Tag Archives: General Musings of an Idiot

Inspiration Invitations: Grace Dent

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

Having sunk a glass or two of the rather lovely dark variety of wine, this could be a very strange piece. I apologise in advance, but equally, this could be the best blog you’ve ever read. So keep your eyes peeled.

This is the third and final instalment of my series, known as ‘Inspiration Invitiations’. As explained before, this is a set of posts that depict and display the people who inspire me, and it’s me inviting you to be inspired by them too. Simple.

Today, it’s the turn of the lovely Grace Dent. Now there’s not a lot to say, to be quite honest with you, other than the fact she is the reason I want to be a journalist.

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There’s hundreds and thousands of journalists around the globe, all reporting on different things. But nobody can get away with the tone and the language Grace uses, and still make it funny, interesting, and make you looking forward to the next article.

Her TV OD series for the Guardian has me in stiches every week – because she says what she thinks, and what we all think. It’s a remarkable gift to have, and she most certainly has it.

I have wanted to be a journalist since the age of 11, and at about 14 I found her works for the first time. And that’s the reason I decided that was my life ambition, and that’s what I want to do for a career. She made that decision for me by becoming my role model.

I want to be able to write what I want, when I want to, with the same tone she does. I want to be able to speak my mind, and have that accepted by the vast majority of my readers. I want to be as successful as she is, and become the most wonderful person she is.

I met her at Twight Night at the turn of the month, and was so unbelievably starstruck by her that I couldn’t even say two words to her. The fact she was sat in a chair with Caitlin Moran made it all the better, and I had to ask isobel to keep me sane.

If it weren’t for Grace, her wonderful writing, and her brilliant personality, I wouldn’t want to be a journalist. I’d be a travel agent, or an assistant in Asda, or a cotton weaver in the 1860’s. But it is thanks to her that my life has a plan and an ultimate goal, and I’m very very proud to say she has influenced that.

If you get a chance, go find her writing – you won’t be disappointed. Likewise with her most recent book, ‘How To Leave Twitter’ – one of the best pieces of writing released this year.

Thankyou Grace – from the very very bottom of my heart. You have helped make my dreams become a reality.

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Inspiration Invitations: Lewis Wiltshire

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.
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I’m slacking already, and for that I apologise profusely. But today brings about the second in my ‘Inspiration Invitations’ series.

To explain the concept of Inspiration Invitations is a pretty easy thing to do. These posts are the people that have inspired me, and therefore I’m inviting you to let them inspire you too. Hence the name.

And the penny drops….

There’s one man that I feel is very deserved of a post with the Inspiration Invitations tag. He’s been a big influence for me, yet hardly any of you will know who he is. But I bet you’ve used his website.

Lewis Wiltshire is the former Editor of the BBC Sport website, and is now the Digital Olympics Editor, alongside Social Media Editor, both still for BBC Sport. I’ve had the privilege of meeting Lewis, and getting to know him via social networks. And if I do say so, he’s bloody brilliant.

As you all know, I wish to become a sports journalist, and my dream from about the age of 12 is to worth for the BBC Sport online team. Therefore, the person I needed to learn from, and to aspire to, was Lewis. A quick Google, a few clicks, and I was following him on Twitter. And that’s where this story sort of begins and ends.

I won’t bore you with Tweets and conversations, but Lewis has been a massive help. He’s advised and helped, and in a way, become a role model for me to aspire to. But most of all, he’s inspired me.

There was a point around Christmas last year that I has ‘writer’s block,’ and I did consider giving up on my dream, and just looking for another. I’ve always enjoyed teaching, so I could do that. And I like advertising and marketing, too, so there’s another avenue to explore. But it was one solitary email from Lewis that got everything back on track, and since then I’ve been more focused and determined than ever.

I hate rejection – it’s the worst feeling in the world by a living mile. Nobody likes being told they’re not good enough, or that what they’ve spent so long working towards isn’t going to happen. And that’s why I can’t be beaten on this one. Lewis has been someone to look up to, not only in a professional capacity, but in a personal one too.

I have a few dreams in life. I’d like to open a patisserie in a suburb in the States. I’d like to visit China, and go to Beijing. I’d quite like to own a gastropub, and pick the menu. I’d like my kids to grow up and be whoever they want to be. I’d like to work for the BBC, and I’d love to work in TV Centre.

With the Sport department moving to the new MediaCity:UK complex in Salford, and TV Centre slated to close completely in 2017, that dream is seemingly just that – a dream. I would, one day, love to work for Lewis, in whatever role he currently has at that point in time. There’s just something exciting and current about his thoughts, ideas, and his team – and it would be (literally) a dream come true to be part of that. Cue cheesy music, awkward glances, and a ‘Happily Ever After’ sign on the screen.

In all seriousness, Lewis has made me realise a dream, and made me crave it even more. If you’re at all interested in writing, journalism, or sport-based media, you have to get in touch with him. I promise you, you won’t regret it at all.

