Tag: Football (Page 1 of 2)

End of ‘Summer of Sport’ Parts 1 and 2

End of the Euros

It’s amazing to think that it’s pretty much a fortnight since Spain gave the footballing world a demonstration of their skill, flair and team spirit when they destroyed Italy to win the Euro 2012 final comfortable 4-0. I have no idea where the time goes.

After getting a bit of unjustified flack being called boring Spain put in an amazing performance showing again that at the moment they’re on top of the footballing world.

Their work ethic and ability to retain possession was amazing all tournament. This high percentage of ball retention not only wears opponents down it completely nullifies their ability to score – proven by the stat that Spain only conceded a single goal throughout the whole tournament.

The next World Cup in Brazil should be fantastic and it’ll be fascinating to see how Spain, Brazil and Argentina get on. They’re bound to be the favorites and Messi will need to at least get to a World Cup final, if not win it, to prove he’s the best player in the world.

History at Wimbledon

Last Sunday was the end of Wimbledon which proved to be a historic tournament with a Brit getting to the mens final for the first time in over 70 years. Sadly for Andy Murray he fell at the last hurdle going down 3-1 to Roger Federer who surely now has underlined his credentials to be considered the greatest tennis player of all time. Things started pretty well with Murray taking the first set, but Federer levelled at one set each before a rain delay followed by the closing of the centre court roof which seemed to make all the difference.

Will be interesting to see how Murray does at the Olympics as well as the US Open later in the year. He has the game, he has the coach and Federer, Djokovic and Nadal all look beatable at the moment.

Another great F1 GP

The F1 British GP was almost totally washed out on Saturday during qualifying as July continues the recent trend of mega-rain. Mark Webber won a pretty exciting race ahead of Alonso in the Ferrari. Not a great weekend of the Brits though with Lewis trailing in 8th, Jenson further back scraping a championship point in 10th and Paul Di Resta not even getting round the first lap.

This weekend the Lotus Team carried The Dark Night livery to promote the upcoming third and final part of Christopher Nolan’s modern Batman trilogy, (IMAX tickets booked for opening night next Friday very excited).

Olympics just around the corner

There are just a couple of weeks to go before the London Olympics start which I’m really starting to look forward to. The BBC have just released their opening titles videos which look like high res cut scenes from a Playstation game and they’ve also released a Smartphone app for iOS, Android and Blackberry which will provide loads of stats on each sport as well as multiple video streams. Pretty cool.

We had a community event in the village last week and both kids where chuffed to get their hands on an Olympic Torch brought along by some lucky people involved in the Olympic Torch Relay.

My week in IT

This past couple of weeks work has been all about planning and high level design documents. Because of this I haven’t had the chance to get much more in the way of hands on with XenApp 6.5 or PowerShell as I was hoping. Though did quickly update AppSense to the latest release today in our proof of concept XenApp farm when I noticed AppSense had released a slight upgrade on 25th June. Haven’t looked at the release notes in detail yet so I don’t know what they’ve fixed or new features have been introduced. I also had the chance to re-use my first PowerShell script grabbing some data from Active Directory to provide some stats to the customer relating to how many accounts have access to what. Very pleased with myself.

O2 loses it’s network

O2 had a pretty bad week after it managed to lose its network leaving millions of customers without a connection.

Coincidentally I switched from O2 to 3 this week. A colleague pointed out that a SIM only deal would be far cheaper so I now have a ‘all you can eat’ data package for £10 less per month. On top of that I got £82 cash back, so have gained a saving this coming year of over £200. I’ll be able to put that towards an unlocked iPhone 5 from Apple at launch avoiding getting locked into a long term contract with one of the network providers. Though this approach has a high initial outlay it generally ends up the best value option in the long run.

Getting my iPhone 4 switched to the new network and with the existing number was a bit go a pain though. First 3 rejected the O2 PAC code – turns out that O2 have a new Telefonica naming standard and the 3 web forms automated system didn’t know what to do with that. Was able to sort out through 3s automated help line number easily enough. Next issue it turned out that the phone was locked to the O2 network. To get that sorted you have to fill in some more online forms and wait for O2 to sort it. This was quoted as taking up to 28 days, what a cheek! However, I got a text back within the week saying the phone was no longer locked and to sync it with iTunes to finish the process. Not quite. The phone had to be reset through iTunes to unlock. Which as it happens wasn’t a bad thing as it’s running much faster now.

