Gerrard – Best Ever?

Please don’t get me started on whether a player (of any club) is the best player ever to grace the the shirt of (insert your team here…)

For me, it’s impossible to draw comparisons. And that’s in any sport. Jack Nicklaus vs Tiger Woods in golf for example. The game has evolved. Looking at LFC specifically, I’ve seen some magnificent players throughout my years watching games at Anfield. But each “best” player, was the best of that period, playing other teams from that period. I doubt that some of the legends of the 70/80’s would be able to keep up with the fitness levels and pace of the game today. The reverse is true, I couldn’t imagine some of the players today being able to play on the rain sodden mud pitches with the old laced footballs of yesteryear. It was a different game then. You need to compare like with like.

I look at it differently, if you were to grade all the players of any team on the standards at the time on a scale of one to five, on the basis that only the real legends made it to category one, then Gerrard most certainly fits into that category along with many other Liverpool greats. But that doesn’t make him *the* greatest.

In my view, he’s timed his LFC retirement well, it’s far better to go out as close to the top as possible. Arguably, that could have been at the end of last season, but at least this way he can soak up the atmosphere of his remaining games and let the crowd show their appreciation of his efforts over the years.

I’m sure we’ll see him back at some point at Liverpool, but I suspect now he realises he’s not quite the player he needs to be to maintain the exceptionally high standards required to compete at the top level of the Premiership. He’s still got plenty left in the tank to make a huge impression at another (none English) club before he finally hangs his boots up.

Thanks for all the memories Stevie, there have been some very good ones, and I suspect there may be some more to come 🙂

 

Back on air…

A few months back we had a change around of rooms. The result was that my office / shack moved to an upstairs bedroom. No problem with that in itself. What was an issue, was that all the aerials for my amateur radio activities remained routed to the old shack.

Finally, after a delay that’s been too long, and entirely my fault, I’ve managed to rectify the problem. For a short term fix until I know what plans I have for which bands I want to concentrate on, I’ve simply installed a couple of coax patch cables from the old shack to the new one. It does mean I have to manually decide which aerials to patch through, but at least I’m now back on air.

I suspect it’s likely I may appear in some of the “Tuesday” VHF contests from time to time, and also endeavour to see what I can do on 5MHz.

At least it’s a start!

M.

More on FTTC in Churchtown Southport

Is it really that long since I posted something? Abject failure on my part! 4 out of 10, could do better is something I recall from my junior school report days. Seems things haven’t changed. Maybe a New Year Resolution? No, sod that.

Just a quick update on the posts from earlier this year about “Something is coming”.

In short, at least for me, it’s still coming, and as ever, it’s delayed again. As far as I can tell only one of the highlighted cabinets is now offering fibre broadband. P12 (Roe Lane). While two other cabinets have been installed, according to the BT availability checker, even after three months they’re still not accepting orders.

What I have found, is a site that (finally) appears to show the plans for fibre across Merseyside. Ok, I acknowledge Merseyside doesn’t actually exist, and I abhor its very name, but if you are looking for details on what’s available, or what’s planned in any area from Liverpool up to and including Southport, the Merseyside Connected website is a very good place to start. Consult out their Postcode Checker. Sadly, my postcode was “Planned” for 2014. Given the activity around the cabinet in May, I kind of assumed that target was very achievable. In fact more than likely would be easily beaten. Wrong.

Some weeks ago, the planned date changed to “First half 2015”. Being the eternal pessimist, and given their (BT OpenReach) track record, that’s late June 2015. Another 6 month delay. Over the last couple of weeks, it’s now stating “End of March 2015”. So who knows? I think I’m destined for several more months at snails pace. Time will tell.

What I find strange is that I pay top dollar for a “premium service” from one of the better suppliers. With line rental, and 10MB/s download I shell out nearly £75 a month. Sure, it just works, I’ve absolutely no issue with Zen, in comparison to other so called “service” providers they are a class apart. But when FTTC becomes available it’s likely my bill will reduce by around 25 to 30 quid a month. So cheaper for a faster service. How the hell does that work?

Anyhow, for now, signing off.

Yours truly in the slow lane….

Liverpool FC’s Renaissance

Over recent years, other than several significant Cup wins, Liverpool’s record in the Premiership, or the old League Division One as I still like to call it, hasn’t been great. Specifically, they’ve not won it since the 89/90 season.

I am lucky enough to have experienced the “glory years” as some call it, where winning the league, was almost taken as a given, and if we didn’t win, second was more or less a safe bet. Since then of course, things have been a little different.

While there have been several false dawns, the current squad, under Brendan Rodgers, and more specifically the way he has the team playing, is certainly bringing back memories of how the Liverpool teams of old used to approach games. And I’m rather liking it.

A top four finish this year was my hope. Beyond that, maybe in a couple of years or so, with a handful of games to go, if there was technically a chance we could be in the mix for the title, I’d take that as a huge leap forward. Well it appears we are already there. If Utd beat City this week, and Liverpool win all their remaining games, we’ll be Champions. Do I think it’ll happen? Almost certainly not, but to get this close, and to see the way we’re playing, gives me great confidence for the years ahead.

I’ll subscribe to Rodger’s “only focussing on the next game” approach, but I’m sure there are many supporters who are already daring to dream?

Happy days….

M.

 

Quarter 4 2013 running summary…

Rather than spamming my twitter feed with constant updates on where, when and how long I’m out running, I’m going to try and provide a monthly and quaterly update on how many miles I’ve covered.

Since I started my running back mid 2011, I’ve now covered in excess of 2,500 miles. As some of you may know, my job can take me abroad quite a lot, so I’ve been lucky enough to be able to run in some pretty cool places. When that’s not possbile (or safe), a gym treadmill has to suffice.

