Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup 2014

This will probably be my only post about the 2014 World Cup.

The main reason is the absolutely dyer performance of the England Team, in short they have been shocking, even more worse than the usual effort. Luckily Spain got knocked out before us so we weren't the first to get knocked out.

We played Italy in the first game, the pundits all said that we played well and were unlucky not to get a draw, I went along with this. I shouldn't, we lost.

We had to win the second game against Uruquay, they lost in their first match against Costa Rica. Apparently, Uruquays talisman "Luis Suarez" wasn't 100% fit! as it turned out he wasn't! but he still managed to run circles around our woeful defence and win 2-1. So putting us out of the tournament. 

Too make matters worse, we now face Costa Rica who only went and stuffed Italy in the other game. I'm dreading the game and probably won't watch it, the first time I remember not watching England at a World Cup.

Apparently it's nobody's fault, certainly not the players, some of them came out on social media and apologised for their performance, sorry lads, it didn't make me feel better. Classic crocodile tears. The pundits, particularly some of the ex-pros have backed them to the hilt, "time to build for the future"! Jesus holy Christ, I've heard that so many times, I'm beginning to think the scripts have already been written for Euro 2016.

Stuart Pearce seems to be the only one to talk sense, we need to bring the under 21 team through as a team, not play the young premier stars if they have a good half season in the prem. a statistic he gave out was that from the squad he took to the Euro 08 under 21 final against Germany, Germany had 6 players alone in the starting 11 of their team in their first match, we had 2 players in the whole squad. What happened to the other 21 players? 

Ok, now is the time to fix things.

Short term, start to pick the best players in the country, don't leave the best left full back and centre back at home, don't play people for who they are star wise.
Make anyone who wants to play for England sign up to it, country first, club second. This may mean not getting paid by their club when on international duty, only get the £11000 per game from the FA.
If they're not happy, not getting the money, then they don't play for their country. Simple....
The FA need to grow a back bone, face up to the Premier League, give clubs incentives to sign English talent, put a cap on salaries, if the Premiership can't except this, stop them from entering any FA sanctioned cups, FA Cup, Champions League, put the Chapion sides through, see how long the Prem clubs go without any money from those competitions. I do blame the Premier League for the current impasse with the national side.

Long term, I would like to see the FA get the best 50 14 yr olds in the country and form a national squad, this may mean them being released by their club. Again, if you want to play for the national side, you're going to do things our way. These young lads can then concentrate on playing as a team, fight for their place. When they are 18 auction them off to a championship or league team, not the premiership. The club can then pay their wages, but all the time, the national team comes first. If any of them want to play in the Prem, then they can, but they will forfeit their England place. When they are 26, then let them go to the Prem, let them earn the super big money.
Each year, take the best 50 players, maybe guarantee the club they came from the first choice when they go to clubs.

I believe this will work, it'll take 10 years even if we start today, but we've got to do something.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Another Thai coup

After 8 years, Thailand is in the grip of yet another coup. It was bound to happen!

A different set of elites were getting on top of the old elites. The old elites called on their good mates the army and there you go, Coup 101.

It's very different this time, there have been protests in the country and the army as responded quite harshly. Cracking straight down on protesters, shutting down social media for an hour or so (which didn't go down well), closing off mass transit points and people seem to be disappearing to hardiness camps for a week or so. Amazingly coming out happy.

Obviously, none of the old elite trouble makers are in trouble even though they started the last bout of trouble. No sir....

Even the Americans who are usually troubled by allied coups are voicing decent. The UK as usual haven't said very much, standard for a British government.

So the circle of Thai political life goes on, Coup - return to democracy - wrong party gets into power for old elite - old elite protest - coup.....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bangkok Post - No Comment

Since starting my visits to Thailand and subsequently living there I've used the Bangkok based Bangkok Post as my main source of information on what is happening in Thailand.

Since the Military Coup in 2006 BP as gone downhill fast, where once you could expect a fair and balanced editorial, now it is so biased to the Right/Yellow political side. Everything in the paper seems to be disagreeing with the current PTP/Red government.

This as been passed down to to the comment section at the end of each report. I've been a member of the comment forum for many years and have had over 100 of my comments printed, sadly I've had more than that not printed. It seems nowadays you aren't allow to criticise the PAD parties even when they flaunt the law daily and the only way to get a comment printed is to kiss PADs ass..

Last week I sent the following email to BP to find out why in the last 2-3 weeks none of my comments have been posted.

