Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ram raid: City 6-1 Derby

After 4 defeats in 5 Championship games, including two a dire performance last time out at home v QPR, the City faithful were looking for a response.

And what a response they got. A 6-1 demolition of Derby County, including 4 goals for top-scorer Michael Chopra who looked like his old self tonight.

Only 18,000 watched this one, the lowest attendance of the season, not surprising after the recent showings against Newcastle and QPR, but this one will bring them back in droves.

It was Peter Whittingham who opened the scoring from 3 years after being laid off by Jay Bothroyd who played like he had a point to prove (they all did). Then Whittingham put in a perfect cross for Chops to get back amongst the goals.

2-0 at half time and City were cruising, at least when they had the ball. At the back they still look a shambles, and almost immediately after the second period started, Whittingham conceded an un-necessary corners, and from the resulting melee Hulse stabbed one home to put Derby back in the game.

10 minutes later though the 2 goal cushion was restored when Chops fired home his second, and 5 minutes after that collected his hat trick to ease City fans nerves. If there were still any nerves, they only lasted a minute before Burke made it 5-1 and then Chopra scored his 4th on 75 minutes to make it 6.

This was City attacking at it's best, aided by a high Derby County back line that made the it easier for the pace of Chopra, Bothroyd and Burke. Still it's points on the board and good for the goal difference. With others around us losing, it lifts us to 5th, and in good shape for the visit to Watford at the weekend.

It's a shame to look at negatives on a night like this, but as I said earlier, City are pretty poor at the back and on another night it could have been a 6-6 draw...or worse.

I'm yet to be convinced by Mark Hudson at centre back - I'd prefer to see Gyepes there, but credit to Stpehen McPhail who I've lambasted on many occasions. He had a great game in midfield tonight.

Up the City

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Another season gone

Played the last match of the season today on a glorious afternoon at Sully. We were well beaten, but it was a friendly and having a match at all this late in the year was the main thing.

Personally I didn't have a great game - I wasn't going to play at all but we were short. That's 4 times I've come out of retirement this year! I bowled 3 (or was it 4) overs for a few and scored 4 in an innings lasting all of 3 balls. Perhaps I should hang up my boots for good?

On the upside, Mini-Stats took a wicket, and batted a long time for an obdurate 10, to upstage the old man, and faced the fastest bowling he's ever seen to boot, without fear - the keeper was standing 20 yards back! (yes even though it was a friendly...)

So matches are over, but still loads to do. It's our end of season dinner/awards on Friday, the AGM in November, websites to keep up to date, monthly e-newsletters to prepare, winter nets to sort out and more. Oh the life of a cricket chairman.....

It's an absolute "Owler": Sheff Wed 3-1 City

I don't know where City's ability to play a decent game of football has gone, but if anyone knows where it is, can we have it back? That's four of the last 5 league games lost now, and the blistering start to the season has gone distinctly AWOL.

OK, we had another 2 goals disallowed for offside today (that's 3 in the last 2 matches, two of which were patently on-side), but we're also conceding sloppy goals and getting players sent off (Ledley today). That's just not good enough. It's early in the season, but the table doesn't lie, and we're now lying 9th, 9 points off the lead. Jonesy had better get this sorted out sooner rather than later, and preferably before Derby's visit to CCS on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's "Almost free"?

Just seen this on a website relating to if you buy a laptopn now with Vista and want to upgrade to W7 when it comes out. "Upgrade to Windows 7 for almost FREE"

Read the small print and it says cost £0.00.

But then it says a small charge of £17 to cover shipping and handing costs will be charged. Now £17 isn't free whichever way you look at it.

What a rip off.

If they said upgrade to Windows 7 for £17 I'd be OK, but this is just wrong.

Laptop. Ooh, what to get?

I'm no nearer making a decision on what laptop I want to get. The problem is the more I think about it the more confused I get.

Heart says Apple Macbook Pro
Head says Windows based lappie with decent specs for £300-£400 less
Scrooge says netbook for £500-£600 less

Had a long play last night in Curry's on Macbook Pro 13" - lovely, lovely lovely. Also messed with Acer Timeline 4810T. Actually looks and seems pretty good, but seriously worried about ability to multi-task (which would also rule out netbooks). It's VERY thin, amazing battery life.

Can't find a Samsung Q320 (the higher specced black version) to play with. Online reviews are pretty good, as is PC pro's review in this month's (November!) mag. Thing is, if spending £650, it's not that much more of a leap to a Macbook Pro - can find them online for about £820 if you look hard enough. Still a lot of wonga though....

More to come I think

Talking of skittles...Game on!

As my previous post referred to the beautiful game (of skittles, idiot not football) I'll tell you our season kicks off tonight.

