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Monday, March 28, 2011

Review - Sky News App for iPad

 After a week of Formula 1 posts; and an exciting race yesterday, this week I return to some app reviews.  You'll be glad to know I won't be going anywhere near the iPad 2!!

However, the following is an iPad app - the Sky News app; which I have to say is very good.

It's clean, easy to navigate and is totally free (for the moment).  Although it will always be free to Sky subscribers.

When you launch the app, you're presented with a timeline, and thumbnails of all the videos linking to stories. You can also look at the headlines; as well as watch Sky News live.

If you like Sky News and you have an iPad; this is one app you really don't want to miss.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Drivers and Teams

Tomorrow is qualifying.  The waiting is almost over.  So, who are the teams and the drivers.  This is a quick glance at each.

Click on the link of each driver (where available) for a full biography.  The links go to one of the best F1 websites I've ever seen - F1 Fanatic. There is so much information about everything Formula 1; it's definitely the place to find out more.

Red Bull Racing
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
3. Lewis Hamilton
4. Jenson Button

Scuderia Ferrari
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Felipe Massa

Mercedes Grand Prix
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Nico Rosberg

Renault F1 Team
9. Nick Heidfeld
10. Vitaly Petrov

11. Rubens Barrichello
12. Pastor Maldonado

Force India
14. Adrian Sutil
15. Paul di Resta

16. Kamui Kobayashi
17. Sergio Perez

Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferraro
18. Sebastien Buemi
19. Jaime Alguersuari

20. Jarno Trulli
21. Heikki Kovalainen

22. Narain Karthikeyan
23. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Virgin Racing-Cosworth
24. Timo Glock
25. Jerome d'Ambrosio

So there you go.  24 drivers; the biggest number ever on a Formula 1 grid.  Some 'old' names, with Rubens Barrichello the stalwart of the pack!! There are some new names too; Pastor Maldonado, Paul di Resta (another Brit) and Jerome d'Ambrosio all joining for their first season.

One name missing is Robert Kubica, who suffered a terrible rally accident and is still recuperating.  The Renault team will miss him, and everyone wishes him a speedy recovery.

It really promises to be an exciting season; and I'll be providing my own, brief, updates as the season progresses.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tech Know How

It's Thursday night.  In just two sleeps, 20 Formula One teams will take to the track around Albert Park in Melbourne, and vie to take the first pole position of the season.

They've been practicing, testing and more practicing. They've incorporated the technological changes, interpreted the rules the best way they can.

So, what are the changes?

Gearboxes must last five races; instead of four from last year - this is predominantly a money-saving change, in an effort to keep the cost of racing down!

Team orders will, once again, be allowed.  Last year, Ferrari were found guilty of using team orders, and now the FIA (the men in charge!!) have decided to allow the orders to be used.

Adjustable rear wing - Under certain race conditions, the drivers will be able to change the angle of the rear wing.  This means the car will 'stick' to the ground, increasing downforce, and allow the driver to push even harder.

KERS - Kinetic Energy Recovery System - It takes the energy produced through breaking, and uses it to provide a small burst of power.  There are rules around when it can be used, but in the right place, at the right time, this will add some extra drama to the race.  Of all the tech changes, this is one that could soon be in use in the cars we drive.

This is just a brief look at the changes.  For full information, I recommend heading over to F1 Fanatic.  It's a terrific website, that will give you everything (and I mean everything) you need to know about Formula 1.

Not long now, til we see the cars in action.  Tomorrow night, in the last of my weeks pre-season blogs, I'll introduce you to the teams.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pirelli - Tyres To Drive For

This year, Pirelli have taken over the mantle of the tyre supplier to the Formula One teams.

It's been a controversial change, and some of the drivers have been quite vocal in their distaste of the change of compounds.

To explain, there are are number of types of tyre produced; each one designed to react in different ways.

  • Hard
  • Medium
  • Soft
  • Super Soft
  • Wet
  • Intermediate

The harder the tyre, the more longer lasting; but when it comes to driving in the rain, then the Wet tyre helps displace the water quickly, allowing the cars to stay gripped to the road.

There are times when it's not wet enough for a Wet tyre (they're useless in the dry, because they wear away so quickly) then the intermediates come out for a spin.

The rules state that each team must use a least two compounds per race; and Pirelli will tell the teams which compounds it will be providing. It adds to the drama of pit-stops.  Some drivers are better at looking after their tyres; other drivers are not as careful!

Tomorrow, a look at other technological changes that will make this season one to watch.

Bet you can't wait.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Countdown Continues

Is this cheating?

Mmm.. I think it might be; but it's the easiest way to portray the excitement that is Formula 1.

