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Posts posted by Schuldiner

  1. Re: Firefox Speed Tweak

    Just a small tip for any Firefox users who are using (or planning to use) this feature - personally I very rarely use Firefox, but that's just my own preference (Opera's features suit my needs better, that's all).

    It does work, but it's not as simple as the quoted guide suggests.

    2. Alter the entries as follows:

    Set "network.http.pipelining" to "true"

    Set "network.http.proxy.pipelining" to "true"

    Set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

    The first problem is this bit.

    Firefox is only able to make a maximum of 8 simultaneous requests. That's just the way the browser is designed. You can ask it to make 30... or even 100' date=' but it won't. 8 is the maximum.

    Also, the higher you set this number, the more likely you are to make your browser crash, so again use 8 as a maximum.

    Theoretically, even if 30+ requests was possible, you still wouldn't want to set it that high, because you'd probably end up having websites blocking access to your IP for hogging all the bandwidth and slowing down the servers (which could potentially be a big problem if everyone used this trick).

    Actually, I personally wouldn't set this above 4. Most websites block more than a couple of requests from the same IP anyway, so all you're doing by sending more is clogging up your own broadband connection.

    3. Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0". This

    value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it recieves.

    Second problem - this bit is totally pointless.

    All this does is start displaying the information on the webpage sooner. Setting it to 0 does not make your page load faster. Things like blocks of text might appear instantly, but the overall time to load EVERYTHING on the page is the SAME (or actually longer on slower connections).

    Ignore nglayout.initialpaint.delay. It's only a matter of preference, which doesn't affect overall speed.


    1. Give pipelining a try if you think your internet is a bit slow, but don't listen to the nonsense about massive numbers of requests or nglayout.initialpaint.delay.

    2. If you're happy with your speed anyway, it's probably best to leave things alone. You won't get the hassle of anything messing up if you accidentally change anything you shouldn't in the process.

    Pipelining was more useful 5 years ago when connections were slower. Most people shouldn't need it these days, but good luck if you decide to give it a try. :)

  2. Re: Anyone know of a good laptop?

    So roughly £400-750

    That's quite a big range, so there are a LOT of options really. I'd say Samsung offer the best value for money at the moment though.

    I bought one recently myself, so I've looked at quite a lot of laptops around the £500-600 mark. Most other trusted brands (HP, Toshiba, Sony, Dell, Acer etc) were asking around £50 more than Samsung for laptops with the same processors/RAM/hard drives and other things.

    Well built machines from a reputable company, so they're a pretty safe bet really.

    There are cheaper options, but only from budget brands like Advent as far as I'm aware, which I'm not really that keen on. When I'm spending £500+ on something, I'd rather not take a gamble on quality and customer service.

    So basically, look for any Samsung laptop with an Intel Core i3 processor (Core i5 is faster if you can afford it, but i3 should be more than good enough), and at least 4GB of RAM.

    Here's a few that are for sale on Amazon in case you want to take a look (obviously you can get them from other places too):

    Samsung R530

    Amazon price: £533 (637EUR)

    RRP: £599 (716EUR)

    A good all-rounder, for a good price. Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB RAM means it will be more than quick enough for what you want. No bluetooth though for some reason, so if you want to connect to phones/cameras etc, you'll need to use the USB cable. Will run low quality games ok, but the graphics card might not handle much more than that.

    TAKE CARE: There are cheaper versions of this laptop available with slower processors and/or less RAM. Don't buy the wrong one by mistake.

    VERDICT: A great laptop that's had some great reviews in various magazines. It's about 200-270EUR cheaper than the highest you want to go, so will save you some money. Personally though, I would spend the extra 30-40EUR (depending on where you buy from) on the slightly faster, bluetooth enabled R540.

    Samsung R540

    Amazon price: £563 (673EUR)

    RRP: £599 (716EUR)

    This is essentially the same as the R530 above, but with a slightly faster version of Intel's Core i3 processor, and with bluetooth. The difference in speed is only small, so you might not even notice it much, but being able to connect phones and cameras wirelessly is very handy, especially if you're already using your USB ports for other things. Graphics card still isn't good enough for medium-high quality games though. Not everyone will like the colour (brown, almost wood effect), but some think it looks a bit classier than shiny black or silver plastic. Depends on your taste.

    TAKE CARE: There are cheaper versions of this laptop available with less RAM. 4GB is the best one to get.

    VERDICT: This is the laptop I actually bought. Great performance and great value for money. This is the one to get if you decide you'd rather not spend your entire budget.

    Samsung R580

    Amazon price: £660 (789EUR)

    RRP: £699 (836EUR)

    This has the same processor as the R530 (slightly slower than the R540, but probably not enough to notice), 4GB RAM (the same as all 3 others), and bluetooth. So performance will be the same as the cheaper laptops. The difference is that this comes with a Bluray DVD drive and a better graphics card. Not good enough to handle the latest games on ultra high settings, but certainly enough for most modern games on medium settings.

    There are a few different versions of this available for different prices (a cheaper one with a smaller hard drive, a more expensive one with a faster processor etc), but this one offers the best value in my opinion. All of them are good enough for what you need.

    VERDICT: Good performance again, with the added bonus of a better graphics card. If gaming is more important to you than finding a bargain, you should think about getting this. The R590 is a better choice, but costs a bit more.

    Samsung R590

    Amazon price: £751 (898EUR)

    RRP: £799 (955EUR)

    This one is easily the most expensive, but it's also the fastest and the best for gaming, out of the ones I've linked. This has an Intel Core i5 processor, which is faster than the i3 in the other 3 laptops. Not massively faster, but enough to notice some difference. It also has a fairly decent graphics card (a bit better than the one in the R580, and quite a lot better than the R530/R540). This should easily play most of the latest games on medium-high settings (although it will still struggle with the very highest settings). No Bluray drive though for this price - you can get an R590 with one, but it's £100 more expensive. A very good laptop, but you need to decide if the extra speed and gaming capabilities are worth the big price tag.

