Checking out Lisbon for a digital nomad

Filter coffee & Pastry

I should have done this earlier but I am in Lisbon seeing what it might be like if I was actually to move to Lisbon for up to a year as a digital nomad.

If you have tips for places I should go and meet like-minded people, do give me a nudge on Mastodon or Twitter. I did notice this is happening tomorrow.

I have been to Portugal quite a few times previously but only spent 2.5 days in Lisbon and really enjoyed it. Not only that I find the Portuguese pretty relaxed and easy going, with the benefit to myself that most people can understand some English (which massively helps me). The process is quite straight forward compared to other digital nomad visas at least.

So I need to spend time time really getting to know what its really like in Lisbon, under all the tourist stuff.

I keep reading how Lisbon is a hub for startups and the tech/creative scene is booming but so far I’m struggling to find much. However I finally found my first cafe with people working on laptops and speaking different languages (not just Portuguese and English).

Hopefully my wandering around some of the co-working spaces will be fruitful today. It seems around Bairro Alto is where I need to be going?

Any pointers are super welcomed!

This can not be legal?

locked in restrictors from the outside
The wire placed on the outside, restricts the window from opening

Imagine this happened to you? (This did happen on Thursday 16th June)

You have a terrible night from suspected flu and have to cancel plans to head down to Bath for a festival you are talking at. You are slightly concerned it might be Covid but having recently survived it, expect its not. Regardless you are hot and cold then decide to leave your 31c bedroom for a living room with a bigger fan and window which opens wider.

In your light dressing-gown, you attempt to open the window which you left open the night before. Thinking well maybe I got it wrong, heck flu does that to you. You go to the window and its stuck, looking at the inner restrictors which can be taken off if you choose so with a little key, which was given to us. The restrictors is off but one bent like someone pushed the window back on its self under some pressure from outside. This something which couldn’t have been done with the wind you puzzle.

external restrictors
External restrictors to stop the windows opening

Its not long after trying the window you come to notice a white plastic wire attached to the outside window and the outside frame. The temperature is high (31.8c) and the 20inch fan is simply blowing around hot air in the apartment. You start to wonder why this has happened?

You start to think its the window cleaners or builders as a temporary solution for me opening the window off its inner restrictors. So you look at the facebook group for the development. This is when you see a large thread about the exact same thing, which has happened to others.

So of course I demand answers from the management agent (who didn’t know anything about it) and also the owners (Waterside places). It turns out that at some point they may need to put extra restrictors on windows for when they are changing the glass on the building but failed to gain any consent from any of the residents. It was decided the day before and that was it! Zero notice.

This is the email response I got from Waterside places…

Hello Ian,

MS will be removing these first thing tomorrow and a formal notification of this will follow next week before any restrictors are reinstated.

Apologies for the inconvenience caused today. We have acted as soon as we were made aware of this.

Thanks

Joshua *******
Resident Liaison Manager
Islington Wharf Phase 1
Waterside Places

In the meanwhile I had already started cutting my way out, I just don’t trust that they will do it the next morning. Plus its still a greenhouse in my flat.

cutting restrictors
Myself actively trying to cut away at the plastic and metal from the inside

The biggest problem is anything which could cut the cord was too big to fit between the window and the frame. So ultimately I was left to using tiny pliers, knifes, etc.

The next morning, they did remove the restrictors but they float around like they can be reapplied at any time. Foreshadowing whats coming back soon?

restrictors removed and damaged
The external restrictors removed and my internal one is damaged now

Here is their message the next morning, with some kind of apology?

Dear Residents,

You may be aware that Morgan Sindall Construction installed window restrictors on a number of Block B apartments yesterday. The purpose of these restrictors was to ensure that the mast climber could safely operate on the façade of Block B without clashing with open windows.

Due to the high temperatures currently, residents raised concerns regarding available air flow into your apartments.

Accordingly, Waterside Places immediately instructed for these external restrictors to be removed promptly yesterday, and we have had confirmation this has been completed this morning.

We are awaiting our contractor’s revised proposals for dealing with the safety of the mast climbers. We will come back to you shortly on how we intend to proceed, ahead of the restrictors being re-instated and sincere apologies to those affected.

