A review of my 2017 resolutions

Ian in Iceland

2017 what can I say? Its been quite a different year from what I was expecting.

Looking from the Quantified Self point of view

  • 69 mins of sleep deficit over the whole year, which is massively down from the previous year.  My average sleep this year has been 8 hours 22mins (massively up!). Average deep sleep has been 4.18hrs almost 51% of my sleep.
  • According to Gmail I have had 41,481 conversations, have 26,442 emails in my inbox and sent 6,741 emails this year
  • Have 48, 142 photos and 2,688 photos albums in Google photos.
  • Tasks wise I have 231 open tasks and completed 2435 over the year
  • Been on 44 trips including Tallinn, Sarajevo, Funchai, Edinburgh, Reykjavik, Dublin, Amsterdam, Berlin and Cologne this year
  • According to Trakt, my most played show was Real Time with Bill Maher and film was Trainspotting T2. Most listened to podcast is the Guilty feminist.
  • I spent 417 hours watching films (34.7 a month) and 411 hours watching TV series (34.3 a month)
  • Spent 989 hours working in Media City UK, 129 hours working in many coffee shops in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, 116 hours working on a train and 113 hours working at home. Theres a very long tail with lots more locations like hotels, Nottingham Uni, York Uni, Ravensbourne, etc.

Regardless of the data he’s the review of my new years resolutions from 2017.

Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone

Holiday with Kate in Ireland

Well half of this happened, in March. Kate took me literally to the edge of comfort in a bright yellow camper van. Rough camping on a cliff face in Ireland was too close to my limit. There was a point early next day when I had to insist on a camp site because at least they had toilets and was far less exposed to the gale like winds (remember the first ferry was cancelled because of the winds).

I had planned to take Kate to Tokyo next year but this has been put on hold a little longer.

Head further a field with the scooter

No Northern Ireland trip but I did make it to Ireland via Kate. I did ride to Hull to see how the new scooter would handle the long ride and get a feel what it would be like if I went on the ferry to Netherlands or Belgium. Recently I have been riding with proper winter clothes, combine this with the better handling of the new scooter and I’m more likely to go for long rides in the rain.

Improve my circus skills

Jamming with a LED diabolo - Photo credit Ian Wilson

Still the Vertex is still not quite there, more practice is needed. But I’ve also been going to the Firejam’s in Castlefield Arena. I’m now reconsidering getting a fire diabolo again. I know its bloody dangerous but fire is just so cool compared to LEDs.

Visit a Japanese styled spa at least once every 4 months in the UK

I knew every 4 months was achievable so this is a tick.  I went to Liquidrom in Berlin once, the Midland hotel twice and had the pool to myself at the Melia Madeira Mare. Still really need to find a better spa near Manchester but the Midland Hotel isn’t bad, especially when quiet.

Ride a roller coaster in another country

This will have to be a task for next year. However I noticed Alton Towers and Blackpool pleasure beach have new rides coming in 2018 now. My hope is to combine the trip on the scooter with going on a roller coaster park in Europe.

See the Aurora (Northern lights)

me taking a shot of the northern lights

This is a massive tick. Its always been on my list forever and thanks to brian suda who introduced me to the man/legend Snorri Por Tryggvason, who took me on a unbelievable journey which had us out and about near Reykjavik. Will never forget this.

Read more

This certainly happened thanks to Wallabag, Tiny Tiny RSS and Audiobook syncing using Plex. Was hoping to sync things to Goodreads but goodreads app is horrible on my ebook reader. According to Wallabag I’ve read 232 article over the year. Last of 2016 was Janet Street-Porter talking about routine not time.

Go to a new part of the world

Tallinn, Estonia

Another few places not planned at all. Reykjavik Iceland, Tallinn Estonia and Sarajevo Bosnia & Herzegovina. According to Google maps I’ve taken 44 trips in the last year, but that includes trips to London, Newcastle, York, Cardiff, Bristol, etc.

Don’t shy away controversy and get more political

Absolutely and I’ve been digging at the deeper issues facing society with data ethics, private & public and machine learning.

