Category Archives: sport

Lights at nights and prats on the pavement!

As the evenings are drawing in, earlier and earlier and the dawn rising later and later, the growth in cycling on our roads (mostly!) grows ever more dangerous.  There’s a combination of bad behaviour from both cyclists and motorists part that can lead to accidents and when this is compounded by the advances in lighting technology, the lack of practical legislation and the result of government budget cuts – well just look out that’s what I say!  Allow me to expand on this…

From a UK health perspective the growth in cycling is a bonus – especially for those older people who are trying to exercise without adding undue stresses and strains on their ageing joints.  Not everyone can afford to join a gym, or wants to have their own static bike when the draw of the open air, the the feel of lycra on your skin and the “crack” of riding en masse exists.  Good on you I say.  If the roads had been kept in better condition and not left to rot away until they offer nothing less than an assault course for the rider I’d be with you – at least in summer when it’s warm, and light!

First off bad behaviour – on both sides!

I’m a driver not a rider.  I appreciate that my 2 tonne vehicle is perfectly capable of turning a cyclist in a bloody pulp.  So I do NOT drive up their arses, jump (or even totally ignore) red traffic signals, I indicate clearly what my next move is going to be and I give them as much space as I give a horse when I’m overtaking them – safely.  So I get extremely p*ssed off when I come across a pack of lycra clad morons who are either, totally oblivious to the queue of traffic that is building up behind them as the saunter down a country lane – 2 abreast (and when there are lot of them even more abreast!!), or just being ****ing arrogant!

I drive patiently, whilst I may be seething inside my comfy cabin, I understand the argument about “safety in numbers” but still, c’mon these are roads we are talking about not the bleeding Serengeti!  Drive responsible – everyone!

Jumping red lights – According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, 57% of cyclists admit to running red lights. A 2013 YouGov poll found that 35% of cyclists admit to ignoring red lights at least “occasionally.” If caught jumping a red light, cyclists can be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £30. OK these are kids – bloody stupid kids – but they’ll grow up into bloody stupid adults – if they’re lucky!

Let’s now focus on technology, specifically lighting technology.  When a car approaches with its headlights poorly adjusted there’s every chance that the driver is going to get a taste of his or her own medicine as the recipient of the dazzling elects to give the other driver the benefits of his or her own full beams!  Modern lighting is getting too bright, so when it is badly adjusted it’s actually dangerous – if you have to close your eyes, even for an instant, to avoid being dazzled (and having your night vision destroyed) you can’t see where you’re going… Now this isn’t as some writers have shown, down to my age – I’m not talking about the deterioration of my eyes – I’m talking about lights that if the individual was driving behind you would be dazzling you in your rear view mirror – i.e. too high or those lights which seem to be permanently readjusting themselves by flicking up and down or aligned incorrectly – too far to the right!

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders maintains there is no evidence that factory fitted high-power lights distract drivers and that lamp-levelling technology ensures they are safe.

Yeah, right….bollocks!

In fact there is clear guidance as to how they should be set up – this from Wiki-How :

There are mounting screws and adjustment screws above, below and to the side of the headlight. Park your vehicle 25 feet from a wall, and place a piece of tape horizontally 4 feet high across the wall in front of your vehicle. Turn on the low beams. Adjust the headlights until they shine on the tape.

Your car would fail its MOT test if your lights are poorly set up.  So you’d expect the same for those “xenon” style LED lights that bicycles are now using – wouldn’t you…and you’d be WRONG!

According to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations (RVLR), it’s illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors and rule 60 of the Highway code says:

“At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.”

Bike Radar offers guidance on bikes and lights –

Is there a maximum brightness for bike lights?  No there isn’t, but you don’t want to dazzle oncoming drivers, for obvious reasons!

“If your lights cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other road users, then you’re breaking the law and the police are within their rights to fine you,” says Cycling UK. In practice, though, as long as your bike has a front white and red rear light it’s rare to be stopped and fined by the police, but please be considerate to other road users.

One more word of advice — don’t mount your most powerful front light on your helmet. It completely dazzles oncoming road users, and is very inconsiderate.

