Sunday, August 30, 2009

Down to earth with a bump. Doncaster 2-0 City

It was down to earth with a big bump as Championship leaders Cardiff City succumbed to Doncaster Rovers at Keepmoat yesterday.

I was playing cricket so didn't get to hear much about the match other than scores updates, and it was a surprise to hear they'd gone 1-0 down, and even more of a wrench to hear that the lead had doubled before halftime.

By all accounts City were off the pace in the first half, but despite having a lot of pressure in the second period, they couldn't make an impression with the Rovers running out winners.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and I suppose after such a strong start to the season, it's a reminder that they have no right to be top - they have to earn it.

Unfortunately we now go into a two week international break, so there's no chance to turn things round quickly. But the enticement and challenge is there. Next home match - Newcastle. Should get a near sellout at the new stadium for that one.

Up the City!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Introducing Tizzy

Well here she is. Introducing Tizzy or "Tiz" for short (and she is quite short at the moment).

Our newest family member is an 8 week old Tabby female. She's very cute, ans still quite small, but very bouncy and very playful. so far she seems to have settled well, but it's only been 4 hours, and she hasn't been left on her own yet! I'm sure it'll get a little more stressful when we all go to bed and she's left on her own for the first time. She's been with her mum and 4 siblings for 8 weeks, so it must all be very strange and a little stressful being plucked out of that environment into a strange place with strange smells (not me I hasten to add), and strange people.

Hopefully she'll get used to us very quickly. No doubt there'll be more photo's soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kitten: In a bit of a Tiz

We get our new kitten tomorrow evening. As expected everyone in the house is excited, 12 year old Bethan especially.

Fortunately, our little tabby cat is cute and not ugly like this poor soul! Piccies as soon as I can.

For all our name discussions (and we've had a few I can tell you), it looks like "Tizzy" (or is that Tizzie") has won the day.

I still think "Slartibartfast" was better.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pirate raid: City 3-1 Rovers

Round two of the Carling Cup, and after our success over the Daggers in round 1 we again had a home tie against Bristol Rovers - the "Pirates".

Just 4 days after putting their local rivals Bristol City to the sword we aimed for Severnside double.

Dave Jones had a few players carrying knocks and so it was an opportunity for some players who hadn't had a decent got so far this season to get a run out.

In many ways, this game mirrored the Bristol City game. The Pirates didn't get a look in early. City had time and space and time after time opened up their opponents only for the final ball, or finish to disappoint.

However, on the half hour it was that man again - Michael Chopra, with his 8th of the season who eventually calmed City's (and the fans) nerves with a cool finish from new loan signing Kelvin Etuhu's pass.

City took the foot of the gas in the closing minutes of the first half, and in the opening period of the second, Rovers compacted things and made it hard for City. Whittingham put the game beyond reasonable doubt on 66 minutes poking home from short range, but nerves jittered again when sloppy defending game away a corner, and Elliott headed home unmarked to make it 2-1 with 15 minutes left.

That shook City into life again, and young Josh Magennis who'd some on as a sub wrapped it up on 86 minutes with his first professional senior level goal.

A job well done, against a potential banana skin as the old cliché goes. Now we look forward to the 3rd round draw and the entry of those big Premiership boys.

A word on the Rovers fans who came in their numbers and sang their heart out throughout the entire match. Good effort - best away support I've seen at Cardiff for some time.

Up the City!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Posterous - the new blogging sensation?

Came across this today whilst reading my RSS feed for TUAW. I hadn't heard of Posterous before.

It claims to make blogging easier than ever. In fact so easy, all you have to do is be able to send an email with or without an attachment.

All you do is send your email to and they do all the rest. Whether you're posting text, photo's, movie files, PDF's - just about anything in fact.

Cleverly their system can recognise for example a youtube link you post in an email and will automatically embed the video into your post.

Photos can be sent in multiples and they'll automatically create a gallery for you.

Too good to be true? Maybe not. I signed up just to check it out - though I'd sent a post beforehand just to test their claims, and in fact when I registered there was my "blog" waiting for me. In fact you can see my fledgling posterous blog here

It does appear to take out all the mess about uploading pictures or other files to a blog, not having to worry about formatting and so on. If you want to customise your blog a bit you can, and more themes etc are coming soon apparently, but for the casual blogger it looks ideal.

You can also import an existing blog from a number of other blog services including Blogger which I use, Wordpress and others. I'm not going to do this for the momnet, but will keep an eye on things.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How much does data weigh?

I subscribe to PC pro magazine (I'm a bit sad like that), even though these days a lot of what they talk about is over my head. Good editorials, incisive comment, and really good and valuable reviews and labs tests. I've made many purchase based on their review recommendations and "A List" picks, and never regretted any of them. I've also steered clear of stuff that I was going to buy on their say so.