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Inspiration Invitations: Poppy Dinsey

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

In the lead-up to Christmas, I always start some form of ‘blog sets’, as I call them – posts with a shared meaning. This year, or certainly to start off with, I want to write about the people who inspire me, and who have made me do something, achieve something, or aspire to something. It’s called ‘Inspiration Invitations’ – cos I want them to inspire you, too.

Back at the start of 2010, I discovered a blog that I had been told about via the means of Twitter, and immediately followed it. It was so different to anything I’d seen before – new, interesting, a genius idea, a great back story, and a woman wonderfully outspoken, but with dignity, integrity, and with that bit of grit you really want to see from every blogger.

That was Poppy Dinsey, and the blog was What I Wore Today.

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If you’re an avid reader of GMOAI, you’ll know I have a bit of an obsession with What I Wore Today, and I tell you all every so often quite how brilliant it is. This may be a tiny blog in a tiny part of the internet, but if I can just make one person have a look and enjoy it, then even better.

Poppy is a massive inspiration for me. The blog was originally a post a day from Poppy’s wardrobe – a New Years’ Resolution in order to wear more clothes accumulated over the years stashed in her wardrobe. The blog grew and grew, becoming more and more functional, with more and more people getting interested and having a look each and every day, and earlier this year, it became a social network for fashion lovers everywhere. A photo is uploaded, tagged with the items you are wearing, and starred by people if they like it. You can then be directed straight to the top, or pair of jeans, or shoes, or whatever, and buy it straight from the site. She even has a bloody iPhone app, for God’s sake.

It wasn’t what her blog became though – it was how she did it. She didn’t let it all go to her head – she was still very true to herself, and the blog grew around her, rather than her growing around the blog. Obviously, there was an element of that, but you know what I mean…. No big-hitting ego, no monstrous claims, no selling-out to the big boys of the online world. It’s still the same old Poppy that we know and love – the sweary, interesting, no qualms, brilliant Poppy.

So why has she inspired me?! For exactly that. Her vision for her blog has made it such a monumental hit, and that’s what is so interesting about it all. There’s no doubting who Poppy is, because she’s the same across everything. It’s really been quite brilliant watching the blog grow, seeing her gain the fame the blog deserves, and I’m really excited about where the future takes it all too.

If it weren’t for Poppy, I’d certainly never have started My Food Revolution, and posted 365 different meals on a blog. And then the domino effect begins – other blogs wouldn’t be where they are, I wouldn’t have gained the work experience I got, I wouldn’t have met the people I did and I wouldn’t have been anywhere near the person and blogger I am now. So in some ways I have Poppy to thank for everything my blogs have led me to so far.

This coming Thursday, I’ll finally meet Poppy at the 140 Characters exhibition, hopefully have a photo taken and be able to tag it and upload it to WIWT. Knowing me, mind you, and the way I get so bloody starstruck, I’ll just cower in a corner and wave politely.

She will have gained better, more acclaimed praise elsewhere – through her numerous newspaper and magazine interviews, the comments people leave all over the net, and also through her Twitter feed. I dunno if she’ll ever find this, but I hope eventually it appears on her Google Alerts and she’ll smile that she actually helped change someone’s life.

Poppy really has inspired me, What I Wore Today has inspired my blogs, and I hope that both will now inspire you. I really do.

To follow Poppy on Twitter, click here, or to find out what all the fuss about, click here to go to What I Wore Today.

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F1 Set To Confirm New Jersey GP For 2013

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

As many of you know, I write for several different places across the internet, notably about sport. There’s Stretty News, Sport Witness, Back Page Football, 19 Times and That’s A Fact, and the others – here, and there’s a few fairly private blogs too. And if you ever find them on the world wide web, I promise to buy you a pint. Trust me, you won’t find them.

Most of what I write is in some way sport-related, and unfortunately for you sport fans, this post will be no different. Yes yes, I know, I haven’t written a GMOAI Sports Thoughts post for a good few weeks, concentrating on Apple, blogging, and of course, pie. As you do.

But there was a story that caught my eye this morning that I had to write about. And bearing in mind Tuesday is GMOAI day, it will end up on here. So I sincerely apologise, but hope you choose to continue reading. If not, thanks for your time and hopefulyl see you next week. Maybe.

This morning, plans were announced for a New Jersey Formula One race, to begin in 2013. This may not sound particularly interesting, but think about it – a road race round one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with the Manhattan skyline as a back drop. A four mile circuit along the Hudson River that will change how many people perceive F1.

And the fact the US GP makes a return to the calendar next year at the newly-built circuit in Austin, Texas, means we may be seeing millions more fans tuning in to such a wonderful sport.

Now there has been no confirmation whether or not Texas and New Jersey willalternate as hosts of the US GP, or whether they will both be added to the calendar as separate races, taking us back to the 1980’s with the US GP and the US West GP.

Counter in the fact that in 2014, we’ll also see the new circuit at Sochi in Russia added to the calendar, and we have the potential of 23 races on the calendar in 2014. Clearly, that’s far too many, and some will either be placed on rotation or scarpped altogether, but there’s plenty of interest in F1 again. Qatar, Estonia and Croatia are all in talks to hold a GP, as are South Africa, and there’s even talk of Argentina getting involved.