    VERDICT: The fastest of the 4 laptops, and the best for gaming, but unless those extra gaming capabilities are essential I'd say save some money and get one of the others.


    • If gaming is a priority and you don't mind spending all your budget, get the R590.
    • If you'd rather get a bargain and have 200EUR (maybe more) left to spend on something else, get the R540 - it is fast, and it will still play games (just on lowish settings)
    • If you want the R540, but don't like the colour or you can't find it cheap enough, get the R530 (more places seem to sell the R530 at the lower prices for some reason).
    • If you want something in between the two, get the R580 - personally, I'm not sure I'd go for this one for that reason, as it's only 100EUR cheaper than the R590, but that's up to you.
    • If you need a Bluray DVD drive, get the R580 - or an R590 if you're willing to go 100EUR over your budget (the one I linked here doesn't have one).

    Well there's my 2 cents anyway. There's a lot out there in your price range, so someone else may well come along and recommend something totally different, but if you do go for one of these I doubt you'd be disappointed. :P

    EDIT: Oh, and if you do need advice, only ask the staff at PC World as a last resort. They only tell you what they think you want to hear. They'll either try to sell you something expensive you don't need, or try and tell you something cheaper is a 'bargain' when it's actually just rubbish (usually when you seem unsure and they're afraid you'll leave and buy from somewhere else, or sometimes because their boss has told them to try and shift a specific product).

    PC World staff are primarily just typical salespeople. They aren't interested in what you need or even what you buy - they just want you to spend as much as possible, and make sure that what you do buy is bought from them.

  3. Re: Jabulani Ball or Awful Goalkeeping?

    I think the problem with the ball' date=' if there is one, is that it's too light. The problems goalkeepers have had is because they've misjudged it so it's down to the individual in each case. That would also explain the poor free kicks, as they are hitting them like they'd hit a heavier ball but as this one is lighter, it gors a lot higher.[/quote']

    The weight of the ball isn't really an issue. FIFA only permits balls that weigh 420-445g, so the difference between even the lightest and heaviest ball allowed is only 25g (almost nothing really). The Jabulani's weight (according to Adidas) is 440g, which is actually towards the heavier end of the scale anyway.

    The reason the ball flies when you smack it (so feels light to kick) is more because of it's aerodynamic properties (also the lower air pressure at the higher altitude venues increases the effect, but that doesn't account for every game).


    From a scientific point of view, there are two key flaws in the design of the Jabulani:

    1. The surface is too smooth (almost perfectly spherical).

    2. The shape of the panels means the distribution of furrows (seams where the panels meet) is uneven across the surface. Also, the "Aero Grooves" (small dimples) are not distributed evenly.

    There's actually a 3rd - Adidas don't seek opinions of pro players until AFTER the ball is finished... it's a bit late then, don't you think? :o

    The people who design the balls may not have even kicked a football before, nevermind played the game at the highest level. :(


    1. The almost perfectly smooth surface actually makes the ball unstable through the air... that argument that "the ball is too round" is actually a lot less ridiculous than it might sound. Rougher balls are more stable than smooth ones (this is part of the reason golf balls have dimples).

    According to an article published here on insidescience.org, when kicked at 45-70mph, the Jabulani feels less drag and travels further than conventional footballs (the Aero Grooves on the surface create turbulent air that reduces drag, but only work at high speeds because they are too small).

    At lower speeds, the smooth surface causes much heavier drag than a normal ball - so the ball slows down and falls from the air quicker than a normal ball.

    Put simply, it behaves like a heavier £80 windie - it flies when you boot it, but suddenly stops and drops from the sky once it loses speed. :rolleyes:

    2. This is the bigger problem, in my opinion. Increased speed and longer distances are easy to adapt to for a top professional, but this one causes the ball to be unpredictable. It removes skill from the game and adds luck in it's place.

    The ball doesn't swerve MORE than other balls, it just goes in the wrong direction sometimes... and it's IMPOSSIBLE to predict when it will happen and which way it will go.

    When the ball is kicked perfectly straight, with no spin, the uneven distribution of furrows and dimples cause an asymmetric flow of air around the ball, creating side forces that push the ball into a swerve.

    In extreme cases this could mean a player could take an absolutely perfect shot at goal, only to see the ball fly high and wide into row Z... or, another player could completely mess up a shot, and the ball fly into the top corner.

    This is totally unacceptable at this level - the perfect example of technology going too far.

    We've seen some awful goalkeeping in this World Cup that you can't really blame on the ball, but the ball IS still terrible. It's an absolute disgrace for something that apparently took 6 years to develop... I don't even want to guess how much money was wasted.

    Bring back the good old 32 panel (hexagon/pentagon pattern) stitched balls for the next WC, and let skill decide things for a change! :P

  4. Re: Who will win the World Cup in 2010?

    I think for once' date=' in quite a while, there is one clear favourite. Expect no one to come remotely close to Spain.[/quote']

    They aren't unbeatable really. Obviously they're going to be most people's favourites because of their performances in the last Euros and in qualifying, but they are vunerable at the back.

    They're also predictable tactically. They only ever play one way (don't get me wrong, they are brilliant at playing that one way), so if some other top team gets their tactics spot on they could quite easily cause an upset (in the same way Inter did by beating Barca).

    It might also make things interesting if David Villa gets injured early on. Can Torres really be relied upon in a Spain shirt? Aside from the 3 he put past New Zealand at the Confederations Cup, he hasn't scored a single competitive goal since the one against Germany 2 years ago (and he only scored 2 that whole tournament). That's 0 goals in 11 games... not really the best record for one of the world's best strikers is it?

    Now I rate Torres highly, so I'm not doubting his quality... he just doesn't seem to perform at international level (or hasn't yet).

    I imagine the Spanish midfield would be good enough to help out, and Llorente might chip in with a couple, so I think they'd still do well.

    Probably unlikely to happen, but just something to think about... could Spain go all the way without David Villa? :P

  5. Re: Who will win the World Cup in 2010?

    Spain is fairly strong too' date=' although I wonder who they have on left flank???[/quote']

    Capdevila will almost certainly play LB. I don't think he's as flashy as Evra or Lahm, but he is reliable and rarely makes mistakes. Very good at crossing too imo.

