Tuesday, October 30, 2007


You may have read (if you've been bored enough) that some of my bones are a little creaky - especially in the region of my left knee. I had an arthroscopy a couple of years ago (keyhole surgery where they snip loose bits and suck it all out through a tube) which helped a bit. Since then though, things have gone downhill, and this summer, probably made worse by me continuing to try and play cricket (note the use of the term "try"), which forced me back to the Dr. They referred me back to my orthopaedic surgeon who arranged a scan.
Had the news today. Apparently generally the knee is in pretty good health - apart from the "bad medical osteoarthritis" (so what's good about that then I say?). So, the plan is that they're suggesting I have a higher tibial osteotomy. A what? Read the link yet? Sounds a bit brutal to me.....God knows when it'll happen - don't know what the waiting list is like these days.
Still when I'm laid up in my knee brace, I'll have plenty of time to write in this blog!

Palm related blogs I enjoy reading

One of these has given me a mention, so I thought I'd reciprocate.
Palmblogging is run by David. It's a general blog with a Palm theme as he's an avid Palm user. Not too technical, but focuses on what he does with the device - real life stuff. A daily visit for me recently.

Another of my daily haunts is Palm-Mac, Murray's blog of all things Mac and mobile. He's got/had more devices than you can shake a stick at, and his view of them, and the world in particular is very entertaining to read (in my view). Maybe it's because his set up is similar to mine in that he's got a Treo 680 (amongst others) and had for a short while an HTC Vox, and uses T-Mob as his carrier. Not afraid to call a spade a spade if he doesn't agree with something, I'd recommend blog this to any mobile gadgeteer.

My 'Big Daddy' though, a site rather than a blog is Palm 247 run founded and run (mostly - with help for a few key others [Neil, Mike, Peter - take a bow] by Shaun McGill. The site has Palm, Windows Mobile and Symbian options, but is really friendly, has several updates each day and is well worth adding to your favourites list if your a mobile device user.

Anfield here we come!

It's the big day tomorrow (Wednesday) when Cardiff take on the mighty Liverpool in the 4th round of the Carling Cup.
Let's not kid ourselves here, I don't expect City to win. What I do expect is for the lads to give it their best shot, and not go down like a pack of cards. You never know, though, cup competitions can be strange affairs. As the old cliche goes, a cup match is a one off, 11 v 11 on the day etc etc. Hmmm...
Now if RF was to score on his old hunting ground, that would be good.
Looking forward to this so much - I hope it doesn't let me down. We're going up with my mate who we sit next to in the Canton stand. He volunteered to drive (well done Andy). Our two boys will be well up for this too.
Going to be a long night though - especially if City take the Reds to extra time and penalties....LOL

Monday, October 29, 2007

Westonbirt Arboretum

We've just been to Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire for the day. The kids weren't at all impressed when we told them their first trip for half term was a day out looking at trees! They warmed to the task though, and both of them thoroughly enjoyed the walks through the stunning autumn woodland - there's almost 600 acres altogether I believe.
Bethan, who's 10, in particular was running from tree to tree looking for the name tags trying to decipher their latin names, whilst James (almost 13) conceded that it was "...much better than I thought it was going to be - it all looks so pretty".
It helped that the morning was glorious sunshine which managed to get the light perfect when it shone through the foliage, especially the acers.
Not cheap for a walk in woods though at £7.50 per adult and £2.50 per child, and teas/coffee/cakes is pricey in the cafe - take your own flask and sarnies as we did.
Undoubtedly spectacular though - we'll go again.

Digital Dilemmas

If you've read previous posts you'll know I love gadgets. My phone of choice for almost the last year and a half has been the Palm Treo - firstly the 650 and when I managed to break that, it's successor the 680. I love the Palm operating system, so easy to use, but the Treo is not without fault. Back in September I therefore on a whim bought an HTC S710 Windows mobile smartphone in the belief this would be a new dawn for me in my mobile computing world.
However, all it's done is confuse me.
The main reasons for switching from the Treo were, in no particular order:
  • Poor battery life
  • Weak signal reception (compared to other phones on the same network)
  • Random restets
  • A dodgy onboard clock that could "lose" up to an hour a day - iffy if your smartphone is controlling your calendar and alarms!
The S710 looked a great replacement on paper. It still had the pre-requisite for me - a qwerty keyboard - a neat slide out contraption, which allowed the smaller form factor over the Treo. A great screen, system stability, great battery life and good signal reception. This, I thought was the way forward - goodbye Palm.