F1 is growing again, and it’s brilliant to see. Let’s just hope the fans are put first and not the money. As usual.

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Blogging About Bloggers Blogging On Their Blogs

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

There are so many blogs on the internet. Millions and millions of people writing daily about what happens in their life, what their job is, and what their mission in life has become. There’s an infinite plethora of info on the internet of people, places, groups, cults, companies, choices… The list goes on.

But we all have our favourites. Hopefully, the fact you’re reading this indicates you quite like what I write, and that’s a very humbling thought. But if not – welcome aboard lovely internet person. Or foreign search engine.

I have my favourites – I have a list of blogs I check on a daily basis for updates, or changes – and that’s because they entertain me, they inform me, and they make me feel better. Some may call it an addiction, but for me it’s now just part of my daily routine. So I figured I’d blog about my favourite five bloggers who blog about their blogs. Or something like that.

Poppy Dinsey – What I Wore Today

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My favourite blog in the whole wide world is ‘What I Wore Today’, by Miss Poppy Dinsey. Poppy blogs about her daily outfits, and her New Years’ Resolution became an addiction. And is now her job.

You see, Poppy now runs What I Wore Today as a fashion social network. She’s made a name for herself, and she’s now very successful because of it. She even has an iPhone app – kind of an ultimate goal for me…

She’s become a sort of cult hero to me – she gave me a different outlook on blogging, and having followed her all the way, it makes sense to only keep following her journey, and continue to watch her career blossom and become incredibly successful.

I’ve followed Poppy’s blog for coming up two years – it was February 2010 when I first heard about her, and now she’s an up and coming star of not just the fashion world, but the media world too. It says a lot when even my Business Studies teacher last year had heard of her – he was hardly a die-hard fashion fan, put it that way…

You can find What I Wore Today right here, or follow Poppy on Twitter by clicking on this one. Or even follow WIWT on Twitter too. Clever.

Alice Harold – More Than Toast

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If it wasn’t for What I Wore Today’s social networking re-launch, I’d have never heard of Alice, and I’d certainly never have found More Than Toast. MTT is Alice’s little spot on the World Wide Web, with all her musings and bits and bobs going on in her life. It’s strangely addictive.

The thing with blogs like this is you enjoy reading them, but by the time you start telling people about them, you feel like a stalker. I know Alice has a husband called Will, and the most gorgeous daughter called Elfie. I know Alice is pregnant again, and the baby is due in May. I know she has a bit of an unhealthy obsession for Apple products. (don’t we all?!) I know she has 98 things left on her Life List, and then she’ll be satisfied. And that’s all from reading her work…

Her blog is a bit of calm away from the storm, to be honest with you. I love reading about happy things, and everything that appears on Alice’s blog is happy, and smiley, and always leaves me chuckling by the end. Anyone who announces their pregnancy with ‘I’m knocked up again!’ or calls their unborn baby ‘Foetus’ automatically gains ‘Legendary’ status to me. She’s just one of those human beings you can only love. And I’ve never met her. *feels stalkerish again…*

If you have five minutes, go have a look at More Than Toast – you really won’t be disappointed. And then go follow Alice on Twitter too, and smile even more.

Natasha Henry – So Natasha Says.

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Like myself, Natasha wants to be a sports journalist. Admittedly, she’s a little further on than I am – training as we speak, and already writing for some of the biggest sports blogs on the net, but her blog is a different look on football. It’s a fresh take from a fresh mind on what goes on. So Natasha Says is just a great little blog.

She may be a Gooner, but don’t hold that against her – she’s already suffered enough this season… Her writing is very inspiring in a way – it’s quite thought provoking and does make you consider your own views. It’s a fantastic way to discover what’s going on, and her look on it all is great.

Throw into the mix that she’s also a really quite lovely person, and willing to help with anything. I have a bit of a soft spot for Tasha, and she’s one of my favourite people on Twitter too.

So, go see So Natasha Says, and follow her on Twitter too. I promise you it’s worth it.

Callum Winterford – Student Daily

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As you will be aware by now, there was a time where I was going to university, in particular City Uni London. That rather wonderful ‘school administrative error’ scuppered those hopes this year, but there wasn’t a hope in hell I was missing out on a year’s worth of writing and learning. And having had a few Google searches and a quick Facebook page scour, I came across this.

Callum is studying Journalism at City, and is in his first year. We would have been on the same course had my life taking a slightly different path. But Student Daily is really quite a brilliant blog – a different perspective on the events going on in our world.

Informative, witty, and interesting, Student Daily ticks the box of every aspect a good blog should be. It’s a really decent read, everything flows nicely together, and it’s a bit different to all the other student blogs trying to inform and entertain on the web.

Not only that, but Callum wants to be on Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports. I rest my case – it’s a winner.

If you get the chance, you can read Student Daily here, or follow Callum on Twitter too. I just have. So now it’s your go.

Angie Dudley – Bakerella

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I have a few passions in my life. One is for football – in particular Manchester United. Another is technology, and embracing what new products are brought to the table. I love to write, and I love to continually be inspired. And I love to bake.