    I'd imagine David Silva will be LM.

    Spain will probably have more problems at RB and CB. Ramos is class, but lazy and quite error prone. Puyol is one of those players I've always thought is quite useless and way overhyped (good leader, but terrible at reading attackers moves and always out of position). Albiol... well his season at Real says it all. Pique is decent, but still a bit inexperienced internationally. Time will tell with him.

    Spain will likely hog the ball too much for their weak(ish) defence to matter that much though.

    I'd say Brazil are still very strong in attack too. A lot better balanced than in the past. Kaka is still on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo when he's wearing a yellow shirt, Elano and Robinho somehow perform far better than even their best moments at club level, and Luis Fabiano and Nilmar might not be Ronaldo and Romario but they still bang in goals for fun.

    Their only weakness is at DM. Felipe Melo isn't really suited to the tough-tackling, ball-winning role, so that leaves Gilberto Silva or Josue... neither of whom are the same players they once were. :confused:

    Brazil are my favourites to take the trophy, ahead of Spain, and that team who seem to specialise in saving their best performances for major tournaments, Germany.

  6. Re: Spam's Team Guide to the FIFA World Cup 2010

    Denmark on fire? Didn't they just receive beating from Austria? I personally like Denmark' date=' but wouldn't say that they're really tougher than Morocco these days. They had a really strong squad in early 2000's, but nowadays there's no stars there.[/quote']

    Friendlies are rarely ever an accurate indication of how good a team is though (remember Cape Verde Islands and Portugal?).

    Denmark finished top of one of the tougher groups in the European zone in qualifying with one of the best denensive records (same as Spain and Germany, and better than England, Italy, France, Serbia etc). No obvious stars, but their teamwork and determination are better than almost anyone. They do the simple things really well and that makes them a difficult team to beat.

    Also, the Morocco team you compare with Denmark failed to win one single game in round 2 of African qualifying. :rolleyes:

    Surely Cameroon is not the weaker team in that group. Even the Dutch are not untouchable: take a look at the central defence of the Netherlands and suddenly you understand why the Dutch might feel certain fear when Eto'o enters the field against them. Although' date=' with their attacking midfield Netherlands should be the favorite to win this group.[/quote']

    Yes, but it wont matter if Cameroon can't get the ball to Eto'o. The Dutch midfield is easily good enough to keep possession of the ball for large periods of the game. Then when Cameroon do get the ball, they don't have the creative players in midfield to make chances for Eto'o.

    Eto'o isn't a player that will chase the ball and do everything himself. He'll sit up front and wait for someone else to set things up for him... and Cameroon aren't good enough to give him enough chances to be dangerous.

    Stats go' date=' that only team to ever win a World Cup on a foreign continent is Brazil. So, either Brazil or the Africans this time.[/quote']

    It isn't really anything to do with the continent the tournament takes place in, it's more because of the climate. Hotter favours South American, North African and most Asian teams, cooler favours European teams.

    Europe - 10 WCs - 9 European winners (Brazil won in 1958)

    The cooler climates in Europe favour the European teams, so they usually win. Brazil was the exception, when they won at the start of their legendary period (with Pele, Garrincha etc).

    South/Central America - 6 WCs - 6 South American winners

    The generally hotter climates work in the favour of the South American teams, making it difficult for Europeans to win.

    The only 2 World Cups held outside Europe or South America, were USA 1994 and Japan/S. Korea 2002. Both of these were in hotter temperatures that don't suit the Europeans - Brazil won both.

    The World Cup this year is in the South African winter, which is cool and suits the big European teams. African and South American teams will have NO climate advantage this time. Expect that record to change.

    To be honest' date=' C. Ronaldo is Portugal's only chance against Ivory Coast or any other team, I wait for even North Korea being a tough opponent for Portugal (they just tied with some.... Greece, wasn't it?).[/quote']

    I agree with you here. Portugal won't get past the group stage. Ronaldo is their only threat, and he tends to underperform for his national team (0 goals in 7 games in qualifying says it all).

    Friendlies always throw up weird results (as I said earlier). North Korea probably won't threaten anyone.

    The problem for Ivory Coast is they're going to find it very difficult to finish above Brazil in the group... that almost certainly puts them up against Spain in the 2nd round. Can you really see Ivory Coast beating Spain in conditions that will suit Spain almost perfectly? I can't.

    What you say about Ivory Coast's international success has been said about Spain just until the last EC. This can be Ivory Coast's Cup' date=' just like 2008 was Spain's Cup. They may be ready now. They have a top team, there's no doubt about that, and now they don't have to come to Europe or America to play it, they'll get a sort of home advantage. They seem to have matured a lot.[/quote']

    To me, their abysmal display at the last ACoN suggests they haven't matured at all.

    Spain made major changes to their squad between WC 2006 and Euro 2008. A fresh, new squad won that EC - one that didn't have that same 'underachievers' tag on their shoulders.

    Ivory Coast's squad has hardly changed in the last 6+ years, so they'll probably suffer from the same problems all over again. Even if they do improve, they have far too tough a draw to get beyond the 2nd round. Brazil and Spain are the best two teams in the world right now, and Ivory Coast will probably have to play both.

    About CAN' date=' the level in Africa is actually quite tough. Proof of it is that Egypt never seems to manage to get into the World Cup. Egypt is a tough country to beat, really, my favorite to win CAN every time. I recall that Al-Ahly club beating several biggest European teams (wasn't it few years ago ManU and Milan, both top of Europe at the time). Only reason why we don't reckon Egypt, is that they never make it to the World Cup, but this is because it is not easy to make it through from Africa, not nearly as easy as it is to make it through from South America for example (where half of the teams qualify, which is already ridiculous). Big African football countries are left out of World Cup every time (just like big Europeans too), while 2 teams come from Oseania and ridiculous 3 teams from North America (really, [b']one[/b] place should be enough for North America) and what, 5 from ASia (again, perhaps 3 or 4 would be enough when). The African qualification is by far the most competitive because the level is high while the places in the World Cup are very few.