Go to more comedy clubs and contemporary theatre plays

What if women ruled the world

No comedy at all this year…

However the Manchester International Festival was great from a theatre point of view. Party skills for the end of the world, Fatherland and I guess Party skills for the end of the world counts as immersive theatre.

Take an improvisation class

No this didn’t happen at all, sadly…

Replace my scooter

Honda Silverwing at Hull

This happened and I’m looking forward to going places in 2018.

My New years resolutions for 2017

Thinking Digital Manchester 2016
Can’t remember what prompted me to start blogging my new years resolutions but its become a good habit.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2017; which follows on from 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    This still needs to happen and next year seems to be a good time for both of us. So expect to see some distress tweets about being lost in the middle of nowhere with no wifi, no power and only GPRS/Edge support. Well I guess if its warm and dry (not sure this will be the case) I can read some more or practice my circus skills?
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    I was planning a trip to Northern Ireland (a place I’ve never been to) on the scooter but the weather didn’t quite work out with when I was actually around. Its still on the cards and with my possible new scooter even?
  3. Improve my circus skills
    Its getting there, but the vertex is still not quite there. More practice is needed and more days of sunshine in media city will help with this.
  4. Visit a Japanese styled spa at least once every 4 months in the UK
    Since I left Japan, I’ve decided I need to go to a spa more often. I skipped it again this year, although I did go to Liquidrom in Berlin twice. So now its a challenge to myself to find one and go. Looks like the Midland hotel might be the winner on this front.
  5. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Return from last year. Its got to happen and it will be a shame if I don’t even go on a rollercoaster in 2017. Maybe a trip to Spain for Port Aventura. Plus theres all the other ones including Europa Park, Efteling and I guess Disney world (if I must).
  6. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    Still haven’t seen them and 2017 I got to at least try. Be it head to Iceland (brian suda has offered many times – thanks!), Sweden or maybe I can combine this with going to Finland or Norway?
  7. Read more
    I bought a android eink tablet late in the year to replace my kindle, giving me access to epubs and better support for the way I like to read. I also switched from Instapaper to Wallabag to take back control of my deeper internet reading. This is the year when I’m expecting much more in-depth reading generally.
  8. Go to a new part of the world
    Its a weird one, as I have been to Portugal and Romania this year, two places I haven’t been. But why stop there? I already have plans for Hong Kong/South Korea in March/April. Then I’m thinking about the other Scandinavian countries Norway and Finland, perfect for seeing the northern lights
  9. Don’t shy away controversy and get more political
    Digging this one out of the past but added the political aspect. With all which is going on right now, its time to be a little more out spoken about the wrongs and rights in our democratic system. I mean how can you say little to Trumps thoughts to improve the USA’s nukes!
  10. Go to more comedy clubs and contemporary theatre plays
    I love comedy and I don’t go to enough comedy clubs. Plus the last few years I haven’t been to nearly enough contemporary theatre plays. Theres been some great ones including one performed in complete darkness called light and the machine. This year is also the year of the Manchester International Festival which will help a lot, but the contact theatre and frog and bucket should be regular haunts. I almost considered standup comedy for a laugh but thought better of it… hence… improvisation
  11. Take a improvisation class
    I like the idea and I think I might actually be pretty good at it, so I’m going to give it ago. Already tracked down a class in the local area I could join, but it clashes with Volleyball and the Dyslexia group I’m in.
  12. Replace my scooter
    Its time to replace my Honda Silverwing scooter which has lasted me many years (think its 13 years!) Its done a lot of miles and although it runs fine, the body work and general wear and tear is costing too much to fix now. Its will make some one a good cheap project but right now its less useful to me and who knows if it will pass its next MOT without some serious changes.

A review of my 2016 resolutions

are you a good kisser - undressed

Its that time of year when I reflect on a frankly pretty crappy 2016 politically but a massively packed one for me personally. Seriously March, May, September, October, November were so full (I still need to write up my own personal Mozfest 2016 experience).