Baking is one of those things I have always loved to do. From a child licking the cake bowl, to leaving bread dough to prove and just being so tempted to start kneading it again, to making intricate birthday cakes for friends to eat alongside their company. It’s what I’m passionate about.

I will guarantee that Bakerella will inspire and ignite your passion, too. Angie has built up her blog of cakes and all sorts of sugary goodness, and soon releases her own cookbook on cake pops. It’s becoming a bit of a phenomenon.

Whether it’s a recipe you’re after, or a little inspiration, or even just to admire the beautiful images strewn throughout her posts and pages, you need to have a bit of Bakerella in your life.

I mean, everybody has a baking memory, don’t they? A special brithday cake, or your wedding cake, or that one moment in your life where the realisation kicked in over a biscuit. Okay, that last one was clutching at straws, but you get my point…

Angie’s blog is so wonderfully inspiring, and it’s always worth checking, and seeing what is going on in her cake tin world. It’s a beautiful blog, and you’ll certainly find something that will get you wanting to get in the kitchen.

Bakerella can be found here, or you could follow Angie on Twitter here.

Blogging has become a part of our society, and has allowed normal, bog-standard people to have their say on any subject known to man. It’s become a platform for people to have a say, just like I’m doing, and just like the five people above do too.

And if I can take a little bit from all five of those blogs, and put them into my big pot of inspiration, then this place will become a little bit better, and a little bit brighter. Lovely stuff.

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Steve Jobs: A Tribute To My Hero

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

I wanted to write something on this very sad afternoon which reflected my own personal feelings. As you will all be aware by now, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs sadly died this morning, after a seven year battle with pancreatic cancer, at the age of 56.

Now a lot has been, and will be written about Steve over the next few days and weeks. But I wanted to add my own personal feelings to the growing number of pages across the web expressing their deepest sadness at the loss of a wonderful man.

Steve Jobs - 1955-2011

I never met Steve Jobs. I never spoke to him, I never heard from him. I knew him as much as the majority of you reading this. But Steve Jobs was my hero – he was the man I wanted to be. Whenever I felt down, I’d turn to some form of Apple product to cheer me up, or go and watch another keynote to discover the true art of capturing people. Steve was the type of man you didn’t need to meet to know. In fact, you already knew him.

His driven nature led to products that people couldn’t have dreamed of. A personal computer with a mouse? ‘Won’t work’, many said. Now look where the Mac is, with its 24% market share.

A portable digital music player?! ‘Will never take off’, many said. So Steve went and sold over 300 million iPods, just to prove a point.

And then the penny dropped – this man was a genius. He’d gone and changed the face of technology with his pioneering ideas and his inventions that would change the way we live.

The iPhone and the world went crazy. This week saw the fifth generation of iPhone being launched, and over 90 million iPhones have been sold and shipped around the globe. And that figure will double over the next year on projected growth sales.

What about Steve’s final big idea – the iPad? Tablet computing was the way forward, and Steve realised this in early 2006, so set to work on designing a device that would be capable of doing so. In April 2010, it hit the market, and within a year had sold 28 million units of both the first and second generation tablets.

He also devised the idea of Apple retail stores, giving consumers an opportunity to play with and hopefully buy the products that are made by Apple. Customer service was always key for Steve – it was always something that he believed very much in. I don’t think anyone has ever had a bad experience in an Apple store that wasn’t fixed by a member of staff. It’s a wonderful place.

I was in an Apple store the day Steve resigned during August, and it was a very weird atmosphere – very sombre. Each employee knew a part of the company had just disappeared, and they were very down. Each customer knew they were with the Apple family on a very strange day in Apple history. And I would hate to have been near an Apple store today – it will have been a very dark day in those big glass buildings.

I own an iPhone. I own an iPad. We as a family own a Mac. And I use the devices each and every day, and I couldn’t wish for easier and more intuitive devices to use. They make life so much simpler, and also make my days become so much easier.

The only word that sums up Steve Jobs is ‘genius’. I don’t think there is, or has been, anyone in the technology market that has ever given so much to how we live.

The news filtered through last night of his sad passing here in the UK, and the tributes began to pour in. At the time of writing, over 35 million people in China have paid tribute to the man behind the biggest technology brand in the world.

But that’s not just why he’s my hero. The man has had three major health scares, but battled on because he loved his job so much. There was a passion and a fire there that meant he gave 100% every single day, no matter what his health was like, because he adored his company so much.

He also made some very shrewd, and very clever business decisions and investments that led to him becoming a multi-billionaire, all of which will now end up with the many charities and foundations he supported throughout his life.

There also wasn’t a day that went by that Steve Jobs wasn’t smiling – his outlook on life was something everyone should have to adopt. He was proud of what he had achieved, and wanted the world to know quite how proud, and that’s something special in itself.

He was someone special – someone really quite special. Again, I never met him, but the vibe you got from everyone was that he was just a man who had all the time in the world for you, and equally wanted to make sure you left with a smile. He was a God-like figure to many who looked up to him, and aspired to be him.

