Monthly Archives: January 2012

Marfin Laiki Championship – GW18

The numbers next to the each game is the number of tickets sold for the corresponding fixture, in the 2010/11 (and 2009/10) season, where applicable, as published on the Cyprus Football Association website.

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Football


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The Edge feeling

I bought my first Edge magazine in 1994. A friend and i used to take turns buying each issue to save money. I got it one month and he got it the next.

Our first purchase was issue 11 and on the cover had a photo of the first Playstation.

“PS-X Sony’s world-beating gamebox exposed”.

It was amazing! I was blown away. What a magazine! The quality of the cover and the glossy paper was unrivalled (It still is). That issue also had “Voted Magazine of the Year” on the left hand corner of the cover which only strengthened my faith in it. It became my videogame bible from that day on.

To buy an issue required effort since it was only sold at a handful of kiosks, so i had to be driven there. I would start reading it as soon as i was back in the car heading home. Buying and reading Edge was one of the highlights of my childhood.

This relationship continued until i finished my studies and got back from the UK in 2001. At that time Edge had a challenger. It was called the internet. In the beginning this was a cheap competitor. Poorly written features and reviews and always a step behind in almost everything. Especially the quality. The Edge review would still dictate whether a game would be purchased or not.

However, things were changing. Edge was losing its magic. In an effort to bring it all back i managed to get a hold of every monthly issue i had missed or lost on Ebay. It was probably the last great moment we shared. Seeing the issues all stacked up neatly on the bookshelf.

Every 12 issues, a year of my life.

Last week i received issue 237. It was a non-event. The games reviewed have already been reviewed by 100 other magazines and sites, all readily available on the internet. Some sites have even better writing than Edge. Now there are videos and podcasts.

Edge is still fundamentally the same Edge it was in 1994.

I don’t know whether it’s only because of the internet or it’s because i am older but Edge holds no surprises for me anymore. I would like to think that the reason i am still buying and reading it is because i am trying to find that feeling of wonder it used to give me but i know better.

I am only buying and reading it out of habit.

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Antidote, Video games


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Marfin Laiki Championship – GW17

The numbers next to the each game is the number of tickets sold for the corresponding fixture, in the 2010/11 (and 2009/10) season, where applicable, as published on the Cyprus Football Association website.

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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Football


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The book backlog rule

As one of my New Year’s resolutions is to minimise my over-consumption tendencies i have performed a stock take of all my unread books. I don’t consider this to be a book pile of shame as some may not be that great.

It’s more like a backlog and i have imposed a rule to help me go through it.

The rule is that for every 5 books i read from this backlog i am allowed to get a new one (and free ebooks also count!). Of course, it could be that some are not read to completion if i am not enjoying them, especially after the “torturous” experience with (Umberto Eco’s) The Prague Cemetery.

As long as the book is removed from my “to read list” it counts as one of the 5. The funny thing is that this will also force me to read paperbacks again which is something i haven’t done in more than a year. It should be an interesting return to the physical side of books.

I have already read Operation Mincemeat, by Ben Macintyre, and right now i am reading The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rules, by Richard Mcgregor so i have 3 more books to go after this before i can get something new.

I already feel my consumption addiction inner-beast screaming!

The Backlog list

Kindle edition

  1. Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End of The World, by Haruki Murakami
  2. 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami
  3. Snowdrops, by A.D. Miller
  4. The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
  5. Ender’s Game: Ender Series: Book One , by Orson Scott Card
  6. Black Lung Captain, by Chris Wooding
  7. The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
  8. Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories, by
  9. Room, by Emma Donoghue


  1. Operation Mincemeat, by Ben Macintyre
  2. Bank 2.0: How Customer Behaviour and Technology Will Change The Future of Financial Services, by Brett King
  3. Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, By Nouriel Roubini
  4. Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire, by Judith Herrin
  5. The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rules, by Richard Mcgregor
  6. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler
  7. Shadow of the Silk Road, by Colin Thurbon
  8. The Making of Modern Britain, by Andrew Marr
  9. With The Old Breed, by Eugene B.Sledge
  10. Havana Nocturne, by T.J. English
  11. The Essential Bertrand Russel Collection, by Bertrand Russel
  12. History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russel
  13. Unit Operations: An Approach to Videogame Criticism, by Ian Bogost
  14. Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets, by David Simon