Although I did spend a lot of time in other countries, according to Google I’ve done 39 trips but that includes going to places in the UK. With the most visited first…

London, Nottingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Windermere (Phil’s wedding), Cambridge, Northampton.

And further a field, with the longest time first.
Berlin, Amsterdam, Lagos/Faro (1st time I’ve been to Portugal), Bucharest (another first Romania), Stockholm and Hannover.

  • I usually do steps but since I switched from Fitbit to the Xiomi band recently, and the steps are quite different from the fitbit, it makes little sense.
  • 259mins of sleep deficit over the year, which is down from the previous year.
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv added the year in review, and there’s very detailed data points there.
446 hours of film watching, which is 37.1 per month and most watched film is x-men apocalypse.
379 hours of TV watching, which is 31.6 per month and most played TV series is Louie. My highest rated TV were Limitless and 11.22.63 both ended.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    Our challenge has yet to start really. I had plans to take Kate to either Bucharest (shes never been to eastern europe and I only went for the first time last year to Poland). Then I thought about Stockholm (although not really going to push the challenge, its a very cool place). Although Kate has already dropped hints of staying somewhere near Scotland. I did ask if it was a tent and she said it has walls, to which I ask if it has a roof? Of course I got big grin.
  2. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I put up the projector screen with help from my lovely neighbours and to be honest I’ve not really used the projector much. Mainly as it needs to be setup on the coffee table and I can’t leave it there all the time. Its also XGA meaning things get cut off when sending a widescreen 1080p signal. But I will sort this next year. I did do a showing of undressed too, which counts right?
    Dinner parties? Well I’ve had a few but they generally end up as cheese and wine evenings. Someone recently pushed me to do a dinner for her, so the challenge is on. Time to pull out the Japanese food spark I think I have.   
  3. Head further a field with the scooter
    This one is frustrating as I had grand plans to drive into Northern Ireland. However the scooter is getting old now and I have plans to replace it with another scooter. So maybe when I get the new one, that will be the chance to go for a long journey? My scooter is still ok but there is so much body damage and to be fair its done over 70000 miles and I’ve had since 2005!
  4. Improve my circus skills
    At last this has been greatly improved. The much mentioned vertax are still as difficult to do as always but I’m getting closer and tend to get too excited when close. I’m also picking up other tricks and getting far more confident about my suicides. More room for improvement!
  5. Stay better in touch with old friends
    I realise I’ve been a little poor with this one, I need to spend some time reading what my old friends are up to in their lives. I’ve been shocked to learn things about old friends which I can’t believe I didn’t know about. This shouldn’t be just about reading their facebook walls but generally keeping in touch.
  6. Redecorate the flat
    Last year I still had the old sofas and old stuff, now I have a proper corner sofa and changed a few things. I still have bigger plans but paining the walls isn’t really one of them.
  7. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    Didn’t happen, but will next year for sure. Heck I don’t think I even rode a rollercoaster all year! Sad times, although I almost did renew my Alton Towers pass now the smiler is now open again. Still really like to see a new coaster before I renew it properly.
  8. Work on the book/serialised blog
    I started datingyarns.com but I’ve been so busy. Modifying the entries to make it as unrelated as possible to the date/person(s), but isn’t as simple as it may seem. Anyhow, I will keep putting them up, although I do maintain it would be better as a group blog with some incredible yarns from some of the women I’ve had the pleasure of dating.
  9. See the Aurora (Northern lights)
    This should have happened, I missed going to Iceland then when I got the go ahead for Sweden. I was thinking about taking the overnight train up to Lapland to see it and stay over. However due to clashes with the Christmas partys etc, I couldn’t stay long enough to make the trip up there. But I guess my research has shown how easy it would be if I did want to go via Stockholm, although Iceland is still number one choice.
  10. Make some bold moves with my love life
    Bold moves with my love life. Well this certainly was the right year! Where do I even start?
    I already knew I was going to be taking part in the Horizon dating experiment but it was shown much later than I thought. In between I took to the stage for TedXManchester4 to tell it as it is about dating services/apps. This all before Jane sent me the email encouraging me to put my body/money where my thoughts were in a new dating show – Undressed. Ok ok I hear you ask, what’s actually changed in your love life? I would suggest although quite confident about myself, all 3 of these things have really made me even more confident in myself, surroundings and love life. Its quite difficult to explain but every experience really brings new insight.
  11. Kick start the emerging technology event
    I did kick start the #etechmcr event, first event with a new VR Manchester meetup and then second one with Erik Lehmann. There hasn’t been another one for a while, although there’s plenty of opportunities but I’ve not been around to do anything about it. My hope is next year will mean more time for this and other events.
  12. Think humanity
    I feel this is a solid tick…