Without him, the likelihood of us having the platforms to spread our views – on blogs, on Twitter, using Facebook, through networking on the web – would have been a lot slimmer. Most of these sites were built on a Mac, and are accessed daily via an iPhone or an iPad, and that’s what helped grow the sites so quick. It’s quite remarkable how much input the man has had.

Today really is a very sad day, not just for the technology industry, but for the world as a whole. Steve Jobs brought so much to us, but didn’t want anything bar your custom and a smile in return. He has changed the way we all live, and for the better too.

I Tweeted a little earlier, and I think that just sums up everything.

Thank you Steve. Without you, my days would be a little bit darker. You are the ultimate hero.

You can leave your thoughts and condolences by sending an email to rememberingsteve@apple.com, or visiting the Apple website.

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AC – After Cupertino: iPhone 4S Launched In Uneventful Apple Keynote

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

I blogged earlier this afternoonabout the big plans we thought Apple had for us in their keynote this evening. And how unbelievably underwhelming it was.

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As we knew, Apple would be releasing a phone, and they did – the iPhone 4S, not the iPhone 5 as predicted. I would call it a recycled idea – it has the body of an iPhone 4, and is kitted out with basically the same insides too. A faster A5 chip, that outputs seven times faster graphics than the iPhone 4, plus a new 8 megapixel that takes some rather beautiful pictures. Bar that, mind you, nothing else shouts out ‘BUY ME’ – a new antenna system, a global phone, HD video, and AirPlay mirroring.

The only feature that does look quite brilliant is called Siri – a voice recognition assistant service. You ask her whatever the hell you want – what’s the weather, make me a meeting, call my wife – and she will come up with a very logical answer. That is the only stand-out feature for me.

Siri

Other announcements included a slightly updated iPod line-up, and as predicted, the iPod Classic is now dead and buried. A few minor updates to the iPod Touch, including a white version, and a few new additions to the iPod Nano, and we’re there. And that was that.

There were also a few new features mentioned regarding iCloud and iOS 5. No Facebook integration as suspected, nor any major advances on what we heard in June. One quite neat new application is ‘Cards’, Apple’s new take on Moonpig here in the UK, and Hallmark in the US. A card making service, sending greetings cards across the US and around the world with your photos or your creations plastered across the front. It’s $2.99 a card for domestic US mail, or $4.99 to send a card anywhere else in the world. And the app is free, too. Very clever to diversify into another new market, and watch them make a big killing in market share too.

Cards

We also saw something called ‘Find My Friends’, using the same technology as seen in ‘Find My iPhone’, which allows you to discover your friends with an iOS GPS-enabled device. The demo given during the keynote was at Disneyland, showing all your friends in your address book in the local area. Clever, but needed? Not really.

So, dates, I hear you ask. October 12th is the big one for most of us – that’s the release date for iOS 5, iCloud, Cards, and Find My Friends. All are free, and will be made available across the globe next Wednesday.

October 14th is the release date for the iPhone 4S, priced at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model, and $399 for the 64GB model. It can be pre-ordered from October 7th – this Friday. It’s available in both black and white. (hurrah, you may be saying, after the iPhone 4 white model fiasco…)

The 3GS is also here to stay. It’s available in 8GB, and is now free via contract. The iPhone 4 is also only available in an 8GB model, priced at $99.

No iPad. No Mac updates. No iPhone 5. No big surprises. And no Steve Jobs, either.

Ah well, there’s always January…

All pictures courtesy of Engadget.

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BC – Before Cupertino: Apple Prepare For iPhone Keynote

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

At lunchtime in San Francisco, we’ll know what’s being released. The rumours will stop, and we’ll just start getting excited for the new product.

But until then, the trepidation continues to build towards Apple’s big iPhone announcement this afternoon, at 6PM here in the UK, and 10AM in the US.

At the time of writing this, there’s just under three hours to go before the announcement. As I said last week, the signs indicate the new iPhone 5, which has been the subject of the Apple rumour mill since the summer of 2010.

Courtesy of MacRumors

But, does that mean that wonderful Apple-shaped mill should stop now?! Nope – we’ve only just started! Watch social media go crazy as every tech blogger in the world tries to tell you that they know exactly what is being released and what it looks like. Only to have egg on their face two hours later.

The big rumour last week was that there would be two phones announced today – the iPhone 5, which will be Apple’s latest, most powerful phone to date, with all the updated technology available, and the iPhone 4S, which will be a cheaper alternative, combining the technology of the iPhone 4 with some updates and upgrades to attempt to crack the Chinese market. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was to happen, but for some strange reason, I just get the feeling it will be one or the other today… And I’m leaning towards the 4S, seeing as that is what we’ve seen leaked prototype parts for.

However, I won’t speak too soon. After the iPhone 4 was leaked last year by someone leaving a prototype in a 3GS body in a bar somewhere, Apple have been on complete lock down, keeping all elements of the new phones secret and threatening to file a lawsuit against anyone who leaks any information about the new phone. Or phones, if you’re being optimistic.