Try as I can, I just can't ditch Palm and the Treo. Although the S710 cures all the failings of the Treo, it's just not as fast and intuitive to use as the Palm operating system. I find the lack of a touch screen particularly frustrating, the spinning beach ball appears too often as I wait for applications to open and everything takes at least one or two more button presses in Windows Mobile than on the Palm. Worse, it's locked up on me a couple of times when browsing the internet.
I've spent the last week swithcing my SIM from the S710 to the Treo and back again trying to decide which is the device for me. There's absoutely no doubt in my mind, that were battery life, and signal reception better on the Treo it would be my preferred smartphone of choice by a country mile, but just when I think I can live with those failings, they let me down. So I switch back. 24 hours later, the Windows Mobile interface is driving me back to the Treo!
There's no sign of Palm fixing these problems - or even acknowledging they exist, so little hope there. There's an new version of the S710 out soon - the S730 which promises a faster processor, so may be worth a look. I'd rather be using the Treo though.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beer, beer, beer

This is great! I love it!
Beer, beer, beer


It doesn't get any better. Looking to build on confidence after that demoralising defeat to Wolves midweek, City started abysmally against the "Iron". Took them 35 minutes to get going, unable to string a pass together, the only bright spots, on loan Kasper Schmeicel looking sharp and confident in goal, and a City supporter shouting "C'mon it's on;y Scunthorpe" that had the away 'keeper smiling. Then in about our first attack Stephen McPhail gets on the end of a JFH cross and volleys in from close range. I think that's the only time I've seen him in the opposition box in almost two seasons. Perhaps he should try it more often. 1-0 at half time, with the prospect of that clean shet manager Dave Jone sis looking for.

Too good to last?


10 minutes after the restart a low cross poorly defended and a low shot back across Schmeicel which he's probably admit he could have done better with. Followed by another turgid35 minutes. A few efforts late on, but a point's not good enough. Jonesy's walking a tightrope at the moment. The distraction of a Carling Cup tie against the might of Liverpool on Wednesday may be welcome for the fans, but behind the scenes there are serious problems that need sorting out, and quickly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

City 2 - 3 Wolves: Rubbish!

City were dismal again last night apart from a couple of bits of magic from RF & JFH. Roger Johnson must be gutted. I think he's been one of the outstanding players of the season so far, but manager Dave Jones dropped him for this match claiming defensive frailties had let us down in recent matches. Quite right, but not really RJ's fault in my opinion. He then sees skipper Darren Purse installed in his place make a mistake (again) for Wolves first goal, and Glenn Loovens outmuscled for their second, and then the defence concede a third from an unmarked header!

City defended so deep (they always do) they needed oxygen to get into Wolves half most of the time. Is it in their contracts that they're not allowed in the opposition's half? Give a side 30 yards free space and they'll make you pay - and they did. Apart from RF's cool penalty and JFH's neat finish from a great move City were poor. They need to improve for Saturday against those big hitters Scunthorpe, before we have the little matter of next Wednesday's visit to Anfield in the Carling Cup. Given Liverpool & City's form, it'll probably end up 8-9!

Stephen McPhail's been wholly ineffectual in the middle of the park - he's supposed to be a "playmaker" yet he passes 90% of balls backwards, and 10% of the rest sideways. I can't remember the last time he scored for City - or even if he has, and we're desperately missing Ricardo Scimeca to bolster that middle Gavin Rae didn't impress me early on, but he's improving, making telling tackles and even has a couple of goals to his name (listening Mr McPhail?)

Seriously, City are in relegation form at the moment, and they need something to happen quickly. I'm not sure bringing in yet another goalkeeper (Man City's Casper Schmeichel) on loan is the answer - what is it with City? We seem to sign more goalkeeper's than any other type of player put together and then don't use them.

Bring on Scunny!

Monday, October 22, 2007

England's Glory

What a great week it's been for English sport. The England football team qualify for next years European Championship, the rugby boys win the world cup and Lewis Hamilton wins the F1 Championship in his rookie year........errr - not.

Let's face it, when push comes to shove, this last week highlights all that's wrong with English sport. Over-hyped and generally over estimated.

Still, could be worse. You could be a Cardiff City supporter - lost again yesterday. Premiership material? What was I saying about over-hyped?

Sent by Treo 680

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Customer Support - not!

You’ll have to bear with me on this, but at the end might understand why:

a) I’m a grumpy old git

b) Have little patience with anything these days

c) Am losing hair at a rate of knots

Last week I had a call from my broadband supplier Pipex. A nice call. As an existing customer, how would you like a faster connection speed for less money and no catches? Yes please. And whilst we’re at it, free evening & weekend calls?

Well our domestic landline useage isn’t high, and I’m already on a near as dammit free Talk Talk package, but why look a gift horse in the mouth?

The confirmation emails from Pipex started rolling in. Order underway etc and then – “Please contact us – problem with your order”. So I did.

They said they could complete the order because I had a Talk Talk “tag” on the line and I had to get Talk Talk to remove it. So I rang Talk Talk.

Talk Talk said we can’t remove the tag as the line is “owned” by BT. So I rang BT. Meanwhile, each time I rang each company and groped tortuously through their call messaging services they told me how much they valued my call and that they’d be with me just as soon as they could, although they were terribly busy right now. Aren’t they always? GET MORE STAFF!

Anyway, BT kept me on hold for 20 minutes and I got fed up and rang off. Tried again this afternoon, got through quickly via the new sales line (ha ha – good trick) whereupon I was told, “Not our problem mate, need to talk to Pipex”. Notice a theme occurring here? Pass the buck? They also gave me a MAC code. For all you techies out there you’ll know this is a code needed when transferring a broadband service (which is strange because I wasn’t).