What do you mean, you're not excited?  How dare you!!

It's just 4 days until qualifying, in Melbourne, and the first time we really see which cars have been showing all during the recent practice sessions.

Here, then, is the preview from the BBC

Bring. It. On!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Five Days

Oh my goodness! It's almost time.
The excitement has been building for months.
They've been practising, revising and practising some more.

On Friday, there will be two more practise sessions; and on Saturday, qualifying for the first grid of the 2011 Formula One season will take place.

Even before the racing gets under way, there has been so much happening.

The political events in Bahrain eventually led to the first race being postponed; and now it's likely to be cancelled from the calendar altogether, this year.

The teams have new rules to digest, learn and incorporate into their strategies.  Pirelli, the tyre maker, have taken over from Bridgestone; and not everyone is happy with the durability.  Some drivers believe they will lead to more pit-stops.  Others, who have a softer driving style, may benefit from this, and make their tyres last longer.

The rear wing, on the car, is now adjustable by the driver, mid race.  Under certain conditions, they can alter the angle and increase downforce (the energy that 'sticks' the car to the road) which will make them go faster and be able to over-take.  There are some pretty stringent rules for this; and I look forward to seeing how they will be enforced!!

KERS; the Kinetic Energy Recovery System, has been re-introduced after being banned last year.  For the uninitiated; this means that the energy produced through breaking is stored and can be used to provide a power boost.  It's a small boost; but will be enough to either pull away a lead; or from the start-line; make a faster getaway!!!

The recent practise sessions have shown some remarkable differences in performance; and Ferrari and Red Bull certainly seem to have the better all-round package.  However, this time Mercedes did well too.  McLaren didn't run the car as long as other teams; leading to speculation that they have lots of work to do.  Personally; I think they'll be quite happy; and as always, there will be modifications across the board, by all teams as the season progresses.

So; during this week; I'll introduce the teams and their drivers; as they make their way to Melbourne, next Sunday.

It promises to be an exciting season.  Do you support a Formula 1 team?  Who do you hope will take the chequered flag this year?

AFC Bournemouth - Three Strikes

It seems that The Cherries are suffering a crisis of confidence, as they suffered their third defeat in a row, at the weekend.

A visit to Carlisle did nothing to improve their automatic promotion chances as they lost by a single goal.

Lying 5th in the league, three points behind south coast rivals Southampton; Peterborough and Huddersfield also stand between them and the chance to play in the Championship next season.  As it stands, they are in the play-off zone; so, whilst the possibility is still open to them, each loss is going to make it more difficult.  They need to find that self-belief and drive home every goal they can.

Next weekend, they host Charlton,, followed by a trip to Peterborough - which might turn out to be a make or break game.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review - BeReader For BlackBerry

How do you like your news?
On tap?
Delivered to you, so you don't need to look for it?

We live in a fast-moving society, and it's not always possible to stop.  We can however, make use of the technology around us; the phone in our pocket, iPad (other tablets are available!) and laptops.

As you know by now, I love my BlackBerry.  I also keeping up to date with things that interest me.

BeReader (formerly BerryReader, hence the old image!!) is a Google Reader client that allows you to read your Google Reader  news on your BlackBerry, everywhere you go, even when you don't have network coverage.

BeReader stays fully synchronised to your Google Reader account.  Plus, with the inline article reading and clear user interface, reading news has never been so easy and convenient.

If you use other Google Reader applications, either on your PC or tablet, they will also be kept in sync.  It's darned clever stuff!

As for BeReader itself; it's easy to use; and you can also post stories to either Facebook or Twitter; sharing the news.

Other features include:
  • Access your All Items, Starred Items, Shared Items, a single feed or a single folder for reading
  • Automatically updates in the background - you decide the frequency
  • Manage subscriptions from your handset
  • Get notified when new articles are available (including custom LED colour support through BeBuzz)
  • Plus lots more
If you have a BlackBerry, and already use Google Reader, then this is definitely a worthwhile extension to getting the news you want, when you want it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

AFC Bournemouth - South Coast Derby

Oh well - it had to happen eventually, and on Saturday, The Cherries succumbed to The Saints.

Playing on home turf, at Dean Court, and having taken the lead very early, with a goal from Della Valle; the boys performed well; indeed, it was a much improved performance over their visit to Exeter during the week; just not well enough to keep the visitors at bay.

Let's just hope it's not the start of the slide.  No back down in 5th; and being leap-frogged by Southampton, I really do hope the boys pick up quickly and get back to their winning ways fast.

Their next outing is at Carlisle next Saturday.