So what else have we heard? Well, today’s earlier announcement that Microsoft are discontinuing the Zune, their own portable music player, has fuelled rumours that maybe Apple will revamp the iPod range today too, and that Microsoft are just getting out the market before they make an even bigger loss on their own player. It would make sense – we’ve seen the iPod line-up change ready for the holiday season every year for the past four years or so. It would be a real money-spinner for them to do it today.

There were also rumours that maybe the Mac line-up would change too. Now, these have cooled off slightly seeing as the new Macs have been released throughout the last 18 months, with an update to one of the machines every three months or so. But why not? It’s always worth a punt that Apple will throw something out there.

A few whispers appeared that maybe Apple will shock us all today, by announcing the iPad 3, alongside a new phone and the new iPod range. This was because iOS 5 will be released alongside the new iPhone, and therefore a full upgrade of the whole iOS device catalogue is of course needed. Well, us Apple fans think so anyway. A retina display has apparently been very difficult to create for the iPad, but if they’ve pulled it off, we may see an appearance at the keynote later.

So, realistically, what are we likely to see today?

Of course, iOS 5 will be seen today. The announcement of the new software in June, given a ‘Fall’ release date indicated at the time that they were waiting for a new device. Don’t be surprised to see new features unveiled today. We’ve already seen the likes of Newsstand, Reminders and iMessage, but there are talks of Facebook integration into the software, to match that of the already announced Twitter integration. Let’s see.

One of the smaller announcements, but one of the most crucial, is that iOS 5 will be based around Delta updates – meaning the days of sitting around waiting for 500MB updates to download are gone. Now, any update to iOS 5 will be dragged down from the cloud, and only items that have been changed will be updated. Thank God for that.

We’ll also hear more about iCloud, Apple’s new cloud-based storage system. Announced alongside iOS 5 in June, it’ll allow for apps, music, photos, documents, and anything else you could possibly wish to store on an iPhone, an iPad, a Mac or an iPod Touch to be updated across all our iOS devices, keeping everything updated quickly and easily without the need to constantly be plugging in your device.

Also expect to see the iPhone 4S. The majority of leaks indicate that this is what we’ll be seeing today – based on the iPhone 4, with better, faster, more impressive technology, and potentially a bigger screen too. The Apple Stores in the US have stocked up on unlocked 3GS phones too, so expect to hear something regarding that. It would mean Apple have a tiered phone pricing plan – the 3GS at the low end, the 4 in the middle, and the 4S at the very high end.

Something will happen with the iPod – whether it just be new colours schemes or a complete overhaul. Rumours are floating around that Apple are ready to cut off the iPod Classic and the iPod Shuffle – heightened by the removal of click-wheel applications from the App Store late last month.

Release dates for iOS 5 and the new iPhone are still to be announced, but many believe that iOS 5 will either be made available immediately after the keynote today, or on October 10th, meaning that the iPhone is slated in for the 14th October.

Bar that, we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll speak to you AC – After Cupertino.

Let’s Talk iPhone.

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Apple Prepare For iPhone 5 Launch On October 4th

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

Having looked at the dates of upload to GMOAI the last few months, it’s fair to say it’s been a little neglected. Not a lot has ended up at the end of that URL. But that’s what happens when you have many fingers in different pies. So apologies to all, but I promise to get you something AT LEAST once a week.

Today, we’re gonna talk Apple. And we will do next Tuesday too. But tonight the official invitations for the iPhone event at Apple HQ in Cupertino next Tuesday were leaked to the world. They’re calling it ‘Let’s Talk iPhone.’ And not only has social media gone nuts, but so has every Apple geek across this planet – and I’m one of them.

270911_iphone_invite

And there it is, in all its wonder. Now, let’s decipher it. Obviously, the ‘Calendar’ is the date of next Tuesday, the 4th of October. The event will begin at 10AM, as ‘Clock’ says. ‘Maps’ shows us it’ll be at Cupertino, but the most intriguing part is the ‘Phone’ application, with a big red ‘1’ button on it. Indicating a new phone? Just one?!

Having seen all the rumours and leaks over the last year or so of the new iPhone 5, we’ve also seen a growing number saying that we’re quite likely to see a cheaper version produced too, knows as the iPhone 4S. So why hasn’t that been listed too? Will it even happen?! All questions I’m sure we’ll see answered over the next seven days.

Equally, there seem to be plenty of rumours flying around about ‘secret’ features to iOS5, also expected to be rolled out just before the iPhone 5 is in a few weeks’ time. We’ve already seen the announcement of Twitter integration into the core software, but will we see Facebook jump on board too? There seems to be a deep hatred of Google between the two of the biggest companies in the world, and so it would surely make sense to come together and beat Android, and Google+ together. But we’ll have to see with that one.

Seemingly, Facebook may feature again next Tuesday, with the announcement of their very long-awaited iPad app. Supposedly ready since May, Facebook are ready to unveil what will be the most-used app on the iPad over the next two weeks, and thus increasing their own personal market share of the social networking market even further. Or so they hope.

