19 June 2005

Aston Martin at Le Mans

Frustrating not to be able to watch the Le Mans race on television, but I am closely watching the lap times at the official Le Mans website. As I write, the race is 9 hours gone, and an Aston Martin DBR9 has led the GT1 class for several hours, and has just moved up to 6th overall. The only cars in front of it now are the much more powerful LM1 cars, and even the LM2 cars are all training the GT1 cars. A quite amazing performance so far from the Astons and Corvettes.

The second Aston was hit by a couple of stop-go penalties early on and has clawed its way back into 4th in the class and 12th overall. It will struggle to catch the Corvettes from there, but Australian David Brabham is a very fine pilot like his father before him, and his car certainly fast, so if it survives the journey anything is possible.

Somehow 'watching' the race over the internet from Southern England, just knowing I am only one country away, is much more exciting than doing so from Australia. Viens les Astons!
Go to eebahgum!

18 June 2005

Save me from Dell screen protectors!

There's not all that much point in using screen protectors on your shiny new PDA if they make the screen much less usable and have to be replaced so often that you risk damaging your screen in the process.

So it is with the pathetic Dell-branded offerings I purchased with my Axim X50v. They are hard to get on without bubbles and dust being trapped underneath, and they scratch up horribly from the first stroke of the stylus. Six days the first one lasted before I was turning up my screen brightness to avoid looking at the horrible scratches.

What I and all other PDA users need is hard, non-sticky protectors which last a very long time. Such beasts do exist, for example, the highly regarded ClearTouch Crystal from Boxwave. I can't seem to find them in the UK, though, so it's on-line I must go. I'll report back as soon as I've tested them out.
Go to eebahgum!

On Ashley Cole and Chelski

ashley_coleThe face of football is about to be changed for ever. The name Bosman has already become ingrained into the annals of football history, and Arsenal fullback Ashley Cole's name may be about to join it. He's been fined £100,000 for meeting with Chelsea officals without them clearing such a meeting with Arsenal. No doubt Chelsea have acted illegally and unethically and deserve their punishment (£300,000 for club and £200,000 for Jose Mourinho, the Manager). But what about Ashley Cole? In almost any other walk of life one is free to explore employment possibilities without fear of censure. Indeed, one's right to do so is protected by law. Football's ruling bodies, though, forbid in their sport what is a fundamental entitlement in normal life. One could argue that this is a long way from normal life—that the amount of money alone makes it a surreal world in which other rules need to apply. Perhaps, but it still looks like restraint of trade to me. And if Bosman taught us anything, it was that in the new Europe football will struggle to remain a law unto itself.

So Ashley Cole is appealing his sentence. He may or may not win that appeal, but whatever the outcome in the short term, the worms are out of the can. In the long term football may be the winner. That remains to be seen. In the shorter term Cole may well leave Arsenal, feeling the club has been unsupportive. That will be bad for the club, and probably for Cole who has come through the club's youth system and blossomed under Arsene Wenger. He will not benefit from the distraction of the court case, nor from the reputation he is likely to gain as a result.

In fact, the only short term winner will be Chelsea. They will not gain Cole's services, but they were hardly defensively weak to start with. What they have succeeded in doing is loosening a key defender from their main rivals, which only makes Chelsea comparatively stronger. £500,000 in fines may have been a cheap price to pay for that advantage. Go to eebahgum!

17 June 2005

Reflections on Fleet Street and Aston Martin

The name Fleet Street is so evocative of the newspapers, good and bad, that many visitors to London are confused when they can find little or no journalism actually going on there. You might argue that in the corridors of The Sun or The Daily Mirror it was ever thus, but Fleet Street is now no more than a collection of journalism’s ghosts. Major papers have been moving away for three decades, and that exodus was just about completed this week when Reuters vacated the area after 66 years. That leaves only one newspaper publisher, D C Thomson, best known for those esteemed literary periodicals The Dandy and Beano, to which I owe much of my development.

If great names have been performing something of an ereptation from Fleet Street, one of motoring’s greatest names is making a return to hallowed ground this weekend. Aston Martin, eebahgum’s favourite carmaker, is returning to Le Mans, where it was last sighted in 1959. Aston Martin DBR1s came first and second on that day and Aston will be hoping history is repeated with the DBR9 to support its ambitious plan of more than doubling production this year to 5,000 vehicles. Not that demand has been much of an issue lately for Ford’s most prestigious marque. The current waiting list for a new Aston is more than 18 months. I guess that gives me some time to save.Go to eebahgum!

5 June 2005

My new toy: A Dell Axim X50V

After extensive market research over several months, a new family member has joined the eebahgum clan. It's a shiny new Dell X50V Pocket PC with the top spec and a bluetooth keyboard. First impressions are... it's cool, useful and well built, but rather disappointing for battery life. Doubtless every intricate detail will follow soon :-)Go to eebahgum!