Kind Regards,

Apologetic? Not really

For me this is exactly the problem with our development. Its great we finally got the result but they have zero respect for the residents and our home.

Window cleaning at Islington Wharf
Window cleaning at Islington Wharf from many years ago

Due to the architecture of Islington Wharf, when we have window cleaning (meant to be 3-4x a year, lucky if we get even 1) the window cleaners abseil down the building. All residents are informed this will take place and to not take their windows off the safety restrictors. This mainly works but there is lots of notice beforehand. Obviously this wasn’t true of a few days ago and I like others think this might actually be illegal?

Wall climbers for the works
Wall climbers for the works on the new glass replacement

Wall climbers, abseiling window cleaners, whatever it may be. You can’t actively restrict peoples windows from the outside.

All this just days after the 5th anniversary of the absolutely tragic grenfell tower fire in London. Also, my partner made the excellent reminder, that UK Government guidelines around Covid19 still suggest you to have windows wide open for a good flow of air when meeting people inside.

From a city boy point of view: EMF Camp 2022

EMF Camp complete with Lasers
The lovely picture of EMF Camp 2022 from the Null Sector complete with lazers!

I have always wanted to go to Burning man but don’t think I could ever do it due to the extreme heat. I remember hearing about a similar type event in the Netherlands (what the hack) ages ago then soon afterwards Electromagnetic Field in the UK.

EMFCamp is hacker conference over 3 days in glorious sunshine complete with power and wifi to your own tent. In theory it sounds amazing right? Well it is but for a city boy like me, its less appealing. However this year I put in a free 2hour workshop around Adaptive Podcasting and it was accepted. I had planned to stay in a hotel and go back and forth with my scooter (although I didn’t really fancy those country lanes in the dark.

However my wonderful partner suggested going together and somewhat glamping in her huge tent. On top of this we had a bunch of friends coming from Manchester, so we created a mini village together. This with fridges, BBQs, power and amazing wifi made my festival/camping experience well worth it. Can’t imagine doing it any other way now.

Ian and Alison together in the sun
Glamping it up with my beautiful partner

I’ll be honest we packed too much and the second tent was useful for our bags, duplicate items and things we didn’t need.  If it wasn’t for my partner and friends it likely would have been a completely different experience.

Because of this I had a great time. Everywhere I went I bumped into old friends from all over – going way back to my time in London and the many conferences I went to during the BBC Backstage days. It was a total blast and I’m sorry to anyone I missed.

So much talking and socialising, I didn’t get much time to join the talks and workshops. However I did attend a few including one about trackers (music mod trackers), although with my Ubuntu Dell XPS slightly broken at the moment (it doesn’t know any of the onboard devices including the keyboard unless plugged in) it was going to be a big hassle installing an Amiga emulator on my Chromebook just to run Protracker. Instead I spent time trying to find a Android app, then blowing away my Debian setup on the Chromebook and starting again (for some reason I couldn’t sudo at all). Once I got that working, I ran the incredible Fasttracker2 and Milkytracker.

Eugenie von Tunzelmann on stage

We also got to see Interstellar on the big screen again, although I really wished I brought my sock hat and gloves! But the Q&A with the SFX artist was great, even if the question I wanted to ask might have spoiled the film for others (of course I didn’t ask it). I think the assumption was that everyone had seen it but the moderator asked and lots of hands were raised saying they had not seen it before, including my partner.

On the Sunday I got to a few talks including Why is it so hard to do nice things that make a difference with other people? Which I did enjoy even if time ran out, however the whole talk is here.

I do have to say my biggest highlight was djing live in the null sector. I followed a DJ on a laptop playing hard house till midnight so the BPM was high but I started with the classic Stella and the shock to the dancefloor was self-evident. So I threw together some tech trance and kept the BPM about 135-ish. Unfortunately I forgot to record the pacemaker set as I was messing around with the mixer and trying to make the transition smooth.

