wales almost scored another only for Marshall to foul outside his box when one on one with Vokes. In a competitive game it would have been red, but he got away with a yellow.

The introduction of Cardiff City hero Ross McCormack injected some life into Scotland, and he almost beat Hennessy with a sublime chip, but the keeper tipped over the bar. He then made two saves in quick succession to keep a clean sheet.

Scotland were poor - no doubt about it, but Wales's youngsters looked sharp, at ease with the ball at their feet and played some great football. They were by far the hungrier of the two sides. A great result for the boyo's.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Latest Mac News

I've had the Macbook a week and a half now, and am getting into it big time. I use it at almost every available opportunity over the desktop PC. I still haven't explored half it's features, but what I have I'm very impressed with.

One BIG bonus after all my wranglings is that I appear to be able to save files to my NTFS formatted external hard drive. I've read in this month's Mac Format somewhere that someone posted one of their top pluses about Snow Leopard was it's support for NTFS. I'm not sure it was particularly high profile news, (perhaps someone can tell me otherwise), and I thought I'd read somewhere else that SL did have NTFS suport if you were prepared to go digging around in terminal.

Either way, I can save files to my Windows external HDD, and I'm very pleased about that. However, I ma making more use of the excellent Dropbox cloud storage solution so it doesn't really matter what machine I access my important files from.

I've also found, courtesy of Murray at Palm-Mac that "Preview" which I though was just a quick file viewer has a lot more to it than that including the ability for limited photo editing.

I'm going to get a photo editing programme for the MBP. I use Photoshop Elements (albeit an elderly v2) on the PC. I was toying with getting the GIMP which is free, but again, Mac Format suggests a program called Seashore, again free but not as fully featured as GIMP which may suit my needs.

Battery life which is mooted at about 7 hours looked a little optimistic in the first week but has settled this week and is definitely improving. It's good anyway, but I'm getting the battery monitor showing well over 7 hrs on occasions so long as I'm not hammering the device. I haven't used it for a couple of days, and charged it since about Sunday and it's sitting there telling me I have over 5 hrs remaining.

Although I've managed to connect my printer as a previous post indicated, I've since found out that my aged HP Deskjet 940C isn't supported with proper drivers. Shame. On the flip side I've been thinking about acquiring Canon's excellent Pixma MP640 all in one (A-listed by PC Pro) for a while, so may just bite the bullet. Irritatingly, a review I read on Amazon said the drivers for this in Mac OSX SL are coming....although it it possible to get the thing to work. Better check first though!

Other things I thought would irritate me don't. The transposition of the ' " ' and '@' symbols on the keyboard compared to a Windows Keyboard is fine. Using the Apple "Command" key rather than the CTRL key is also straightforward. I can't say I've really missed the simple Windows "delete" key.

So all in all, it's looking good. Almost 2 weeks in and I'm not regretting this purchase one bit (other than when my credit card bill arrived today....)


Blimey, it's been a busy couple of weeks. First it was my birthday and all that went along with that. Then a week later it was Mini's and all that goes along with a 15 year old's birthday - mostly music and Wii/PSP based (apart for the coastal blast - see previous post, which was great fun).

Had a load of family & friends over on Sunday, it was cricket AGM on Monday (re-elected as Chairman (again) for my sins), then Tuesday was Mini's birthday proper. Wednesday I was in London for a works dinner and presentation, and home Thursday (today). Tomorrow's Friday and that's another week over! Gawd, where do they go?

This Saturday Mini, Little Miss Stats and myself are off to the Cardiff City Stadium to see Wales play Scotland in a friendly international. Should be good fun. Mrs Statto is otherwise engaged. Sunday I think we get a free (ish) day. Hurrah!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Coastal Blast

It's Mini's birthday next week, and as he's going to be 15 (scary how quick they grow up) we'd been looking for something a bit different to the standard bowling or cinema party event.

Today him, his sisterme & Mrs Statto and his cousin plus a few of his mates went on a powerboat trip out in the Bristol channel. The powerful RIB fired by twin 225hp motors takes you across Cardiff Bay and out through the deep sea locks into the channel.

Once there, the skipper opens up the throttles and spends time hurtling over the waves (and there were some big 'uns out there today, and doing "hamilton power turns" and the like. All good fun, if a little wet at times. Bay Island Voyages who run these trips out of Cardiff Bay have a couple of these RIB's. Great fun it is too. Well worth a blast if you're down this way.

No, anyone but the Jacks: Swansea 3-2 City

I know you can't win every game (unless you're Arsenal), and I know statistically you're more likely to lose away from home than at home. But if there's one game, home or away, that you want to win more than any other as a City fan, it's a game against the Jacks.

But today we got turned over. I was out and about because of my son's birthday party, so could only keep up to date on happenings via my text service, and suddenly to find we were 2-0 down was gutting. Then within two minutes we'd made it 2-2 and you had to think momentum was with the Bluebirds.

But they scored again on the hour, and that, as they say was that. By all accounts Swansea were the better side and deserved the three points, but that doesn't make it any easier to bear.

Defensively we remain pants, and Jonesy has got to do something about that. We're like Newcastle of old. Doesn't matter if they score, we'll try and score more. Except we don't.

Have to put that behind us now and move swiftly forward in the next game.

C'mon City

Friday, November 06, 2009

Busy Weekend

I'm glad it's the weekend. I like weekends. This one's going to be busy.