    Maybe the qualification process does seem a bit unfair, but you have to remember it's based on past performances. If African teams started doing well at World Cups, they would have more places in the finals... fact is the ones that DO get beyond the group usually go out in round 2 (not exactly impressive is it?).

    Personally, I think Africa has about 5-7 teams on a similar level. That's why the competition is tough. Ivory Coast on paper, are considerably stronger than those 5-7 teams, and should in theory win a lot more than they actually do. Unfortunately for them, they choke under pressure too often, so some other teams are made to look better than they actually are... and this shows when World Cups come round.

    In 2006, 4 out of 5 African teams went out in the group stage (3 of them were absolutely awful). Ghana, who did get through, got hammered by Brazil in the 2nd round.

    In 2002, 3 out of 4 African teams failed in the group stage. Senegal did ok, but were knocked out by Turkey before they even met a top team in the knockout rounds.

    In 1998, 4 out of 5 African teams went home at the same stage. Nigeria were thrashed by Denmark in round 2.

    See a pattern?

    Competition in Africa might be close, but they're still some distance behind Europe and South America.

    About home advantage' date=' your memory betrays you. Italy and Spain both were eliminated by the referee. South Korea wasn't better in either match. Both Spain and Italy would have easily advanced without home advantage that the Koreans had. If you look at their team now, it indeed seems very weak. Didn't they just receive serious whooping by some not so great team?[/quote']

    I didn't forget about that... it just doesn't affect my point.

    Italy went 1-0 up very early on. If they didn't suddenly start playing super defensively, they could easily have gone 2-0 or 3-0 up. When you're 2 or 3 in front, one dodgy decision doesn't suddenly change who wins the game. Italy's tactics left them vunerable to that kind of error. It was mostly their own fault they lost that match, not the referee's.

    Spain needed penalties to beat Ireland in the match before South Korea. They were then very poor in the Korea game. Spain were good on paper at the time, but poor on the pitch... kind of like Ivory Coast at the last ACoN.

    Also, once again, South Korea back then were a lot better than South Africa are now. I never said South Korea are good now... they aren't.

    And about "it's not as if they'd beaten Germany or Brazil"' date=' well, I'm not saying that SA should beat Germany or Brazil either, one tie and one victory against Uruguay, Mexico and France can be enough. Beating Uruguay or Mexico isn't actually beating Italy (World Cup winners in next WC after 2002 when were beaten by South Korea with help of referee) or Spain (European champions just few years later). If Italy can lose any match, how about some of these teams?[/quote']

    All that is covered by what I've been saying about that Korean team being a lot better than the current South African team.

    And by Uruguayan players' "physical nature" you must mean "lack of skill". Really' date=' aside from Forlan, who is awesome, that team doesn't really impress me.[/quote']

    No. I'm not saying Uruguay are brilliant, just that they are a lot better than South Africa. My 'physical nature' comment was directed at the fact that teams with big, strong players (Uruguay) tend to do well against teams with mostly small, quick, technical players (like South Africa and Mexico). You only have to look at Stoke and Bolton's records against Arsenal in recent years to see that. And Arsenal are the better team in that example... South Africa are the weaker team here.

    Lugano, Godin, Suarez, Rodriguez, Caceres, Gargano, Abreu and Eguren are all vastly superior to anyone South Africa has except Pienaar, to answer the second point. Not world class, but they don't have to be.

    You fail to see that home advantage means everything in World Cup. Actually' date=' almost always when a top country has hosted the cup they have won it too.[/quote']

    That's partly true. When a big country hosts, they have won 50% of the time. That is a lot, but it's not really 'almost always'.

    Also, most of those happened a long, long time ago. In the past 30 years, the only tournament a top nation won as hosts was France 98 - the other 3 were won by other countries.

    2006 - Germany hosted, Italy won.

    1998 - France hosted, France won.

    1990 - Italy hosted, Germany won.

    1982 - Spain hosted, Italy won.

    1978 - Argentina hosted, Argentina won.

    1974 - Germany hosted, Germany won.

    1966 - England hosted, England won.

    1950 - Brazil hosted, Uruguay won.

    1938 - France hosted, Italy won.

    1934 - Italy hosted, Italy won.

    (I ignored Uruguay 1930 as most major European teams refused to enter - Uruguay won almost by default.)

    The weather really is a small factor' date=' Ivory Coast's and Cameroon's players play in Europe anyway and seem to do fine.[/quote']

    Yes, that's true. The problem is that players from every top team play in Europe too, and also do fine. When the weather is cool, all the teams know how to play in the conditions, so usually just whoever is best wins (European natives have a small advantage, but not much).

    If the weather was hot, pretty much nobody from England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Holland etc would be comfortable playing in that climate, so South American and African teams would have a big advantage - they won't have that in South Africa.

    Take a look at the history' date=' surprising results happen, because a victory turns to a tie easily, as turns a tie to a defeat, goals don't often reflect the control of the game or the level of teams. Only team that is pretty secure is Brazil, and even they do fail sometimes. Usually the surprises are the hosts. Recall also USA getting quite far in their home World Cup when they really were a small football country without any stars at all. In same World Cup Bulgaria beat Germany, by the way, to advance to the semis. These things happen.[/quote']

    I've already said that USA team was better than what South Africa has now.

    That Bulgarian team was actually pretty amazing. Hristo Stoichkov and co getting to the semis wasn't really a surprise at all (neither was Croatia 4 years later, actually).

    Surprises happen... miracles don't. :o:)

  7. Re: Slipknot Bassist Paul Gray Found Dead

    That's three metal/rock musicians in just the last few weeks that I've heard about then.

    First, Pete Steele, the Type O Negative frontman/bassist... then the legend that was Ronnie James Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell and Dio frontman)... now Paul Gray.

