Photo in the Manchester Evening News

Manchester City stadium with Lasers

This photo ended up in the Manchester Evening News, of course they didn’t tell me and it took a google alert to notify me.

Not that I really cared too much but Chelsea won, so there was no light show afterwards.

Life and joy in metropolis mix

Manchester City stadium with Lasers
Nice of Manchester City stadium to put on a light display for my latest mix

A mix with pace and some great old and new tunes. Its short and sweet but packs a punch. Recorded as the UK opens up after its third lockdown. The cases have dropped and the vaccination is going strong. You can get a real sense of the joy in peoples faces and living in the city is once again a great place to be, no matter what Anne Clark says.

Enjoy the mix, which is another entry in the locked down, mixing out album of mixes. You can also now listen to it at its original high quality and advert free on my personal mix site.

  1. Sleeper in Metropolis (Club mix) – Anne Clark
  2. Untenthered (Jerome Isma-Ae remix) – Alastor & RUE
  3. Love Stimulation (PvD Love club mix) – Humate
  4. The Descent – Protoculture
  5. Silence (Jerome Isma-Ae Extended remix) – D-Nox and Baya featuring Lenn V
  6. Groteseque – RAM & Alex M.O.R.P.H
  7. Go (Extended mix) – Protoculure
  8. Shnorkel – Miki Litvak & Ido Ophir
  9. Wrist block (Joey Beltram remix) – Side Four
  10. Labyrinth (Paul Keyen remix) – Lee Cassells
  11. 1998 (Gouryella remix) – Binary Finary
  12. Freedom (Extended remix) – ARTY v Muvy

2 jabs and a blood test

My vaccination card, lidocaine cream and headphones

Its clear 2021, is going to be the year of 2 covid19 jabs and a blood test. 2 more jabs that I would expect and 3 more than I would actually like. Certainly not a good year for me, someone with a extreme needlephobia.

The one thing which clearly has changed is using lidocaine cream. Its a real game changer for myself. I’m not saying it makes things easier but the instant pain of the prick is less intense, making it less likely for me to react.

1 jab to go…!

Master of none series 3, its come alive

When I saw Master of none series 3, I was very surprised. Partly because of whats happened previously with Aziz Ansari. I thought that was it for the show full stop.

Interestingly Aziz isn’t in it much but he does direct it with Lena Waithe. The story is well told (no spoilers) as it centres around Lena and her partner’s relationship ups and downs. It does have those master of none funny and deeply tragic moments (especially s3ep4).

There is a lot to be said but I’m glad to see the series move forward in a new direction.

Plotting and harvesting Chia cryptocurrancy for a more green crypto future?

My Chia farming setup

I have admit over the last 2 months I setup a cryptocurrancy rig in my flat. Now when most people think about cryptocurrancy they think of bitcoin and the absolute insane amount of power going into mining bitcoins. This is why when I saw Bram Cohen (creator of BitTorrent) talk about creating something different (proof of space+time) I was always interested. To be fair I since BitTorrent I’ve been watching what he’s been up to, Bram is just one of those serial entrepreneur I keep an eye on.

After hearing about Chia, I downloaded the Linux app and got it up and running on a old laptop I use for bits and bobs. I would have used one of my my Raspberry PIs if I had Ubuntu installed. I plugged in a external USB to SATA SSD which I was using to run my old Dell XPS13 work laptop, when the internal drive got screwed up. Then plugged in a old USB to SATA caddy/docking bay with one of my old 2TB mechanical hard drives from my old server (pre NAS).

My Chia plot

Then left it plotting and harvesting my 1 single plot for a month or so.

At the time, the estimated time to win a Chia was 8 months. As I had the laptop on doing other things all the time, it wasn’t a big deal for me. Actually removing my server and replacing it with the NAS, 2x Raspberry Pis and this laptop  is actually less electricity than my single home made server with 7 drives and 4 fans. I hear most of you say wtf! I do have a lot of devices on in my flat and my electricity is high compared to typical single person but everything else (heating, water, etc) is low.