Paperback/Hardback edition

  1. Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall
  2. Once A Runner, by John L.Parker JR.
  3. The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, by Martin Meredith
  4. After The Prophet, by Lesley Hazleton
  5. Puskas On Puskas, by Ferenc Puskas
  6. What The Dog Saw, by Malcolm Gladwell
  7. Hitler’s Willing Executionaries, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
  8. We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families, by Philip Gourevitch
  9. The World Cup’s Strangest Moments, by Peter Sheddon
  10. Fermat’s Last Theorem, by Simon Singh
  11. Hitler’s Empire, by Mark Mazower
  12. What i talk about when i talk about running, by Haruki Murakami
  13. The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus
  14. A long way gone: Memoirs of a child soldier, by Ishmael Beah
  15. Money (Art of Living), by Eric Lonergan
  16. The Gate, by Francois Bizot


  1. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradburn
  2. Baudolino, by Umberto Eco
  3. Burnt Shadows, by Kamila Shamsie
  4. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
  5. A Quiet Belief in Angels, by R.J. Ellory
  6. Say You’Re One of Them, by Uwem Akpan
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  8. The Fall, by Albert Camus
  9. Small Island, by Andrea Levy
  10. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  11. Battler Royale, by Koushun Takami
  12. Everything Illuminated, by Safran Foer
  13. The Bookseller of Kabul, by Asne Seierstad
  14. Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Theorem, by Apostolos Doxiadis
  15. Mister Pip, by Lloyd James
  16. The Complete Stories Vol. I, by Isaac Asimov
  17. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke
  18. The Black Dahlia, by James Ellroy
  19. American Tabloid, by James Ellroy
  20. The Venus Fix, by M.J.Rose

Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Books


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LAWS OF THE GAME – substitutions

Some friends and i were watching the Mallorca – Real Madrid football match last Saturday night. It was 1-1 when Mallorca made their first substitution. The player being substituted was walking off the field when one of my friends said:

“He should be booked for time wasting. He must run off the field. It’s in the rules.”

Actually, this is not the case according to the FIFA Laws Of The Game.

In Law 3 there is no mention that the player is obligated to run when being substituted. Law 12 allows the referee to book a player being substituted if he is considered to be delaying the restart of the game while leaving.

It is left to the referee’s discretion to decide what constitutes delaying tactics of a player who is leaving the field of play as a result of a substitution.

Law 12, FOULS AND MISCONDUCT (Cautionable offences):

A player is cautioned and shown the yellow card if he commits any of the
following seven offences:

  • unsporting behaviour
  • dissent by word or action
  • persistent infringement of the Laws of the Game
  • delaying the restart of play
  • failure to respect the required distance when play is restarted with a corner
    kick, free kick or throw-in
  • entering or re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission
  • deliberately leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission

Law 3, THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS (Substitution procedure):

To replace a player with a substitute, the following conditions must be

  • the referee must be informed before any proposed substitution is made
  • the substitute only enters the field of play after the player being replaced
    has left and after receiving a signal from the referee
  • the substitute only enters the field of play at the halfway line and during a
    stoppage in the match
  • the substitution is completed when a substitute enters the field of play
    from that moment, the substitute becomes a player and the player he has
    replaced becomes a substituted player
  • the substituted player takes no further part in the match
  • all substitutes are subject to the authority and jurisdiction of the referee,
    whether called upon to play or not:
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Football


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Dedicated portable games consoles – brief comment

Last week i finished Trace Memory (Another Code, in Europe) on the DS. I don’t intend to talk about the game (it’s not good!) but instead briefly comment on the games industry.

Trace Memory was released in 2005 at a price of EUR30-40. That was 2-3 years before the emergence of games on smartphones and the 99cent downloadable games. It was released on the DS which is the most successful portable games console of all time (149million units). It will probably surpass the PS2 by the end of its lifetime to become the best-selling console of all time as well.

