Manchester United cut list of Edwin van der Sar successors to three


The goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is proving a hard act to follow at Manchester United. Photograph: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson has whittled down the search for Edwin van der Sar’s replacement to a shortlist of three after deciding that Tomasz Kuszczak and Anders Lindegaard cannot be trusted to succeed the Dutchman at the end of the season.

Van der Sar confirmed today that he will retire this summer and that has left Ferguson intent on bringing in another goalkeeper despite the £3.5m arrival of Lindegaard from the Norwegian club Aalesund. Ajax’s Maarten Stekelenburg, the Germany international Manuel Neuer and, to a lesser extent, Atlético Madrid’s David de Gea are among those under consideration and that, in turn, is likely to lead to Kuszczak’s departure, with the Pole having decided to seek a transfer if he continues to be seen in the role of understudy.

A summer of change at Old Trafford will also see Gary Neville end his 17-year playing career. The defender is not even guaranteed to be in United’s 25-man squad for the Champions League knockout stages, to be submitted next Tuesday, now Ferguson has to find a space for Lindegaard. Plans are being made for Neville’s testimonial and Ferguson is contemplating finding a role for the former England international, 36 next month, behind the scenes.

Ferguson is also planning to hold talks with Paul Scholes to ascertain whether he wishes to extend his career by another year – the 36-year-old is undecided about whether he should follow Ryan Giggs, a year his senior, by playing on – and then the priority will be to find a goalkeeper who can bring an assurance to the team that has not always been there since Peter Schmeichel left.

“He [Van der Sar] is going to be a very difficult man to replace,” Eric Steele, United’s goalkeeping coach, said. “Lindegaard has been brought in to have five months working under the master, while Tomasz Kuszczak has done admirably every time he has gone in for us but we are naturally looking for potential successors ready for the summer when Edwin finally says goodbye.”

Asked if that meant another target had been identified, Steele added: “Yes. Come the end of the season, the whole thing will be totally reassessed by the manager. I would never give away all the work we have done [scouting potential replacements] but the question is: can we get somebody to replace Edwin van der Sar? We could do it internally but we have looked at the best targets and we now have a nice one, two and three who we think can fill the job.”

Van der Sar informed Ferguson of his decision a month ago and the man who saved Nicolas Anelka’s penalty to win the 2008 Champions League final plans to have an extended break before deciding whether he wants to return to the sport in a coaching or managerial role.

“[He’s] a magnificent person, professional, [it’s] an absolute marvellous career he’s had,” Ferguson said. “He’s an example to anyone who wants to become a goalkeeper. He’s going to take a break, and I understand that, but he’ll have a part to play whatever he does in football in a couple of years’ time.”

Van der Sar has been thinking more seriously about retirement since his wife, Annemarie, suffered a brain haemorrhage in December 2009. “It is now time to pay attention to my family,” he said. “Let’s just say that it was playing on my mind from the moment Annemarie had her stroke. She has fought back from it. We decided on another year in England and to stay at Manchester United.

“But once in the season, the thought of saying goodbye started to gnaw away at me a bit more. Right now, I’m happy with my form. I just want to [leave] that on a high level. You can’t play Superman into your 40s.”

it took six years to replace schmeichel.. when the big dane left, i was hoping that van der Sar would come but the juve got to him first.. from the listed three, although Neuer seems the better option but i prefer Stekelenburg. so is gary neville retiring or moving to another club? whichever way i wish him the best. he made such great contribution to the club only that his pace were not as good as 10 years ago.. probably he could stay there developing those young talents in the academy.. to Giggsy and Scholesy – please go on playing.. article from Guardian.

Why Your Call Dropped

The call just died, and for no apparent reason. You were just walking down the street, for God’s sake. So, let’s talk about it: What happened?

To you, this situation was simple, and nothing really changed: You walked a few feet and your phone stopped working. To your phone, though, the scene was quite a bit more interesting.

To understand the world as seen by a cellphone, it helps to imagine a massive grid. On this grid, there are cell towers, some tall and conspicuous, others hidden. These towers each carry calls placed within a certain radius. In an open, rural environment, this radius can be a few kilometers. In a city, it can be well under 500 meters.

These areas of coverage generally overlap, so that there’s nowhere a phone can be where it doesn’t have a tower to talk to. A phone keeps track of these cells, as they’re called, and notes how many are strong enough to place a call on. When one fades, in theory, the phone will have another to which it can hand off the call.

But these areas aren’t the same size as one another, or even a consistent size. They fluctuate wildly, due to a phenomenon call “cell breathing.”