It was about 4-5 weeks when I was telling someone about Chia and noticed I had harvested 2 chia’s unbeknownst to me. To be clear I have 1 single 100gig plot and although I tried setting up 2 plots afterwards in parallel, I decided it was too much for my old laptop’s little quad core CPU and switched back to a single 100gig plot again (to be clear its more the parallel part which was the problem and CPU is only really used)

Chia CPU and Memory load in Htop

With all this in mind, I was introduced to the Reddit subthread for Chia, where I saw people building massive rigs to plot and harvest. Its quite insane and then hearing how Chia is being blamed for shortages in HDDs and SSDs. Of course why most people are interested in Chia (including myself) is the proof of space & time rather than proof of work. This realistically could be far more sustainable than proof of work models like Bitcoin. I say “could” because seeing these massive rigs seems to throw oil over the notion of Chia’s green attributes.

Although its tempted to add some more plots, I’m not going to change my setup because its sustainable for me. Little has changed on my network or on my physical desk. Getting in early was something very good but I got lucky with 2 Chia already.

Yesterday a friend mentioned Elon had tweeted about Tesla not taking Bitcoin for their electric cars.

I can’t say anything profound about Chia except I’m more than interested because its not just a speculated currency like Bitcoin. Although the price is super surprising for a new cryptocurrency. I said similar about Ethereum because of the smart contracts, NFTs and other things. The currency side is only slightly interesting while things like ChiaLisp for Identity spikes my interest.

My Trypanophobia and my first Covid19 vaccine

My vaccination card, lidocaine cream and headphones

I got my first Covid19 vaccine shot today.

I wrote about this in my last blog because I wanted to provide some helpful support for people who have trypanophobia/needlephobia. Here is how my day went today.

Feel free to skip to the vaccine centre part by the way

Setting things off in the right way

I packed my bag yesterday night and booked myself a early massage to get into the right frame of mind.

Today I spent most of the night not dreaming which is odd because I usually dream a lot since I started gong to bed later. My Oura ring said 77/100 and Sleep as Android said 92% shut eye. Although to be fair I did go to bed early (12:20am) and wake up early (8:50am). After the hot oil massage at Manchester massage (don’t judge me, it relaxes me and its just a massage, not what you are thinking) I went for breakfast at Ezra & Gil outdoor (it didn’t rain which was great). I applied the Anbesol to my left arm in the toilet and then I walked up to Sports city (Manchester City’s stadium where the vaccination centre is. I was running a late, so walked very quickly building up quite a sweat with my winter coat on.

The Vaccine centre

After finding the centre which is in the tennis centre I entered the reception space had to clean my hands, change my mask to a standard issue surgical mask. This was a pain as I hadn’t wore one in the pandemic and found them awkward. This didn’t really help the levels of anxiety to be fair.

When it came to giving my information and checking I am who I say I was, I told them about the allergies and also my trypanophobia. This is when things massively changed. The man asked me some questions and asked if it had taken a lot to come forward to this point. I said very much yes, giving a summary of my experiences with injections. He jumped up and said he will happily fast track me through the lines to make sure I get my injection rather than let the time build the fear in my mind and I get up and leave. I was shocked but knew this the right thing to do. As trying to block out what was happening around me would become increasingly difficult, even if you can’t actually see whats happening. Fear does a great job of clouding the mind.

The actual moment (Trigger warning for my fellow needlephobic)

The man stayed with me all the way through another ask of my details, another clean and I remembered I need to apply another lot layer of Anbesol to my arm. So we stopped while I did that. Next stop was straight into a booth. He handed me off to the staff and I sat in a chair talking with a nurse who did one more check (they did offer if I wanted to lie down on a bed too). I don’t think I thanked him because the adrenaline was going, but he explained my fear and disappeared.

Sat in the chair, 3 people (2 women and another man) were in the booth explained to me what was going to happen. One sat in front of the computer screen and asked my details. The other woman stood in front of me and asked which arm and explained when I can put my headphones on. She explained the vaccine and needle will come in from the left side and I will never see it unless I look over. It will be given to me by the man. Once I removed my shirt, I put my headphones on and the woman stood in front of me distracted me by gesturing to focus on her and not look around. She could see I was trying to tune out but there wasn’t quite enough time.