So it’s mostly you MUST have lights at night and only an aside about don’t dazzle other road users…well let’s go back to that image at the top of this post.  Have another look at it – here it is again…

Have a look at the right hand hedge.  It must be at least 6 foot high.  And it’s being illuminated brightly by the light on the front of the bike…  Now take a look at the left hand hedge…it’s almost in the dark.  Now if that was me driving towards this numpty I’b be less than impressed.  In fact I’d have to say that at least 50% of the bikes I meet at night have overly bright, even dazzling lights, whereas for cars the figure is closer to 5%.

Maybe it’s about time that bikes need to have MOTs – to get their lights tested at the very least.  Maybe it’s about time the Police stopped some of these morons who give the rest of the cycling community a bad name and did something about it – but they won’t ‘coz Theresa May has cut their budgets by 25%, and officer number are way down, and they don’t even investigate burglaries anymore – so to expect them to leave the city centres late night opening establishments to pull cyclists over for jumping red lights and having dangerous headlights is never, ever going to happen – until someone changes the priorities.

I mean, for a PR stunt, you could always knock BoJo off his bike to generate aware of bike safety, or even better stop the twat from riding around by making him MOT his bike.

Also I would like to make 2 final points about cyclists – specifically those in Oxford.  Oxford is a city that pats itself on the back (repeatedly) for being extremely bike friendly.  Loads of bus/bike lanes for them to use, masses of “parking” spaces for bikes, speed humps and other road calming measures to slow the traffic down.  They’ve even gone so far as to reduce the amount of parking for cars in the centre so you have to use the park and ride schemes they have introduced.  Great, all those measures must make it a paradise for you cyclists out there…well there are 2 things that you can do to make it safer – for us drivers who now have turned into pedestrians so we can get around your city:

  1. park your cycles nicely – don’t just strew them around making it tricky to get past them..
  2. don’t ride on the ****ing pavement!

That 2nd one is actually an offence – it seems to confuse many cyclists about whether or not they are allowed to cycle on the pavement. According to Laws HA 1835 section 72 & RSA 1984, section 129, cyclists must not cycle on the pavement.

Political correctness – sorry, but yes it has gone mad!

2016-02-01-1195outragePolitical correctness
noun
the avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

The definition from Dictionary.com and there’s one absolutely KEY word and that is “perceived” – perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult..etc etc.  Perceived by whom?

There are plenty of people out there who are prepared to “educate” us about how we should be using language e.g. Tess Thorson, Ph.D. Fellow at Aalborg University, based in New York, researching intersectional representations in film and media – I perceive her analysis of a Jonathan Pie video as both deep and deeply patronising at the same time – but I welcome the fact that she has the freedom to express it.

In the last few days we’ve seen stories in the news about students no longer clapping but using “Jazz Hands” instead to make events more accessible to those suffering anxiety.  And we can no longer show the Shetlands in a box on a map…although authorities can avoid complying with this if they provide “information” about their reasons!!

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t plenty of bits of language that we shouldn’t use – there are – although I perceive that there do seem to be more and more…and yet still more being added to the list – almost daily!

Take “black” and “white” for example – the meaning behind these two has changed dramatically in the past 30 years.  My first wife was black, no sorry that should be Afro-Caribbean – or should it be BAME?  Well when I was in Jamaica there was a clear divide amongst the locals which was dependent on their own perceptions of skin colour – black skin was perceived to have a higher status than brown skin – their perception not mine!  My nickname , as given by the smiling, cheeky, kids on the hillside outside of Mo’ Bay was “whiteman” – I certainly wasn’t insulted, I felt accepted!  Yet today “White” is an insult, a term laced with denegration and meant to demean.

We are constantly being told that we need to be more considerate, more inclusive, yet at the same time some people – comedians for example – are perceiving that they are far more constrained, that they now have less opportunity to poke fun at the things and people that damn well need to have fun poked at them!!  Here’s Frankie Boyle back in 2015.

I find it incredibly worrying that we no longer need to hear the actual content of the thing we’re told to be offended by. We hear of people being arrested for tweets without the tweet being reported; comics are blasted for routines that aren’t printed; newspapers hire lip-readers to find something to get offended by at the tennis and then print the resulting fuckfest as asterisks. And who decides whether we should be outraged at something we haven’t seen or heard? The press. Our seething collective Id. None of us would trust a journalist to hold our pint while we went to the bathroom, yet we allow them to be ethical arbiters for the entire culture.