Djing live with the Pacemaker device at EMF Camp 2022
Djing live with the Pacemaker device at EMF Camp 2022

The slot was the last one of the night (0000-0130) and it was about 0115 when I asked how long I got left. He replied well legally we need to stop at 0200. So I played for 2 hours-ish… I say-ish because there was 4 mins when the electricity to the mixer was over loaded and people were trying to fix it. Also I had planned 90mins and was absolutely bursting for the toilet. Unlike a club where the toilets are only a few minutes away and most DJs would stick on a longer track (in my case 11mins of Acid Trax might have worked in retrospect) I knew the toilets were outside in the camp site somewhere. So at 0156 from the end, I faded down Ferry Corsten’s Anahera (only the very end). Although the crowd shouted one more – one more. Packed up quickly and make a quick exit.

Loved every moment of it and lots of people wondering what on earth the pacemaker was… Its 15 years old and still going strong!

EMF Camp site

EMF Camp was great generally, even for a city boy like me. There were some interesting situations but as a whole it was great with good people, good facilities and a wonderful partner to explore something new with too. As EMF is once every 2 years, its very likely I may go back.

Massive thanks to everyone and the massive amount of volunteers which make the whole festival work. I’ll be back but not too soon…

Diabolo poses captured

Diabolo pose

During the pandemic, I picked up the Diabolo and did a lot of practicing. First in the community garden during the lockdown and then when things opened up again out and about.

I have a ton of videos with my go pro 5 session camera but every once in a while I found a certain shot which looked quite impressive. Especially during dusk with the camera pointing into the last of the sunlight.

Although I uploaded a few to Youtube, I really found the single shots worthy of saving alone. Especially when setting the GoPro to 90fps to get even less blur. In the past I likely would have used flickr but with my interest in the fediverse, it made sense to sign up to pixelfed, which I may self host in the near future.

I decided to use the biggest instance of pixelfed for now, as moving shouldn’t be a problem and of course I have the originals and they make export and nice and easy.

I’ll be posting more there now summer is on its way.

Covid: It was bound to happen

EU Exit platforms hackathon

I finally got Covid19, where from exactly? I gather somewhere in Brussels or else where on my travels. Its been a super busy few weeks and my immune system wasn’t exactly in top form with the shifting sleep patterns recently.

To be clear, I am ok. Its not mild like a bit of a cold but its also not a case of going to hospital. I’ve had my 2 shots of the vaccine and a booster late last year just as omicron took hold in the UK. But I was shocked when the 2 red lines appeared on the rapid tests which has always been one red line. To be fair 2+ years without catching Covid once is good going.

My symptoms are flu like hot/cold fever, lack of focus, lots of sleepiness and something I never knew about before Covid toe! (here is much more detail if you are interested including some awful pictures)

While in Brussels, I started feeling my feet blowing up with large bumps, sometimes it became a bit painful to walk with pace. I thought it was an allergic reaction because my fingers started getting something which I would class as hives and I couldn’t even wear my Oura ring on the usual fingers. That plus my lips felt puffy and everything felt super dry no matter what I added to them.

I did do a Covid test while away on May 8th and 14th both were negative but on the 16th it was positive. So my best guess is that my body was fighting off Covid ahead of time?

Because of this all, I’m taking time off to recover. Mainly watching films and TV shows and maybe a bit of reading. Nothing which requires a lot of focus & attention.

 

Its going to be a busy few weeks again

Ethical Dilemma Cafe Manchester through the windowIts been a very busy few weeks and theres little let up heading into May.

I noticed I haven’t blogged for a while. Not out of choice, its just been a super busy time.

Between the creation of the ethical dilemma cafe in Manchester, developing the adaptive podcasting app and web creator (more on this soon), suffering with a cold (not covid, I even got my first PCR test just incase the 4 rapid tests were all wrong), my birthday and dating an amazing woman (now my partner).

Of course I’m ok but its amazing how things I use to do all the time like booking trains, hotels, flight, etc have become more tricky than in the past. In the coming month I’ll be in London, Bristol, Newcastle/Gateshead (for the covid delayed Thinking Digital conference), Brussels (for the Exit platforms hackathon) and maybe even Amsterdam (for the in person Publicspaces conference #2). I’m also trying to go by train when ever possible!