Anyway, I was browsing their site today and came across this bizarre post about a question they'd received about the whether hard disks weigh more when they're full of data.

I'm not sure if it's a wind up - it's August after all, not April but it gets you thinking.

To my mind, a bit (or byte) of data is actually only a bunch of binary switches - on or off, or 0 or 1 if you like. Therefore whether on or off, 1 or 2 it doesn't weigh any more or less..........does it?

Windows 7 again

So, Microsoft have finally given in and decided that it will make a Family Pack version of its new OS, Windows 7, available in Europe before 2010. They weren't going to for various reasons I won't go into here but are well documented if you're inclined to have a quick Google.

Couple of observations from me as a result.

I had pre-ordered a version (the "E") version that effectively was a full Windows install sans Microsoft Explorer, meaning I'd have had to install my own browser. Now they've reletned, and the new OS will ship with a "browser ballot" allowing you to install one of Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox or Chrome (I think).

But now this is happening, there's no "E" version, so what will I get? My Amazon order page is still showing Windows 7 E, but maybe it's early days.

Anyway, onto the Family Pack. This wasn't available when I pre-ordered, or I would have taken the offer. It allows you to install the OS on up to 3 PC's. With 2 desktops, and the outside chance of an Apple Mac coming my way in November, this would have been ideal, though the price of £150 that's been quoted doesn't work out any less cheap (per licence) than the £48 I paid for my pre-order.

I'll have to see over the coming days if any of this settles down and becomes a bit clearer. Will I be able to "cancel" or upgrade my single licence pre-order to a Family Pack (and do I want to?)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Flying High

Cardiff City's impressive start to the season continued as they demolished a poor Bristol City side in front of over 20,000 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Bluebirds faithful had to wait awhile though as City carved the Robins open time after time but failed to take their chances - the best when Burke was one on one with the 'keeper.

In the end it took an own goal, the visitors skipper glancing a fizzing Matthews cross into his own net.

With Bothroyd holding the ball up well and Chopra making great runs it was only a matter of time before the next goal came, and it was a cracker.

Burke broke from deep, attacked the middle and when everyone was screaming for him to go wide to Whittingham he slipped a pass through the middle and Chopra took two touches and lifted it past the keeper for his seventh of the campaign.

The second half continue in the same vein and on 66 minutes Burke repeated his 1st half performance to put Rae through a wide open defence and he calmly slotted home for 3-0.

City were outstanding today, with my man of the match the superb Chris Burke. Top of the league and deservedly so.

Up the City!!!

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kitten update

Mrs Statto and little Miss Statto went to the SHUA cat rescue home today whilst me & Mini were playing (and losing badly) at cricket, so see the kitten we think we might want to adopt (pictured).

They spent a good half an hour cuddling and looking at the little bundle of fluff, and the outcome is that next Friday we will officially be a cat family again.

The kitten's about 9 weeks old, so still pretty young, and we've got to keep it indoors until it's about 6 months old, and has been vaccinated, spayed and microchipped.

It's a girl (we thought it was a boy), but that doesn't make any difference to us. It has no name yet. and the last few days have been a constant stream of suggestions from each of the four of us - each suggestion being thrown out by others. Obviously, all the specific boy names are a non-starter now we know she's a girl.

My preference is for some outlandish name, like "Slartibartfast" (I know he was a bloke), whilst the girls inevitably are pushing for something a little softer like "Floss" or "Fluff". Not my cup of tea at all. I think it's going to have to go to a vote.

As an aside, my brother always swore blind that when he grew up and got a dog, he'd call it "Alan", but he chickened out and went for Nero or something like that.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Smartphones - an information tool. Howzat?

There are times when I think I could be using my smartphone more effectively. One of the most useful aspects of any smartphone/PDA is the ability to keep lists of important (or what one day might turn out to be useful or important) information.

However, when I look at the "notes" that I keep, a lot of them are a bit dull, and I find myself wondering what exactly might be useful to keep.

Well tonight I've just found another use for my notes tools. As a cricketer (of sorts) every summer I find myself wending my way around the roads and valleys of south east Wales trying to find cricket grounds that I know I've been to before, but can't quite remember how to get there again.

The League we play in has an online club directory, which includes instructions on how to get to each ground. For a lucky few, there are postcoded addresses to their grounds, so a quick SatNav setup and we're off. But most of the places I play are large expanses of council owned fields, with no discernable postcode, and instructions like "turn left after the chip shop just down from the rugby club and go down the hill for 3/4 mile until you come to a big tree on the right" sort of thing!