My New years resolutions for 2016

The BBC Radio 4 Listening project

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2016; which follows on from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Be taken out of my comfort zone by Kate and take her out of comfort zone
    Back in September me and Kate took part in the listening project. I had hoped the recording would be on the site by now but instead I’ll say somewhere in the recording, we agreed to take each other out of comfort zone for a weekend.
  2. Host film nights and more dinner parties at mine
    I bought a projector and about to fashion a projector screen out of ikea blinds. As the TV screen is lovely but not big enough for lots of people gathered around on my hopefully new corner sofa. I already have the cinema system for it but you can’t be a projector size screen. I also want to host more dinner parties for friends at mine.
  3. Head further a field with the scooter
    Where next is a question. I feel like a weekend in Ireland would be easy and good. Although further in to Scotland would be a good move too.
  4. Improve my circus skills
    More time is needed at Manchester Quirkus I think, but I do really need to practice the vertex in the garden or park more.
  5. Stay better in touch with old friends
    Jennifer emailed me after a long while of radio silence. She was interested in meeting up for a catch up. I thought it was a great idea… We met up and had a really good and productive catch up. I was a great idea and I’m going to follow by doing a similar thing in 2016.
  6. Redecorate the flat
    Same as last year, its about time and I might need to get some professionals in to help sort out things including network conduits and shifting radiators.
  7. Ride a roller coaster in another country
    I had a great time riding rollercoasters in Japan, and since the smiler crash been thinking about looking at the amazing array of coasters in Europe. Germany, Spain and many others have some great rides which I’ve never been on.
  8. Work on the book/serialised blog
    I have written about 26 chapters and shared a few chapters with close friends. I’m thinking about just realising it as a series of blog entries because I have had interest from others about sharing their stories too. I could even ask for contributions further a field.
  9. See the Aurora (northern lights)
    I have spoken to people and Brian Suda has done a great job sending me media about the northern lights. I’m thinking about going to Iceland to see it and of course him before summer. Iceland in April sounds like a great holiday for my birthday maybe?
  10. Make some bold moves with my love life
    I got to sort it out, its been a while since I did back to back dating and got really stuck in. It time consuming but in short bursts it can work. But it starts with refreshing my online dating profiles and trying out a few of the new dating services such as Bumble.
  11. Kick start the emerging technology event
    I pretty much said most of the details here and started the meetup group already. Now its a matter of keeping my ears to the ground and put together its first event. Thinking something with the Open rights group and iot would be a good start?
  12. Think humanity
    So many things I want to explore, which I summaries under the humanity title. Data ethics, going beyond systematic thinking, emotional angles, diversity, using our other senses and deeper conversations… etc etc…
    They all deserve attention and focus in 2016 and beyond. Expect to see more focus in the future.

A review of my 2015 resolutions

Harajuku

Its that time of year when I reflect on the amazing amount of things which have happened this year, even Richard Brandson is in on this now. While I’m not going to try out quantified self Stephen wolfram; as I mentioned in last years review, but heres some bits and bobs.

 

  • 2,653,347 steps this year so far
  • 2791 floors this year so far
  • 1,98.78 km of walked distance so far
  • 449mins of sleep deficit (this is what I should have
  • Average sleep this year has been 6 hours 50mins.

Trakt.tv recently changed their interface and are still waiting on their yearly dashboard. On Last.FM I listened to 255 artists  with an average of 3 scobbles per day.

