Saturday, October 27, 2012

Top of the League!

Ok, it's still only October, but Cardiff City tonight sit top of the Championship, three points clear of Leicester City, with the BBC website headline "Cardiff thrash Burnley to go top".

It was as comfortable an afternoon as City have had this season. Burnley, the league's top scorers showed little threat, nullified by an organised and disciplined team performance.

Malky Mackay opted to start with Kim Bo-Kyung the Malyasian summer signing for the firsttime, and Jo Mason stepping in for the injured Bellamy. It was Mason who struck early after a cracking Noone shot cam back off the bar. It was Noone who made it 2 after the Clarets keeper could only palm a fierce shot which cross the line before the keeper clawed it out.
2-0 at half time and the game looked to be in the bag. City enjoyed dominant possession in the 2nd period,  and Connolly, impressing at right back made it 3 on 81 minutes before in a replay of Tuesday's game Gunnarsson came off the bench to score making it a 4-0 rout on the day.

Everyone looked on top of their game today, but Cowie, Connolly and Kim particularly impressed. Karim Frei, on a month loan from Fulham covering injuries cam on late and looked a class act too.

That's 7 from 7 at home from City. They haven't all been as comfortable as this, but that's 21 points at home from 21. Excellent stuff. Up the Bluebirds!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mine's a mini.....

So, the deed is done. After giving it a lot of thought (well, ok not much thought at all), I've ordered a 32GB black iPad Mini and rather exorbitantly a blue cover for it at an whopping extra £35

Truth be told I've been lusting after a small form factor tablet for many months now. I almost bought an HTC Flyer, and was very tempted by the Google Nexus 7, but I was fairly confident that Apple were at some stage going to release a smaller version of the world dominating iPad.

I'm glad I waited. This looks a stunning device, although nay sayers say it's overpriced, and the display not being retina isn't as good as it could have been.

Lets face it. Apple doesn't do "it's not as good as it could have been". This will be a superb device, and yes, no doubt in it's next iteration it may well get retina. But for me it's not a show stopper. It's not really even a show pauser.

I can't wait to get my hands on this little beauty, and all being well 'll get it on my birthday a week today. That'll be a nice present!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To iPad mini or not?

I have a nice but tricky decision to make. I'm getting an iPad. That's the nice bit. The tricky bit is whether to get the new Mini version or the full size daddy version.

I've been hanging on knowing the Mini was imminent to see the final specs. It's pretty much as universally leaked. No retina display, 7.9", etc. Cost is £269 for the base 16GB wifi only model.

I think I probably will get this as I fancy the slightly greater portability the smaller unit provides over the 10" version. pre-orders are available from this Friday so I better make my mind up soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

City 2-1 Watford

Well this was a strange game. After Saturday's defeat at Forest a home game against a Watford side was just the tonic, especially with Bellamy back in the line up.

City started fluently but had no cutting edge. Watford were surprisingly cynical for a side manages by one of football' greats, Zola.

Early in the piece City had a great shout for a penalty which was turned down despite giving Bellamy an injury which forced him off at half time. To make matters worse, Watford, comfortably the worst side I think we've seen at CCS this season tool the lead from a poorly defended corner. Cue 11 men behind the ball - they couldn't believe their luck.

In the 2nd period City began to pile the pressure on but agin with no final result. The crossing all night was poor. The game turned when the first Watford player was sent off for allegedly catching Noone in the face. Shortly after Connolly's shot was handled and Whitts made no mistake from the spot. Then a second Watford player saw red for a second yellow. It was inevitably all City now but somehow 9 man Watford held on and even had the cheek to break a couple of times. Gunnarson and Gested entered the fray late on to try and make the breakthrough. Eventually someone (Noone) put in the first decent cross of the night in added time and Gunnar buried it. 2-1 city with a little help from he ref. Not a classic, but 3 pts. Again a #fail for all those City fans who left early - why DO they do that?

Burnely will be a tougher yet on Saturday, and almost certainly without Bellamy and Smith who were both injured. Smith looked great before he pulled up and I've revised my initial view that he wasn't a great signing. I think he's been excellent when he's played. Just need him fit.

Up the City!

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

City. A weekend to forget

It was a poor return to league action for the Bluebirds after the international break as they went down 3-1 away at Forest.

I only heard snippets on the radio being otherwise engaged, but what stuck out was the description by Radio Wales commentators as an "abject performance" by the Bluebirds.

The conspiracy theorists have the result down Tony's wearing out blue away strip, with the team having won every game they've played in red. More obviously they just never got going and where undone by sixty seconds of poor football.

Still, back on it at home on Tuesday v Watford (in red of course) and we're still right up there. One game does not a season make.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Four of the best

I've posted something similar to this before, but it was a while ago, and may be useful to rehash for those of you who are newer to smartphones, or have not come across these before (unlikely.

In no particular order - well that's not strictly true - I'm going by the order they appear on my phone.....

 Evernote is the ideal app for storing your snippets of stuff. It's cross platform, so there are variants for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android etc and it has an online app too - by default you sync your stuff to the cloud, but if you run it off several devices it's available everywhere. You can store notes, audio, photos, files etc etc. Basic comes free - if you have lots you start to pay, but it's worth it. There are also browser plug ins so you can snip info straight from web pages - or even whole web pages if you want. If you store loads of "stuff", it's a no brainer.