"I am trying to find out the reason why you have not printed any of my last 10 comments against articles that have appeared on the Bangkok Post website?

I understand that they are critical of either Khun Suthep, the PDRC and the Democratic Party. However I have checked the terms and conditions of posting and it does say that you should not comment in a political or in a personnel way about a person. So I guess that could be a reason. It seems though, that you able to say what you please about the PTP Government and the Shinawatra Family, but the first mention against the illegal street gathering and protests that are ruining Thailands overseas reputation are forbidden.

If this is the case, then please cancel my online profile and I will find a more reliable source of information on Thailand (BBC, CNN, Al Jezera, ABC)."

Surprisingly I've had no reply, like a lot of things in Thailand if you ignore a common truth the it doesn't exist.

Come on Bangkok Post, let everyone comment as they like and not how you'd like them too.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

No news please....

For the last year I've switched the radio station I listen too.

I now listen to Talk Sport, and whilst the programming is excellent and always an enforces on jokey banter, the best thing about the station is the lack of news and current affairs. I used to listen to BBC Five Live, a mixture of news, current affairs and sport. Sadly it's part of the BBC, an institution that used to be impartial and always my first port of call for news and info.

Nowadays the BBC is so politically correct and biased, I can't stand to either listen or watch any of their news programs. Take the recent and on going political problems going on in Thailand. They seem to be concentrating more on Thaksin Shinawatra still being in proxy control and less about the anti government groups that are actively seeking to suspend democracy and have the rhetoric of Europe in the 1930's. Why they chose this path I haven't a clue.

Same in Ukraine, a mob of right wing opportunists overthrow a democratically government is hailed as gallant heroes and when Russia dares to put their two penneth in, they tow the UK government line and condemn the Russians. Never a mention the number of times that the US and UK have entered different countries in the name of freedom and democracy....

Anyway, this is all behind me, I'm as happy as a pig in shit listening to Talk Sport and let all the important people get on with running the world.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

UK Storm 2014

Since the new year, the UK as been hit by one storm after the other.

I've known storms like this before but not one after the other like this, the ferocity of the wind as been at times scary. It's a case of waiting for the crash of a fence or a chimney stack coming down.

In all fairness in the East Midlands where I live we have been lucky, but in South west England, South Wales and the North west of England the storm have literally deadly for some people. 

The government as been it's usual self, slow to be bothered and when they come in for criticism they respond with what seems like minimal help. They have postponed the loss of jobs at the environmental agency for a while. Mind you the floods are getting close to the south east, so now that some of the MPs second, third and fourth homes might be affected then we might see some more urgent help being given out.

The only silver lining is that it is not that cold, if it had of been, all of this rain will be falling as snow. Then WTF.....

How safe are your apps

I have recently read an article on Yahoo about how safe are your apps? This report was specifically about Android Apps, on Andoid your can look at your app permissions. Has far as I can see you can't see the permissions on Apple so I don't know if the same applies, chances are it does.

You will see from the three photos below that I screen grabbed from my Samsung Galaxy note 3 that the app in question can listen to my calls, see who I call and even make calls using my number and at my expense. The same is exactly true and the same for SMS messages. Other bizarre permissions include being able to monitor, access and delete info from my sd card, turn my phone off, turn my wifi off, connect to my home network, look through all my photos and the most worrying of all, the app as full network permissions, one can only think about what that means.

I've deleted the above app from my phone, I've also gone through all my apps and uninstalled any that can make use of my phone at my cost. Unfortunately, this includes most anti virus apps which seems a bit ironic....

I've looked on certain web forums where the app developers have been asked why they need all these permissions? The stock answer seems to be "don't worry, we'll never use them". Which isn't really answering the question.

Oh yes, and just to let you know, the app in question in the pics is Facebook. So now I'm only using the mobile Internet Facebook site..


Saturday, February 01, 2014

At it again...

I've posted several times over the last few years about the political strife that happens periodically in Thailand.

2006 - (Whilst I was living there) military coup to oust Thaksin Shinawatra (TS)

2008 - Blockade of main airport by PAD (Anti Thaksin)

2010 - Occupation of Bangkok by Red Shirts (Pro Thaksin) many killed in its defeat

2013-14 Disruption by PDRC (same as PAD) of Bangkok and boycott of Elections

Unfortunately today, it as taken a sinister turn, whilst there have been several deaths through clashes. Today there was a full on clash between the PDRC who are blocking ballot boxes at Lak Si and the UDD (Red Shirts) who want the right to vote the latest addition of the Shinawatra family in to power.