End of life for iGoogle announced

Bit disappointed to see the link on iGoogle this week saying that it’s being discontinued. I use it pretty much exclusive for causal browsing when I’m looking to see what’s going on in the work of IT, Apple, SharePoint, Sport, News & Entertainment. It’s an essential tool for this and I’ll now have to find an alternative.

Though what i have noticed is that by using a tool like iGoogle I to tend to have a narrow view of news on the web. If it’s not an RRS feed in the portal or published by someone I’m following on Twitter I wouldn’t tend to come across it. Maybe a change is a good thing to broaden my horizons.


England lose on penalties…again, Lewis crashes out of European GP & some progress on XenApp 6.5 PoC

Exciting European GP

The week started with an unexpectedly exciting European Grand Prix at Valencia with Alonso picking up the victory after Vettel had car problems while seemingly heading into the distance for an easy win. Lewis Hamilton was unlucky to be punted into the barrier with a couple of laps to go after attempting to defend his position with tyres that clearly gave him no traction. A race I confidently told my Father-In-Law would be boring as always turned out to be on the edge of your seat stuff from flag to flag.

England crash out of Euro 2012

Later in the week after amazingly topping their Euro 2012 group, England put in a hugely defensive performance only to be beaten by Italy on penalties. A dull 0-0 result after extra time, it was a typically gritty but uninspiring performance from a Hodgson managed team but not what I hope will be typical of England in the years to come. Again England showed themselves to be a poor team with no pace, no touch and worse still, no ambition.

Though they were always in the match, it was more of a case of England holding on that carrying any sort of threat to the Italians. If England had won the shootout, it would have been the wrong result.

The stats speak for themselves:

One silver lining on the cloud – it was pretty much expected. So unlike after the desperate performance of World Cup 2010 against Germany and the disappointment that caused, this time there was little to make us believe that England could do much in the tournament. Getting out of the group was a result in itself.

Can only hope that finally a lot of the old guard are dropped in favour of a bit of youthful pace and style. It would be nice to see future England squads built around the likes of Hart, Jagielka, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Welbeck. I think the likes of Terry, Gerrard, Young, Rooney and co. have had their chance and failed to perform time and again.

Italy went on to comfortably beat Germany – not something that I expected because I had a hunch that Germany would be the ones to upset Spain.

Wimbledon starts

Euro 2012 is almost over but Wimbledon is underway. All the Brits crash out pretty quickly, though so far so good for Any Murray who’s into week two again. And the really good news for him is that Nadal suffered a shock default so is no longer in between him and the final next Sunday. Though I suspect Tsoga will be a tough opponent.

Working from home

I decided to dodge some traffic problems around the office this week and work from home.

I like working from home – it tends to be easier to get your head down to start and finish tasks that can often get interrupted when working in the busy office environment. On the downside you do feel removed from the hustle and bustle of things and don’t get a good feel of what’s going on in the office.

It’s also nice to have the radio playing in the background, however I do have to fight the urge for tea and snack breaks. As bad as it is working at a desk all day with no exercise it’s ten times worse on your health and fitness if you back that up with too many tea breaks and treats!

Progress with the XenApp 6.5 Proof of Concept

Good news is that I was able to fully focus on troubleshooting the cause of some major performance issues effecting our Windows 2008 R2 proof of concept environment. It’s been frustratingly difficult to identify what’s been going on. For some reason some accounts experience a logon of over 5 minutes, where others log in immediately as you’d expect. There had appeared to be no explanation for this and strangely the problem disappeared if XenApp 6.5 was installed. I’ve finally been able to determine that only certain administrative accounts (mine included), are effected when their AD roaming profile is stored on certain Windows 2003 Server file servers. The problem isn’t the file server as other administrators are unaffected, rather the permissions delegated to certain accounts. Investigations continue…

Windows 8

I’ve installed the Windows 8 Release Preview on Parallels this week for a bit of a play. I installed an earlier release on an old laptop a few months ago and though it looks and feels the same, it didn’t seem so jarring this time.

Not sure how easily it’s going to transfer to the corporate desktop let alone how the Metro desktop style will transfer into the next version of Remote Desktops Service in Windows Server 2012.