I did feel the needle in my arm but the distraction of the nurse gesturing, the soothing sounds of Tears (Protoculture remix) by Dakota running through my head and likely the Anbesol. I had no idea how deep it was or anything, I didn’t count the seconds but it was over before the beat started (so roughly 1 minute). It was quick not painless but manageable for me. I thought a lot about the holiday I already booked and being able to go see my parents soon. I never once saw the needle or anything medical, except the bed. This includes those yellow used needles bin, which usually freaks me out massively.

Afterwards

Afterwards I was given a tissue to wipe my hands is they were sweaty (which they certainly was but I didn’t notice till they passed it to me). Afterwards they gave me water, chatted for a while, explaining some of my previous experiences (even they were shocked by one of them) and then one of the women took me outside for fresh air. We stood outside for about 5mins before I made my way home.

On the way home via Asda to use the toilet and pick up a few things. On the walk home, I had to stop for a short while and have a quick cry (i’m not going to lie). The tension was too much and finally the feelings came out.

I would say as a whole the experience was Good (thats what I pressed on the way out) I think it was great compared to what I was expecting in my head. There were a few things which were not clear to me for example I only knew it was the Tennis centre because my friends had mentioned it before. It also seemed very geared up for car drivers not people walking or using public transport. The fast track was a great move and the distraction was a good too. I like I never saw anything even when leaving.

I am looking forward to part 2? No but I’m more ok with it, although I’m already feeling the flu like symptoms and had to pop a flu pill, drink some tea and might start on the oranges for sure. The plan of rewarding myself with some ice cream has gone out the window (or is still in the freezer).

Hopefully this will be helpful to some?

Lets talk about Trypanophobia and Covid19 vaccinations

So this week I’m having my first Covid19 vaccine injection (jab if you prefer).

I have trypanophobia (the fear of intramuscular and intravenous needles). I have talked about it many times before including how I was able to find a coping mechanism. Looking under the hashtag #trypanophobia and #needlephobia on twitter, there are many more.

Its clear the Covid19 vaccine is affecting a lot of people like myself (15% of adults have some kind of needle fear)

In my case (like many others), I want to get vaccinated but had to massively balance the positives and negatives in my head. The fear of needles is insane and that fear causes me to fight or flight. I really have to fight my mind and body to stop from leaving. It wasn’t till I finally had hypnotherapy, when things really changed how I felt with my absolute fear. It doesn’t work for everybody but it helped massively.

Most people can’t understand what its like and comments like, just look away, its quick, it will be over in moments, its a little prick, its painless; are deeply annoying and very frustrating to hear! Don’t say it! Its a deadly serious fear and as I explain to friends in the past. If there was a decision of having a injection to save my life or dying, in the past I considered the last option (I’m not the only one). Thats how serious it can be! Lets be deadly honest, its a piece of metal stuck in your arm and into your muscle. Its not natural and the terrible situations people like myself have been through will make you pass out if I told you them in full.

What am I doing to make things better for my vaccination?

I have spoken to my doctor about that can be done, short answer not much as the roll out is being done outside of the usual GP circuit. But I will fully tell the vaccination centre everything about my fear.

Zone out with loud music on headphones

I have a few people offer to hold my hand, which sounds silly but part of my coping mechanism is to wear headphones with trance music playing loud. I’m trying to zone out and giving my information pulls me back into the room, so someone else giving my info would be great. So less hand holding because last time a nurse offered, they told me to let go as I was crushing their hand. I was only 13 then, so imagine what would happen if I was holding someones hand now!

Do stuff which is the upside of it all

I booked myself an holiday in Lisbon, Portugal as a treat for getting the vaccine. I always knew vaccine passports were going to be a thing of some kind. Rewarding myself with a holiday for having 2 injections is a nice reminder of why I am putting myself through this. I’m also considering a massage just before too.

Thinking about it and visualise it

One of the things people always say to me is, don’t think about it. For me I have to so I can get comfortable with the fact its going to happen (been thinking about it for the last 2 weeks). When I have blood tests I have to watch it as I don’t want that surprise which puts me back at square one again. As its a shot rather than blood test, I’ll likely look away but visualise whats going on, counting the seconds.

