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).

Moving from Goodreads to Bookwyrm

BookWyrm

I have expressed my annoyance of Goodreads along with so many others. When I read this piece about Bookwyrm, I pretty much moved instantly.

Good to see Data-portability working as it should. About 2mins to export my reading lists and books out of Goodreads and then about 3mins to pick an instance of Bookwyrm and setup an account, then about 5mins to import the books and lists.

Great stuff!

Some of the excellent books I read in 2020

I watch a lot of TV and Films but I also consume a lot of Audio (likely more than visual media). As mentioned in my new years resolution for 2021, I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks now I’ve been working from home for 10 months now.

Its worth noting I don’t really read fiction books for entertainment (this seems to be a common thing with some dyslexics?) because I think I get the fiction or entertainment part from TV & Films? Or maybe I was put off in earlier age by stuff like Lord of the rings?

So I thought I’d share some of the great books I read/listened to, not in order as such.

  • Winners Take All
    Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas
    Anand’s book is a excellent look at the corruption of power. Its a great true story which is inter-sliced with cases from history of how Anand came to tell the people who he points the finger at, during their own conference.
    Anand also makes clear the problem of inequality and how its driving a lot of the ills, just like the book the inner level which I also read and highly recommend to everyone!
  • The Inner Level
    The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being by Pickett, Kate E and Wilkinson, Richard G.
    This book is incredible, I can’t stop not thinking about it and recommending it. There is so much in the book but the examples really make the overall backbone of the inner level and the previous book the spirit level. Inequality is the bedrock of so many problems and ills in this world, I’m very convinced by this now. For example here is the start of chapter 5: The human condition.

    Larger income gaps make normal social interaction increasingly fraught with anxiety, and, as we have shown, stimulate three kinds of response. Some people are overcome by low self-esteem, lack of confidence and depression; others become increasingly narcissistic and deploy various forms of self-aggrandizement to bolster their position in others’ eyes. But, because both are responses to increased anxiety, everyone becomes more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol and falls prey to consumerism to improve their self-presentation. As social life becomes more of an ordeal and a performance, people withdraw from social contact and community life weakens. Crucially, we have seen that the bigger the income differences between rich and poor, the worse all this gets.

  • How To Be an Antiracist
    How to Be an Antiracist by Kendi, Ibram X.
    What a book, as said elsewhere its not great if its your first book on systematic racism. Ibram X, makes some excellent points and later gets right into the subjects of feminism, LGBTQ+ and ultimately intersectionality. He makes very clear you can’t be antiracist if you are against queer rights for example.

    To be queer antiracist is to understand the privileges of my cisgender, of my masculinity, of my heterosexuality, of their intersections. To be queer antiracist is to serve as an ally to transgender people, to intersex people, to women, to the non-gender-conforming, to homosexuals, to their intersections, meaning listening, learning, and being led by their equalizing ideas, by their equalizing policy campaigns, by their power struggle for equal opportunity. To be queer antiracist is to see that policies protecting Black transgender women are as critically important as policies protecting the political ascendancy of queer White males.

     

  • White Fragility
    White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism – Robin DiAngelo
    I read this book again just after the murder of George Floyd. I know some people are not keen on it but I found the examples and approaches extremely useful when talking about racism. For example the notion of white women tears.

    …well-meaning white women crying in cross-racial interactions is one of the more pernicious enactments of white fragility. The reasons we cry in these interactions vary. Perhaps we were given feedback on our racism. Not understanding that unaware white racism is inevitable, we hear the feedback as a moral judgment, and our feelings are hurt. A classic example occurred in a workshop I was co-leading. A black man who was struggling to express a point referred to himself as stupid. My co-facilitator, a black woman, gently countered that he was not stupid but that society would have him believe that he was. As she was explaining the power of internalized racism, a white woman interrupted with, “What he was trying to say was . . . ” When my co-facilitator pointed out that the white woman had reinforced the racist idea that she could best speak for a black man, the woman erupted in tears. The training came to a complete halt as most of the room rushed to comfort her and angrily accuse the black facilitator of unfairness. (Even though the participants were there to learn how racism works, how dare the facilitator point out an example of how racism works!) Meanwhile, the black man she had spoken for was left alone to watch her receive comfort.

     

  • The Guilty Feminist
    The Guilty Feminist: From Our Noble Goals to Our Worst Hypocrisies, Deborah Frances-white
    I am a keen listener to the podcast with the same name and the book is well written with guests injections now and then. Like Ibram X, Deborah talks a lot about intersectionality and its absolutely importance.
    In a earlier chapter Deborah breaks down feminist by waves (second wave feminism for example) its quite powerful and makes super clear how different things have been over time. She also dispels some of the awful common stereotypes (bra burning & men hating for example) but thoughtfully uses intersectionality too.
    I listened to most of the book while waiting in long queues at Alton Towers. Well worth the read even if you listen to the podcast.
  • This Could Be Our Future
    This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World by Yancey Strickler
    Previous co-founder of Kickstarter Yancey Strickler’s book is a welcomed read while looking at the state of the mainstream internet. Its a rallying call for longer term focus and is a refreshing read coming out of the epicentre of America’s hyper-capitalistic silicon valley. Yancey starts the book this way

    This book is about a simple idea.That a world of scarcity can become a world of abundance if we accept a broader definition of value. We recognize that there are many valuable things in life—love, community, safety, knowledge, and faith, to name just a few. But we allow just one value—money—to dominate everything else. Our potential for a more generous, moral, or fair society is limited by the dominance of money as the be-all and end-all. It puts a ceiling on what we can be.