We've relocated from the Dinas Powys Athletic Club to the Castle Oak in Dinas Powys

We've renamed from the snappily named Dinas Powys Athletic B to the Castle Jokers

Whether it will improve our skittles is yet to be determined.

Milk, League, Worthington, no Carling Cup

City take on Villa tonight in the clash of the round. No really.

I've got my first skittles match of the season so will be keeping updated on happenings at Villa Park though a combination of Sky Sports in the bar, plus Twitter, SMS updates, BBC mobile web site and a few other avenues. Should have everything covered - ahem.

Twitpocalypse II

Twitpocalypse II has struck. In Twitterlator Pro, my Twitter client of choice my new "tweet" count has gone AWOL and the feed always opens up at an old feed necessitating me scrolling up through loads of old tweets. Irritating though not life threatening.

An email to Twitterlator's developers Stone, prompted an impressively speedy response identifying Twitpocalypse II as the culprit.

Apparently an update is awaiting Apple's App Store approval process, so I'll keep checking my App Store Ap for an update.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bang !

I managed to blow up our microwave today.

I was doing jacket potatoes, and I opened the door to check how they were getting on, and when I shut it again I caught the corner of my tea towel in the door. I yanked it out (fool) rather than opening the door because it was literally just the corner.

That somehow flipped the trip on the wall sockets and everything died. Reset the trip and everything came back on except the microwave. Bugger.

Ah, I thought, it's blown the fuse. So I swapped out the fuse, plugged it back in and switched on - nothing. Dead as a dodo.

I don't know enough about microwaves other than you plug them in, switch them on and push some buttons, and my engineering skills are zilch, so there's no way I'm diving into it's innards. I think it's for the tip. We've had it a good few years and it gets a bit of a bashing, so it's not the end of the world - apart from having to fork up the cost of a new one.

Palm Pixi - First Looks

Pocket Lint has posted a "First look" at Palm's new "Pixi". This latest offering from the troubled Palm stable is smaller and lighter than the Pre, and is a candybar format with a hardware qwerty keyboard.

Rubbish: City 0-2 QPR

Sometimes it's just not worth saying much.

Today QPR were OK, but City were truly, truly awful. I've only ever left a City match early because they were absolute rubbish once before, but today we left with almost 10 minutes left. They were clueless, and looked like Sunday parks players - though that's doing Sunday parks players an injustice.

Not good enough. 'Nuff said.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Laptop dilemma

My Macbook Pro twitchings haven't gone away but I am in a dilemma.

First up, I am definitely going to get some sort of laptop (which could be anything from a netbook to a Macbook Pro (MBP)). That's a surety.

As previously mentioned I have considered a MBP before, but almost instantly dismissed it on the grounds of an insane price. Earlier this year I was an "Enter" key press away from buying a Samsung NC10 netbook, but for some reason pulled back. Now my dilemma is what do I really want?

The classic logic says, "What are you going to use the machine for the most?" If it's just browsing the Internet, the odd document editing and maybe some other tasks that aren't processor intensive, a netbook would do. If you're heavily into image manipulation, video editing or gaming, you need a meatier beast.

Well, my thoughts are that in the main it would be the former, but I might want to do a bit of the latter.

Therefore, I probably need something with a bit more grunt than a 10inch screen netbook running an Atom processor.

I'd prefer not to go up to a 15inch screen because then portability becomes a slight (albeit not massive) factor. I probably wouldn't use it out and about much but if I do I'd like not to have to do weights just to be able to lug the thing around.

So, the choice narrows. After hefty amounts of research, I've got a shortlist of about 4 machines. They are as follows, and it goes without saying they've all had decent enough reviews and I've researched extensively:

  • The Acer 4810T Timeline. Running Windows Vista (currently - though W7 is around the corner) it's small and light. Has a 14 inch screen and enormous battery life and a decent size HDD. But it's an Acer. Not the end of the world, and definitely a step up on it's cheaper cousins at around £600.
  • The Samsung Q320 (pictured). A 13.3 inch unit. Again running Windows, but with a much beefier processor than the Timeline, a good size HDD and consequently lower battery life - but still should get around 4 hours worth. Again around the £600 mark
  • The Macbook Pro 13 inch. It's aluminium unibody is just glorious to look at and use (in the minutes I've spent lusting over it in PC World. Runs MAC OS, an OS I'm not familiar with but which is apparently easy to learn and use. At £899 it's a massive price, especially for a unit with only a 160GB disk and 2GB ram, but performance is possibly best of the bunch despite that.
  • The standard Macbook in white polycarbonate. 13 inch screen, same ram and 160GB HDD as it's "Pro" cousin. Older kit but cheaper at around £750 - still more than either of the Windows machines.
So, what are the issues?

