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…

Cocktails to never order, if you can help it

espresso martini with style

I saw this in my feed, 5 Cocktails Bartenders Say They Would Never Order. I had a read and thought I’d add my spin to the list.

Bartenders avoid ordering certain drinks for a number of reasons, be it out of respect for busy staff caught in the middle of a rush or fear of being judged for wanting to drink something that might seem basic or uncool, among other reasons. Of course, many bartenders strive to offer a judgment-free environment to guests both inside and outside of the industry, but drink-shaming still happens, and self-consciousness can get the best of all of us once in a while. Regardless of the rationale, there are a select few cocktails that seasoned bar professionals unanimously steer clear of ordering

Generally the list in the article is…

  1. Ice cocktails
  2. Dirty vodka martini
  3. Anything with an offensive name
  4. Long Island Iced Tea
  5. Ramos Gin Fizz

I am very much in agreement about most of these. When I was behind the bar, I hated making Long Islands or Porn Star martini’s. So when ever I hear seeing them someone order one I can’t help but cringe. Especially the Long Island Ice Tea.

Long Island Ice Tea Jar

Of the many bartenders that Best Life interviewed about the topic of drinks they’d never order, a large number responded with one of history’s most notoriously boozy classics, the Long Island Iced Tea. It’s certainly possible to make a drinkable (and even good) Long Island Iced Tea riff—the traditional includes vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola—but you’d be hard-pressed to find a bartender who would voluntarily order one unless that were the case.

“It’s just a dumb drink that tastes pretty much only like cola, sour mix, and raw booze. It is somehow less than the sum of its parts,” says Dan Adams, a bartender in Florida. Fellow industry pro Cillian Wintula agrees: “I’ll never order a Long Island because there are so [many] tastier ways to get drunk.”

I agree, lots will disagree but sorry anything with vodka, dry gin, tequila and rum is just a total mess. Might as well add some Sambuca for added headache effect? Of all the cocktails, I never understood that one. I also found when left alone for a long while for it to taste very weird depending on how much cola you actually add.

Sour cocktails are great now you can get pre-made egg white. I remember having to make the sours with fresh eggs and thinking, this is a real pain in the backside, as I tried to separate the egg white from the egg yoke in the back of a busy bar. I always thought that place was full of it.

Old fashioned are great (one of my favorite) but I always ask if its a good time to make one in a busy bar. Nothing worst than making one while people scream at you that they just want a beer. Pick your moment.

Bartender

Remember the more of a pain in the backside your cocktail the less love the bartender will spend on it. This also goes for your attitude. Respect and a nice smile goes a long way.

Help in seeking the Sundia LED kit battery

Jamming with a LED diabolo - Photo credit Ian Wilson

Daylight is drawing in earlier and earlier every day and because of that, lights are extremely useful when using the Diabolo during dusk. Not only that, it looks frankly amazing. It also means the monthly Firejam in Castlefield bowl has started up again.

Dusting off my LEDs and adding them to the Diabolo again. However there is a problem. I am pretty much in love with Sundia Diabolos and the battery in my Sundia LED kit is pretty much dead. Can I get another one? Not a chance, its sold out everywhere it seems.

Sundia Diabolo LED kit uncovered

After unscrewing the LED kit, I noticed a small rechargeable battery like the Pacemaker one. Currently it all works when plugged into MiniUSB (bottom left), which clearly suggests the battery isn’t holding any power anymore. So I  decided to look into getting a replacement battery because its worked so well for my Pacemaker device and I’m about to do similar for my pebble smart watches.

However I can not find the battery type or anything about it. I assume its a 3.7V tiny lipo Li Polymer rechargeable battery with a connector but I can’t confirm this at all. Both sides of the battery have no details except a slightly faded Sundia wording. I also don’t see anything on the circuit board but I’m sure someone reading knows or can help me.

The circuit board details

I think this might do the job but anyone who can point me would be massively useful.

My experience: Sept 20 years later

Airplane window view

9/11/2001 has a strange feeling for me. It was a sad time seeing so many people die or badly affected by terrorism.

I had started working in the university I went to for my undergraduate degree (Ravensbourne). I remember a colleague telling me a plane had hit the twin towers and by the time I got to the TVs in the reception area, the 2nd one had hit. Quite a lot of people watched as the first tower collapsed.

It was completely unreal and sad to see.


There is something which did happen in the weeks later, still in September into early October.

I had finished my degree and 6 years of education, so I really needed a proper break. For a while after 9/11, most of the flights were grounded just in-case. Then in Europe the airspaces opened up again. Needing the break I booked a holiday. I looked around and found some incredible deals, because no one was flying.