But a quick grab of the directions of the club directory site into ToodleDo/Notes, or Evernote, means those directions will be forever available through a quick search on my smartphone.

OK, I could just print the instructions off, but I'd lose them or get them muddy or spill beer on them. All possible, but unlikely scenarios with my iPhone.

As an aside, I still prefer Appigo's straightforward but very effective "Notebook" app to Evernote, but have used both here as I'm sure Evernote will grow on me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As regular readers of The Lentil will know, we recently lost our beloved Gizmo in a hit and run. Life without our cat is missing something, and so we are seriously thinking of adopting another cat from SHUA, a local cat rescue home where we got Gizzie from.

Our preference was for another tabby, and by chance they have this rather handsome looking chap (as yet un-named). We're going to see him on Saturday all being well, but provisionally, having seen this picture of him, the family consensus is a "yes"!

He's still quite a young chap, so we wouldn't be able to pick him up until the end of the month in line with SHUA's rehoming policy for kittens. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We are top of the league!

It's always good to win away. Especially so when your top striker bags a hat trick and you finish the night top of the league!

So it was at Plymouth tonight when City took a 3-0 lead through the on-fire Michael Chopra before the Pilgrims pulled one back, and Plymouth old boy Tony Capaldi was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Still, I guess we'll take that. Only three games in granted, but to be sitting on top of the pile always feels good, however many games you've played.

City, and Chopra especially appear to be in a groove at the moment. Long may it continue.

Up the City!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ty Hafan

Yesterday we finally got our cricket match in that we'd planned in aid of a local children's hospice, Ty Hafan that out cricket club Dinas Powys CC are supporting this year.

We'd initially planned this event for mid July, but the weather put paid to that, so it was re-arranged for yesterday. We had two teams made up form seniors and juniors within the club playing a match whilst on the sidelines there was the inevitable bouncy castle, a welly wanging competition, raffle, BBQ tea & cakes etc.

Despite a decent forecast it was miserable early doors, but did eventually brighten up. Sadly the poorer early weather probably kept a few who might have come along at home, but in the end we raised about £350. Not a massive amount, but decent enough, and every little helps. We'll be adding to that amount with another couple of raffles towards the end of the season and at our presentation dinner in October, so hope to have a decent cheque to hand over to Ty Hafan then.

iPhone. A D'oh moment

Do you recall that incredibly powerful phone? You know, the one everyone raves about that can sing, dance, make the tea. It's a smartphone you know. Good for consumers and, we're increasingly told, good for business.

Well today I cam across one of those "bugger - I'd forgotten all about that" moments, when someone sent me an RTF (rich text format) file as an attachment to an email.

Now the beauty of an RTF file is it was developed by Microsoft (and maybe there's a clue there) for cross platform document exchange. That's right, you don't need MS Word to view an RTF file, and half decent platform with appropriate software can read an RTF file.

Except the iPhone.

It can handle .doc, .pdf, .xls files but not bloody .rtf!

Apple's oversights are at times frankly incredulous. Excuse me whilst I go and bang my head against a wall. I'm sure there's a solution somewhere, but it should just work dammit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


All this sudden excitement over "Twibbons" - small images on your Twitter avatar (see example pic with popular "I love the NHS" twibbon) caused me to go and have a gander.

Looks neat I thought, I'll put a Bluebird in my Avatar picture to show I support the City (what do you mean you didn't know?)

Anyway, followed instructions, but got the whole Bluebird image instead of just a small one overlaying my avatar. Am I thick or something. Worse, there's no was to delete these things yet (coming in a future update).

You can revert to your original avatar, which I did, but spookily although it's fine on Twitter from my PC, it's still showing the Bluebird on Twitterlator feeds on my iPhone. Bizarre.

All my avatars are showing normally now. Might just leave the Twibbon thing....
City always struggle at Bloomfield Road, and today was no exception. 1-0 up after 12 minutes through Chopra, the tangerines equalised just before half time.

By all accounts the home team had the better of the second period, and it could have gone either way just before the end.

City lost McCormack, McPhail and Quinn to injuries worryingly, Despite dropping points we still lie 2nd on goal difference.

Up the City!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Busy weekend of cricket approaching.

Tomorrow evening I'll be coaching the juniors. On Saturday I'm being wheeled out to play in the 1st XI. We're in with a decent chance of promotion for the second season running, and have a couple of key players missing and for some reason they think I can do a job! I've already retired once this season after realising that although my heart want to play, the body (knee) just aint up to it. I'll have to stand and swing from the hip as they say!