Tennis tantrums, tax dodgers, England progress and technical problems in the office

Angry tennis professionals and tax avoiding celebs

A bad day on Sunday for David Nalbadian when he managed to get himself disqualified from a winning position in the final of the Aegon Championship’s final at Queen’s club. After being given the run around he lost his temper and kicked out at advertising boarding at the side of the court. Unfortunately for him, the boards were around the feet of one of the officials who took the full force of the kick and ended up with a bleeding leg!

(Is it me, or has the championship lost that certain something by switching for the red branding of Stella Artois to the blue of Aegon? Somehow the blue doesn’t seem so ‘summery’).

It’s definitely been a bad week for Jimmy Carr who got the wrong sort of publicity when his accountants ‘tax avoidance’ method was brought into the spotlight by David Cameron! While you have to question the morals of the scheme, at the end of the day Jimmy and his accountants were working within the UK tax laws and that the government should perhaps put more effort into tightening the rules than speaking out about individuals – I notice how quiet they are when it comes to massive corporations, (or more popular Conservative supporting celebs), dodging the same levels of tax the rest of us pay. I doubt there’s many of us who wouldn’t use whatever options were available to pay a little less tax, (though you have to admit a millionaire getting away with paying just 1% tax is a bit much!). It did produce a great ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’ show though.

A bad week for the Citrix Team as well

And a bad day for us in the office on Wednesday when we ran into inexplicable service issues in the XenApp farm. The worst case scenario of any IT problem – in consistent behaviour. We had performance problems, connectivity problems, all sorts of event log errors yet on other servers absolutely no problems at all.

As is often the case when there’s no apparent pattern to what’s going on all areas of the service and supporting infrastructure need investigation. And that highlights the major problem faced with modern day large scale IT support – when shared infrastructure services are supported by separate teams and even separate companies.

When I first moved into a ‘proper’ IT support job in the summer of 1999 the IT team was tiny. There were two of us on the ‘WinTel’ side of things, two staff manning the help desk, one guy carrying out site visits while everyone else in the team were looking after various Unix based corporate systems. In those days as well as doing desktop support we had responsibly for all the Windows servers and anything that went on them – SQL, Exchange, IIS based software, etc. In retrospect I can see we had a very ‘flexible’ approach to support and system administration – if something broke we fixed it, if it needed updating we did it. There was no ITIL, no change process, no test or development environments to validate things – everyone just got on with whatever was needed to provide the best level of support we could.

Nowadays the IT infrastructures have grown so large and systems become so complex that specialist teams exist for each area separately. Often these teams report into different management layers and some of these services could be outsourced to a separate company entirely.

The problem with this is that often the big picture is missed. Rather than viewing the entire service offering, the separate components are viewed in isolation. So when you have a problem such as we did this week, you’ll generally find that each team confidently report that their bit is ok. You then face an uphill battle to identify where the problem effecting your service is. Made infinitely harder as you’ll not have any access to the tools you really need to identify the fault.

It’s really critical that the managers responsible for these component services are brought together and understand the bigger picture – the overall service you’re collectively delivering. In 1999 that was far easier – not because we had a much smaller infrastructure to look after. Not because we had a more relaxed approach to making system changes. But because we had overall responsibility and access to all the systems integrating to deliver the service. And for the one or two areas we didn’t, we had the colleagues sitting alongside us always available to help.

Fortunately this week we were able to work with colleagues to identify the cause but I have no doubt that investigations would have been much smoother and faster if we didn’t have to liaise with third parties and other support teams who’s viewpoint was focussed narrowly on just ‘their bit’.

PowerShell progress

I’ve always been lazy with scripting – I can generally find something online to do what I need, or close enough that some minor customisation will do the trick. I’m also fortunate to work with some vbs whizz’s who can come up with a script to do pretty much anything we need at a moments notice. However with XenApp 6.5 on our horizon and it’s use of PowerShell its about time I pull my finger out and start to learn scripting. I’ve managed to pick up a bit this week and even managed to extract data from Active Directory as well as uncovering how to write the results not only into a csv file but Excel no less!

I’ll post some examples later (as well as links to the blogs and sites that have been very helpful).

England march on

On the upside – amazingly England finished top of their Euro 2012 group beating Ukraine 1-0 on Tuesday. Against all expectations one draw and two wins was more than enough to finish top of the group thereby avoiding Spain in the first knockout round. So it’s a quarter-final against the Italians tomorrow night. A win there and next up the Germans – who thrashed Greece 4-2 (flattering to the Greeks) last night. Can’t help feeling we have one, maybe two at most games left to go in this years tournament.


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