My sleep cycle has become a bit of a mess and things keep pushing earlier starts into my calendar. If I could show a graph of my quality of sleep, sleep length, weight and effectiveness… It would be so telling.

I’m keeping a eye on this all and have a holiday booked for Lisbon. Not using my airline credit which was a total con for short haul flights. Ultimately I had to pay a large fee from the airline credit and I was able to book with another airline for cheaper than the fee! What a joke!

So in the next month, expect more quiet time while I work things out and relax in between. I really hope to sort out the webmontizated DJ mixes and heck even do some more mixes, as the incidental contact high is great but its time for a new mix. Good thing about traveling is more time for mixing.

Summer in Manhattan cocktail

Summer in Manhattan
I have been drinking a cocktail I made during the pandemic lock down last year. Its my take on the classic Manhattan.

The general ingredient list is…

  • 50ml rye whiskey (bourbon)
  • 25ml sweet red vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, to garnish (optional)
  • maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

However I made two changes…

  • 50ml rye whiskey (bourbon)
  • 25ml fireball cinnamon whisky
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • orange peel, to garnish (optional)
  • maraschino cherry, to garnish (optional)

The taste is obviously deeply cinnamon with a strong taste of bourbon and a small hint of orange. The name speaks for its self.

I did try making it the other way too, switching the rye for fireball but it was a little much cinnamon, but still a interesting taste.

Enjoy!

If you are satisfied with what you’ve got, you’ll have a good life

VW volkswagen van on the beach

I was reading through the Guardian and spotted this story titled, A stranger who lived in a van gave me money by Brigid Delaney.

The key part being…

I asked her why she gave money away to strangers and she said that giving made her happy, and that the secret to a good life was not to want more than you have. “If you are satisfied with what you’ve got, you’ll have a good life,” she said. “Too many people want what they don’t have, so they spend their whole life working so they can get the next thing. But that doesn’t make them happy – so they never get satisfied and they are always after more money to get the next thing that might make them happy.”

“And it never stops,” I said, getting her drift. “The treadmill. The person is actually never satisfied. I guess that’s capitalism …”

Its something I think a lot about with my geek lifestyle… Of course this isn’t a lazy way of saying you should have less or compare yourself to others.

Dating in the open like Malik and Evan?

Every once in a while I mention people who have promoted themselves for the purposes of finding love. However when trying to find an example I can never quite find one. Its something I tried to do while talking about the future of dating with Evan at Mozfest 2017. (slides are here)

Now Malik has made the perfect example of what I keep mentioning. Ultimately this blog is more for me to reference in the future when looking for an example.

I do like the pro-activeness of these approaches. Its certainly not for the faint-heated but disclosing your wants/likes/etc is something which I would like to see more people be more conscious about (sure there is a school of life book on this?). Even I have considered adding a page on this blog for those interested in dating me.

Something similar to my user manual.

Good luck to Malik and wonder what others feel?

By the way, I am very much understand the power and privilege of dating in the open. I did wonder if there was a way to use cryptography to help with a more even field. This problem is likely what pointed me towards a trusted middle layer like what I attempted with the drfoxy bot on twitter.

100 ways to slightly improve your life?

beach with people and a sunset

I saw this list in the Guardian recently and had to have a listen while having brunch.

I wanted to pick out a few which I thought were worthy of mentioning/commenting.

8 Send a voice note instead of a text; they sound like personal mini podcasts.

I like this one and will likely do this more often, as sometimes I find it a pain to outline what I’m thinking/saying in text and end up making a call. But this is nice middle ground. Although I have to say Google’s speech to text is so good now, I have been using that much more.

27 If possible, take the stairs.

I like this one as generally if I’m going to the 2nd or 3rd floor I’ll walk it but higher I take the lift. Modern buildings tend to have double or even triple high receptions, meaning the first floor is actually 2 or 3 floors up. So I make a judgement call rather than making a hard call.

28 Always be willing to miss the next train.

My dyslexia does generally make me late, knowing this about myself I always give myself an out. Usually not buying single tickets if I can absolutely afford it. This is similar with Trains and Trams. Of course with things like Airplanes this is much more tricky.