The holiday deal I went for was 2 weeks in the hills of San Antonio (Ibiza) self catering complete with flights from either London Heathrow or Gatwick. The total cost was 30 pounds to me, it was 20 pounds per person but I needed to pay a single supplement fee of 10 pounds to my ticket (of course I didn’t grumble). I did ask friends if they wanted to come with me but no one wanted to go (heck I even offered to pay for their ticket holiday), as I said no one was flying anywhere. Partly due to fear, jobs, etc…

My parents tried to convince me not to go but I needed the break so badly and was going regardless.

Ibiza for a total of £30 was incredible and was massively different to when I went in 1998 (thats a story in its self). Yes I needed to walk into the town but it wasn’t too far and it was the first time I started taking my laptop on holiday. I remember working on my new website cubicgarden.com next to the pool and at the outdoor bar, hotel wifi wasn’t really common then but I made do as most of the stuff was local web development.

I did a lot of things including going clubbing a lot but it was all locals which was actually very cool. I had gotten use to clubbing with locals and not speaking the language while in Berlin, so I was fine with everything. It was great without those annoying reps and endless drunken people stumbling around the streets. I hadn’t really got into drinking or cocktails at that point of my life and looking back now a lot happened in the years following including going to America a lot.

Building safety crisis picked up by the BBC

I have written about Islington Wharf so many times and even had my thoughts committed to the Sunday Times. Its good to see the BBC covering the systematic problem of the British building industry when it comes to buildings in the UK. Its not just cladding, the whole construction industry is a total mess and peoples lives are in tatters because of it. Its just not on!

Does it go far enough? Not really, but its a start. Hopefully there will be follow ups and other media outlets jumping in because there are so many people (like myself) who need the pressure on the industry to fix the massive latent defects and drive out the cowboys.

My motorcycle holiday, circling the Isle of man

My journey map

I am back from the holiday circling the Isle of Man. It was a scary at first but a incredible journey. Its these type of things which really challenge you and makes you realize you can do so much more.

There is a lot to this journey which I’ll add more to once I sort out pictures, videos, etc. But generally I wanted to start the blog and see what I can add later (any suggestions are welcomed)

To answer my own points…

  • Its right at that place where I’m slightly scared and excited at the same time. Its been a while

the causeway coastal route

it was amazing and although quite scary at points, its made me want to do more traveling by scooter. There were moments when you remember the corners have no barrier especially on the causeway coastal route down from the Causeway to Belfast. Amazing path but also needs to be treated with caution.

Coastal road

In the end I got off the causeway coastal route at Larne only because it was getting dark and actually cold. The path is amazing full of spots to stop and even sit on the beach. With more time I would likely have stopped but the time was moving towards darkness and I certainly didn’t fancy the causeway coastal route in the darkness.

Mourne Mountains path

Going back on myself at Newcastle to ride through the Mourne Mountains was incredible, so quiet and I did consider doing the whole loop around.

Mountain ride

I did go to the giant causeway but it was fully booked, I really should have booked it soon as I knew but I’ll be back

  • I get to visit a new country

Sign for Derry

I have never been to Northern Ireland and always wanted to check it out. Although its part of the UK, its quite different and I found Belfast very different from other cities in the UK. Those motorways felt like something out of Ridge Racer. I will have to go back without the scooter to check out the scene within the city including the many museums.

I did get to Derry and saw some of the incredible wall art but didn’t get a chance to snap any while riding, I generally turn my GoPro off while in most built up areas. I certainly like to do a tour of the wall art next time.

  • I get to drive in Europe at long last

Ok yes Ireland is left hand drive, but technically I did drive in Europe and kind of forgot to take a picture of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland (which if you have been paying attention doesn’t exist for good reason) but I was expecting something saying you have crossed over. On this note I did take my passport and driving license but never once showed it or was asked for it.

  • I do it all without flying, although I do wonder if the scooter’s overall carbon footprint is so great or not

I could work it all out but haven’t tried yet. In total I did 826.4 miles from home to home over 5 days, stopped for fuel 9 times but sometimes to just to top up the tank just in-case. In total I spent about 60 pounds on fuel but the price varied a lot between countries and where I was (motorway vs city)

Here is the full details, after the fold…

Continue readingMy motorcycle holiday, circling the Isle of man

Circling the Isle of man without touching it

Common travel area by scooter map
About 600 miles of traveling

I mentioned traveling the common travel area as a holiday and I decided it needed to happen. Especially since the weather is actually going to be pretty good throughout the whole holiday (even in Northern Ireland)

I decided to do the loop in an anti-clockwise way because I wanted to visit Northern Ireland when the weather was at its best.

My Honda silverwing ready to go

So why…?

  1. Its right at that place where I’m slightly scared and excited at the same time. Its been a while
  2. I get to visit a new country
  3. I get to drive in Europe at long last
  4. I do it all without flying, although I do wonder if the scooter’s overall carbon footprint is so great or not

Good enough reasons for a holiday  I think

Maybe I’ll one day actually ride the scooter around the Isle of Man in my own TT

Traveling the common travel area by scooter?