..and it’s not just journalists, see the good Dr listed earlier plus this article by Julia Watson which won The Economist’s Open Future essay competition in the category of Open Society – there are plenty of people keen to reduce your and my ability to use langauage.

To me, a believer in a meritocracy, a lover of language, and a lover of good comedy we need the freedom to be perceived as being “politically incorrect”- even though comedy is inevitably at someone or something else’s expense.  It’s been at “my” expense, my late wife and I both howled at the numerous hard-core cancer gags that Frankie Boyle delivered at the New Theatre in Oxford back in 2012 (she died in 2013) – we didn’t perceive that he was being politically incorrect – just painfully funny.

And do you know what is the most worrying thing of all here?  It’s the fact that it’s some appalling behaviour by no less a character than (yes you’ve guessed it!) Donald Trump that has pointed out the issue really is about perception.

Kurdish journalist ‘proud’ to be called ‘Mr Kurd’ by Trump.

Rahim Rashidi told Middle East Eye in an email on Friday that he felt “proud” and “honoured” being addressed as “Mr Kurd”.

“For a long time, the Kurdish people have been denied their self-right to Kurdish ethnicity,” Rashidi explained.

“Kurds have experienced assimilation and genocide, simply for being Kurdish. To be addressed as ‘Mr.Kurd’ means a lot to me. To recognize my identity when it has always been denied is a great deal for me. Especially by the president.”

Wow!  I mean double-wow!  Good on you Mr Rashidi – I applaud you!

Of course there are boundaries that normal life applies to the use of language to “highlight” various groups in society – and these boundaries and the groups they “highlight” differ from culture to culture – but all cultures have limits on what is acceptable, what is politically correct and what you can get away with.  Embracing different groups and cultures is vitally important, we shouldn’t be seeking to exclude them BUT #FFS are you happy that:

  • In 2007, Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia, were banned from saying ‘Ho Ho Ho’. Their employer, the recruitment firm Westaff (that supplies hundreds of Santas across Australia), allegedly told all trainees that ‘ho ho ho’ could frighten children, and be derogatory to women. Why ? Because ‘Ho Ho Ho’ is too close to the American (not Australian, mind you) slang for prostitute.
  • ‘Reliable’ and ‘hard-working’ – surely the two keystone employers look for in an employee? Well, maybe not: a Hertfordshire recruitment agency boss was once told she could not request those qualities – Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, told her such an advert could be “offensive” to unreliable people.
  • Undoubtedly the rudest-sounding dish in your recipe book, Spotted Dick is  pudding made with suet, raisins and currents. It dates back centuries – the earliest reference is 1849 – but that didn’t stop one overly concerned council from changing the name to Spotted Richard. Flintshire County Council was apparently sick of all the jokes, so changed the name – much to the chagrin of everyone else.
  • Oxford University’s Equality and Diversity Unit tried to accuse people who avoid eye contact with others of ‘racist micro-aggression’ — before it was pointed out that such advice might be seen as discriminatory against people with autism who may struggle to look others in the eye.
  • Suffolk County Council stopped using traditional signs warning drivers ‘Cat’s eyes removed’ after fears that real cats may have been killed to manufacture these reflective road safety measures. Ipswich resident Rebecca Brewer was reported as saying: ‘I have a five-year-old daughter who was very upset the first time she saw the sign — she really thought cruel people were torturing cats.’ Instead, signs across the county now state: ‘Caution, road studs removed.’
  • Use of this braided hairstyle by white people is said to represent cultural appropriation. When the designer Marc Jacobs was criticised for using a group of predominantly white models wearing dreadlocks in a show, he argued — not unreasonably — that this was similar to black women straightening their hair. This was met with further outrage from (mostly white) commentators who complained that hair-straightening had been ‘forced upon the black community due to beauty ideals based on white archetypes’.