One of the earliest modern "cloud" repositories and arguably still one of the best. Download the app (again it's cross platform), and anything you save in your dropbox folder gets synced to the cloud - where you can also access it online. It's got versioning, sharing and loads more. Again, there's a rather stingy 2GB limit on the free version, but you can pay for more space. Again, where-ever you are whatever device you're using, you can access your Dropbox stuff.

I use the calendar on my iPhone a lot. The bog standard Apple calendar however is fairly sparse in functionality. I've long used WeekCal in it's place. It's brilliant. Loads of options, loads of views, great support. It syncs to the inbuilt calendar so if like me you use your iPhone hooked via iCloud to a Macbook (or Mac desktop) everything is there, all the time. A highly polished calendar app and highly recommended.

There are a myriad of password managers out there. You really need one. No you really do. Really. If you're using the same password, or simple passwords for multiple sites, frankly you're an idiot (sorry, but it's true). You're just asking to get hacked, and probably, sooner or later you will be.
1Password allows you to create and manage complicated paswords that look like "gGt6%_43@£449+qEsW3" (and no, that's not one of mine). But the beauty of it is, you don't need to know this, and you certainly don't need to remember it. 1Password does the creation, storing and retrieval from a browser plug in. All you need to do is have one (1) secure master password. Password does the rest. There are as I said, lots of these password managers/vaults out there. 1Password is pricy. But in my view it's the best. Also cross platform, so I have it on my PC, my Macbook and my iPhone and it all stays nicely in sync without me worrying about it. 

Will football ever learn?

The disgraceful scenes during and after the Serbia v England U21 game last night should be a final nail in the coffin of racism in international football. If the accusations are true and there's little to suggest they are not), the book, nay the library should be thrown at Serbia (who are not alone in the international arena in this it has to be said). They should receive a massive ban from international competition for years and an even more massive fine. But they won't. It'll be fudged

In other farcical scenes, England's senior WC qualifier against Poland was postponed because some numpty decided that despite torrential rain forecast, and duly arrived, even though the stadium had a roof, they wouldn't close it and the ground was waterlogged. Bizarrely, when the European Championship matches held in the same stadium in the summer were played, they had the roof closed.

I'm not sure what the qualifications are to get a job in football, but clearly common sense, a sense of justice and right from wrong isn't part of what is required.

Mr Grumpy

For anyone new to The Lentil, please be warned. Unless you like football (and specifically Cardiff City), gadgets or miserable old gits moaning, you're probably not going to get much from this blog.
You have been told!

Gadget dilemmas

Generally I'm a happy iPhone 4 user. Since the mad rush of blood to the head when I stood in the opening day queue for 5 hours for my "4"  to replace my iPhone 3G I've enjoyed using the phone. When the 4S cam along, there was little in there to persuade me to upgrade, and since then - almost two and a half years now, I've been content.

The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy SIII earlier this year did peek my interest. It's a great phone, with a fantastic screen, and great specs, and over the summer I started to waver just slightly, but have always held back because I still liked the iPhone 4, and I have a Macbook Pro, and I'm getting an iPad, and Apple stuff, well...'just works'.

The other thing I was holding off for, was the arrival of the iPhone 5. I was keen to see what Apple would do to counter the charge of the SIII as one of the flagship smartphones. Well by the time Apple announced it, we all knew anyway because of the leaks. And I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. I was most hoping for a bigger screen. What we've got is a 'taller' screen. Other than that, and a few inevitable tweaks in processor/camera it's much the same as the 4S and arguably 4 before it.

Those in praise say it's all because it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary and why change a winning formula? The critics say Apple are running out of ideas. I'm largely with the former camp, but I was hoping for a bigger (i.e. taller AND wider) screen. My eyes aren't what they used to be, even with glasses. The SIII screen is very appealing.

Additionally, having played with a 5 a couple of times, it's newfound thinness and loss of weight makes it feel....let's not beat about the bush. Cheaper. Although clearly it's not with the cheapest unlocked version (the way I prefer to buy) weighing in at a very hefty £529.

And more worrying, one of the 5's I've played with, and reports from more than one person I know who's got one, have suggested build quality isn't quite what it once was - despite Apple's reinforcement of matching parts. One of the units I saw had a distinct rattle if you tapped the rear plate. The user had been told it was the vibrate unit in the phone. Sounds very dodgy to me.

The synchronicity I have with my Apple devices is re-creatable on Android & the SIII with Google and Dropbox - and I already use Gmail as my default mail anyway. I can get an unlocked SIII for under £450.  So what's stopping me shunning the iPhone 5 and going with the SIII or keeping the faith and upgrading to an iPhone 5?

Well firstly, either way it's a lot of money. £450 - £529's worth to be precise. I can do a lot with that sort of dosh. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly (and sensibly), at the moment, my iPhone 4 is still performing admirably. Arguably it does all I need from a smartphone. I won't be doing anything differently, or new if I had a 5 or an SIII. I'd just have a newer device, and be lighter of pocket.

It's inevitable that I will upgrade at some point. And it's probably inevitable that it will be a 5 as I do like Apple devices and the Apple 'ecosystem'. But it's not guaranteed - yet.

I'm off to count my money.....