Now on with the 2015 resolutions review

 

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    This was a big win this year.
    Not only did I make it to Tokyo, Japan at long last but I also went to Warsaw , Poland and even to Fife in Scotland; which was the 1st of 2 times in Scotland this year.  All were great and I’m sure to visit again in the near future.
  2. Improve my circus skills
    I started to learn the basics of the vertex during the early autumn months and learned quickly where I was going wrong with a visit to Manchester Quirkus. I was doing the whip with the wrong hand causing the diabolo to tilt away from me. Now I can kind of get the diabolo into a vertex but haven’t mastered any moves beyond that… yet!
  3. Scooter into another country or new area
    I  drove up to Scotland on my scooter, which isn’t bad. Yes it was only gretna green (just over the border but it’s still Scotland). I’m certainly thinking about next year driving further, as I saw signs saying Edinburgh and Glasgow less than 100 miles. I reckon I could get up to both in about 4 hours. Maybe stopping in Kate’s Yut again. I’m also thinking Ireland would be good, maybe even Northern Ireland?
  4. Explore my sapiosexual and datasexual sides
    Well thanks to Tom for the total destruction of sapiosexual term. Which I explored in the blog entry about myself. Friends and collages have commented (when asked) at the bravery of being so open about things like this. Which I sniff at because theres so much more…
  5. Quantify more and make better use of my data exports
    Didn’t do so much of this, I did less quantified self aggregation but added even more sensors to the line up including weight scales and even better sleep tracking. I also found the interest in Manchester around the Quantified Self also dropped and I had to put the Manchester QS meetup on hold, along with attending the QSEU 2015 conference. My data is still in silos but I’m certainly thinking about doing more in 2016. Especially around the homelab and media exports.
  6. Do something for other dyslexics
    This year I’ve been helping others and attending a dyslexic meetup in Manchester every first Saturday of the month. Its been good to discuss openly with others.
    As part of Mozfest 2015, I was also included a session about dyslexia and it was well attended and spawned an adhoc session with further talks with the Tate to be continued in 2016.
  7. Improve my health and alertness
    Yes things are getting better and better. Alertness is great but of course there is always room to improve. The electronic scale is useful and of course the sleep tracking is identifying patterns which contribute. Nothing scientific but interesting.
  8. Hire somebody to ironing my clothes
    Done… Just need to use her services more often I guess (only given her 3 big bags of clothes so far).
  9. Try dating younger (and progressive) but central located women
    Yeah my dating has certainly gone down this year. I’ve decided to give up on Plenty of Fish after the insane amount of Catfishing going on. OkCupid is turning up the same people all the times, so I’m thinking about redoing my profile and looking at the questions again. I also installed Bumble to see if the female pick first option was any good or not.
    As for younger, progressive and central. Well its not worked out too well, I seem to be finding older, progressive and central. Must try harder I guess. Dave says I need to try new places but I refuse to pay for dating services knowing little time I have and the way it works behind the scenes.
  10. Decorate the flat
    This is on hold till next year but I have plans since I finally got gigabit broadband from hyperoptic and a projector for the living room when watching films with friends. I also finally found a corner sofa from the new range at Ikea which is cheaper than I budgeted for, meaning more for re-decoration. Thinking about sorting out the internal network properly by getting a professional in to do it.
  11. Read more
    Well I did read more but once again I spent more time reading non-fiction not fiction. I don’t think I’ll ever really get into reading for fun but I certainly got into audiobooks more in 2015. Keep thinking about getting a subscription to Audible. But I find the Instapaper and Greader text to speech players actually good enough for generic reading. I also added a plugin to read any text from Android outloud on my bluetooth headset. This is handy and means I can close my tablet and wonder around like a audiobook.
  12. Discover more music via Djs and Podcasts
    I tried listening to youtube and mixcloud at work and its ok but pausing the music is a pain when you have it in the background somewhere over the 2 screens.
    On the other hand, podcasts certainly picked up in the later part of 2015. I’m subscribed to about 12 podcasts now and with gigabit I don’t even download them, I’m using Kodi’s built in RSS support to play directly.