    I always hated Slipknot, if I'm honest. To me, they're just a symbol of everything that's wrong with metal. Having said that, though, it's never good when anyone dies that young. Sad news indeed. :(

  8. Re: Spam's Team Guide to the FIFA World Cup 2010

    I doubt SA dropping on group stage. In World Cup the host country does always well.

    Just think about South Korea dropping both Italy and Spain when hosting a World Cup.

    Well yeah' date=' the stats say the host usually does well, but like I said before... there's never been a host anywhere NEAR as weak as the current South Africa team.

    That 2002 South Korea squad might have been full of unknown players at the time, but if you look back now they were actually pretty strong. S.Korea and Japan both had really weak groups at that World Cup. Also, the Spain team at the time was still collapsing anytime they felt the slightest bit of pressure, and the Italians always leave themselves open to shock results with their '1-0 will do' tactics. It's not like they beat Brazil or Germany is it? :rolleyes:

    Uruguay isn't really strong squad, but they have Forlan and that's a guy who can win them some matches all by himself. one victory and one tie may be enough for going through.

    Uruguay are maybe not the strongest of the South American teams in the competition, but Forlan and Suarez is a strike partnership that's arguably better than what France can offer these days.

    Those two, combined with the physical nature of the rest of the team (particularly the defence) should be enough to bully wins out of the more flimsy Mexico and South Africa sides... especially as neither of those two has any obvious goal threat in their own sides, and both seem to be a bit iffy at the back.

    All my claims are based on historical stats. I think they support our case: SA will advance from this group. My other case' date=' the winner being either Cameroon, Ivory Coast or Brazil is just as backed up.

    My feeling then is that Brazil won't take the 3 consecutive victories (this, Brazil 2014, Some-Asian-Country 2018) and it will be Ivory Coast this time. They should have the home field advantage with Drogba being the beloved boy of whole Africa. I also predict that Drogba will smash all the scoring records after banging at least a double hat trick against North Korea.[/quote']

    I really can't see ANY African team winning this World Cup really. Ivory Coast obviously have the best squad, but the problem for them is that the competition takes place in the South African winter, which is similar to springtime in Europe. This is going to suit teams like Spain, Germany, Italy, England, France and Holland perfectly (Ivory Coast had pretty much the same squad at Germany 2006, and look back at how they performed against Argentina and Holland there).

    Ivory Coast also failed miserably at the ACoN earlier this year, and were beaten by an admittedly good (although weaker on paper) Egypt at the previous two tournaments. The fact that they've only reached one final since they won it in 1992, when in recent years they should have had enough quality to walk to victory (minimum expectation would have been to win at least ONE of the last four), suggests to me that they choke when they're under pressure... not good if you want to win a World Cup. Ivory Coast will get knocked out by Spain in the second round.

    I don't even think Cameroon will get out of their group this year, to be honest. Eto'o is brilliant, but he doesn't get the same supply he got at Barcelona or now (to a lesser extent) at Inter. He can't really win games by himself in the same way Messi or Ronaldo can. He needs someone else to create the chances for him, and I'm not sure Cameroon have enough creativity in midfield for Eto'o to be as effective as he can be. Holland, Denmark and Japan are much tougher opposition than Gabon, Togo and Morocco.

    Denmark are on fire at the moment, and Holland are just way too good for Cameroon to contend with. Those two will progress from Group E.

  9. Re: Spam's Team Guide to the FIFA World Cup 2010

    I know what you are saying there but South Africa aren't awful. Personally I think they will be better than Mexico. I just can't stand Domenech so I am probably being a bit harsh on France. With home support and being in a weaker group I think South Africa can scrape it though.

    To me, South Africa are a team that flatter to deceive. I will admit, they've looked ok in recent friendlies (and also to some extent in the Confederations Cup), but when it comes down to it they just don't get results.

    Just look at their record in ACoN qualifying:

    2 defeats vs Nigeria (ok, so that's expected)

    1 draw, 1 defeat vs Sierra Leone

    2 wins vs Equatorial Guinea

    If they can only manage to beat Equatorial Guinea in competitive games, and can't manage more than 1 point from 6 against Sierra Leone, how can they be expected to take points off Uruguay and France in a World Cup?

    Then after that in last year's Confederations Cup, they only team they beat all tournament was New Zealand, with a draw against Iraq being their only other point. Ok, so they didn't exactly get hammered when they played Spain or Brazil, but neither of those teams even broke sweat in that tournament, yet South Africa looked like they were playing out of their skin.

    Maybe home support will prove to be a bigger factor than I anticipate, and maybe I'll get proved wrong... but at the moment, I just can't see it. A draw against Mexico is a maybe... anything more than that? No.

  10. Re: Spam's Team Guide to the FIFA World Cup 2010

    A host nation has never gone out in the group stage. I tip South Africa and Uruguay to go through.

    That's true' date=' but you have to remember who the host nations have been in the past. The only 'weak' hosts before now have been USA in 1994, and Japan/S.Korea in 2002... and even they were all far stronger at the time than South Africa are currently.

    South Africa are ranked 90th in the world (behind Mozambique, Guinea, Haiti, Malawi, Panama, El Salvador etc) for a reason. I really can't see a team who failed so miserably to even qualify for the African Cup of Nations, finishing anywhere other than bottom of the group.

    France may be under the shoddy management of Domenech, but with this group being so weak compared to most others, even he shouldn't be able to mess things up badly enough to stop them making the 2nd round.

    Uruguay might win the group if they find good form. Even if they don't, I'd expect them to go through with France.

    Mexico have a few players to watch out for in the future, but they won't be setting this World Cup alight. The defence is weak, and their biggest goal threat is probably still Cuauhtemoc Blanco (even at 37). The two things they do have in their favour are pace in midfield (i suspect we might see quick counter attacks), and the fact that they have to play against South Africa (9 times out of 10, that's a guaranteed 3 points).

