Month: November 2007 (page 1 of 2)

Free Book

If you read Edge or are a gamer of many years you may have heard of Steven Poole. After a critical post on Kindle he has decided to give away his first book, Trigger Happy for free. It’s available as a PDF on his site for a limited time. Enjoy.

Euro 2008

So England are out too. To be honest, and this is going to sound like a bitter Scotsman (too true), they never deserved to go through on not just tonight’s performance but their performance through out the whole qualifying stages. To be given a second chance by Israel and then blow it tonight on home soil with a real lack of guts and determination is pretty shocking.

McClaren was also pretty surprising. His demeanour was of a man sucked of any confidence or drive. Maybe that’s pressure, the press, the job. For whatever reason, he doesn’t look like a man to lead an international team. Standing with that brolly on the touchline trying to stay dry – nothing wrong with it really but it just sent out the wrong image. I guess it’s bye bye for him.

So no home nations at Euro 2008. Great attempts at qualifying from Northern Ireland and particularly Scotland. Terrible effort from Wales, Rep of Ireland and in particular England though. Room for a home nations tournament next year perhaps? Our footballers haven’t much else to do.

One last thought. Why is the Wembley pitch in such a bad state? For a stadium to cost THAT much money and have THAT bad a playing surface is a disgrace. To blame NFL and concerts is a bit rich. It cut up badly in the FA Cup final and has never looked in any way decent for a stadium with such a proud history.

Another Fine Mess

So the government has just lost the personal details for 25 million UK citizens who are claiming child benefit. Unbelievable.

“The missing information contains details of all Child Benefit recipients: records for 25 million individuals and 7.25 million families. “

That quote was from Alistair Darling and it’s the first time I’ve heard gasps from the House of Commons. Grand theatre or genuine shock it matters not – this was an amazing statement to be making from a government who are hell bent on forcing through an ID card system that is costly, hard to justify and one wonders just how secure it will be. Type of data missing…only:

  • National insurance number
  • Name, address and birth date
  • Partner’s details
  • Names, sex and age of children
  • Bank/savings account details

Enough to rip off your identity, have a good old stab at you security details on many online accounts and websites and generally ruin a lot of peoples life’s if the details fall into the wrong hands. Biggest shock of all is that this data was sent via TNT on a couple of password protected disks. What?!? It was sent on the 18th of October but senior management didn’t know it was missing until November 8th and the Chancellor on November 10th. Why has it taken so long for this to become public? That is an absolute disgrace.

It’s for the delay and also the Northern Rock fiasco which could cost taxpayers a lot of money that Darling really should step down. He’s a lame duck chancellor and he looks defeated every time he speaks in parliament now. In some ways it’s a shame as I thought he was fairly competent but not now. In fact when I hear his name I just think Blackadder.

Darling: Good luck, Blackadder.
Blackadder: Why, thank you, Darling. And what’s your big job here today? Straightening chairs?

Random Stuff

  • Picked up a new router as the old Linksys was starting to misbehave with Xbox Live. The D-Link DIR-655 has performed admirably since purchase with no issues to report. The wireless N has also increased speed for the laptop and has a far better range than the G Linksys. Gigabit ethernet has also increased speeds from the NAS and web sites and downloads are also a lot snappier. A great purchase!
  • Turned 34 last week. Getting old. Fast.
  • Spaces on the laptop works really well.
  • Still not bought an iPhone :-) Getting over the initial urge is the biggest hurdle on holding off for version 2. Christmas is next followed by official app’s in Feb.
  • Leopard is performing well although there are a few niggles here and there like images not dismounting or Finder taking a while to refresh. Nothing big really.
  • Four shopping weekends to Christmas – not got a clue what to get.
  • Weight loss still progressing well. I’ll do a proper progress post later in the year.
  • Some job changes at work are in progress. Hopefully. Maybe. Probably.
  • If you miss OS X hierarchical folders then OldFolder is for you.
  • The new Worpdress plugin update feature is great. Makes managing plugins a lot easier than it used to be.
  • Shut down Forza Leagues this weekend. We put a lot of effort into it but unfortunately the game and the small community let us down really. It still niggles just how much people demanded from the site and the admin team but put little back in themselves. It’s the first time I helped to run a community site and it’s an experience I don’t fancy repeating soon. Once bitten.
  • Still got a really nasty cold. Tiredness now gone but the snot hasn’t.
  • COD4 is the new Halo 2. The abuse and shouting before a game is tiring. If the dev’s could have picked up one thing from the beta or Halo 3 it should have been a quick method of muting and no way of hearing the other team until AFTER the match. Still, it’s a great game and the upcoming patch should address the small issues the game currently has.
  • OmniFocus now available. Looks nice and integrates well with iCal and Mail. Need to see how it stacks up against iGTD which is free and includes .Mac syncing.
  • Car passed it’s MOT with little trouble. I’ve had the Focus for six years now. While I’d like a new car, I don’t really need one so I’ll have it for a while yet I’d imagine.
  • Only four more weeks at work before I stop for Christmas break….and three weeks off. Bliss.

Emotion

Never has a football game been more looked forward to than tonight’s Scotland – Italy match. All week I’ve been getting more and more excited about it, more and more drawn in to the drama and passion surrounding it. Flower of Scotland has never been sung more louder at Hampden I reckon. Never have I felt so cheated and so down after a game of football.

We got off to the worst possible start and lost a really soft goal. To many not paying attention, Toni given too much room. At times we looked a real second best and a cracking Gordon save followed by a great decision by the linesman kept the score 0-1 going in to half time. But we had hope. Hutton came close and Weir’s header was cleared of the line. Second half was certainly better for Scotland. Hutton started to make the run’s we’ve become used to, Brown roamed as the game opened up and from a poor free kick we scrambled an equaliser. I went mental!! We had another glorious chance that McFadden just couldn’t connect cleanly with but it looked like a great draw for us and a nail biter on Wed as France went to Ukraine looking for a win. Italy brought on a defender and we seemed to have defended a late attack as Hutton covered in defence and then got fouled on the ball. WHAT? Crazy decision. The ref (bastardo) gave the Italians the free kick and they promptly scored. Game over, Scotland failed to qualify again.

I’m still gutted, almost empty at the loss. However it would be too easy to dwell on negatives, to familiar to adopt the unlucky loser mentality. Scotland have had a great campaign, one of their best ever and if it wasn’t for the group of death we were drawn in then who knows. To get to the position we were in tonight with three of the top ten teams in the world, the world cup runners up and the world cup holders is amazing and the whole Scotland team, past and present management and especially the supporters should take a huge amount of credit and also a massive amount of confidence into the soon to be drawn world cup campaign. Bring it on!

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