New years resolutions 2014

Can’t remember what prompted me to start blogging my new years resolutions but its become a nice habit and I’ve always got friends to keep me on path.

So without further a do…

Following my review of last year, the year before that and the year before that one… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2014 which follows on from my 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010. 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Go to a new part of the world
    I’m going to Jamaica anyway, so although not so new there’s new experiences to be had. Nothing stopping me going elsewhere (except maybe money). I’ve already decided that by 2016 I will go to Tokyo. But I’m also wondering about the rest of pan Asia.
  2. Use my Task list more
    I did have in a previous resolution, document more and this is similar but more focused. When I actually write notes (even rough ones) and tasks everything seems to work out ok, but its when I don’t things get forgotten and before you know it, trouble. So I’m going to invest in a decent task writer which hopefully uses Google Tasks as its back end. I tried using Any.do which started out well but after a while the google sync became unreliable. Wonderlist was good but pointless when Ubuntu support was dropped. If Google tasks was a little more developed, it would be good for outlining. I do worry they will drop support in the end like Reader.
  3. Bake a bloody cake
    For year this has sat on the list but still hasn’t happened. Heck I even had suggestions from friends and family on what I should bake. I just need to set aside some time and do this
  4. Ride the bloody Smiler
    After missing the opportunity a few times, I’m dying to get on the ride for my Birthday. I’m actually stopping myself from putting up a G+ or FB event now for my Birthday. However I’m also keeping an eye on the new rollercoasters coming in 2014. A trip into Europe sounds like a good idea.
  5. Improve my circus skills
    I have completely forgotten about improving my circus skills, since the classes were miles away in Cholton. But now I got the scooter back, it should be easy enough to pop over to where ever for Circus skills class (although there might be a clash with Volleyball)
  6. Move away from GoDaddy
    I have been meaning to do this for a long while. However everytime I do, Godaddy have taken the money and I’m left thinking well I’ll sort it out next time. This time, I’ll do it in stages starting with my hosting then slowly move all the domain names over afterwards. The lovely guys at Melbourne Hosting and Bytemark Hosting have offered me deals but UKFast have also got in on the action. All have a base in Manchester by the way.I have already started crossing this out because, I already moved this blog to WPEngine over Christmas (thanks Ben). I’ll slowly move the rest (email and domain names) as time allows.
  7. Surround myself in higher thinking
    I’m already only following certain people on twitter because they say interesting things. This might seem very harsh on certain friends but frankly if some of that rubs off on me and aids others, then great. Its reminds me of my responsibility as a godfather.
    I’m not about to ditch friends, that would be stupid but rather try and elevate what I read and watch. For example, there is so much to take away from the brain jazz with Jason and Douglas. The internet is full of great talks like this and its a crying shame to be watching garbage.
  8. Scooter into another country
    Now this might be a little bit of a cheat but now I got the scooter back on the road, I think its time it went for a real long ride. This might be Europe in the Summer or simply Wales, Ireland (on the ferry) or Scotland. Either way, it needs to happen. I can easily throw my stuff in the back box and set off. My Honda Silverwing is made for long journeys and I’m sure would enjoy the open road during summer.
  9. Use social media to stay in touch with friends
    I’ve always generally used Facebook as a dumping ground but I’m starting to use it a little more to stay in touch with friends and family.  So all those Birthdays which I see in my calendar I’ll be writing something on peoples walls and streams. My aims is to  contact everyone once a year, even for a brief happy birthday which may lead to something a little more rounded.
  10. Pick up the family genealogy
    My family is massive, bigger that I even imagined. Sarah tried to map our family years ago and the map was a crazy affair, many many pages long. My mum has a printed copy which she keeps adding to, but its frankly full of corrections and changes. Seeing how my mum hasn’t switched to digital yet, I should take up this work.
  11. Live the life I choose
    Its become clear to me that career and life progression is going to be less that ordinary for me. I’m going to have to carve my own path through life and that means working in an adhoc style sometimes and being true to myself. I won’t lie, life is pretty good right now. Although it may seem like I should be working towards things, I’m always reminded of the Cluetrain rule #7 – Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. As I believe in the hyper-connected world we’re moving into. My bets are against hierarchy and traditional. Maybe there is a word which sums this up?
  12. Sort out my love life and finish the book
    Although its the last one, its not so in my mind. I think I need to spend more time going out with new people and getting myself into even newer situations. I have already joined a number of meetup groups and with the scooter can go further a field.
    As most of you know I’m writing a book about my dating experiences. Its fictional and nothing like 50 shades of anything. Its meant to be released as a serialized ebook if I can sort out the US Tax issue with Amazon. I like the idea of self publishing the book in chapters which build up. The money I’m not so worried about.