    [b']Group A Verdict:[/b]

    France and Uruguay =1st (winner determined by goal difference)

    Mexico 3rd

    South Africa 4th

    Good thread, by the way. ;)

  11. Re: Music Players?

    The best I know of for sound quality is Creative's Zen X-Fi series. They completely blow iPods out of the water, and they sound quite a bit better than the Sony players I've heard too (and I rate Sony players highly for sound, so it's not like that's an easy achievement).

    The touch screen version is the Zen X-Fi 2.

    It's available on the Creative Online Store (link above), and costs £129.99 for the 16GB model, or £169.99 for 32GB.

    If having a touch screen player isn't essential, there's also the original Zen X-Fi. This comes with slightly better earphones, giving even better sound than the newer X-Fi 2 (although the earphones you get with that are still very good), and is available as a Value Pack for the same price as the player on it's own. Basically thats just a proper mains charger (so you don't have to mess about with those rubbish USB chargers) and an armband.

    This one is a bit cheaper too, so with the extra stuff you get, it's better value unless you really need a touch screen. £119.99 for 16GB, £159.99 for 32GB (I bought this one a while ago, and it's easily the best mp3 player I've ever owned).

    They're as simple as anything else to use really. Once you've got used to what goes where in the menus, it's a piece of cake. The only thing I don't know is how easy it is to upload/convert videos (if they need converting, that is), as I've never bothered putting videos on my X-Fi.

    Unlike most players, these also have SD slots (microSD on the X-Fi 2), so if you run out of space you can whack an SD card in, and have up to an extra 32GB (16GB for the X-Fi 2, as it's microSD and I don't think they make a 32GB microSD card yet).

    The only down side I can really think of is the software it comes with. It's ok, but not as good as it could be. You don't have to use it though if you don't like it. It's compatible with Windows Media Player (maybe others too, but I'm not sure which ones). Having said that though, iTunes isn't that good and it doesn't seem to stop people buying iPods. :P

    There are bigger screen players that are better for videos, but I recommended these as you said you want it mostly for music, so I'm guessing sound quality is more important.

    That's what I'd get anyway. Hope I helped. :)

  12. Re: Best Albums of 2009

    Not much immediately springs to mind really. I don't remember being blown away by much in 2009. Certainly not as much as 2008 anyway. Plenty of decent albums, just not many great ones.

    Anyway, here's some off the top of my head (I might come back later with a proper list after I've had chance to think about it a bit more):

    1349 - Revelations of the Black Flame

    The Axis Of Perdition - Urfe

    Beherit - Engram

    Blood Tsunami - Grand Feast For Vultures

    Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vertusta II: Dialogue With The Stars

    Drudkh - Microcosmos

    Hjarnidaudi - Psyko:Stare:Void

    Marduk - Wormwood

    Nazxul - Iconoclast

    Shining - VI: Klagopsalmer

    Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

    Wolves In The Throne Room - Black Cascade

    Woods Of Ypres - Woods IV: The Green Album

  13. Re: BREAKING NEWS - Robert Enke Passes Away

    The ignorance of some people in this thread, quite frankly, is disgusting. If the subject of discussion wasn't a person's death, I might even call it laughable.

    Clinical depression is a disease just like any other. It's a chemical imbalance that severely and uncontrollably affects your emotions and actions - and sometimes tiny (but significant) changes in brain structure. It's not like you just wake up one day feeling a bit down and decide to top yourself.

    Now ask yourselves this... had Enke died of a heart attack or cancer, would you still be calling him cowardly for letting his illness get the better of him? No, of course you wouldn't. Assuming his death was suicide, it's no different to that. Whether it was planned in advance, or just a spur of the moment thing, if he was medically well beforehand, it's pretty safe to say he'd still be alive.

    Now, you may not have known him personally, you may not have watched him play that much, you may not even care that he's no longer among the living... but at least treat this with the slightest hint of respect.

    Maybe refrain from commenting altogether, eh?

  14. Re: Official Chelsea FC Thread

    4-4-2 diamond formation beats the hell out of a 4-3-3

    That may be the case on SM (I haven't managed a team for a while, so I don't know exactly how much better it is), but it's not that clear cut in real life. It's all about implementation. Adapting your tactics slightly will probably do you far more good than changing your entire formation just for one single game.

    If when you lose the ball, the midfield 3 stay really narrow, and the wingers drop deep to make a 4-5-1/4-1-4-1, then the Chelsea midfield will be much less of a problem. Your DM can man-mark the Chelsea AM, and your other 4 then outnumber Chelsea's 3. Also, Chelsea's only threats from wide positions are the fullbacks, so if your own fullbacks are smart enough to play a bit narrower than usual, that suddenly leaves Drogba and Anelka with a lot less space to play in.

    Then of course when you win the ball back, you have enough of a pace advantage to revert back to 4-3-3, hit Chelsea on the break, and play the numbers game against their defence... and maybe win the odd free-kick from the bullish nature of Essien and Terry.

    Again, it's less simple in practice than on paper, and I do expect Chelsea to get the 3 points, but if Wenger is smart enough with his implementation of the tactics and strong enough with his discipline, Arsenal definately have the ability to surprise me.

  15. Re: Right now i'm listening to...

    Just why is it there so many people choose to cover that KoL song for Radio 1?

    Is it just me' date=' or has the number of covers being churned out in general shot up in the past few months? I mean I know the numbers have been steadily increasing for years, but recently it seems that pretty much every other song I hear, either in shops, on TV, or on the radio (not that I listen to it by choice) is a cover... and 99% of the time almost [i']identical[/i] to the original.

    There was a time when cover songs appeared roughly 1 track every 3-5 (ish) albums, and just as a small tribute to an artist the band respects (or occasionally a mickey take at the expense of one they don't :P). Anyway, my point is, they were very rarely much more than an afterthought back then (certainly not a main focal point of the album), and didn't get radio play unless it was something really special and/or vastly different from the original.

    These days, covers are generally nothing more than a cheap, minimum-effort money making tool. Their main purpose is either to get an album immediate attention upon it's release, or squeeze an extra few quid from the gullible masses, after the obligatory 5 (4 too many) singles have been milked.