However, I rang Pipex and the nice man there said “Why did they give you a code? All you need to do is cancel the call package with Talk Talk, set up a line only rental with BT, and when you confirm that we’ll set up your call package”.

But what about my broadband upgrade I whined? Oh that’s all done and completed he said!!!!!!!!! I refrained from shouting at him (it wasn’t his fault) but kindly pointed out that if someone had told me that first thing this morning it would have saved me a great deal of irritation, frustration and dents in the desk where I’d been banging my fists. As it turns out you see, I’m not that really concerned about my call package, as it’s the broadband increase I was really after, but I seem to have been misinformed and understood that it was all tied together.

Maybe I didn’t read my emails properly, or maybe I was just given the wrong info. Either way, it’s clear that none of these companies really “value you” once they’ve got you. Customer Service is a laugh . They’re all too quick to push you somewhere else just so they can make the next sale.

Oh, and whilst making these calls, BT also managed to cut me off 3 times.


Pipex 6/10

Talk Talk 6/10

BT 3/10

Saturday, October 06, 2007

City 2 - Burnley 1: a home win at last

For the first time since March City finally won at home. In a nail biting affair against fellow Championship side Burnley, City went one up in the first half through Joe Ledley (pictured), only for Burnley to equalise through yet more sloppy defending early in the second half. Half time substitutions by the opposition, perked up the Clarets who'd looked very ordinary in the first period and they went close on a couple of occasions. Paul Parry though, having a decent game but unable to deliver anything like a decent cross decided the best way was to run at the defence and shoot; 2-1 City. Why oh why don't run at defenders more often?

Burnley though will have done their homework and knew that City have conceded very late in several games this year. They threw people up front and you could feel the tension in the crowd as the time ticked down, and the howls on anguish as 4 extra minutes were posted. But the Bluebirds hung on as the whistles for full time, more reminiscent of a winning FA Cup match, eventually saw the ref blow up we gained three valuable points as we start to climb the table.

The official MoM was Joe Ledley, but my pick was Gavin Rae who's looking stronger and more authoritarian in the midle of the park as the season progresses.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gordon or David? And does it really matter?

So we're still waiting to find out if the Chancellor - sorry - Prime Minister, is going to call an autumn election. Frankly, the conference season has passed me by. I'm sure that I should be interested in politics, but you can understand why so many people are apathetic about it.
For one, there actually seems to be little difference these days between Left and Right. Policies are similar and the legacy of years of 'spin' make many believe politicians are not to trusted, whoever they are or purport to represent.
Secondly about 75% of the electorate will vote the way they always have anyway - irrespective of policy and manifesto from any of the main parties. I reckon these fall into 2 main groups. Those that will never forgive the Conservatives for the years of Maggie even though that was years ago, and those that think anyhing left of Ghengis Khan is old Labour. Naive all. Oh, and there are a few of those Liberal Democrat folk who'll do anything to be best mates.
I can be turned, but probably more by local issues than national. I just wish Gordon would call it so we can get it all over with for the next 4-5 years.

Mobile email via Vox

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Can't keep a clean sheet

City remain unbeaten away from home this season, but can't keep a clean sheet to save their lives. turning round a goal deficit in the 1st half against Sheffield United to lead 2-1 at half time (another one for Robbie!), we went 3-1 up early in the second only to concede 2 in the last 5 minutes to draw 3-3. A win would have put us comfortably upper mid table, instead we lie mid table, and certainly not comfortably being only 2 points above the relegation zone. Promotion form? Not.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Black Gold (or cyan or magenta or yellow)

Two things.
  1. Never skimp on quality (although see point 2.) I've now bought at least 3 "value" inkjet cartridges for my aging HP 940C deskjet (it might be more), and on each occasion the cartridge has been naff. The colour one I put in yesterday decided that green is the new yellow. Granted it had been on the shelf for about 4 months, but it was unopened and still had the seal across the head. Cleaned the thing via the software, cleaned it under a running tap, shook it, threw it across the floor. Still yellow is green - or rather a sickly vomit colour. Morale? Avoid cheapo's - there's just no point. Stick to HP cartridges. And so to point 2.
  2. I bought the cheapo ones, because they were just that. Cheap. Relative that is to HP's own. But they don't work (for me at least). So off I trot to PC World on my way home (I know, I know - but I was desperate and it was on my way home.)

    £35 quid!!!!!

    For 19 ml!!!!

    That's about £1.90 per ml!!!

    And the chances are I'll run out of one of cyan, magenta or yellow well before teh other colours run out so I won't get my full 19ml's worth anyway!!!

    'Scuse me, but that's bloody ridiculous. If I'd needed a new black cartridge too I might as well have bought a new printer.
    In fact I might next time. There's nothing wrong with mine (apart from the extortionate ink costs), but it's a few years old now and according to the PC Pro mag their A listed tea making duplex printing Canon Pixma iP5300 is only 75 notes (and I bet I can find it cheaper), and their 2nd choice the 5300's little brother the 3300 is only £32!. Stupid.