There's no doubt about it. £900 or thereabouts is a lot of money to pay for a computer these days, especially when I already have two desktops. The Macbook Pro is my favoured machine of the bunch, but I don't know the OS, my by desktops run Windows and I don't have any MAC software.

I included the standard Macbook in my shortlist because it's a cheaper (relatively speaking) route into Mac ownership. But the screen isn't as good, nor the trackpad, nor the battery life. If I'm going to spend as much as £750 on the standard Macbook, frankly I'd stretch to find the extra for the MBP and the extra it offers - it's just so much nicer.

The Timeline is enticing, but if I was going to get a Windows machine, I think I'd plump for the Samsung. They make pretty decent kit these days.

So it looks currently like a straight fight between the Q320 and the Macbook Pro. If I shop around, I could get the MBP for about £820 (I think) and the Q320 for about £600. Is the extra £200 or so worth it? Should I stay with Windows, a system I'm very familiar with and which is very soon being upped to Windows 7 which has had very decent reports and for which I've got all the software I need, or should I move the clean, unlcuttered lines of MAC OS, and it's sumptuously names "Snow Leopard" OS, and start shelling out on software for that when I already have the same functionality on the Windows platform?

Those netbooks look nice and shiny too.....

Ooohhh.....I don't know!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

UK - stiffed again

I read on PC Pro's website today that students are going to be able to get a copy of Windows 7 for only £30. Not a bad bargain I suppose.

The deal is available in the States too of course, where students will pay the princley sum of $30 (or $29.99 to be precise).

Now I've moaned about this before, but who's kidding who here. Whichever way you look at it $30 is not the same as £30, even taking into account anything you want to. As I write, $30 comes in at £18.16p, or the other way round £30 equates to $49.55.

Do they (whoever they are) think we're stupid? I guess so.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to winning (a)ways: Reading 0-1 City

It was back to wining ways tonight as City, beaten in their last two games secured a precious 3 points away at Reading's Madjeski Stadium.

Winger Chris Burke scored the winner on 58 minutes, in a mtch that City needed to win to restore their belief after the wheels came off their fine start to the season at Doncaster a couple of weeks ago.

The only blemish on the night seems to have been a red card for Stephen McPhail (will he ever learn?) although I'll wait for the full reports before casting judgment on him.

QPR next, this Saturday at home.

Up the City!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Toon time: City 0-1 Newcastle

This was City's biggest home league game for many years - both in the quality of the opposition and the occasion. Over 25,600 came to Cardiff City Stadium to watch the Bluebirds take on the Toon.

In the first half an hour City looked frightened of their opponents, standing off and giving them too much time and respect. This resulted in the games only goal, a scrappy affair after City had repeatedly failed to clear the ball. After that, City began to settle, but you can't give a team like Newcastle a goal start and expect it to be easy. It wasn't. They were fast, technically good and fairly physical as you'd expect from a team with Alan Smith and Joey Barton in it.

In the second period City blossomed a bit more, but the final ball was always poor, the crosses were rubbish and set pieces were, well, in need of a great deal of practice.

City had two decent shouts for a penalty late on but the ref was having none of it, and 1-0 was probably a fair result in the end.

It's set City a benchmark though. After a flying start we've now lost our last two, and we know that Middlesborough, West Brom and Newcastle are probably the sides we're going to have to compete with if we are truely to realise our Premiership dream.

C'mon City. Let's get back on it!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I haven't bought a gadget for a while. I'm happy with my iPhone 3G, and none of the Android phones, today's Palm Pixi announcement, or anything else in the smartphone vein is getting me all a bother at the moment. Doesn't look like we'll be seeing the Palm Pre here anytime soon which might have tickled my fancy, but reports of dodgy build quality and virtually no apps (compared to other platforms) has quelled my ardour for that device.

I did buy a multi-card reader for my PC if that counts, because my last one had died. This one isn't dead, it's got a red light on it and a green light when I put a card in, but the PC won't recognise any card at all. Bizarre. Not much to get excited about though.

But it's laptops that are getting me twitchy. I've mentioned before a couple of times that I'm getting a strange mid life (late mid life?) Mac envy, and I keep finding myself browsing pages where there are 13inch Macbook Pro's for sale. I even bought Mac Format the other day to while away a train journey, in case I learnt anything for if (when) I get one!

As a die hard Windows user for many, many years (nothing against Mac's just never bought or used one), I'm not sure what's brought this on, but the twitch isn't going away.

I've got a rather large birthday coming up in November which isn't helping as people keep asking me what I want (which for years has been "a pair of socks"), so a MBP is a bit of a leap of generosity!!! I've been a good boy though and have been saving some pennies, so I could add to the pot!