    That's how it seems to me, anyway. I may be wrong, but I highly suspect I'm not. Irritating to say the least.

  16. Re: Should Aaron Hunt be in the england team

    It wont happen. Biologically, he might be 50% English, but mentally I'm sure he's as German as they come. Now if the proverbial boot was on the other foot, how many English footballers do you know who would ever consider representing Germany? :rolleyes:

    It would be nice to have another option up front though. The current generation isn't exactly blessed with talent in that area... and Hunt is certainly a better player than the likes of Heskey, Carlton Cole, Bent, Crouch, Agbonlahor etc. So tactical choices aside, Hunt should walk into the squad.

    I'd also have no objections to him being called up. Unlike previous players the media have brought to our attention (Cudicini, Almunia etc), this guy does have English blood. No 'live here for a few years and suddenly you become English' in Hunt's case.

    But of course, Capello isn't going to waste his time trying to persuade a German who wants to play for his own country to change his mind and play for England. Think about what it would do to the morale of the strikers that DO want to play for us... not a good idea this close to a World Cup.

  17. Re: Which of these 3 forwards has the best chance to hit 97 ?

    Talking purely in terms of quality, Villa is definately the best of the three. If he'd been playing at Barca or Real for the past couple of seasons, he'd easily be worthy of a 98 in my opinion, nevermind just 97.

    Playing for Valencia, with no CL football and probably not challenging for the La Liga title, will almost certainly stop him going any higher than he already is, though. It doesn't really matter how much he continues to outshine Torres in the national team, 97 is out of the question unless Spain win the World Cup and Villa scores about 12 goals including a hat-trick against Brazil in the final. :o

    (I'm not having a dig at Torres in that last sentence, by the way. Just pointing out just how good David Villa is. It's almost impossible for Torres to be the number 2 striker in ANY team... but he IS second best for Spain.)

    Torres could get a 97... but Liverpool would have to win at least one of the EPL or the CL, and although it's possible I think they've got their work cut out.

    Rooney is maybe not as good as Torres (except for his workrate and enthusiasm, which are second to none), but I feel United have a slightly better chance of winning a bit of silverware than Liverpool (probably not the CL though - I don't think EPL clubs will dominate as much this year). It depends how the season goes. EPL title and a CL semi with Rooney as top scorer maybe?

    So in summary, Torres and Rooney are both possibilities... but personally, I don't think either of them will go above 96 this year. Forget about Villa until Valencia flog him to Barca. :P

  18. Re: Best Manager in the World

    I have to admit' date=' I'm surprised how few votes Hiddink has amassed. Then again, I think it's just a reflection of the people voting on this thread! :rolleyes:

    What he achieved with South Korea in 2002, Australia in 2006, Russia in 2008 at international level, not to mention the domestic success he had with PSV and to a lesser extent Chelsea. He should be in the top 3 imho.


    Hmm... I'd mostly agree with you. He did brilliantly with South Korea and Australia with much poorer players than a lot of the teams he beat, and his record with PSV speaks for itself.

    Russia were slightly different, I think, because he had a much stronger squad to work with than before (no disrespect intended to Australia or South Korea, but in fairness they were both far worse on paper). Having said that, he still definately got much more out of the players than most people would have expected. I'd rate his achievements with Russia on roughly the same level as what he did with Holland at France '98.

    He did what was expected at Chelsea. Nothing overly spectacular, but a good solid job nonetheless.

    The reason he doesn't get my vote is despite his massive successes, he's also got a few more 'blips' on his CV than managers like Lippi, Hitzfeld and Capello...

    Fenerbahce (1990-91) - Sacked after one season. Finished 5th in the league behind Besiktas (by 25 points), Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Sariyer.

    Valencia (1991-94) - Finished 4th in the league in his first 2 seasons. Sacked in his 3rd season after being hammered 7-0 by Karlsruher in the UEFA Cup, and then losing to Gijon the next weekend. Reinstated 5 months later after a change in president. Results improved, but Valencia only finished 7th.

    Real Madrid (1998-99) - Sacked because of bad results and off-pitch remarks about the club's directors.

    Real Betis (1999-00) - Sacked 3 weeks before the end of the season. Betis relegated to Segunda Division.

    The worst performances Hitzfeld and Lippi have on their records is 4th place with Bayern (in 2006-07, which was more the fault of Felix Magath) and Inter (in 1999-00) respectively. Capello did finish 10th in Serie A in 1997-98 with Milan, but Milan weren't great at the time and had only finished 11th the season before under Tabarez/Morini/Sacchi.

    Those are my top 3, not only for their successes, but also because of their lack of failures compared with other top managers. Hiddink would definately be in my top 10, but it's his poor record in Spain and Turkey that stops him from being a contender for the number 1 spot, in my opinion.

  19. Re: Derren Brown to Predict Lottery Results

    This is taken from another forum:

    This is a blog post from Derren's blog last year.
    ON A BUS! ME!

    Posted by Derren November 27' date=' 2008 at 6:30 pm

    On my iphone. Currently in the middle of filming on an open top bus around Oxford st under the Christmas lights (not pictured). Tried something I hope will pay off in a year or so. Could be quite exciting.


    It was reported on The Guardian website, that people at the taping of last night's show (actually recorded on Thursday) saw an ADDITIONAL piece of footage, showing Derren on the top of an open top bus, on London's Regent Street last Christmas (you could easily tell, because he was filming beneath the famous Christmas lights on Regent St.). Atop the bus, with some assistants, Derren displayed the 6 lotto numbers, to the general public, for all to see. So, he actually predicted the numbers almost 12 months ago!! It ads a whole new level of complication and incredibility to the event. Rumour has it, the last piece of footage will be aired as part of the final event in a few week's time.

    I was disappointed last night, but if this is true, I am WELL impressed. He has the entire nation calling "********", for not showing the numbers before the Lotto draw, but he actually showed them a year ago. If only someone had noticed, and played those numbers every week until this one.....well, they'd be over £2 million richer.