37 If you’re going less than a mile, walk or cycle. About half of car journeys are under two miles, yet these create more pollution than longer journeys as the engine isn’t warmed up yet.

My move to Manchester, was somewhat tied this. If I’m meeting someone in Manchester city centre I’m walking or sometimes skateboarding. I walk quickly always beating Google maps times.

41 Buy a plant. Think you’ll kill it? Buy a fake one.

I could rant about my plants over the pandemic, which ended up going outside because for some reason (I gather old soil might be part of the problem) it was the source of lots of flies (not fruit flies). So many I just had to get rid of them all. However I did buy fake ones and the flies are long gone. I’m happier now!

47 Take out your headphones when walking – listen to the world.

I use to do this but due to the amount of books and news I’m listening to, generally have my headphones on. Maybe this is part of the reason why its become harder to hear the mosquito sound now?

56 Call an old friend out of the blue.

This is something I’ve been doing during the pandemic and its been incredible. I can’t even tell you the amazing conversations I have with people I know but haven’t spoke to in a long time for varies reasons. Everything from life changing events like marriages, divorces, new births and of  course near/deaths.

62 Go to bed earlier – but don’t take your phone with you.

This one bugs me and I’m drafting a post/rant about why to be healthy? Means getting up early and going to bed early. I think its nonsense and needs to be called out. Its clear some people are morning people, some are evening and some are night people. Equating this with health is just lazy nonsense and I’m fed up with it (expect much more soon).
Taking your phone to bed is also something I raise my eyes at. For example I use mine for sleep tracking and don’t doom-scroll or even look at socialmedia. Its what you do with it not necessarily the technology.

79 Ignore the algorithm – listen to music outside your usual taste.

Absolutely, I do find systems like Spotify really difficult to consider using. I know people say there is special playlists which introduce some discoverability. However everyone is listening to the same thing which makes me puzzle what makes it into the list, why and what is the effect of this?

86 Nap.

Most sleep research indicates napping isn’t good for you. Don’t get me wrong, if its needed then great but regular napping isn’t good for your general sleep. If it said nap if you really need to, that would be different but it doesn’t.

87 Learn how to breathe deeply: in through the nose, out through the mouth, making the exhale longer than the inhale.

Something I learned early in life while suffering with Asthma is how to breath better and deeply. I have found it very useful on the path to falling a sleep quickly at night.
While wearing a mask especially while sitting for a while I have found it calming.

97 Listen to the albums you loved as a teenager.

I won’t disagree but there is a balance to be struck. I have written a lot about the pull of nostalgia and a concern about it.

A during my blogging, I have said something along the lines of average advice for average lives? I don’t think the advice is bad but rather average. Maybe if reduced to 15 or 20, it might be of a high quality or with more clear direction?

Its  worthy of some reading over brunch anyway (as I did today)…

My new years resolutions for 2022

Headphones and Camera selfie
Can’t you tell how much I hate selfies?

