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.