    From some fan's blog:


    Now this next bit is crucial, because it’s at this moment that live in the studio Derren introduced a short film by saying that what we were about to see was shot in November of 2008 on Oxford St. On the stage’s framed background screen they played a sequence of him on the top deck of an open top bus at night with last years Oxford St. Christmas lights going over his head. He walks down the centre aisle of the bus and has six kids (around 4-5 years old) sitting either side of him in banks of 2. He raises each pair of hands to show the balls they are holding, and points the numbers towards the camera. All 6 numbers that came up on Wednesday’s draw. He told us we were seeing an edited version and the full sequence would be shown when it was aired the next day.

    I haven't checked up on any of this myself, but if it's true then I'm a lot more impressed than i was from watching the follow-up show on friday. I mean if he did actually reveal the numbers months before the draw (just without any of us knowing at the time), then that puts this whole thing on a different level altogether.

    ...That IS assuming everything I've quoted is true though. I haven't seen the proof yet myself.

  20. Re: Best Manager in the World

    Ottmar Hitzfeld always deserves a mention in these threads. His record speaks for itself really:

    3 Swiss Cups (With FC Aarau in 1985; with Grasshopper Club Zürich in 1989 and 1990)

    2 Swiss Super League (With Grasshopper Club Zürich in 1990 and 1991)

    7 German championships (With Borussia Dortmund in 1995 and 1996; with FC Bayern Munich in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2008)

    3 German Cups (With FC Bayern Munich in 2000, 2003 and 2008)

    2 UEFA Champions League (With Borussia Dortmund in 1997; with FC Bayern Munich in 2001)

    2 Intercontinental Cup (With Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and FC Bayern Munich in 2001)

    2 World Coach of the Year (1997 and 2001)

    Voted Bayern Munich's greatest coach ever

    Rated the best Bundesliga-coach of all time

    Plus, he's now doing well coaching Switzerland in the WC2010 qualifiers (although admittedly they are in a relatively weak group).

    Is he the best? I'd say it's a toss up between him and Lippi, with Capello just behind. Fergie, Wenger and Hiddink would be in the next group.

    Guardiola has a lot of work to do before he deserves to be anywhere near the list. Getting lucky and inheriting the best collection of players in world football doesn't make him one of the greats... I mean it says it all when he's sitting there in his office, watching the 2nd best team in the league spend a quarter of a BILLION on new players... only to STILL be the 2nd best team in the league afterwards. :P

  21. Re: Any metalheads on the forum?

    Cant really think of many albums that have stood out to me this year. There's still loads I either haven't heard yet or aren't out yet, but it's a bit of a disappointment after last year.

    Off the top of my head, there's just Shining's VI: Klagopsalmer, 1349's Revelations of the Black Flame and Nazxul's Iconoclast that have been worthy of shouting about.

    Lee Dorian's from Cov. He used to be in Napalm Death' date=' but after he left he formed Cathedral. Any of you got some songs by them two for me to taste?[/quote']

    Here's a few by Cathedral. The first two are a couple of my own favourites, then there's a live vid, then three of their better known songs (with their most well known, and most cheesy, last).







    I was never a massive Napalm Death fan myself, although I don't like grindcore that much so it takes something special to grab my attention (Pathogenesis Infest Phlegmsepsia from Lymphatic Phlegm is a good example). From Enslavement to Obliteration is a solid album though, and definately their best, in my opinion. It was also one of the first couple with Dorrian on vocals (the other one with Dorrian - Scum - was probably one of their worst, though). This video contains the first 8 songs from FETO.


  22. Re: Musical geniuses of the 20th century.

    and Schuldiner' date=' I've never taken Anthrax seriously after hearing the intro to Madhouse and I'm The Man :D their brilliant[/quote']

    Haha. I doubt they even take themselves seriously, to be honest. :P

    I love Anthrax. Just hate how them having a laugh on a couple of songs became the start of a whole new subgenre of metal, full of bands I can't stand. Rap metal can be fun when it's done as a laugh. When it's taken too seriously, it just makes me cringe.

  23. Re: Musical geniuses of the 20th century.

    Rage Against the Machine: No need for an explanation' date=' as Sam will back up.

    Iron Maiden: AWESOME guitar riffs followed by insane vocals.

    Killswitch Engage: Pioneers of Metalcore, and still going to![/quote']

    I'll give you Maiden, but the other two I have to disagree with (especially KSE).

    I'll give RATM a bit of credit for being one of the original rap metal bands, along with Stuck Mojo (although I wish Anthrax had never invented it, if I'm honest :o). In terms of influence though, all you can really give them credit for is the nu-metal scene, which pretty much died out just 5-10 years after it first emerged. As a stand-alone band, they are quality (although not to my own taste), but will they still be remembered and recognised as being among the very best in years to come? ...I'd say yes, but probably only for decades rather than centuries.

    Killswitch Engage... now before I go any further, I'm not criticising their music or questioning how good they are, I just don't see what they've given us that we didn't already have before. Metalcore had already been going strong for around 10+ years before KSE even formed, nevermind released an album. And none of their material has ever really pushed the boundaries or opened any new doors (no matter how good/bad any particular person thinks it may be).

    If any metalcore bands get long term recognition, surely it would be the subgenre's founders - Integrity, Earth Crisis, Biohazard, Converge etc... or maybe even Agnostic Front and Cro-Mags before that? It's debatable whether those last two can actually be considered metalcore bands, but they were certainly major influences, and Agnostic Front probably have to be credited with releasing the first metalcore album way back in 1986.

    Personally, I don't see any of them getting long term recognition outside their own niche, but if any of them did, my money would be on the bands that created and helped shape the subgenre, not the followers that came along 10+ years later and got rich just by playing a rehash of what came before.

    There are only three metal bands that are anywhere near well-known enough outside of metal to ever stand a chance of being remembered and respected 300 years from now. You already mentioned Iron Maiden... the other two are Black Sabbath and Metallica. The mainstream doesn't know or understand metal enough to give the lesser known bands responsible for shaping the plethora of styles/subgenres the recognition they deserve, especially over such a long time period.

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