There’ll be plenty more to look forward to – the inevitable ‘One More Thing’, Tim Cooks’ first keynote as CEO, and all the new features of the new products – but until this time next week, we’ll just have to keep second guessing…

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Premier League Review 2010/11 – Heartbreak and Victory

Originally posted on General Musings of an Idiot.

The curtain falls on another Premier League season, and what a season it’s been. We’ve had millions of pounds spent, consistent tantrums, wonder goals, massive flops, incredible comebacks, tight table crunches, grudge matches, derby games, stunning football, and that was just the beginning. I’m gonna try and sum up this season in a blog post, and see where we end up.

Obviously, as a United fan, there will be inevitable bias strewn throughout this post. But I’ll do my best to stay neutral… Kinda.

So, let’s start in pre-season. Hull, Burnley and Portsmouth left us after being relegated to the Championship, with Newcastle, West Brom, and Blackpool being promoted into the big time. Manchester City spent £116m to try and win some silverware, splashing the cash on the likes of David Silva, James Milner, and Yaya Toure. Rafael van der Vaart joined Tottenham in a cut-price £8m Deadline Day deal, whilst Sunderland spent £13m to buy Asamoah Gyan to partner Darren Bent up front, in the hope of European football. The transfer market was surprisingly dull, with the majority of money coming in from Spain – the likes of Javier Mascherano and Ricardo Carvalho joined the Spanish Revolution taking place between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

We also saw plenty of management changes. After Rafa Benitez left Liverpool, Fulham’s Roy Hodgson was seen as the man to fire them back to the big time. He was then replaced by Mark Hughes, who, after leaving Man City in December 2009, finally had an opportunity to come back to the Premier League. Avram Grant joined West Ham, and Martin O’Neill resigned on the eve of the new season, paving the way for Gerard Houllier to return to the English game. The managerial merry-go-round well and truly changed the familiar faces we see in the dugouts throughout the season.

And then we could begin. And what a way to start for Blackpool – their first game ended with a 4-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. August drew to a close with Chelsea and United at the top of the league, with West Ham, Stoke City and Everton in the relegation spots – a place West Ham knew very well come May…

But let’s not mull over month-by-month – let’s consider what has made this season a truly remarkable one.

We had a period in time where Liverpool, decorated in countless silverware and trophies, were very close to administration. Insiders within RBS, who help the loans and debts against the club, said there was half an hour to go before they went bust. That was, until, Hicks and Gillett finally agreed to sell to John W. Henry, when their season began to turn around, but more of that later.

Or what about the debacle surrounding who took control of the Olympic Stadium? West Ham took their eye off the ball and concentrated on securing a new home, whilst Tottenham plotted to take the stadium themselves, and shelve their own plans to redevelop White Hart Lane. Then we had issues with Leyton orient kicking off that they wanted the stadium. Obviously, since then we’ve discovered West Ham are the preferred candidates for the stadium, but this is still subject to legal proceedings. What more do you expect from football?!

The biggest story of the year took place during one October week. Wayne Rooney, Man United’s sweetheart, announced he wished to leave the club, as it ‘lacked ambition’. Suddenly, he became Judas, and fans burnt shirts – as only English fans would. But within three days, Fergie had turned it around, and Wayne signed a new five-year deal, worth a reported £250,000 a week. Disgusting money, and hardly a way to redeem yourself to United fans.

But Blackpool brought a breath of fresh air to the glamour of the Premier League. Ian Holloway built a team from relegation candidates in the Championship to the darlings of English football, all on a shoestring budget. They had grit and determination, and were a tough team, but had an attacking finesse we see the likes of Barcelona and Brazil have. A truly exciting team to watch. For the first half of the season, anyway.

Then there was December. England lost their 2018 World Cup bid, Chris Hughton was un-ceremonially sacked as Newcastle boss and replaced by Alan Pardew, Carlos Tevez says he wants to leave Man City, then stays, Sam Allardyce was binned by new Blackburn owners Venky’s, and Steve Kean was promoted from the coaching team, and Gary Speed becomes the new Wales manager. Throw into that a Manchester Top Two at the end of 2010, and Liverpool floating precariously above the relegation zone, and 2011 looked to be a cracker.

The return of King Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool after Hodgson had his contract terminated was met by jubilation amongst all Liverpool fans, and the media as a whole. Many saw this as an opportunity for Fergie to be ‘put in his place’, and for Liverpool to ‘return to their perch’. There was the retirement of Gary Neville, Man United’s club captain, after 602 appearances for the club in a 20-year career. And then January Deadline Day.

Goodbye Torres, Hello Carroll. Chelsea finally completed the saga that had dragged on for the month, by signing Fernando Torres for a British transfer record of £50m. Liverpool then used that cash to pay Newcastle £35m for Andy Carroll, and spent £20m on signing Luis Suarez from Ajax, rejuvenating their front line and stamping Dalglish’s name across the squad.

Saturday 5th February 2011 will live long in the memory of any neutral, too. A record 41 goals were scored in eight Premier League games, including a 19-minute comeback from Newcastle, who went from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal, a topsy-turvy game ending with Everton beating Blackpool 5-3, and an incredible 7-goal thriller between Wigan and Blackburn, finishing 4-3 to the Latics. A remarkable weekend that many are saying is the greatest in Premier League history.