Common travel area by scooter map
About 600 miles of traveling

Originally I booked a holiday in Portugal as a personal incentive for having the Covid19 vaccine. However during Euro 2021, Portugal was moved from the Green countries to the Amber countries. Although double jabbed, I made a call once I finally understood what I would need to do in regards to tests and finally cancelled the trip (the incentive worked, I could cancel most of it and I am generally trying to fly less).

However I still have the time off and started thinking what I could do with the time which is different from my usual days?

This is when I thought, I have never been to Northern Ireland and wanted to visit the giants causeway. While looking around at ferry’s trying to avoid going into Ireland I found out there is no tests to enter Ireland/Europe as its now part of the common travel area.

Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man

You do not need to take a COVID-19 test or quarantine on arrival in England if you are travelling within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, (the Common Travel Area), and you have not been outside of the Common Travel Area in the previous 10 days.

I’ve been thinking what if I travel from Manchester, England to Hollyhead, North Wales, get the ferry across to Dublin, Ireland. Travel up to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Then get a ferry across to Cairnryan, Scotland then travel back to Manchester, England! One massive loop. Going to all of the United Kingdom and a part of Europe on my scooter?

My Honda silverwing ready to go

This would knock the long running new years resolution to drive in Europe and also kinda visit a new country.

Its also going to be social distanced if I’m riding my scooter most of the time. Perfect pandemic holiday eh?

Its about 600 miles of travel and two ferries crossings but I think with good weather its possible with a few stops in hotels and with friends.

The BMW C-revolution maxi-scooter reviewed

I have been on the BMW list for the last 3 years to test ride the BMW C Evolution maxi-scooter. My Honda Silverwing 600 is great but I’d like to try a proper sized electric maxi-scooter because the small scooters are just not right for someone my size and I’m not going on the motorway with tiny wheels. The big electric motorbikes are huge and not practical for me (I covered all this previously when talking about Maxi-scooters).

While watching the review, it didn’t sound good. Yes I like the off the line speed (get away from you car drivers, who are too busy looking at your phones). The lack of space was a big deal breaker for me, as I’m consistently packing my scooter with IKEA and shopping stuff.

Charging isn’t such a big deal but then again, I went on a ride to Wakefield via Barsley and Dunford Bridge yesterday all on a tank of petrol. Not sure the E-scooter would survive the journey, not because of mileage but because most of the roads are national speed limit and of course the M1 is 70mph, which would quickly drain the battery. Funny enough the BMW isn’t that much more heavy than my Silverwing

Judging by this and other reviews, I still want to test ride it but won’t be buying it (especially new!). Keeping my eyes open for other electric maxi-scooters but its not looking good on this front.

Wait for generation 2 it seems

Its too hot to work in my flat

I have said my piece about Islington Wharf multiple times including recently in a piece for the Sunday Times (!).

I usually disappear to a coffee shop in Manchester, but I didn’t want to risk going out on Freedom day (if I could say it with a super ironic voice I would). Especially just a head of my 2nd Covid19 vaccine. I know so many people are so looking forward to not wearing a mask, social distancing, etc but I’m still carrying my mask and using it when going into places or walking around Islington Wharf.

Interestingly, I found my mask so much more breathable in the heat than the surgical mask I had to wear when getting the 2nd jab. Once again I had the power of music (Binary Finary’s 1998 this time) and Anbesol to thank for a good experience.

Welcome to the Manchester high line

Manchester castlefield viaduct

The news broke a while ago about turning the Castlefield Viaduct into its own High line public garden.

Its a great idea and to be honest I wondered for almost decade why it had not happened already. The disused bridge was growing wild for a long time but was far enough away from the train and tram bridge to cause no problems. Even getting on to the bridge was pretty simple except the artificial barrier blocking the way.

Castlefield is a good place to be when its sunny in Manchester and the planned garden is going to be quite something and I’m just glad its going to be public not some private space for footballers and the wealthy.

One of my favorite diabolo tricks recently

The long sequence for this is a hand grind to spinning top to vertex whip to vertex to vertex suicide to vertex around the legs and above. Quite a mouthful?

Although things are opening up in the UK, I’m still in the garden doing the Diabolo when ever I can.

The moves are getting more dangerous based around what I can do with a vertex. There is a lot more that I can do for example I haven’t really got into vertex genocides yet, for the diabolo to leave the string in the middle of a vertex seems insane. But to be fair I remember when I first tried to whip a vertex diabolo. Its easier when doing the spinning top to be honest.

Diabolo vertex spinning top

One trick I’m turning my head to is the infinite suicide. I’m just not getting it and its frankly annoying me. Especially as you have to start slowly making sequences or combinations interesting.