    On a similar topic, I also had a read of Amy Lui’s Abolish Silicon Valley. Both are good reads and fit right alongside the R&D work into human values. Yancey is also one of our extremely knowledgeable guests in our Human values podcast series.

 

My new years resolutions for 2021

Ian Forrester selfie with a mask

Its been quite a year and everybody is looking for a better year in 2021.

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

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Regardless of the pandemic, I’m still keen to spend a serious amount of time in Europe. I know we just left Europe (don’t get me started) and its now even harder to do what I had planned last year. Regardless I got to try and apply for the Estonian digital nomad visa.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    A follow on from the last lot of resolutions, even with Covid19 and Brexit, I’m holding out hope that I can find a way to either the Netherlands or Ireland. I almost went to the Netherlands over the summer but the rules changed meaning I would need to self isolate for 14 days after coming back.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    face creamsThis is a follow on from last year, my sleep, alertness, etc are great but I for decades have neglected my skin. Since I was young, I would use petroleum jelly on my face and hands. I only really noticed the issue with this while shaving. But I was convinced by my barber to stop doing this and use proper face moisturisers. My family were amazed my skin turned out as well as it did we 30+ years of petroleum jelly. So its time for something new and less harsh?
  4. Step up my gratitudes
    My lovely ex-colleague Nicky told me about a book shes been using, called the 6 minute diary. Last time we talked about my gratitudes. So from new years I’ll give it a go. It will likely the most I have handwritten in a long time. Thanks Nicky again and look forward to seeing what hits the paper.
  5. 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.
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    Diabolo whip
    The pandemic has given me so much time with the Diabolo. Its amazing to see how fast I have improved in the community garden. A while back I wanted to learn the Vertex and now I’m getting confidently doing it but got a long way to go before I start throwing genocide vertex’s. Although I feel I can watch a video on youtube and pick it up within a week or two now. However I still don’t get the infinite suicide, it should be easy but it never works for me.
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    I’m slightly preparing to spend even less time in Facebook and looking at the alternatives to substack and medium. Most likely I will selfhost it now I’m running yuno host on a raspberry pi4. Either Writefreely or something with Activitypub.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    Its something I’ve been doing for a while but its time for the big push. As I’m spending more time at home, I got more time to learn and now my main services are running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi is a great platform for self-hosting. While thinking about the previous one, I posted something on Mastodon.
    Someone suggested this Github project and someone suggested Friendica might have what I need.
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    My Pebble with Sugru

    My friends have been really good to me, giving up their old pebble smartwatches to me. But as I’m now on my last pebble, its time to move over to something else. I enjoyed not having to pull out my phone to read a message and to even reply directly from the watch. But I can’t buy another one now. I had pinned my hope on the hybrid smartwatches but they don’t seem to have the ability to send a reply. Anyway, no more pebble after this one dies.
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    Another advantage of being at home is the amount of audiobooks I’m listening to. Right now I’m listening to one every week but 12 is a basic target and should be do able with the sheer amount of podcasts I’ve been listening too. This also fits with Audiable’s monthly subscription.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    George Floyd 7 months later

    There’s been a number of books and podcasts, which have led me to the fact people around me think things are generally ok. Yes with the pandemic, they changed their minds for this year but I hear again and again – “Next year things will go back to how they were and all will be ok.”
    No I’m 99% sure it won’t and frankly how it was, was not good enough. We need to fight harder for a better future for all. Its also clear to me the right has found a formula which is working but its easily broken by taking a active role in our democracy. May this year made this ever so clear to me.
  12. Finish my dating book
    Yes that book is being worked on between myself and Hannah. The latest draft is looking great. Honestly it reads like a real book! I’m now considering writing a epilogue but unfortunately my relationship ended during this year. Meaning a rewrite and rethink how to end it as such.
    There are other considerations like photography/artwork, formats, checking for consistency, where to publish, how to publish, etc, etc. Any thoughts do get in touch (like to avoid Amazon if I can and it makes sense)Here is a tiny sneaky paragraph from a draft chapter (Hannah is such a great writer and editor, you should hire her!)

    …I studied her face to see what her intention was. Maybe it was a spontaneous comment that didn’t really mean anything. Perhaps she was playing to the cameras that surrounded us?

    The longer I looked, the more smug her expression became. She might have been pretty before but that dirty grin said it all. If she was trying to push my buttons she had found them alright. What happened next was not my finest hour.

    Maybe the combination of divorce, Mr Tango and the button pushing had something to do with what happened next. It felt like I was thinking it but it came out.

    Regardless, I do take responsibility for what happened next…

    Bet you are dying to know what happens next right? Hopefully this year you will know.

So that’s the 12 for 2021 (still no real reason why its 12, it just is). Its a tough one because I wanted to include things like visit a new country but I decided its unlikely this coming year. I was also going to add one about getting the Covid19 vaccine/jabs but I just learned one of the ingredients includes pea protein? So it might be a even longer wait for me to get the vaccine.

Have a good new year all!