So, the results are in, for October, November and December 2013 I clocked up 282 miles, which averages out at 94 miles a month, a little under my target of 100. Must do better in 2014! That said, in order to preserve the old knees, I’ve also started swimming a fair bit. Each day is likely to be a swim or a run, with probably one day a week off. Current “normal” run is 7 miles and usual swim is 1 mile.

Here’s to an active 2014!

M.

BT Infinity – well apparently not for me.

Getting somewhat depressed now. My local exchange was Infinity enabled nearly twelve months ago, but as BT fail to point out, at least outside of the small print, getting an exchange enabled for Infinity certainly does not mean you can look forward to an uplift in internet speeds.

The first port of call for the twisted copper pair once it leaves your house, is a local street side cabinet. After some research, mine is “CAB39” on Fleetwood Road in Southport. While BT may well have enabled the exchange that it’s connected to (in this case Churchtown), it sadly has not enabled every cabinet connected to it. And guess what, CAB39 is on the “unlucky” list. BT clearly have their reasons as to which cabinets they will enable, and those that they won’t, and I’d be astonished if it was for any other reason than what the return on investment is likely to be. If it’ll pay back quickly, it’ll get done, if not, at least for now, forget it.

While I’m in fairly highly populated area. I can only assume that the amount of folk hanging off this cabinet who have broadband must be small, and hence it makes no business sense (at least to BT) to enable it. Fine for them, a bloody nightmare for me.  Sure they’ve prioritised (rightly) those areas that had buttock clenchingly piss poor broadband (due to distance from the exchange), but since I have pretty good existing speeds of broadband (10 MB/s up and 1MB/s down), that’s no doubt deemed ok for now.

What hacks me off, is the lack of transparency from BT on this. Why put posters everywhere in the area saying BT Infinity is available, when clearly it’s not available to everyone. More to the point, there’s no way (at least to date) that they’ll commit to me when it might finally get done.

Seems like I’ll be stuck in a technological “Black Hole” for some time to come yet. That, or I just move.

M.

Further on BT (Residential) Broadband

Further update. Still on BT (Residential), my speed has dropped to 5MB/s as opposed to 10MB/s on O2. Service so far is woeful. DNS servers timing out and still can’t change the hub settings. Pages take an eternity to show up when browsing.

If anyone is thinking of shifting to BT I’d seriously advice against it.

So, my “port” to the business service is due to complete by midnight Friday, I’m hoping I should be ok at that point, if not, sod the termination charges, I’ll pay them and be off, this service is simply not good enough as it stands.

Anyone got any good recommendations? Seriously hacked off that O2 (BE Broadband) have sold out to Sky (although I can understand why), but my last experience with Sky wasn’t good, but at the moment I’d consider anything other than BT. PlusNet? Zen?

M.

Jupiter in Taurus

IMG_0049Since it was a nice clear night, I thought I’d take the opportunity to have a play with the camera to see what images I could capture of the night sky.

The obvious candidate was Jupiter, shining very brightly in Taurus. I took several images at various ISO settings and exposure times, but this one seems to have come out the best. Alderberan (the red star) can also be seen.

Light pollution as ever a problem, but doubt that will change at least while I try and take photographs from home. Very tempting to take the camera to some lovely dark countryside locations. Could have done with it in North Sweden a few weeks back!

M.

CyanogenMod on an HTC Desire

Many moons ago I acquired an HTC Desire, at the time, it was the “smartest” of the smartphones I’d ever owned. Sure, there were issues, specifically the severe lack of application memory and (as ever), the woeful upgrade path to more recent versions of the Android operating systems, but nevertheless, I was very happy with it. As with all Android, I loved the fact you could tinker with its innermost workings, something (unless you were prepared to jailbreak), that was not possible on IOS. As I saw it, Android was an “open” system, and IOS very muck “closed”.

Then the problems started, since applications are really vetted as such, on Android, all sorts of crap became available that when installed essentially crippled the phone, excess data usage, flattened batteries, it all appeared to be out of control. I elected to “root” the device and install a custom rom. In some respects that helped, more application space, but the roms themselves were developed (I guess) by people like me, and some were very flaky indeed.

Result? I wanted stability over an open OS so went for iphone. I’ve been with one ever since and still never regretted it. Sure they may not be as cutting edge as some devices, but they just work, and battery life aside, and work very well.

So, the other day, clearing out my top drawer, I came across the old HTC Desire and decided to give it a fresh lease of life. I always have two phones, one for work and one my own, which until recently was either the Windows 8 phone or iphone 4. But I’m selling those now and needed something else.

In short, if you head over to the XDA developers forum at http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=594 you’ll find all you need to flash the very latest and greatest ROMS. Due to issues mentioned previously I’m after stability, so trying to run the very latest Android software on a platform it wasn’t designed for is madness. I chose Cyanogen 7.2.0.1 which is a gingerbread build. If you follow the instructions you can set the partition size, install all the various loaders, download the ROM, install it and you’re away. At one point I did think I’d “bricked” it, but again, following the troubleshooting guide, managed to recover nicely.

I can report that it all works very well! OS is lovely and stable, and since I’m only putting the “standard” apps on, battery life at least at the moment, appears quite acceptable. All in all, a good result!.

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CNET new ways of working…

For those (like me) who’ve used cnet to download software, please be aware they have now changed their ways of working. I always pay close attention to what other “crap” these installers throw up, and have found that usually cnet is ok.

It’s not now, there’s all sorts in the small print that if ignored will lead to very undesirable malware being installed on you PC. Here’s a post from someone who found out the same thing. http://polizeros.com/2012/12/28/cnet-downloader-installs-malware-without-permission/#.UVHhBhdlUtk

What’s worse, you can’t even de-select the crap, it’s a mandatory option. Idiots. No more cnet for me.

M.