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
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
Ian thinks: Reading this, I can’t really take Techcrunch seriously, because for every one of these startups focused on privacy and security. Theres at least 20 more startups covered the opposite. Maybe its just me?
Ian thinks: This interview with Ethan Zuckerman is full of some great points to get you thinking, I find it hard to disagree with Ethan especially around using affordances and setting up small town based on Mastodon.
Ian thinks: Its always interesting to hear from experts in the space, on the work you are involved in. Its a really good read especially if you haven’t come across the Human Values, which also has new podcast interviews.
In short the Messenger RNA method and Adenovirus was developed many years before, the scientists worked very hard on this new method but couldn’t get funding for the research because funder couldn’t see the point. I mean SARS, MERS, etc had vaccines, so the funders didn’t really see the point in funding this experimental method.
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?
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?
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.
It wasn’t long ago when I tried to suggest to some people the effort of using Facebook was part of the problem. The very notion of using something else more suitable for the job, rather than a social network which has its own agenda behind it was not a welcomed suggestion.
You might be wondering whats happened to the book I’ve been writing: The fictional dating book. You might remember in my new years resolution I had planned to get it done by next year. Of course this is an aim rather than a absolute deadline.
This is whats happened so far…
I wrote a bunch of interesting dates down (only the ones which were memorable because something note worth happened, this is no judgement – but we all got dates when you can’t believe that happened)
Hannah approached me after a presentation about the future of dating. Hannah took my very rough drafts, rewrote them and turned them into actual stories (I can’t tell you how much hard work Hannah put into this)
We went back and forth for a while but got to a place where it was making a really good read. Totally blew me away when I read (listened to) the whole thing in one single night.
We looked for someone with fresh eyes to read the book and make comments and edits. Valeska agreed and has done a great job.
I am currently going through Valeska’s comments and suggestions (there is a lot of them). Shes also echoed Hannah’s thoughts for more clear structure too.
I have also looked around for an illustrator for the chapters and sections. I may have found someone really good for this.
So that’s where we are now. 8 core sections with 2-4 stories and a introduction and conclusion for each. 34000+ words and 94 pages (if they are standard A4 and JB6 format?). Originally I was planning to self-publish through Amazon, its something I have done previously with a ebook for thinking digital as a test. but multiple people have convinced me I should share a few chapters or a section with a book publishers. Who knows what might happen? Speaking to a few printer friends and there were good offers to print off a small run of about 25 full bounded books. So who knows at the very least I will have a book and ebook.
The biggest question is what is the book, whats the elevator pitch for the book? This is a very good question and one both Hannah and Valeska have asked me over and over again.
I have described it as a modern take on Adrian Moles diary but its certainly evolved a lot and includes so much more about myself within the book. Even which category would you find the book, is a tricky question. Its mainly fiction (informed by experience), part non-fiction, slightly political and touch of self-help.
Personally I am excited but also a little concerned. Its one thing to write a blog about these things but for it be published is something else. Of course its the work of fiction, which I don’t personally read that much (last fiction book I read was a Cory Doctorow book), making things even stranger.
I’ll also be retiring datingyarns.com for now, which had a couple of my own stories on there. I won’t take them down because the ones in the book are a million times better and who knows I may use the site to promote the book in the near future. Although the book is no longer just dating yarns…
I had the absolute joy to see Laurent Garnier at the Manchester International festival recently (July 2021). During his video there was lots of references to different things in his career including Manchester and also Berlin. There was a distinct moment when I turned to my sister and whispered, I have been to many clubs in Berlin during the first 15 years of the fall of the Berlin wall, but Tresor scared me and I never went because of the fear. I had heard too many stories of this hard techno/gabba club and the crazy things which could happen in the darkness of the disused bank vaults. Do I regret not going? A bit, but it was genuinely a little scary especially with me not speaking German. Maybe this is why Victoria resonated with me. Its certainly a stronger almost techno mix with no let up in pace and heavy beats. Look out for the Acid Trax! Its a classic killer! Imagine dancing in a vault in the dark to the raw sounds of the TB 303!