Well let me tell you – I’m not happy about that list.  In fact the Daily Mail, that arbiter of good taste (NOT!) provides a complete A-Z guide for you to peruse and make your own minds up about – because it really is about you and how you perceive things.

perception

But really you just need to be nicer to people – on a one to one basis, face to face.  Be sensitive to other people’s situation but do not, never ever, stop highlighting what you perceive to be injustice, exclusion, racism, sexism or any other kind of ism and remember those words from your childhood…

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

I urge you, if you still have the stomach for it to watch Jonathan Pie’s Hammersmith Apollo show – there is an entire section on political correctness and despite what some might say – it’s spot on the mark!   In fact let’s keep “political correctness” as a term specifically for politicians – those lying, mendacious, self-publicising egomaniacs who use and abuse language on a daily basis – causing offence to many, avoiding questions, taking our money and continually getting away with it – Trump, Johnson etc etc you know who you are.

 

Fighting for life? Or fit to drop?

Sometimes you know progress sucks.  I mean it’s been several years since wearable technology became a “buzzword” yet there’s still nothing really cool/useful out there.  Look at it now…it’s fighting for life, it’s fit to drop!

I mean ok, Apple Fanboys have their watch, but it really doesn’t deliver all that much.  At the same time you’ve seen crooks like Yassir Belhaj, the guy behind the Indiegogo and subsequently Kickstarter promoted Sowatch debacle that fleeced nearly 3,000 people out of a total of over $350k, screwing things up royally!  At the same time you’ve had major brands such as Samsung, Fitbit, Polar, Huawei, TomTom plus a host of others, including Apple, try and fail to deliver a killer piece of kit – and they’ve even had multiple goes at it!!
Frankly it irritates me that this market opportunity hasn’t been grabbed by somebody with an ounce of common sense and a bit of vision – just look at the “best fitness trackers in 2018” – I mean, c’mon, this is amateur hour stuff!!

[Takes a step forward at this point….]

Back in December 2014 I wrote a piece called “Convergence is the way forward” on my Wearable Tech Review blog….

Some companies seem to think that by maintaining an incredibly narrow focus they’ll succeed – well I’m afraid if you’re aiming at the end consumer – the likes of us – then they’ve just failed!

I also referred readers to what I saw as a device with massive potential – the Samsung “Simband” which helpfully they described as…

It’s our concept of what a smart health device should be.


The video promotes it as having several sensors that continuously measure and monitor a user’s biometric data. It uses optical, electrical, and physical methods of collecting heart rate, blood flow and pressure, skin temperature, CO2 and oxygen levels, EKG levels, and even simulated blood pressure, all to display real-time electrocardiograph information of it all – and it tracks movement and tells the time too!!

Way too cool!! Take my money now…

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Not even Samsung managed to deliver the concept.  Their Gear 3 is a “premium watch”…I don’t want a premium watch I’ve got one and it’s got far more cache that a Gear 3. The Gear Fit 2 wasn’t much better..a big lump of a band with a colour screen that drained the battery faster than a swarm of hungry mosquitos feasting on your arm!!

In the past 4 years there’s been a lot of activity, a lot of hype followed by a lot of half-arsed products hitting the market (I mean not even waterproof – WTF!) and a number of companies going to the wall!

I did put together what I was looking for in my perfect device – back in January 2015 – and guess what?  Nobody’s got close….

  • If you were to take the best bits from this lot, starting with my existing Rolex as the starting point and encapsulating the concept that the Simband most effectively sets out you’d end up with a replacement strap which delivers it all!

    Naturally I’ll want it to learn about my normal “biometric” behaviour as it monitors me so it can identify anything “abnormal” and then warn me about it!

    It will also be required , via the back end of the service, to provide me with those actionable alerts – not to mention the reason why I need to act upon them – and of course praise when it’s deserved – sorry when I deserve it 🙂

And look how many of them are still going…Pebble, Nymi, Kairos, GoBe, Amiigo, Micorsoft Band?  Where did they go? If only they’d listened 🙂

 

Just take my damn money…please!

Look I’m all in favour of Tim Berners-Lee’s idea that the World wide Web should be free for everybody but sadly there are too many people out there today who insist on screwing it up by riddling the useful content with shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating advertising!  It’s got so bad that I’m coming round to the idea that for some things I’d actually be prepared to pay a monthly fee to make these damn pieces of time-wasting crap disappear!