Then on Sunday we have a day when we're trying to raise money for our local children's Hospice Ty Hafan. We decided rather than put a paying sponsor on our match shirts this year, we'd put the Ty Hafan logo on to raise awareness of the great work this local charity does. So we've got an inter-club match with juniors and seniors playing, a bouncy castle, candy floss, a BBQ, welly wangin' and a raffle with some great prizes - tickets to Cardiff Blues Rugby, Glamorgan Cricket matches, Newport Wasp speedway and more besides. I'll be doing my chairmanly bits. Hopefully the weather will stay fair (forecast is OK) and we can raise a bob or two.

Then on Monday I'm going back to work for a rest.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beer Cup: City 3-1 Daggers 1

City took on League Two outfit Dagenham & Redbridge in the 1st round of the Mickey Mouse (sorry, Carling) Cup tonight.

In the first competitive evening match in the new stadium (great lights), City easily put this one to bed. After opening the scoring through midfielder Gavin Rae (he doesn't get as many as he should), Bothroyd added a second from a dubious spot kick award.

Luck for him, the ref decided his first effort shouldn't count for some infringement or other. He'd ambled up to th ball and lightly side footed it and the keeper saved easily. When the ref awarded the re-take, it seemed Michael Chopra had said something liek "Enough of that c**p" let me take it, but Bothroyd won the day and hammered his second attempt home.

City inevitably went flat in the second period, and the Daggers to their credit and kept going, pulling one back with about 10 minutes to go. They had a glorious chance to equalise just before full time but the ball tantalisingly (for them) evaded all boots.

In the injury time, City wrapped it up with a great goal though Peter Whittingham, who so often fails to deliver an end product but some neat footbal, some nifty 1-2's and an exquisite finish sealed a comfortable win for City, who go into tomorrow's draw for round 2.

Up the City!

Monday, August 10, 2009

App-arently to easy

One of the great things about the iPhone is the App Store. Thousands of apps available to download from free to a good few pounds.

Apps on the iPhone are generally a steal compared to other mobile platforms (with a few exceptions) but even so you find people in reviews saying "it's not worth the money (for a 59p app!).

The biggest draw though, is how easy it is to get them. Click the App store icon, do a search, or choose from the "top 25" or "new" lists etc, choose your app, click "Buy Now" and Bob's your Mother's brother.

It can be too easy though. At the last count I have downloaded 55 apps for my iPhone. This is a ludicrous amount. OK, there are a couple of functional duplicates in there; a couple fo RSS readers (ok 4), a couple of To Do type progams, etc. But 55. Come on. No-one uses that many. And nor so I.

I estimate that of these 55 (and remember these are in addition to the dozen or so that come with the device by default) I probably only use about half a dozen on anything like a regular basis.

The others don't get used at all, or very seldom. Impulse purchases that have fallen by the wayside, or ones bought for a specific purpose that only comes around every few months.

And, although cheaper than programs for many other mobile platforms, all those 59p's and £1.79p's do add up.

I recently shelled out 25 beer vouchers on Co-Pilot Live, a sat nav solution, the most expensive purchase by far (I think a fiver was my previous highest). Sounds a lot, but in fact it's about 4 time cheaper than a stand alone sat nav unit, and in my opinion, just as good. And so easy to buy.

Ladies and Gentlemen. I give you the App Store. A raging success!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Here we go: City 4-0 Scunthorpe

So the new season is upon us, and in the opening rubber City took on newly promoted Scunthorpe in the first fully competitive game at the new Cardiff City Stadium.

We were down in Pembrokeshire for the weekend, but me & Mini drove back especially for this match.

On a super afternoon City opened up well, though Scunnie were giving it a good go. With Chopra, Bothroyd and McCormack up front, City looked snappy. The new look back four, featuring only Mark Kennedy from last season had a couple of jitters before setting, with skipper Hudson, Gerrard (the other one) and Quinn all looking composed.

In the end, it was a fortuitous opener that deflected off Chopra for City's opener, but we're not complaining. The score was added to when Bothroyd slotted home from a couple of yards after great work by McCormack on the left. Just before half time Chopra got his second with an excellent shot from the edge of the 6 yard box.

In the second half Scunthorpe were left chasing shadows for much of the game, and it looks like it could be a long old season for them. The final goal for City came courtesy of a penalty in the last minute of added ime when Burke was brought down. Surprisingly it was Whittingham and not last season's spot man McCormack who stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way.

A great opening day then as City top the table. There's a hell of a way to go yet, but a 4-0 win on the opening day is a good start.

Up the City!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

RIP Gizmo

Having returned from holiday on a high, this week is rapidly turning into a real bummer.