Help me out here....should I go for it?


So what does today tell us about English sport?

England are good at football, but crap at cricket.

Mmmm.....Wales lost at football too.

Tour photos

If you fancy a butchers at our recent cricket tour photo's you can find them here


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Co Pilot Live update for iPhone

My App Store application tells me there is an update to the highly impressive Co Pilot Live UK and Ireland sat nav software available.

It promises

- safety camera warnings
- improved GPS performance
- dial a POI from on screen
- restates and remembers a destination after a call
- improved activation for initial activation

Sounds good. Will d/l tonight

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Cricket Tour. Preliminary report

So here I am in Torquay for a short weekend cricket tour.
First night of tour has been negotiated safely. Drank too much inevitably and had nice curry. Hangover rating a pleasing 3/10. Could have been a LOT worse but I know my limits and only slightly exceeded them.

The big test comes later when we have to play cricket. There are three immediate problems

1. We've only got 10 men. One persona pulled out yesterday (but hadn't had the courtesy to tell us until I rang him to find outvwhere he was!). Actually we've got 11 but one's on crutches so doesn't count.

2. Of the 10 "fit" men we have I'm not sure many will have negotiated last night with the same level of hangover as me. In fact I'll bet half of them are like the walking dead this morning.

3. And still on those 10. One hasn't plate cricket for over 20 years, one can't remember when he last played at all, and one only plays about once a year

Could be a long afternoon!

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


This weekend sees my cricket club on tour. A team's worth (I hope) of Dinas Powys players will descend on "Tour"quay on the Devon Riviera notionally to play a couple of games of cricket, but with more intent to have a few beers (or a lot), have a curry or two, play a bit of pitch and putt and try not to do anything too stupid that will end up with us being thrown out of our hotel - or worse.

We went to Torquay last year too, and enjoyed it so much we decided to go back this year. I have to say it's a schizophrenic place. On Friday generally, and Saturday specifically, last year it was like Soddom and Gomorrah - I've never seen so many drunk (or trying to get drunk) young people in one place. Everywhere that remotely looked like it sold alcohol had enormous bouncers on the door who were all hooked up to each other via headsets more reminiscent of the FBI, and the volume in these places had to be hear to be believed - in fact you could have probably hear it 10 miles away.

On Sunday evening, the place was like a morgue.

Personally, I'm not one for loud "bars" and getting off my head - no really I'm not. I'm too old for that, can't cope with the inevitable hangover. I'd much rather sit in a quiet pub (fat chance in Torquay - 1) there are no proper pubs, and 2) they're most definitely not quiet). I long ago recognised that knowing your limits is the right thing to do, and have long since got to the point where I just sip my beer, watch everyone else getting rat arsed and politely troop off to bed at midnight or thereabouts. It's all good fun though. At least I'll be in a fit enough state to play cricket....

Panasonic KX-TG8423EB. It's just a phone

We've had a set of BT digital phones for a few years now, and they are truly awful. I don't recall what model they were, but everything about them was horrible, especially, and rather crucially the call quality - constant hiss and a volume you couldn't turn up above awfully quiet. I don't know what possessed me to buy them in the first place. Probably they were cheap knowing me.

Anyway, this week after many promises to "upgrade", we've done just that purchasing a three handset set of the rather snappily named "Panasonic KX-TG8423EB Digital Cordless Answering Systems" - a phone with answering machine to you and me.

I never buy anything remotely expensive and gadgety without scouring reviews, and these had pretty decent ones so I bit the bullet and shelled out a weighty sum on Amazon.

I have to say, they look very smart, and have enough bells and whistles to sink a battleship. I haven't quite worked out everything they can do - even the quick start guide looked complicated to me. On nice thing (and I know some other sets can do this too) is adding numbers to the address book on one and being able to automatically copy to the other two - worth it's weight in gold. I can even change the wallpaper to a Christmassy theme come the festive season. D'oh!

No -one's phoned yet, so no idea what the call quality is like!!!

Slam. The transfer window closes.

So the latest transfer window has slammed shut, and Cardiff City's big money signings.....err, none.
On the plus side, no-one's come in with a £6m plus bid for Joe Ledley - not even Stoke, who were desperate to sign him earlier this year. In fact our only transfer dealings today see the departure of 3rd choice 'keeper (or is it 4th - City always have a dearth of keepers) the Pole, Erwin Sak to Wrexham on a free. He's only about 4ft 3 anyway, so would never have made it at City, where we require all keepers to be at least 5 ft.

Talking of transfers, I bet my pal Murray over at Palm-Mac is dead chuffed with Aberdeen's re-signing today of that well known Faroese Under-19 striker Gilli Sorensen, 17, from TB Tvoroyrar......aren't you Murray?