Try lidocaine gel/cream again

A long time ago the doctors would apply a gel patch to my skin for 30mins before to help with the pain. I now know the patch contained Iidocaine. Without going into details, I didn’t find it helped much but I’m willing to give it another try. I’m heading to boots and superdrug looking for it now. I will rub it on my upper arm a few hours beforehand hoping to num my arm for the injection.

Hopefully these 4 things might help others having the Covid19 vaccine. Everybody keeps telling me how awful they feel afterwards but I can deal with that in my rational brain no problem.

I added a few links to some news stuff about this all, I also snatched the last Anbesol from Boots in the Arndale. My nurse friend, gave it the thumbs up and suggested applying it a few hours before then again while I’m waiting for my jab.

Updated visited countries

Countries in 2021A while ago I did a count of the countries I have been to. I know I’m privileged to have visited a lot of these countries. It was always strange to me because its not like I planned to do it, till I started putting in my new years resolutions visit a new country.

I updated the list to 2021 (although there’s not going to be much updates for a while I suspect). Its strange looking at the map because there is whole continents I haven’t even crossed on a flight.

South America, Africa and Australia. All I’d like to visit sometime, for example South America, love to visit Argentina, Brazil and Chile. In Africa Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Finally Australia is a strange one for me, as I’m not so focused about Australia but I’d like to see Tasmania and New Zealand mainly to visit people I know. I was considering Singapore for a holiday as its in the UK green list for travel and I have always wanted to check it out (you know how much I love cities) but decided not being able to go into Malaysia would be disappointing with Kuala Lumpur being a few hours away.

Of course this may all change in the next few months but I decided to revisit Lisbon after my brief stop over 3 years ago.

.

Been thinking about machine bias again recently

Amazon AR haircut

Yesterday I met up with some friends to celebrate a birthday. We went to the Wharf in Castlefield, Manchester. Nice outdoor space with a massive teepee to help with Manchester’s typical rainfall.

I had a few drinks so visited the toilet a few times and of course washed my hands well so needed to dry them. A few times I tried the hand dryer but there was a red light, so assumed it wasn’t working from a fault or due to the spread of germs? Once I noticed the paper towels were refilled and used that.

However the last time I went in there was white man using the hand dryer, I was surprised and naturally thought it must be fixed now. So afterwards attempted to use it. Did it work, did it heck!

This doesn’t come as too much of a shock as its not the first time and there are many examples on youtube. However with a lot more knowledge now, I’m pretty peed off about it. I wanted to record it but needed a white hand to trigger it and at the end of the night, very few people would join my video experiment. I can tell you I moved, flipped, waved, even touched the sensor with my hand. Nothing would trigger it.

After returning to the table, I asked if the men had used the hand dryer but didn’t get a clear yes or no. So I’ll have to go back to the Wharf soon to film this I think.

Another interesting point also came up after the hand dryer discussion.

Amazon opens its first hair salon, where customers can use augmented reality to experiment with hair colors

I instantly wanted to know if Amazon’s AR app will actually work on non-white people? From all the press pictures, its all pictures of white skin women. If it doesn’t work on non-white skin, expect an explosion of coverage, but it would speak volumes about the total bias of this whole industry. Something many have covered but watching Coded Bias during Mozfest made super clear.

Gates divorce after 27 years

Bill and Melinda Gates
This photo was taken by Kjetil Ree. © 2009 Kjetil Ree

The news has been full of discussion about this and being the Gates, its popped up in my news feed now and then. One thing I find annoying about the opinions I’m hearing, is how can they be splitting up after 27 years?

The romantic notion is sickly and although its always sad to see a couple split up, I have seen people say after 27 years they should stay together. Really?!

There is so much to say about our Disney view on love and relationships, but Alain de Botton and the school of life says it in much better than I ever could.

Time to get real people!

My own mixcloud, finally?