Its been quite a year and everybody is looking for a better year in 2022

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2022 which follows on from 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    I am determined to push myself out of my comfort zone and experience what its like living in a country with a different culture/language and customs. I feel I’m closer now than ever but there is a lot of work I need to do to make it so.
  2. Spend more time getting to know the tech community in Portugal
    Following from the previous one, I’m considering where the digital nomad visas are available. Estonia is the gold standard, its a great place with a lot of good things for it and tons of potential. However Estonia is a long way away. Portugal I like, the visa is good and its a lot closer for quick flights back. Germany and Spain‘s nomad visa is less great.
    With this all in mind, I’m thinking I should get to know the tech scene in Portugal if I’m serious about living there.
  3. Finish my dating book
    The book is being worked on but I feel the need to get it done, my sister suggests its in my star signs to get things done & dusted. But I do feel if I can move things forward enough, so I can spend a lot more time and energy on the first resolution. Right now its wait and see what agents and publishers say and if that goes nowhere self publish it.
    I’m also checking out platforms such as smashwords, Wattpad, etc too. Suggestions are welcomed if you know one suitable for a non-fiction, memoir with some self-help aspects?
  4. Head even further a field with the scooter
    Following my holiday around the common travel area, I am much more up for driving on the scooter either up through Scotland, down western Ireland or into the Netherlands and Belgium. Summer makes sense to do it and I feel full of confidence about going a head with it.
  5. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    Now the Volleyball teams are mainly off Facebook and Manchester Futurists is closed down. I’m spending almost zero time in Facebook and jumped on the selfhost train, so something which only invited friends & family would see. My thought dipping in and out last year is to run yet another wordpress site but with limited private access. Although I’m also considering a small microblogging system like Mastodon or a fork like smalltown.
  6. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    As mentioned in the review of last year, I did try fixing the previous pebble smartwatches and bought the Bangle.js.2. I see the fixes might get me through another year or so depending on what the rebble community are up to. While the Bangle.js.2 could be a longer term investment as I or the community could write Javascript apps to interface with almost anything. I’m not keen on the touchscreen but without connecting it to a phone, the battery life is almost 30days at a time. Which is great.
    I am keeping an eye open on the hybrid smartwatch space but everyone is so hellbent on LCD & OLED smartwatches and the potential pixel watch, isn’t close to exciting for me.
  7. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    I’m going to try this one again as I was so close and this time, going to start listening to Audiobooks in the Gym/Spa and when walking around Manchester. I’ll also reduce the number of podcasts to allow for more audiobook listening.
  8. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    This is a repeat of the last year but even with Covid19, I’m going to put this on the list, as I could do much better. Heck I got enough Chocolate to do a tasting night every month right now and enough spirits to put most bars to shame.
  9. Go to a new Rollercoaster park
    This one is something I have been thinking about for a long while. I really want to go to some of the European parks which I hear a lot about but never actually been. There are so many including Europapark in Germany, Efteling & Walibi in the Netherlands and Energylandia, Poland. Heck I have overlooked Flamingo Land in Yorkshire, forever!
  10. Take the Diabolo skills up a level
    Although things are massively better with the Diabolo skills, I really need to get my head around a few of the bad habits I have picked up. Such as winding the Diabolo after a whip, Vertex’s to tightly wound and I still can’t do the endless suicide which should be easy now.
  11. Put some attention into dating and love
    In 2021, I kinda stopped bothering due to the pandemic, then started again. But by late summer, decided to focus elsewhere as I am sick of sites like OkCupid. Next year, I’m going to pursue different models of dating and love. Its clear as day, my lifestyle and outlook isn’t compatible for 90% of the women I see. So its time to seek those who are much more compatible and take some bold moves again.
  12. Seek out a better regular spa
    During the summer of 2021, I joined the Bannatyne gym because they had a good deal and have 3 places complete with spa in central Manchester. This has been great but I found the closing time annoying (for example they shut at 5pm on the weekends). Now I’m willing to pay for regular spa time, its time to see what else I can get for a little bit more.

There is the 12 for 2022. Covid19 is going to have a effect on most of there but like always, some may get moved to 2023 and that is fine. I’m staying safe with vaccinations.

Have a good new year all!

A review of my 2021 resolutions

Mountain ride

2021 has been a tricky year there is has been so much going on. I was going to round it up as 2 jabs and a blood test but now that’s 3 jabs and a blood test. I’m also expecting next year it will be 2 more jabs and a blood test. I’m still not comfortable with injections and really look forward to when the world is vaccinated (yeah maybe 2024).

From a  Quantified Self data  point of view it looked like this.

  • My average sleep duration has stay consistent at 7hours 50mins.  Deep sleep dropped from 4.35hrs to 3.50hrs.
  • This year I started moving away from Gmail, so the numbers make sense. I had 32,601 conversations, have 20718 emails in my inbox and sent 7841 emails this year.
  • Have 114,564 photos and 4,269 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I switched from Google tasks to todolist.txt and have 148 open tasks and completed 1,919 over the year
  • Been to a few places in 2021 including Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, London, Alton towers, Bristol, Bath, Weston, Tetbury, Sheffield, Leeds this year. This is on top of the places I went to during the common area holiday (Carlisle, Stranraer, Belfast, Derry, Ballycastle, Giants Causeway, Newcastle, Dublin, Holyhead, Chester).
  • According to Trakt, my most played show is Real time with Bill Maher and Last week tonight with Jon Oliver. Film wise it was Zack Snyder’s Justice League which surprises me. Most listened to podcast is the Daily Tech News Show again.
  • I watched 760 hours of media and added 510 items that is a lot, but understandable. I also read 647 articles via Wallabag.

