Archive for April, 2012

It is going to be the biggest night of the season for the English Premiership

There is a joke that the unofficial greeting in the US state of New Mexico is “red or green?”, implying that each conversation opens with asking whether someone would prefer red or green chilli peppers. Is the unofficial greeting in the northwest England city of Manchester “red or blue?”, to determine the allegiance to one of the city’s two football teams, Manchester United or Manchester City.

The title contenders - it is a two horse race

The red half of the city has long been dominant over the blue half. Mahchester United became the most successful team in English football league history in 2010-2011 season by wining the Premiership a record 19 times, surpassing Liverpool’s record of 18 league titles, which they had achieved in 1988. In 1988, Manchester United had only 7 to their name! The 12 titles since 1992 have been largely down to the most successful manager ever in English football, the Scottish (Glaswegian) Sir Alex Ferguson.

A few years ago, in 2008, the Manchester City football club was bought by one of the richest men in the World, Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi, who has given the club nearly unlimited money to buy the best players in the World, and to recruit one of the game’s up-and-coming stars of management, Roberto Mancini. One of the stated aims was for Manchester City to be able to challenge their neighbour’s dominance of the domestic game. 3-4 years on from his buying the club, Manchester City are now vying with their more successful neighbours to win this year’s Premiership title, a title Manchester City have never previously won (they last won the old English League title in 1968).

Where the title goes this season will probably all come down to the match this evening between them. Going into the game, Manchester United have a 3 points advantage over Manchester City, but if City win tonight at home in the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City will go above United on equal points but with a better goal difference. With only two matches remaining for each club after tonight, if Manchester City can win all their 3 remaining games including the derby with United this evening, the title will be theirs.

The Premier League as of Sunday evening

There has not been a closer race for the title in several years, and to have one between such bitter rivals is what sporting contests are all about. The English FA are expecting viewing figures for tonight’s game to be over 650 million people worldwide, which will probably be a record. I will be in running club, but by the time I finish the game should still be on, so I will listen to the 2nd half on the radio.

Who will have the bragging rights on Tuesday morning, the red half of Manchester, or the blue half? As my team is Chelsea, I am neutral. Who do you want to win?

Manchester City won 1-0, in a tense game. The title is now theirs to lose.

The front page of the BBC Sports website

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As my last post mentioned, I was recently on holiday in Cuba. The first public building I visited, on my 2nd day in Havana, was the “Museo de la Revolucion”, which is in the grand colonial splendour of the former residence of Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator removed from office by the 1959 Communist revolution which Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara led.

The 4 cretins honoured on this wall are Batista, Ronald Reagan (the 40th president of the USA 1981-1989), George H.W. Bush (the 41st president of the USA 1989-1993) and, finally, his son George W. Bush (43rd present of the USA 2001-2009). It is interesting to note that the 42nd president, Democrat Bill Clinton, is not given the dubious honour of being on this wall. But, perhaps most surprisingly, also no John F. Kennedy (35th president of the USA 1961-1963), who tried to get Castro assassinated.

El Museo de la Revolucion

The Museum of the Revolution

Tucked away in a corner of the ground floor is the following wall. There is nothing like propaganda 🙂

The "Cretins" wall of fame

Batista, the US installed and supported dictator who was removed by the Communist revolution. The caption says "Thank you cretin for helping us make the revolution"

Ronald Reagan, the actor turned president. The caption says "Thank you cretin for helping us strengthen the revolution"

George H.W. Bush (George Bush senior). The caption next to him says "Thank you cretin for helping us consolidate the revolution"

George W Bush. The caption next to him says "Thank you cretin for helping us make socialism irrevocable"

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This post is only peripherally about the wonderful R.E.M. song “Losing My Religion“, it is mainly about losing my iPhone4 whilst abroad. [In fact, it is barely about the song at all.]

The iPhone 4

At the end of March I went to Cuba.

The Malecon, Havana, Cuba.

Unfortunately during my stay there I managed to leave my iPhone in a taxicab in Havana, whilst riding along the very road shown above, the Malecon along the seafront.

The Revolutionary Museum in Havana (residence of the former dictator Batista)

Now, as some of you may know, iPhone’s have a facility on them called “find my iPhone“, which when activated will allow you to locate it. I don’t know the details of whether it uses mobile-mast triangulation or the built-in GPS in the phone (I’m sure I could find out with a bit of hunting on the internet).. But, what I do know to my cost is that, unless you are careful, it won’t work abroad.

By default, iPhones are set up so that “data roaming” is switched off. This is a good thing, as accessing the internet via the mobile network when abroad can be VERY expensive. But, what I have discovered is that the “find my iPhone” feature requires the iPhone to be able to access the internet, which in 99% of situations means it is going to need data roaming switched on, unless of course it is left/lost within range of a a WiFi signal.

I have played with the “find my iPad” since getting back to see how well it locates my iPad, and it does seem to be able to locate it to a high level of precision, which leads me to suspect it is using GPS, but I plan to go into Cardiff’s local Apple Store to find out more. But, it would seem to me that people should be advised to switch data roaming ON so that “find my iPhone” works, but then switch off all the push notices to the internet, such as automatic email checking, Facebook checking, twitter checking etc. Although this is a lot more work that leaving data roaming off, if it means a lost iPhone can be located it would be worth doing. But, as I say, I will go into my local Apple Store to get advice.

So, now for one of my favourite R.E.M. songs – “Losing My Religion”, which has nothing to do with losing an iPhone, except for the rather tenuous one that for some people Apple products are akin to a religion.

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