Mixing live in Skopje

I have been for a long time looking for an alternative to mixcloud. I have tried many things including some self hosted solutions like navidrome, subsonic, madsonic, airsonic and ampache. They have all been good except they are best for private sharing. I really wanted to use funkwhale but it was so geared up for single tracks it just didn’t make sense to run a node with my own mixes on it. There is so much I could suggest for  making these software/services better for DJs rather than musicians. A DJ version of funkwhale could be pretty cool, especially seeing the amount of DJs using Youtube and paying for Mixcloud premium to mix live during the pandemic. Heck you could even use web-monetization too (just done).

So with all this and finally thought I have the bandwidth and the storage, I just need a site and some simple software which can share the music files. So I decided to actually setup WordPress with it looking at the local file system (which I can easily have tons of storage). I was going to explore the static file generators again but decided to get something going.

Over the last few days between helping someone out with Linux and cryptocurrencies, I setup WordPress on my RaspberryPi 4 using Yunohost again. As its pretty much static, I think it makes sense.

So here is my own mixcloud site, which I’m still populating, but the latest mixes from my locked down, mixing out album are up complete with artwork. Expect to see more changes over time including a better audio player, more mixes and more everything.

Its not exactly a mixcloud replacement to be fair and my plans to use the .cue files and make better use of playlists, is put on hold for now. I’m sure there is audio plugin which will make use of them. Love to have UPnP and Subsonic apis access from wordpress, but I dream?

Do enjoy and let me know what you think could be improved.

Little update

Following my point about making it work for DJs and mixes. One of my biggest bug bears is playlists. I have been through many of the wordpress plugins for audio playback and I can’t find one which allows me to specify points in a long mix, when different music is played. Its simply a tracklist but all of the ones I have seen and tried are focused on single tracks. Meaning slicing the mix into pieces instead of marking out areas. None of them seemed to support CUE files or things like Ogg vorbis chapters. If there is one I should be looking at, do send it my way because it seems like such a simple thing to do, but I guess theres not enough interest to make it?

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (May 2021)

a dark forest

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed seeing Facebooks dismissal of 530 million users data leaked and actively being exploited, joining the general dismissal of data leaks this month.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this with Google maps providing eco-friendly routesEurope seeking to limit AI use in society and how Ben & Jerry’s combine activism with business.


Facebook/Nick Clegg attempts to gaslight us all

Ian thinks: Nick’s blog post is cleverly written ultimately saying the right things even touching on algorithmic transparency. However the key message is, you are the problem, and ignores the power dynamic an entity like Facebook really has over their users lives.

What is the dark forest theory of the Internet?

Ian thinks: Yancey (co-founder of kickstarter) shares his thoughts about the dark forest theory in light of a year plus in a pandemic and our ever increasing reliance on the internet. Recently followed up with more thoughts.

Is more data or a more human outlook the future of shopping?

Ian thinks: Data use is a worrying trend and it reminds me how Ford decided the data was the goal of the car sell, but maybe shopping is missing the human element?

How is remote working going to effect the future of work?

Ian thinks: A good summary of the development work if you are a office/knowledge worker. Little for other types of work which seemed a obvious hole in this all.

The doomsday machine: scale is the enemy of human progress?

Ian thinks: The comparisons of Facebook to the doomsday machine is quite a leap but the points made are clear and re-enforces my thoughts about scale being the enemy of humanity

Those face filters were never fun

Ian thinks: I turn off the filters as they are usually not flattering for black skin. However there is much greater affect on women who have their faces and bodies under the microscope every moment of the day causing anxiety and even worst.

A new decentralization pattern library

Ian thinks: Its great to see a pattern library focused on decentralised, distributed applications and systems. Its still early days but do get involved if you see something obvious missing from the current 22.

The future of 3D printing is truly impressive

Ian thinks: There is so much covered in this video, everything from 3D printed houses, food and organs. The most impressive for me after the organs is the bio-mimicry printed structures.

If you don’t know dark patterns, this will explain it all in moments

Ian thinks: Really good to share this with people are not clear on the effects of dark patterns, also interesting to see Trump using dark patterns recently.

Sudhir explores the motivations, mistakes and conflicts of mainstream social media

Ian thinks: Although nothing new, its interesting to hear someone who has spent time with gang leaders and street prostitutes; lend his thoughts to the ugly side of social media from the inside out, in new podcast.


Find the archive here