But today, in 2012, I cannot see a future for these dedicated portable games consoles because i ask myself the following questions:

  • How many people are willing to pay EUR150 to EUR300 for a dedicated gaming device when they already own a smartphone? Especially since they can upgrade the phone on a yearly basis with monthly instalments (contract plans).
  • How many are still willing to pay EUR30 to EUR50 per game?
  • Even if these games are better, are they 30-40 times better than what is available on smartphones? And even if they are, do people care? It’s still 99cents compared to EUR30-50!

The people who made the DS the best-selling handheld console are now on IOs and Android enabled devices. In smartphone and tablet form.

I don’t see how these people are coming back even with Nintendo offering 3D and Sony a very powerful portable console.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Video games


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Marfin Laiki Championship – GW16

The numbers next to the each game is the number of tickets sold for the corresponding fixture, in the 2010/11 (and 2009/10) season, where applicable, as published on the Cyprus Football Association website.

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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Football


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A few documentaries on Afghanistan, which i’d like to recommend.

Camp Victory, Afghanistan – Maybe it’s the particular issue that this documentary is dealing with but I found it to be the most interesting and thought-provoking of all these documentaries.

“Camp Victory, Afghanistan gets at the stark reality of the US/NATO “exit strategy” from Afghanistan. Shot over the course of five years, the film follows a battle-hardened Afghan General and the steady stream of U.S. National Guard soldiers deployed to train him and his army.”

The best part of the documentary is the interviews and conversations between the American advisors and the Afghans. Especially the Afghan commander, General Fazal Ahmad Sayar.

Restrepo – I watched this a few months ago and I was slightly disappointed as I expected much more based on the hype around it. It’s still worth watching.

“A year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan’s most strategically crucial valleys reveals extraordinary insight into the surreal combination of back breaking labor, deadly firefights, and camaraderie as the soldiers painfully push back the Taliban.”

Afghan Star – Again, I watched this sometime in 2011.

“A look at how contestants on the a musical contest program “Pop Idol” in Afghanistan risk their lives to appear on the show.”


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Audiobooks – testing, testing

The idea of listening to a book has never appealed to me even when a few friends suggested audiobooks as an alternative way of consuming books.

I’ve always wondered whether the people who listen to audiobooks are people who used to read books and then switched (fully or partially) or whether these are people who previously did most of their reading through audiobooks or even did not read at all before audiobooks.

Personally, the act of reading is something i treasure. I love its simplicity and its demand for concentration. It requires the attention of your eyes and hands and it’s a completely personal experience whether you are sitting at a coffeeshop, lying on a public beach or your living room couch.

But is it inefficient?

Audiobooks have some obivious advantages, the first of which is the time investment required to do it. The second (and related to the first one) is that it allows one to multitask such as exercise, drive, do some gardening or even cook while listening to the audiobook. As long as the other task is repetitive enough and requires limited thinking, concentration on the audiobook is possibly not a problem. I know that from listening to podcasts and i imagine it’s similar with audiobooks.

Frankly, in spite of these advantages, i can’t see myself reading books in this way. Even if it means reading twice or three times as many books within the same time period.

A significant part of the pleasure comes along with the inefficiencies of reading. It’s a package.

However i will give audiobooks a chance, for a specific purpose.

Re-reading books.

There are always lots of books i want to re-read but rarely manage to do so. I’ve chosen a non-fiction book for this test because i can’t see myself being immersed in a fictional world and story while listening to someone narrating other than my own inner voice. Especially a world i have already imagined and fantasized about.

Let’s see how this goes.

The audiobook is How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer which i first read a couple of years ago.


Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Books


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Life in a Day

Life in a Day is “documentary” which made me feel special and ordinary at the same time. Tremendous!!

“What do you get when you ask the people of the world to chronicle a single day in their lives? You get 80,000 submissions, 4500 hours of footage, from 192 countries. Kevin Macdonald has taken this raw material, all shot on July 24, 2010, and created a 90-minute paean to what it means to be human in the world today.”


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