There has been many suggestions what it could be, although I’m pretty sure the amount of people scared of needles is much bigger than once thought. If the study saying 1 out of 10 is right thats pretty staggering, and could be the real reason why some are so hesitant? They may not admit it to themselves even?
I recently went on a Manchester International Festival tour with the amazing Skyliner (Hayley Flynn). One of them was centered around the history of Manchester’s Northern Quarter (meant to be the Eastside). It was a very good tour but I could tell there was much more Skyliner wanted to talk about in the short amount of time of the tour. Lucky for me, I had booked myself the week afterwards on another tour, There Was a Bench Here Once
Join us on a search for lost public spaces: places where we could once have sat, pondered and watched the world, vanished benches and much-missed opportunities to interact with the streets around us. Visiting sites where we could once idle and dwell, we’ll talk about the importance of those spaces between places, drawing on the works of urbanists William H Whyte and Jane Jacobs to discover the importance of streetlife as we discover what and who you could once have seen and met at city-centre locations across history.
Its was great tour, where I learned about a space which is Salford’s Green Gate square (the Piccadilly Gardens of Salford). Its a really nice public space but not very inviting although everything is there including good seating, a large open space, fountains and even views of the river (although the river irwell not exactly picturesque at that point)
During the tour, I got talking with Skyliner, She asked me about what I do at the BBC on the first tour but on the second one, I could truly talk about what I do in reflection to what she does.
I do what you do but in the digital space. I am fighting for public spaces in the digital world. Fighting for the public benches, library’s and parks where you can relax without requiring payment, personal identification, etc.
We had a good but short discussion about this on the tour, I would love to have a longer conversation with Skyliner about this all. About a week later I had a very similar discussion with good friend Architect Jane, while walking around the old BBC Manchester site now called Circle Square. The Circle Square is private land, just like Skyliner mentioned when talking about Peel’s Media City UK. The impact of private and public spaces is fascinating but also on the flip side really awful if in the words of Skyliner. What you are doing can be easily lumped into the anti-social behavior box and you are moved on with little to no review. For example sleeping on a public bench would be pushed under this broad definition. Under private space all bets are completely off, as 2 black men found out while waiting for their friend in a starbucks cafe in America.
The problem with Starbucks (I mentioned to Jane, as we looked at the awful and good architecture choices in Circle Square) is its attempt to be a pseudo public space with its community noticeboard and policy of join us, kickback and enjoy time here? (I use to work at Starbucks a long time ago and we use to have a older homeless woman come into the shop about a hour before closing time, very rarely did we ever ask her to leave as the conflict of Starbucks policy was interesting)
…pseudo I believe is the perfect word here.
Not actually but having the appearance of; pretended; false or spurious; sham. almost, approaching, or trying to be.
This got me thinking there are clear parallels between the physical and digital worlds, especially around public spaces. I also think those parallels are really useful to explain to different people why these things are of absolute importance. (I wonder what are the dark patterns of the physical & digital world?)
Its strikes me in America, there is a lot of pressure to work along the big tech corps like Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. While in Europe there is more of an apatite to build alternatives, rather than position those public spaces them within private lands (thinking about the Starbucks example earlier).
In the ideal world, it would work but we know it doesn’t. Skyliner’s tour makes this super clear. I’m of course not disparaging the efforts to carve out digital public spaces within private digital spaces.
What is the public bench in the digital space? Does it actually exist? Can it exist and whats the norms that surround it?
I for one believe in public spaces and will continue to create those very important public benches.
Ian thinks: Elaine is right on the button, if you think the data ecosystem is bad now, what happens when most of the dead outnumber the living on social networks. Those terms and conditions need a massive reform.
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.
There was a study I took part in recently from Dr. Susan Lechelt of Edinburgh University about IOT & connected devices after they become non-supported, unusable, broken, etc. Of course I won’t go into details but through-out the study it made me revisit my ongoing task to fix the pebble smartwatch.