On just about any 3G network, carriers transmit voice signals with CDMA, or code division multiple access. (Yep, this includes HSPA 3G, which is often referred to as GSM.) What this means is that multiple phones can transmit over the same radio frequencies, and their signals are differentiated by code. (Disclaimer: this is a brutal simplification.) As one network engineer told me, sharing a cell tower is like sharing a room with a bunch of people that speak different languages. Different people can hold concurrent conversations, but everyone can understand what they need to—their brains block out the rest of the conversations, because to them, it’s all just gibberish anyway.

Just like in this shared room, though, as a tower gets more crowded, the volume starts to rise. The more everyone speaks, the louder one has to talk to be understood. Likewise, the more people that are using a cell tower, the more power each phone needs to be “heard” by the tower. This actually results in a contraction of the cell’s coverage area.

In other words, the more people using a tower at once, the less its range. Cell breathing actually explains a number of frustrating scenarios. The five-bar call drop, for example, can often be attributed to cell breathing. (If a cell is overloaded but you’re still within its diminished coverage area, the noise on the phone’s operating frequencies can be greater than its signal. Result: CALL FAILED.)

So maybe it was that. Maybe the cell you were on had the breath sucked from it by an influx of callers, and your handset just wasn’t prepared with a backup connection.

Or maybe it was something else! Cell breathing can cause dropped calls, but it’s also something carriers are well aware of, and can plan for—generally, they have. There still shouldn’t be that many gaps in coverage, and in a populated area, your phone will usually have at least one more active cell to fall back to.

So what was it?

Think back to that grid, with all the overlapping cell towers’ coverage areas. They’re different diameters, based on their individual powers, tower heights and locations. They’re expanding and contracting based according to how many people are using them at a given time. But they’re also all shaped differently, because any coverage area—be it in a nearly empty rural area or a dense city—has traits that will upset an electromagnetic field.

As a network engineer explained to me, in an urban environment in particular these cells’ coverage areas assume weird shapes, due to reflection and refraction. A city—or anywhere where humans live, really—is a hostile, or at least action-packed, place for radio frequency communications. On your street, thick and varied buildings, built from concrete and steel and laced with wires and current, redraw the boundaries of a cell’s coverage, pulling it out of shape and filling it with pockets and weak spots. So while that grid of cells in theory leaves no spot uncovered, in reality these vibrating fields of coverage have strange shapes that are difficult to calculate, and subject to constant change.

So maybe it was that. But wait—you made a call in this area yesterday, and another a few days before. Your phone works here, usually, and you can’t see any recent changes to this little “urban canyon,” to borrow the parlance of our cellular technician. Same apartment buildings, same bodega, same pet shop, same road, same sky. No excuse for a lack of coverage, as far as you can see.

So, again, what was it?

Well, maybe it was that bus that drove by. Or one of the cars in traffic. Or one of those old-looking power tools at the construction site you walked past. Or that dude who brushed by you on the sidewalk. Or you.

Electromagnetic fields are fickle things, and interference can come from almost anywhere. Nearly any kind of electronic device can be an electromagnetic emitter, from another cellphone to a car to some decrepit old power tool, spitting unintended frequencies as it slowly grinds itself to death. Granted, most emitters don’t share frequencies with modern cellphones—legally, they’re not allowed to—but it still happens.

Worse, though, is that while most objects in your surroundings don’t emit radio frequencies, nearly any object can affect how they reach you. A bus driving by, for example, could knock your signal strength down by 50%, just by getting in the way of your particular transmissions. A human crossing your path at the wrong angle could do the same. In some cases, a network engineer told me, just turning your head to the side could chop your signal strength by half. It’s rare that glancing into a shop window will kill your call, but if you happen to be on the threshold of a cell’s coverage area, and the next strongest cell isn’t quite close enough to grab onto, it definitely can.

So maybe it was that.

Yeah, it was probably that.

Thanks, anonymous network engineers!

great info from Gizmodo..

Messi named Player of the Year


Lionel Messi


Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been named the FIFA Men’s World Player of the Year for 2010.

Messi was on a three-man shortlist with Barca team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta but, despite Spain’s World Cup triumph, the Argentina forward came out on top in the voting.

He becomes the first winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, which merges France Football magazine’s European Footballer of the Year prize with the FIFA World Player of the Year. The awards were based on the votes of the coaches and captains of national sides as well as global journalists.

Messi scored more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2010, with 42 goals in 36 La Liga games, as well as finishing top scorer in the Champions League in 2010 with 12 goals in 12 games.

He totalled 60 goals for the year for club and country.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect to win today, but it was already great to be here next to my two mates,” Messi said as he accepted the award. “To win it makes it even more special.

“I want to share with all of my friends, my family, all the Barcelonistas and the Argentinians.”

Xavi added: “This award is a triumph for the cantera and for the philosophy of the club. It is a moment to savour. We shall see what happens next season.

“My life wouldn’t have changed with this award, and I will continue to play like I normally have. The Ballon d’Or remains in Barcelona and there is no problem with this.”

