Imagine kinetic powered LED diabolo?

I head about, a football which during the day can be used like a football and then at night used as a light.

I have always liked the idea of kinetic energy and always wanted things like kinetic energy watches. However the light ball really got me thinking about the LED lights on my Diabolo.

Kinetic energy on a diabolo is not a problem, so some of it could really be used for something else, like to keep a LED kit going almost endlessly?

I thought this must be done right? But from what I can find there are no LED kits or Diabolos which actually use kinetic energy at all. I did find a yoyo which doubles as a charger for your phone. If you know of one, do let me know as I’m considering prototyping one out of a kinetic wheel or something else.

Of course not as noble as the light ball but could be interesting?

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.

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!

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.

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.

Dynamic diabolo pictures at dusk

I have been filming my diabolo tricks since the very start of the pandemic. Every once in a while I stop on a frame and just think wow that looks so great. Today at dusk while doing a new trick – Spinning top to vertex whip to vertex suicide to vertex around the legs.

Nothing better than filming this at dusk.

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Learn the Diabolo during a pandemic?

Glad someone else did a video about learning the Diabolo during the pandemic. Its something I have really enjoyed and look forward to when ever I can.

Here’s my advent calendar of Diabolo tricks for example.


The shared reasons…

  1. The Diabolo is good physical exercise
    Weirdly enough, I’m doing roughly about 3500+ steps while with the Diabolo for 45mins. The big difference is my heart rate, its raised during the Diabolo and thats a good thing.
  2. The diabolo is good mental exercise
    Its a good distraction and being in a state of flow while doing a trick is great. Like others, I’m doing it with headphones on, so able to listen to some of my trance mixes (haven’t done any recently) to get into a zone.
  3. Its the perfect social distancing device
    Especially when learning the vertex, can’t tell you the amount of times I almost lost the Diabolo over the fence or its ended up in a bush. Its part of the reason why I use one for practice and the more expensive one for the camera.
  4. Its not a expensive device, but you can pay a lot for better
    Talking about Diabolos, I have a lot of them. Some going back to when I was in college and a bunch of triple axis bearing Diabolos. Even considered a fire Diabolo. The sticks are also worth a thought. Originally I had quick thick wooden sticks then they got thinner before switching to aluminium and now carbon fibre is my style.
  5. Its fun and rewarding
    The benefits of fun are well known but theres also side effects like amazing hand eye coordination, agility and of course style.

Even if you are not convinced about the diabolo, consider the devil sticks, yoyo, hoops, poi or heck just juggling.

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!

Dec 25: Diabolo advent calendar

Day 25: High and low Vertex Suns
Of course something special for the last day of my Diabolo advent calendar.
I am still getting my head around the vertex but one of the tricks I picked up quickly was the high and low suns.

When I’m going and slowly turning along with the vertex, it looks incredible but its very difficult to maintain the momentum.

Here is another better one I did the other day.

Thats it for the advent calendar, hope you enjoyed a little daily dip into the diabolo world?

Happy holiday where ever you are and what ever you do. Remember to stay safe!

Dec 24: Diabolo advent calendar

Day 24: The Vertex
This is the new dimension in the Diabolo world, the Z dimension.
For the last few years I have added learning the vertex in my new years resolutions.
Its only this year with covid19 and plenty of time in the community garden, I really got to put the time into learning how this quite new trick actually works.
I’m still learning it but imagine all the tricks I have shown over the last 24 days and imagine them operating on the Z dimension! Thats all to come…
Till then I can enjoy finally being able to manage a vertex with a loop or as a open loop stick grind.

Dec 22: Diabolo advent calendar

Day 22: High throw to whip to duicide
This is a combo which really gets people excited.
In single steps it should be straight forward but the high throw makes the diabolo whip very difficult and prone to being missed.
On top of this the momentum of the diabolo instantly makes a whip to duicide swing around very quickly, causing the duicide not to go back up.
Theres a closer up view here .

Dec 21: Diabolo advent calendar

Day 21: Diabolo Genocide
We are getting much closer to the edge of my skill set now.
The suicide can be difficult and the duicide was tricky to learn, but they all pale in compared to the genocide.
While in the suicides and duicides, the diabolo is still realistically on the strong.
In the Genocide, the Diabolo leaves the string and you are left holding one stick. Check out the side view to see it fully.
Its insane and I find it hard to pull off.