Myself working in a coffee shop

Here’s my review of 2021’s resolutions.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Not happened yet, but who knows maybe 2022 will be the start? There was some good news that BBC employees can now finally travel abroad and can work in another country for about 2 weeks. Main objection for more seemed to be around tax. With a digital nomad visa, tax wouldn’t be such problem depending on where I go. Of course this is completely new territory for me and likely the company. It needs a lot of work to happen smoothly.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    Regardless of the pandemic, I actually drove to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland (Europe) and then Wales before back to England. The common travel no less. All over 4 days by scooter (and ferry of course). It was actually quite straight forward but had AA cover just in-case. I also did a new country, Northern Ireland and drove in Europe which are usually in my resolutions. It was amazing and the weather held up nicely throughout.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    Finally switched away from Vaseline to CeraVe, and I’ll be honest my skin does feel less thirsty for moisture.
  4. Step up my gratitude’s
    I created a small wordpress site on my raspberry pi just for daily gratitudes. It works quite well, I can duplicate a entry and change the details. As its wordpress I can do it from the web or via the app on my phone. Thought about using the email to post but theres little need for it right now.
    I did notice wordpress’s jetpack started to give me rewards notifications for blogging every day. Of course I turned that crap off quickly because it felt like Snapchat streaks.
  5. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    Like last year for obvious reasons, this was still tricky but there were a few small dinners and a cocktail night. Although there was a second degree dinner of some kind recently, and no one got Covid19..
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    This has come a long massively, I even bought a fire diabolo and upped my LED kits for the firejams. When I did travel, I did pack a small diabolo and even collapsible sticks.. The fire diabolo is scary as hell but I’m tempted to upgrade to the lighter and geared version, as it would allow me to do much more tricks with fire.Diabolo spinning top
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    This sits on my task list and haven’t done anything about it yet. I see emails from friends like Brian and Mark, which spurs me to have a look again.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    I’m quite enjoying self hosting again. Its something I did with my blog a long time ago but then updates were a pain (heck I was using Windows 2000 server!). Now with Yunohost, I have auto update on because everything is backed up regularly. As most of the services are simple, its not a big problem. I have kept public facing services on the Raspberry Pi and private ones on my NAS only accessible via VPNs. running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi with Yunohost is a great platform for self-hosting.
    Generally I am using a lot more decentralised and fediverse services daily. Be it Matrix bridges via Beeper which bridges almost everything. I mainly post to Mastdon and cross post to Twitter. My volleyball teams have finally moved away from Facebook to a app called Orfi. Meaning I’m spending even less time on Facebook and I did un-follow almost everyone and everything (not that I looked at the timeline anyway).
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    T
    wo things have happened.
    First up I tried to fix the buttons which is the biggest problem. I bought some 3D printed shapeway buttons to replace the broken ones. This worked but the 3D printed ones are so delicate, that I pretty much broke one of the two I bought. Even a friend with smaller fingers found it very difficult. So I have left it for now.
    The second thing I did was kickstarted the Bangle.js 2 smartwatch which runs completely on Javascript. I haven’t done much with it yet…
    Bangle.js smartwatch
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    I almost done this with 10 out of 12 audio books. I spent maybe too much time listening to podcasts I feel plus I started 3 other audiobooks but haven’t completed them. I don’t know if I will finish 2 of them as its not that interesting.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    I have taken a more political view, especially around diversity & inclusion. Talking to many different people in real terms without jumping to conclusions is something I have done pretty well with gentle humor and  sensitivity. More for next year I think.
  12. Finish my dating book
    I have actually been working quite hard on the book. I did say something about it previously. In short Hannah who such a great writer and editor (you should really hire her!) rewrote so much, then I convinced Valeska, who came with a fresh and a different perspective to edit and restructure it. Another friend Angie offered a ton of useful information and ultimately pointed me towards the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbooks.
    Looking through the contacts in the ebook version, I picked a number of publishers, agents and publishers who could be interested in the dating book. I’m giving it a try before I go down the self publish route (which I’m edging towards as I have a lot of the skills, contacts and knowledge needed to publish it myself).