It's Mini-Stats 15th birthday next week, and tomorrow we're going to do a powerboat trip round Cardiff Bay and (if weather allows) out through the sea locks into the Bristol Channel. Forecast is pants though. Heavy rain and strong winds, so it'll be cold and wet, but then we'd probably get cold and wet doing this even if it was sunny! Then taking him & his mates to Pizza Hut for lunch.

Sunday, we're having a load of family and friends over to celebrate my birthday last week, and Mini's next week. Should be good fun.

In amongst all that, it's the BIG derby match this weekend as City travel down the M4 to take on bitter rivals Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

Won't be much time for messing about with my Mac which is fast becoming a permanent accessory for me.....

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mac update

So, I've had my Macbook Pro since Monday, and so far things are generally going swimmingly well. I've hardly looked at my Windows desktop PC in that time, and just love using the MBP. However, it would be fair to say that there have been a couple of issues.

Setting up a printer.
I'm sure if I had a Mac only network setup, or just plugged the printer into the Mac it would work flawlessly. The trouble is, my printer's attached via a USB cable to my main desktop PC running Windows 7. Could I get the MBP to see the printer. No. I fiddled, and googled, and fiddled and googled all to no avail. Then I thought some more, fiddled and googled and eventually got it working. However, it required my to enter strange commands ("smb" and server name stuff) in the print set up dialog, and create a password for my desktop which I've never needed to have before in order to allow me to connect to the desktop as a "registered user'. So much for Macs being easy - just plug and play. I appreciate this is more limitations of the Windows setup talking to the Mac rather than the Mac itself, but still, this is the 21st century. I'm now able to print, but it's slow (probably the Mac printer driver - which incidentally doesn't allow me to configure anything on print setup, such as draft mode), but at least it's a start.

The second problem related to how I wanted to control my calendar. I also have an iPhone as you know and I use a desktop Windows based PC at work. Currently I have all my calendar information on my iPhone in a single calendar, and this is set to sync to my work Outlook calendar via Exchange. I wanted to change this approach to the following scenario, but am struggling to work out the best way to achieve this. I'd like to keep my "personal" calendars separate from my work calendar, but all viewable together. I know you can view multiple calendars in both iCal and the iPhone calendar, so it shouldn't be a problem in principle.

My questions were as follows.

Was there an easier way to get my personal calendar info out of the existing iPhone/Exchange calendar and into a "Personal" calendar in iCal than doing this manual - i.e. deleting stuff item by item out of the existing calendar and re-entering it into either an new iPhone "personal" calendar or a personal calendar in iCal.

If I could achieve that, I could have one (or more) personal calendars in iCal/iPhone plus my work Exchange generated calendar in the iPhone. What is the best way to keep everything in sync?

The options as I understand them are:

Mobile Me - but there's a cost (not out of the question), but how does the work based Exchange calendar fit into this equation

Physical syncing of the iPhone to the Macbook via USB wire

Something more complicated routing through Google calendar

What I've actually done is delete my personal calendar entries in the Exchange (work) calendar, and set them up in a "Personal" calendar in iCal. Then I synced via USB cable. Voila! Now using view "All Calendars" in my iPhone I can see everything, but in the respective calendars.

I've also signed up to a 60 day free trial of Mobile Me as I'd rather sync happened over the air than plugging in my phone to the Mac all the time (a side benefit is that it gives me another "spare" email address, 20G of disk space and a few other bits and pieces). If it doesn't work for me I'll cancel the trial. If it works, £58 a year ain't too bad for someone as paranoid as me about keeping stuff in sync.

I'll worry about the work Exchange sync another time. I can see that in my iPhone and I'm not too worried about not seeing it in the MBP.

So, my two problems solved. Cool. I really love the MBP.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Happy MacDay

Well, here I go. A new era in computing as I finally get my hands on a Macbook Pro.

I'm sure this is gong to be an interesting ride. Here are my immediate impressions.

  1. Packaging. Minimal, but classy. Oozes desirability from the outside of the box to the machine within.
  2. Setup: What an easy process. Simple questions, and not a lot of them, and bingo, I've set the laptop up for me, attached to my network and configured my email. A much more simple process than on a PC.
  3. Screen - absolutely awesome
  4. Trackpad. Who needs a mouse?
  5. Keyboard - this will take some getting used to after my clackety old desktop keyboard, but it's quiet, backlit and comfortable. No Delete key though!
  6. Magsafe power connector. What absolute genius! Why doesn't every laptop have one like this?
That's all for now, as I've got loads to do.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pipped at the post: City 1-1 Forest

In City's Jekyll & Hyde season today was the turn of Mr Hyde. The side that can't defend, cant' pass, sits off the opposition, can't defend a lead, leaks late goals etc. etc.

In truth it was a largely scrappy game, with occasions of brilliance, but they were, very occasional. It had passion. Tempers flared on several occasions. It had a rubbish referee (take a bow Mr Salisbury).

It did have one sublime goal from Jay Bothroyd after a flowing City move in the second half, that seemed to have given City the points and pushed them to the top of the Championship, but in injury time, more defensive sloppiness allowed a Forest player to get to the ball first (again - as most of the match) and volley home.

City looked gutted, and so they should. They have enough skill in their ranks to comfortably beat sides like Forest, but today they looked they felt they could just sit off and let the opposition have the ball anywhere in the first two thirds of the pitch. Do that, especially with the way City defend, and you're asking for trouble.

2 points chucked away. If I was Dave Jones, I'd be tamping.