..and don’t think I’m not talking about you Spotify – you’ve got the nerve to take my money and then send me crap about new releases by those artists who are able to pay you enough to invade my privacy on their behalf!

There are a number of aspects to this…

  1. what am I prepared to pay for
  2. how much will I be prepared to pay
  3. why online advertising is so shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating.

Let’s start with the “What”:

The birthplace of the web was CERN – Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989. The web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.  See that…the sharing of information.  And the definition of sharing is?

To allow someone to use or enjoy something that one possesses. 

No mention of charging for it anywhere is there?  That came a lot later when less pure minds that Sir Tim’s decided that all these people provided an opportunity to make money – and lots of it, shed-loads of it in fact – big huge aircraft-hanger sized shed-loads of wonga!  And like me, Sir Tim’s not a happy man, although his beef is probably purer than mine which is just about advertising.  He’s more concerned with the rollback of net neutrality protections, the proliferation of fake news, propaganda and the web’s increasing polarisation!

“Gas is a utility, so is clean water, and connectivity should be too,” said Berners-Lee. “It’s part of life and shouldn’t have an attitude about what you use it for – just like water.”

So what am I prepared to pay for?

Stuff that I want to consume – stuff that entertains me like music, (that’s why I pay Spotify each month for a service I can’t stream to my hi-fi because the quality is designed for mobile phones and my GigaClear 50MB broadband is so flaky – and the router is a piece of poo! – that streaming hi-res is a non-starter!) and I’ll happily pay Amazon for the ability to read a book while I’m on holiday (Agios Stefanos NW Corfu since you’re asking!) or maybe to stream a movie as part of my Prime subscription – that’s cool, I’m happy to do that.

I’ll even pay for knowledge or software that helps me to consume and to create – such as specific training or apps from Adobe or even bloody Microsoft’s Office 365!

But I won’t pay for news!

That should be part of Sir Tim’s original idea about sharing information.  The WWW is meant to be a tool to enable us ALL to understand what’s going on in the world, to bring us closer together (yeah well done Boris you twat!) and generally make the world a better place.   However I WILL accept a limited amount of advertising to get this as I realise that information providers (except the BBC and I already pay my licence fee £150+) aren’t charities – they need to make money to pay their staff!  But I won’t pay them a subscription as it’s not worth it – not to me anyway!

And how much will I pay?

Well, this is more of a case of how much am I already paying!!  If you total up your household outgoings on things like your TV licence, SKY, broadband, mobile phone data, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc etc you’ll be amazed by the figure you get to.  I reckon I’m spending over £1,000 per year!  And I’ve cut back!  It’s easy to spend more than £1,500, maybe even £2k!!  OK, don’t be pedantic, I know that SKY tends to be delivered over satellite – it’s the overall cost of accessing content that’s important here!

As these things are pretty much standard across UK households today, and with the average take home pay of <£21k per annum, you’re likely to be spending over 7% of your annual income on this stuff – maybe as much as 10%.  Now 7% may not sound a lot but imagine if your salary was cut by 7% – how much harder would that make life?? Exactly!

The huge expansion of the digital world has made it particularly hard for some companies, notably newspapers, and apart from the rag that is the Daily Mail they aren’t really succeeding (The Mail was always full of small ads anyway so it was a natural development for them, and their readership).   And I’m not going to help them by paying to get past their firewalls while the likes of Twitter are around – it’s quicker, more opinions so you can read both sides of an argument and of course it’s free – except for the sneaky ads!!

In fact it’s Twitter, or rather another player in the arena of social media that provided the straw that has broken the camel’s back –  so to speak.

So I’m now at the stage where I would be happy to pay for access to certain social media applications (it begins with a “F”) in order to avoid bloody advertising – if nothing else I’m sure the saving in blood pressure medicine would offset it!! (Relax that’s just an analogy I’m not on beta-blockers or anything similar)

So, why is online advertising so shite, highly intrusive, extremely irrelevant and hugely irritating?

….to the extent that now I’ll even pay to avoid it!

Well let’s go back to a bit of online business 101.