First as reported in an earlier post, we got out of the taxi from the airport to find a note pinned to our front door from our neighbours warning us to "Read this before doing anything", which we duly did to find that our rabbit had died whilst we were away.

Then this morning (a day and a half later), I got a call from a local vet surgery to say that our beloved cat Gizmo had been brought in after being run over and had died. We're all pretty distraught. We'd only had Gizzie just over a year after getting him from a rescue home and though he was very aloof at times, a real outdoors cat and not particularly "cuddly", he was a big part of our family.

He was only about 4, and had experienced a hard life in his time before he came to us. He had a wonky leg courtesy of a previous nasty break, only three-quarters of a tail, and permanent scratch marks on his nose from his insistence on fighting other cats (he was a wuss really - all mouth and trousers).

We'd like to think that his time with us was happy (he seemed so).

This picture was taken just yesterday.

RIP Gizzie

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Kefalonia 2009

You can't say you haven't been warned. I've uploaded our photos from out holiday to Kefalonia on Flickr, and here's the link. There's over 180 of them, so settle down!

View the photos on Flickr

Oh dearie me...shiny things lust again

Now here's a thing.

I've been wanting a laptop for some considerable time now. I've got 2 desktop PC's a really old Toshiba "portable" (takes about 3 days to boot up Win 2K and subsequently I never use it) and an Asus Eee 7 inch netbook.

There's all sorts of reasons I want a laptop. being able to do stuff anywhere in the house for one, out of the house for two, and just because I do for three.

Frankly the Eee isn't really up to it. Great though the concept is, the screen just ain't big enough, and even with XP "n-lited" (couldn't get on with Linux) there's no room to store much on the 4G solid state disk and not a decent enough screen re to work on.

I don't want a laptop that's a full desktop replacement either. My main Vista machine is perfectly OK for the heavy duty stuff I do.

I'd pretty much decided that I would look towards one of the more capable "netbooks", and as such, and with faith in the people at PC Pro (I've bought several bits of kit on their "labs" recommendations and never been disappointed) my eye had turned to the Samsung 10" screened NC10 and of late it's bigger and better brother the Samsung N110 as possibilities.

But for some unknown reasons I've started to dither. And particularly I'm dithering over whether I should get a Mac. And especially particularly over whether I should get a Macbook Pro.

Now let's get the sums out of the way.

I could get an NC10 for about £270 or a N110 for about £350. The cheapest I could get a Macbook Pro is about £780. No brainer.

But, I love gadgets. I love shiny things (perhaps I should have been a magpie). Several people I know in my virtual life (Murray over at Palm-Mac, Shaun at PDA247 , as well as a few people at work) use Macs - in fact Shaun is a recent convert - maybe he planted the seed?

The cons?
  • The obvious cost
  • I have no experience with Macs and a shedload with PCs
  • I have no Mac software so I'd be starting from scratch
  • I've invested loads of money in Windows software
The pros?
  • It's gorgeous. I had a play with one in PC World today (wouldn't buy it from there at their prices though).
  • I could put Windows on it and run my "must have" Windows programs on it.
  • I'd feel very smug
I'll have to see. My mind isn't yet made up, though it wouldn't take much to sway me if I'm truthful.

I'll keep you posted.

So what's been happening?

Well we're back from our hols. Got back into Cardiff at about 10:20pm last night (though we were running on Greek time so it was twenty past midnight for us. Back in the house by just after 11pm though, so no hanging around. Luckily we live just about a 10m taxi ride from the airport.

First up, our bunny went to bunny heaven during our absence - actually only a day or so ago. The person looking after it fed it one day and found it paws up the next. It was quite old though, and not totally unexpected. I buried it today, first job of the day. Nice - not.

The garden is predictably overgrown having had 2 weeks of rain (makes me feel better that we didn't have nice weather here whilst we were away). A couple of my courgettes have turned into marrows, the tomatoes haven't ripened (no sun) and the runner beans are marvellous. Flowers look jaded and the grass is boggy and long.

We've done about 6 lots of washing today - luckily the sun has come out so hasn't been too bad, and the wife's been to do the Tesco's run.

I've sorted through my personal emails (I read then all whilst away on my iPhone) but some had attachments I didn't bother downloading.

Snail mail was mostly junk. Only about two "real" bits of post in a pile several inches high.

Have uploaded my photos to the PC, and must upload them to Flickr later so you all can see what a great time we had!

Mind turning to grotty old work now. Back in tomorrow. Bah!

Took a quick trip to PC world to satisfy my gadget lust after 2 weeks with only my iPhone. Read more on this in my next post.

So, almost back to normal.

When's my next holiday? Actually, I know, but I'm not telling you - yet!