Fixing the Sundia Diabolo LED kit

Both fully working

A while ago I blogged about trying to replace the battery on the Sundia Diabolo LED kit.

Lots of friends tweeted me and helped.

I learned a lot including LiPo is always 3.7v and the configuration of the numbers which were faded out on the current battery. With that information I finally bought some batteries from ebay.

The battery I bought from ebay

They took a while to come but I did a few rough tests and it seemed to work and then not work. So I left it, however I now know the reason why it was on and off is because of the wiring.

Black tape to fix the LED kit

The wiring was small and trying to bind the wires with my large hands was always going to be a problem. In the end I finally got it hooked up and stripped the wires back further than originally planned. Once done, it was stable and I was able to make it work consistently.

Sundia LED kit working!

What it really needs is soldering because lets be honest its going to be thrown around a lot and the impact on my black tapped connections will be high. Because of this, I’m considering adding foam or bubble wrap to the inside of the case to put less pressure on the inner elements. Ultimately they should be soldered and the battery stuck in place with something stronger than black tape.

Ironically I decided to get a fire diabolo, at long last. There is something about Fire which is much more impressive but infinitely more dangerous (in a good and bad way).

Update on the Sundia Diabolo LED

Jasmine's magic touch on the Sundia LED kit

With the mess which kind of worked, I thought I need to talk to a professional about it. My good friend Jasmine was the natural choice, so with chocolate, a takeaway and some good conversation. Jasmine lent her professional eyes to the LED kit. Fixing everything so well, I was blown away with the results as you can see above!

Now thats how to fix the Sundia Diabolo LED kit!

The inaccurate link between body ideals and health

This video has been the rounds recently and I really appreciate whats being said. There is so much which has informed the decisions of peoples idea of  the ideal body shape. Nancy does a great job touching on these.

Anyone who knows me, knows I prefer curves and frankly from a Jamaican background (which is mentioned) it just makes sense to me. The notion a traditional supermodel isn’t of much interest, but worst still in the illusion that this is a healthy body is just criminal.

A few times in the recent months, I have had to correct someone who has automatically connected the two.

My Rollercoaster top 50

My rollercoaster top 50 listI voted in Coasterbot‘s Votecoasters. You can too!!!

Its clear to me that I haven’t written enough coasters in America, France, Netherlands or Germany.

I also know lots of people will take issue with my list but generally I love steel coaster over wooden. My first woodie is Wickerman at 25 (half way down). I also have a slight hate for those 4D wing coaster with Joker and Kimu pretty much at the bottom of the list. Intamin ZacSpin suck after a few go. Likewise those skyloop coasters are just as bad. I only gave Ukko the advantage over Abismo because of the park.

You may have also noticed a big difference between Rita, Red force and Stealth. Rita annoys me, as its not a great ride, I hate standing in line for a hour for a poor ride. Stealth is much better and has the height, while Redforce is very fast but at 100+ mph the G force is pretty heavy on arms and your face, especially in the hot Barcelona air.

The hypercoaster sit nearer the top with Steel Dragon 2000 and Shambhala at the top, beating the best coaster in the UK, the Smiler. I do love those point to points coaster like Vertical Velocity and Stunt drop. Deja Vu would be on there but it no longer exists. Just like Thunder looper. Some will be surprised about Icon being at 7 and lower than Nemesis but if Icon had more in the later part of the ride it would be higher. Nemesis is full on right to the very end, likewise for all the rides above it. Worth noting Nemesis is the best inverted rollercoaster on my list. Only Infusion comes close.

The Votecoaster system is good and theres good grounds why it works over existing systems. I did wish there was the ability to export and even import the data as XML or CSV, as I’d like to add to do more with it generally. I also wish the coasters linked to the Roller Coaster Database

Don’t like my list? Start your own…