First off, if you’ve got that great idea, you want everyone to know about it and the web is really helpful here, as it allows you to reach a lot of people.  Let’s say these people like your great idea and flock to it – hey presto you have what is called in the trade “an audience” or lots of “eyeballs”.  So whereas people used to have to stick posters up in the street, things developed as people could get newspapers to print stories about their great ideas which other people then thought, hey if they like that maybe they’ll like mine to so I’ll make sure information about my great idea is in there too.  Next came TV which offered an even bigger channel to the audience and even more people started to “advertise” their great ideas, although now there so many great ideas – they weren’t all great!

With the growth of the web a number of great ideas got really, really, popular – like billions of people popular!  And the people who owned these great ideas thought to themselves…hmm I can make money out of this – it’s called “monetization” by the way!  So they started to allow advertising on their great ideas.

Look at possibly the best great idea ever – Google!  Originally just lists of stuff that matched your search term. Then 3 “sponsored” results appeared at the top of the page.  Today?  Maybe on the first page you’ll be lucky enough to find 3 “natural results” amongst the 20+ “sponsored” ones – that’s what Google calls advertising btw!  And Google make a massively, gigantic shed-load of money from it – as do some other great ideas.

What they also do is get make of these ads pop up on other websites you might visit – and have you noticed the order in which websites load?  The site’s branding is followed by all the adverts and only then does the content you actually wanted in the first place appear – naughty, naughty!  In other words it’s highly intrusive and hugely irritating!

But what about extreme irrelevance?  Surely, you shout, they’ve got algorithms that make sure that the advertising you see is relevant to you!  It’s true that if you search for something via Google or Bing (does anybody actually use Bing? And what a stupid name!) you’ll be bombarded with ads for whatever that was for ages – EVEN AFTER YOU’VE BOUGHT IT!  How relevant is that?  And let’s not even go into the activities of travel sites that rack up the prices if you leave and then come back!!

OK time to get to the absolute nub of this rant!  Facebook, yes Marky boy this one’s on you, recently decided to make life difficult for their profile users.

“As of August 1, Facebook no longer allows third-party platforms to post to personal Facebook profiles. As a result, Hootsuite no longer supports scheduling and posting to personal Facebook profiles.”

They wanted to stop us using the likes of Hootsuite, WordPress et al to automate/schedule our posting to our personal profiles.  They still allow scheduling to “pages” just not “profiles”.  So what do I do?  I choose to create a page from my profile, and to be fair it didn’t take too long to achieve that but once I’d “published” it, the troubles started.

Clearly Facebook believes that if you’ve got a page you’ve got money to spend, so they put an “advert” on your news feed (which only you can see) prompting you to spend money promoting your page.  Now that’s fair enough, their business model is about making money so I let the first one go..and the second, and the third.

But when I realised that they were bloating my news feed with multiple – and here I mean it might be one of their ads every 3 real posts – adverts, on and on and on.  Different creative suggestions but loads and loads and loads.

Now in amongst the reams of “help” they allegedly provide there is absolutely NOTHING about how to stop this.  Basically I don’t think you can and frankly I’m, not prepared to hang around to see if they eventually give up, so I’m deleting my page – screw ’em!

I’m going to publish my content elsewhere, I’m going to prompt readers of my social media diatribes to read the content on other platforms and even though they won’t give a damn – I’ll feel a lot better – and that’s the important thing here 🙂

What would really help me, and I’m sure millions of other people, is if some philanthropist kinda person decided it would be really cool to provide an open source advertising free or a subscription based social media channel.  I’m pretty sure that it would have a rapid uptake.  If Camelot allows me to win the Euromillions lottery this Friday I promise I’ll have one built and if Sir Tim permits I’ll call it TimsWeb, or Tim’s Place or Worldies or something similar!

 

 

TomTom – NO!

Crunchwear.com describes the TomTom Touch Cardio as a “sleek new design and optical heart-rate monitoring”.  Sadly it’s not a TomTom Go – it’s a TomTom – NO!!

Normally you, as a company with a new product imminent, will tease the media, maybe even handing out review units, to encourage people to review it – hopefully favourably, well they didn’t send me one 😦

That slight aside, I have had the chance to read the Crunchwear review and the TomTom website product information – and there are a couple of issues I’d like to bring your attention to.