And then the season began to climax. Man City beat Man United 1-0 in a bitter derby game to reach the FA Cup Final, which was duly won by City, when they beat Stoke City 1-0 in May. Queen’s Park Rangers had a storming season in the Championship and secured promotion to the Premier League for the 2011/12 season at the end of April, and were joined by Norwich City, who secured back-to-back promotions. And after a 2-1 victory against Chelsea, Manchester United gained the point they needed to win their 12th Premier League title, and 19th Championship, after a 1-1 draw with Blackburn in May. This made them the undisputed greatest domestic side England has ever seen.

 

But with victory, there is an inevitable heartbreak. West Ham, after being in the bottom three for the majority of the season, were relegated on the penultimate game of the season after six seasons in the Premier League, and within hours Avram Grant had his contract terminated. A second-division team who will potentially have the keys to an Olympic Stadium.

And today, we had the showdown between five relegation-threatened teams, and with two spots to fill, all was to play for. Blackpool suffered a 4-2 defeat to Man United, which relegated the club, to every fan’s discontent. This did, however, mean United had taken 55 points from a possible 57 at home this season – a breathtaking display of a home fortress.

But with Blackpool and West Ham down, one of Wigan, Wolves, Blackburn, and Birmingham had to be relegated too. Having been 3-0 down to Blackburn at half time, Wolves lost 3-2, but this was enough to keep them in the Premier League on goal difference, and gained Blackburn the three points they needed to remain for another season. And this left Wigan needing a win and to just hope Birmingham had a result which was worse than theirs. Which they did. Wigan pulled off an incredible escape, having beat West Ham 3-2 the previous week, and beat Stoke City today 1-0 to keep their Premier League status.

Unfortunately, for Birmingham, a 2-1 defeat was not enough. Despite winning the Carling Cup for their first silverware in 48 years, Alex McLeish could not keep them in the Premier League. So we’ll see a Championship club playing Europa League football next season – quite a prospect.

Also playing Europa League football will be Tottenham, whose Champions League campaign lit up the competition, but as they took their eye off their domestic season, the chance of doing the same again next season vanished. A battle between Tottenham and a revitalised Liverpool emerged, with Spurs taking the spot on the final game of the season.

A similiar situation emerged for the third automatic Champions League spot. Back in January, Arsenal were facing the possibility of winning the Quadruple. However, their season imploded in spectacular fashion, and they dropped out of three competitions within a week in February, and lost precious points in the Premier League, leaving them destined for qualification into Europe’s major club competition. Man City then put this issue to bed, qualifying by finishing in third position – their highest league finish in 34 years, and their first foray into the Champions League.

A quite incredible finish to a sensational season, which included a record 1,063 goals, and 17 hat-tricks. Unconsolable faces were met by rapturous applause and cheers in each and every game this afternoon, with results swinging in directions leaving the Premier League table in a completely different state than at any other point during the season. Just 10 points separated 8th and 19th – an incredibly close season. With the added incentive of an extra £750,000 for every place higher they finished in the league, the need for a win today had never greater.

So, the final table. We see Manchester United crowned champions, with Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal qualifying for the Champions League. Tottenham pip Liverpool to the Europa League qualification spot, who in turn finish just above bitter rivals Everton. Fulham, Aston Villa, and Sunderland finish off the Top 10 – three clubs who have been towards the foot of the table in recent weeks.

West Brom and Newcastle are 11th and 12th respectively, whilst Stoke City, who qualify for the Europa League thanks to being FA Cup Finalists, finish 13th. Bolton finish 14th, after a very poor finish to teh season, just ahead of Blackburn, Wigan and Wolves, who survived on the final day. Finally, the bottom three of Birmingham, Blackpool and West Ham make up the 2010/11 Premier Legaue table.

So what next?

Well, already tonight, we’ve seen Chelsea sack Carlo Ancelotti, in a manner that many are saying is disgusting. He has led Chelsea to a top two finish, and won the Double for the club last season, but still ends up as a failure to the Chelsea boardroom. According to some leaks via Twitter, his severance pay-off includes a clause stating he cannot manage another club in England for a year, so it will be the last we see of him for a while. Already there are strong rumours we’ll be seeing a Guus Hiddink-Marco van Basten dream team.

 

We’ll see Man City splashing further millions in the off-season, to try and push for a Premier League title next season, but Man United will have something to say about that. We may even see Arsene Wenger leave Arsenal, as some fans are now calling for his resignation due to the distinct lack of silverware for six years.

Aston Villa are likely to be looking for a new manager, after Gerard Houllier’s recent ill-health, whereas Liverpool will be looking to cement their place in the league next season and push for the top. Likewise, QPR and Norwich will both want to appear and do well, and become regular Premier League participants. And there will be the mid-table battles that take place every season, and excite fans up and down the country.

Whatever happens though, it will take a lot to beat the 2010/11 season.

All pictures are courtesy of the BBC Sport team, and Sky Sports.

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