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had earlier been named FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football. Mourinho won Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia with Inter Milan in the 2009-10 season and has made an impressive start to life at the Bernabeu.

In his acceptance speech, Mourinho paid tribute to Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque and Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola, who had been shortlisted for the award.

Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, he also reserved special praise for the players and staff at Inter.

“I’m the best coach in the world for 2010 because I was the coach of the best team in the world in 2010,” he said. “We were a family and we continue to be a family. I continue to be part of it from afar.

“I want Inter to win every game except those against my team.”

Hamit Altintop won the FIFA Puskas Award for best goal in recognition of his strike for Turkey against Kazakhstan.

FIFA Men’s World Player of the Year: Lionel Messi

FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year: Marta

FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football: Jose Mourinho

FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football: Silvia Neid

FIFA FIFPro World XI of 2010: Iker Casillas; Maicon, Gerard Pique, Lucio, Carles Puyol; Xavi, Wesley Sneijder, Andres Iniesta; Cristiano Ronaldo, David Villa, Lionel Messi

FIFA Puskas Award: Hamit Altintop

FIFA Fair Play Award: Haiti Under-17 women’s team

FIFA Presidential Award: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

congrats to the winners of 2010. such great year of football.. article from Soccernet.

History made as Manchester United field 11 different nationalities

They say the world is a small place — and you should look no further than Old Trafford to understand why.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had observers reaching for their history books on Tuesday night when he named a starting XI against Stoke City which featured players of 11 different nationalities.

And language clearly wasn’t a barrier to progress at the Theatre of Dreams as goals from Portuguese Nani and Mexican Javier Hernandez masterminded a 2-1 win which stretched United’s unbeaten run to 20 games and kept them top of the Premier League.

For the record, the historic United starting XI was Tomasz Kuszczak (Poland), Rafael Da Silva (Brazil), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia), Chris Smalling (England), Patrice Evra (France), Nani (Portugal), Darren Fletcher (Scotland), Darron Gibson (Northern Ireland-born, Republic of Ireland international), Ryan Giggs (Wales), Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria) and Javier Hernandez (Mexico).

The international flavour extended to the bench where Englishmen Ben Amos, Michael Owen and Michael Carrick where joined by Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland), Fabio (Brazil) and Gabriel Obertan (France).

But Ferguson’s team selection shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows given how the game has gone global. United have built up a world-wide fanbase since the advent of satellite TV.

The Premier League itself has a worldwide television audience, and clubs are international brands that need merchandise to fly off the shelves.

Asian football stars, including United ace Park Ji-Sung is keeping the demand for United shirts high in South Korea.

United have always cast their recruitment net very wide — but perhaps the biggest irony of all is that, although the club has been owned by US businessman Malcolm Glazer since 2005, they currently don’t have any American-born players in their first-team squad!

In recent seasons Arsenal have been blamed for overlooking English talent. In fact, the Belfast Telegraph has discovered a Premier League game involving the Gunners and Portsmouth on December 30, 2009 that featured not a single English player in either starting line-up.

The Arsenal team that day was Almunia, Traore, Vermaelen, Gallas, Sagna, Song, Diaby, Arshavin, Ramsey, Nasri, Eduardo. Portsmouth’s XI was Begovic, Finnan, Ben Haim, Kaboul, Hreidarsson, Mokoena, Yebda, Richard Hughes (Scotland), Boateng, Belhadj and Piquionne.

Twenty-two non-British players were registered to play in the inaugural season of the Premier League (1992) but in the 2009-2010 season, there were 337 registered players — from 66 different countries.

11 nationalities in a single game.. awesome! found this on Belfast Telegraph.

PlayStation 3 code signing cracked

Dongle-less jailbreaking

Hardware hackers claim to have uncovered the private key used by Sony to authorise code to run on PlayStation 3 systems.

The hackers uncovered the hack in order to run Linux or PS3 consoles, irrespective of the version of firmware the games console was running. By knowing the private key used by Sony the hackers are able to sign code so that a console can boot directly into Linux. Previous approaches to running the open source OS on a games console were firmware specific and involved messing around with USB sticks.

The same code signing technique might also be used to run pirated or counterfeit games on a console. That isn’t the intention of the hackers even though it might turn out to be the main practical effect of the hack.

The group, fail0verflow, who also run the Wii’s Homebrew Channel, gave more information about the crack and a demo during the annual Chaos Communication Conference hacker congress in Berlin. Sony’s weak implementation of cryptography was exploited by fail0verflow to pull off the hack, as explained in a video on enthusiast site PSGroove. More discussion on the console jailbreaking hack can be found on a PlayStation forum.

lalalalala… seems like the hackers are getting the otheros back on PS3. good job guys. im still waiting and have yet to update my PS3 since otheros was removed from the console. article from The Register.