First off the review on Feb 8th ends up with a message saying that it will available in March at £89.99 – the company’s website says £129.99! Wow that’s a big difference for a product which, “body composition” apart, is inferior to the Xiaomi Mi Band2 which only costs around £35. 

And, secondly, not only is it a fraction of the price it’s also waterproof.  Why oh why did TomTom not make this premium priced device waterproof?   As their website says “Do not immerse in water (swimming, surfing, bathing)” – while, at the same time, exhorting me to wear it all day!  Doh!

These lapses worry me.  I’d expect a company such as TomTom to have got  their collective s**t together – this isn’t the first wearable device they’ve launched.

There have been enough generations of wearables for companies to realise what the customer actually wants (don’t even get me started on the “notifications” that it delivers – yawn!!  So friends, despite the device being made to TomTom’s usual high technical  standards and build quality (like I said I’m inferring this as they didn’t send me a review copy – harrumph) I can’t recommend you buy this – #WTRSAYSNO!

 

 

Now I’m shocked by the FA on “Bite-Gate”

Apparently….

  • Luis Suarez had not “fully appreciated the gravity and seriousness of this truly exceptional incident” say the Football Association’s Independent Regulatory Commission when describing why the player received a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.
  • The three-man panel added that the severity of the punishment was in order to send out “a strong message that such deplorable behaviours do not have a place in football”.
  • They also said the FA had a “duty to discourage any players at any level from acting in such a deplorable manner”.
  • @FA claim that they didn’t look at Suarez’s previous record in issuing the 10 game ban. So why so harsh?
  • @mrdananwalker of the BBC says – So #Suarez panel didn’t consider previous offences but still banned him for 10 games. Doesn’t reflect well on FA process or #LFC defence.
  • According to the FA – The FA claimed Suarez bit Ivanovic to a) hurt him, b) try and get him to retaliate and so get sent off – really?

Wow clarity of thought and direction – just what we have come to expect fom the FA – NOT!!!

Shocked by “Bite-Gate”

He’s a flawed genius – or a nutter – or just a fantastic football player – whatever your perspective he’s certainly generating column inches right now.  From our own PM David Cameron – who really should know better, to ex-hard manfootballer and now pundit Robbie Savage there are a kaleidoscope of opinions out there over what may yet be termed “Bite-Gate”.

Some well argued some plain dumb and sadly some just plain sensationalist – searching for that last ounce of meedja coverage – stand up Phil McNulty of the BBC who spoils a pretty fair overview of the situation with some misguided hyperbole – “Sunday’s shocking incident“.

Shocking? Er? Really? Stupid – definitely, mindless – absolutely, requiring punishment – clearly but shocking…. Not really, and that’s got nothing to do with the man and his history of offences that’s a comment on the beautiful game.

Shocking is knowing that Roy Keane went deliberately out of his way to hurt Alfe-Inge Haaland who still carries the memory. keane As Keane wrote in his book – Keane admitted in his book that he set out to injure Haaland that day: ‘I’d waited long enough. I f****** hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***.

In terms of Cameron’s comments about setting an example to young people – isn’t Roy Keane now a football pundit on ITV? I haven’t heard Cameron say anything about that.

Shocking is the performance of some of our top rated linesman and referees who appear blind to the pulling and tugging and obstruction going on in the penalty boxes in today’s matches.

Shocking is the length of time it has taken to get goal line technology accepted in football when even tennis, for heavens sake, has had it for years!

Shocking is the inconsistency of decisions and action taken by our own FA. By the way I’m a Liverpool supporter and that link’s from an Arsenal blog. Think of it had the referee seen the offence and sent Suarez off it would have been a 3 game ban period, the FA would not have been able to review it and jump in with their size 12’s.

Perhaps most shocking of all is that the man at the head of world football, Sepp Blatter, blatteris almost universally considered to be corrupt and running a corrupt organisation – awarding the World Cup to Qatar…..

That’s what I call shocking!

So yes Suarez has been stupid and it’s frustrating that a man with all the talents that he possesses – possibly one of the top 5 most gifted footballers in world football today reacts in such unacceptable ways, but does he deserve the ferocious attacks from those living in glass houses (Cameron et al)? No he does not. He needs help – he doesn’t need the actions of Evra (biting a fake arm) as he celebrated winning the Premier League title, nor the way that the media considered that this was just a joke! evraPerhaps they view this as a joke too?