It seems to me that any organisation who doesn't want to vote is entitled to that right, however you can't stop other people from voting. The main reason why the PDRC don't wont a vote is that they represent the so called Elite of Bangkok are sick of the people they call the un educated voting for the Shinawatra clan and bringing them to power. Their attitude towards the other parts of Thailand is one of old fashioned feudalism. The Master and Serfs.....

We'll it seems that the serfs aren't to happy about the elite ruling them from Bangkok and having their vote taken away from them and are beginning to stare.

The scenes today were shocking, I know the area very well. It's very close to were my in-laws live and we hope they keep safe.

Tomorrow is Election Day, in Bangkok and a few areas in the south where the PDRC have allies are going to be flash points. The rest of Thailand will be out to vote and won't be stopped. A good analogy would be London and the south east of England thinking that are better than us (wait a minute, they do) and trying to take the bulk of investment (which they do) and then dictating whether or not we could vote. The PDRC also want an un elected house of their own to be a second chamber, (which we also have)...

Anyway, as per normal in Thailand, it is seen as a weakness to respect anyone else's opinion, this is from high government down to the normal Jo in the street and until other people views are respected or even tolerated then this cycle will continue.

A PDRC gunman opens fire at Lak Si

A PDRC guard using a paper bag to hide his M4....

A group of PDRC guards pose for a pic, and above the one in the centre firing a vintage M1A1...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 & Galaxy Gear

I have had the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for just over 2 months now, at the same time I bought the new Galaxy gear watch.

I'm happy with Samsung as a platform, my previous Galaxy S2 had been the best phone I had ever had since I bought one of the first iPhones.

I was concerned about the size of the note, whilst the large 5.7" screen looks superb, the size is BIG. In the shop I tried the pocket test and too be honest, whilst you could tell it was a larger phone it still slipped in to my pocket easily. Whatever the size the sheer clarity of the screen is fantastic.

There is a very fast processor in the phone and you can do so much more than you can with a normal size phone, things like split screen, the ability to use the attached S Pen to open a internet section on the screen whilst your doing something else. the s pen should be on all phones.

Things I'm not happy with are that it's beautiful looks, it looks fragile. I dropped on Tarmac after a couple of days, thankfully it didn't brae, but there are a few nicks on it now. If you had a bumper or case then it does become a bit of a handful.
The camara is probably to good, I quite liked the point and shoot S2 camara, the 13mp on the note takes nice pics but seems to think a lot about them and the pictures sometimes seemed blurred. I've put the camara back down to 8mp and that seems fine.

I really like Android as an operating system, unless Apple bring something out that is game changing I can't see me swapping from Android. I like how you can customise the screen to how you want it, every android is potentially different not like the sheep like iOS.

What I'm really happy with is the 4G, when you have a signal the internet is loading in the snap of a finger, better and quicker than my home broadband.

The Galaxy Gear watch is the newest trend on the block, wearable tech seems to be the latest buzz. Whilst it doesn't operate on its own, all the functions operate through your phone via Bluetooth. You can dial, answer and look at notifications on your watch. If your need more info then it's a case of looking on the phone. It's really good at work, I can put my phone on mute, when someone calls I can see who it is and either answer or reject the call on my phone.
It as a 1.9mp camara on the side which again is useful in my job. I have also used the video function to film part of my rides when I'm out on my MTB.
When your driving you can see who is calling and answer hands free.

Overall I'm pleased with the package, I probably mshould have waited to later on in the year to see what comes out, but instead I've got a great phone now.....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Proud Dad..

Today, Elizabeth entered and competed in her first bike race.

It was the under 8's at the National Cyclocross champs in Derby. 

Elizabeth as only been riding her bike for about 2 months, it took a lot of trial, errors and tears to get her this far. Being into cycling and racing for the last 30 odd years, it was important for me to get her to have a go. I think she enjoyed it, even when she was super out of breath...

She will be riding again next Saturday and after that I'll make sure she as a summer full of cycling to see if she would like to commit to taking it up more next autumn.

One thing that did stand out today was how good she is at running, she ran with her bike better than most of the other kids, maybe running is her calling. Currently she does Karate, Brownies, football and cycling. She wants to have a go at archery and running as well. We'll see. I'm just happy that she is happy...