The full match report, from the Bournemouth Evening Echo, is right here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

AFC Bournemouth - First Defeat

On Tuesday night, The Cherries suffered their first defeat under the management of Lee Bradbury, when the hosts, Exeter, beat them 2-0.

Now seven points adrift from Brighton, and only one point ahead of third place Huddersfield, the boys have it all to do on Saturday, when they host Southampton, in a south-coast derby.  That promises to be real humdinger, and Bournemouth will need to dig deep and have total faith to seal a victory.

No need to start panicking yet! Just keep fingers and toes crossed for a great result at the weekend.

Last nights full match report can be seen here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

An Infectious Article - Smile...

This might be a little controversial, but I predict that some people won't like this post.


Because they don't know how to smile and have fun!  They're the people that think that everything wrong in their life is because of someone else!

They're the people who won't think about change.

Well - this isn't for you!  So, move along please, and let the positive people enjoy....

I am a happy person.  I don't think there's anyone who knows me who would disagree.

I always look at the positive.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I get annoyed and fed up as much as the next person, but I really can't see the point in being constantly 'down'.   Not only does this result in an ever spiralling situation, but it's just not me.

Even at work which, let's face it, is where we spend most of the week, I am ready with a smile and positive outlook.  Instead of looking for the negative, look for the positive - 99% of the time, you will find the situation can be turned around.

I also think that smiling can be contagious.  If you smile at someone, they will, more than likely, smile back (unless they think you're a little loopy.... OK - maybe I am!!)
I'm sure it releases some happy hormone!!!
Even that little emoticon used in text messages - just like the one above.  Doesn't it make you smile, when you see it?

Finally - there's that old saying that "Life's too short".  Instead of wallowing - just get out there and enjoy it.

Instead of thinking that things are bad, think "how can I change it?"

Here's a simple exercise.
  • Stand up.  
  • Come on, take part.... 
  • Stand up.
  • Look at the ceiling (or the sky if you're standing outside! - in this weather??)
  • Now SMILE
I promise, it will cheer you up.  Now, keep smiling as you lower your head.  I'll bet you're feeling a lot better now! (and maybe feel a little silly, but that's OK too!)

So - what makes you smile?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Review - The Adjustment Bureau

Are you the type of person who believes in fate?  Do you think that your life is already mapped out; that your future is pre-destined?

The Adjustment Bureau takes this premise, and turns it into an altogether not too bad film.

Matt Damon plays David Norris, a politician on the brink of a place in the US Senate.  Emily Blunt plays Elise, the British love interest; a dancer.  They meet in unconventional circumstances, and it's pretty much love at first sight.

Unfortunately, in this case, the path of true love really doesn't run easily; as The Adjustment Bureau are called in to get Norris' life back 'on plan'.  They carry electronic notebooks that show his path; and if he deviates, they do whatever is necessary to get him back on track.

It's a compelling story; and whilst the ending is predictable enough, there are plenty of twists and turns along the way.

This is the directorial debut for George Nolfi; who also wrote it.  However, he has good pedigree, with the screenplay for "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "The Sentinel" to his name.  He also wrote "Oceans Twelve".

It's based on a short story by Philip K Dick called "Adjustment Team"

The thing is; are they real, or are they angels sent to make sure we follow the path that's been set for us.

It's fun, with some good action (not on the Bourne scale though) and not too deep.  It's definitely worth watching; if only for the effects as they pass through the doors (but that's all I'm saying).

Now - do you believe your life is mapped out?

Monday, March 07, 2011

AFC Bournemouth - Onwards and Upwards

Oh wow! Is there no stopping them?  The Cherries have again made strides towards automatic promotion, following their 3-0 victory over Oldham.

It was thanks to Lauri Dalla Valle, who scored on his debut appearance, finishing the third goal.  The previous two by Danny Hollands and Michael Symes.

It was enough to keep AFC Bournemouth in 2nd place in the league, 4 points behind the leaders, and four points clear of their nearest rival, Huddersfield.

Next up, it's an away trip to Exeter, tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Blue Bloods

I love police / crime dramas, and Blue Bloods, which aired back in October in the States, was launched as part of the new season on Sky Atlantic, at the beginning of February.

It centres on the NYPD and specifically the Reagan family; a family of police officers, headed by Frank (who is the Police Commissioner).

Tom Selleck (remember him from Magnum P.I. ?) plays Frank, and it's the family scenes that pulls this programme together. The family dinners, the helping and supporting each other makes this different from other police dramas.

The backdrop of New York City just adds to the overall drama.

The following trailer introduces the main characters, and you'll see what I mean about that great city.

And for you Magnum fans - here's the title sequence, with THAT music....


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