Do I think that Suarez and Liverpool should appeal – on moral grounds I do – however I can’t see us getting much joy so sadly I think we “bite the bullet” and get it over with sooner rather than later – this season’s almost over – let’s not waste any more games next season.

Finally I applaud Ivanovic for the way that he has conducted himself through this sorry mess – he’s been extremely professional – in a way that many others less closely involved have singularly failed to do.

As I was writing this post it has been confirmed that Suarez will not appeal. I and many others hope that we can now move on but equally we demand that the FA is consistent in the way that it now deals with cases they bring under the Violent Conduct rules.

All I want for Christmas is a penalty

Have referees gone mad?  Certainly the one at West Ham seemed to have experienced the “red mist” and there must be something about the lighting at Anfield to make their vision cloudy.

I appreciate that our talisman Suarez has rubbed them up the wrong way but even so to penalise the team by not penalising the opposition is a bit of bah humbug that’s been running since the opening day of the season.

That said could you hang on till the West Ham home game – I’ve got tickets and I’d like to be there to enjoy the special atmosphere and humour of the Anfield faithful when that special day finally occurs.

Happy Christmas everbody!! 

Time to change the rules

This from ESPN – and many other sources highlights the crazy situation that if a referee sees an incident and thinks from his perspective it doesn’t need any further action then that’s it – the individual has got away with it. –

However if he books someone or sends them off he can review that later and change his mind.

Equally if he didn’t see it and the very same video shows him what really happened the player can be penalised retrospectively.

Is it time for the rules to be changed – I think so!

Huth escapes FA ban
October 8, 2012
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By ESPN staff
Stoke defender Robert Huth has escaped punishment from the Football Association over an alleged stamp on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.

Liverpool were left frustrated by a typically robust Stoke side at Anfield on Sunday

Suarez, 25, was left with stud marks to his torso after Huth, 28, appeared to stamp on him during Sunday’s 0-0 draw between the two clubs at Anfield.

However, referee Lee Mason has since confirmed that he saw the incident at the time and chose not to take any action against the former Chelsea player. Under FA rules, that means Huth cannot now be charged retrospectively.

The Germany international has previous with English football’s governing body after it handed him a retrospective three-match ban for punching West Ham’s Matthew Upson while playing for the Potters in 2009.

New season – but where are the goals going to come from? Here’s where!

I know it hurts when you see other teams spending loadsamoney on new players and then no big names come in the transfer window but chill people, there is plenty of goal scoring talent out there.

  Gerrard – 150 goals so far for the club – he keeps on delivering – let’s look for another 10-15 goals this year.

 

 

 

 

 

  Suarez – 17 goals in 39 appearances during his first full season – he may miss lots of chances but with the more mobile support in the forward line he’ll make more goals too.

 

 

 

 

Borini – scored 9 goals in 20 league starts, including a brace in a 4-0 win over Inter Milan in 2011 – he needs to adapt to the pace of the league but he’s already getting into the positions to score – he’ll come good this season.

 

 

 

 

  Assaidy – Back in Holland, he would end the season with a tally of nine goals and 13 assists in 31 league games in 2011. I can’t wait to see in a red shirt!

 

 

 

 

  Sahin – struck six and assisted eight in 2011 – .

 

 

 

 

 

  Morgan – 18 yrs old – the young scouser fired 21 goals as the Reds finished as runners-up in the league in 2011 – expect to see him step up this season – almost had his first in the Hearts game!!

 

 

 

 

  Yesil – 18 yrs old – has scored loads at age group international level – a real goal poacher!

 

 

 

 

 

With the likes of Sterling, Shelvey, Johnson all chipping in there’s lots to be positive about and remember – Owen was only 17 when he burst onto the scene and the new group of youngsters has plenty of potential – they just need the opportunity. I can’t wait for Suso to be given the chance – we can’t afford to let his talent go to waste like Pacheco – c’mon BR!

There’s more pace more mobility more skill and trickery in this season’s squad – once they come to terms with tiki taka and each other I see a much more enjoyable league season than last year!!