A review of last years resolutions 2013

As usual I like to do these look back and look forwards on eve of another new year. Looking forward should be the next post and looking back should be my new year resolutions of 2013.

As you can already see, things radically changed for me. I’m no longer with Laura and I believe shes found somebody else. Of course I wish them lots of joy and happiness in their future. Anyways on with the list…

  1. Ask less for permission, beg more for forgiveness
    On a whole I started to do this but then I got put in a team where I did need to ask more permission. I feel like I sometimes get the name rouge and rebel simply because I get things done without really asking permission. As I pointed out to my new manager, I’m a bit of a nightmare to micro manage. Best to not do it.
  2. Think more from the heart and less from the head
    This one kinda didn’t really see much progress on. Its hard but I did make some decisions which I wouldn’t normally go with but honestly nothing much happened to write home about. May have to rethink this one in the future.
  3. Play more social games
    Yes I can certainly tick this one off, a monthly and healthy werewolf game in the northern quarter is now a stable part of what happens in my life. I would like to extend the werewolf a little more but thats for later.
  4. Drink only when they serve decent cocktails or wine I actually like
    Yes this has started to happen. Over 2013 I was drinking cranberry juice  or cranberry with a shot of vodka when I didn’t trust the bar to serve a decent cocktail. This can be seen as snobby specially the wine selection but I’m kind of over that now. If I choose not to drink the wine or cocktails thats up to me.
  5. Go to a new part of the world
    Didn’t happen… but I did get the scooter on the road and explored the Pennies
  6. Do a budget
    I tried but and somewhat succeeded but honestly I won’t be doing it much more. Lloyds have a pie chart thing which points to where you are spending the most money. Its not really a budget but I found training this much more useful than a budget.
  7. Bake a cake
    For year this has sat on the list but still hasn’t happened. Heck I even had suggestions from friends and family on what I should bake. I just need to set aside some time and do this.
  8. Be fitter and heather
    I can happily say this is certainly happening. Playing Volleyball 3x a week and trying to fit in Basketball when I feel up to it. I know my sister would say, you got to do different types of exercise but I really enjoy Volleyball and its draw does get me going. For some people its working out the gym but for me its team sports like Volleyball. I was part of 2 teams but gave one up because the level was too high for me.
  9. Call out stereotyping, bullying and social engineering
    People certainly don’t like it when they are called out for such things. I mean some of the reactions I’ve gotten is quite shocking. It did seem like I was trolling them but with the change of tone of voice, it doesn’t come across so heavy. Just this week I was social engineered into going to work on my day off. Of course I changed the day off to a half a day but I called it. Peer pressure and social engineering
  10. Wound up and trolled
    I’d say I’m spending less time engaging with the trolls and being wound up. There will always be those who keep going but haters are going to hate, nothing new there.
  11. Do a cocktail mixology course
    I did a couple of these over the year, some were good some were questionable. But honestly none were noteworthy. Well I say that but the Dockbar (Media City Piazza) offered cocktail making for 5 pounds and you got to make 3 drinks. As this was the first time they had done this, I was the only taker and I got one on one supervision.
  12. Roller Coasting
    Yes my pleasure and joy, this year I got the pleasure of going to Thorpe Park but the upset of missing out on riding Alton Tower’s Smiler coaster twice! First time they moved the opening date to May from April. Then the week of the smiler opening I was ill, but to add a cherry on the injury, some friends went and they didn’t even go on the smiler!! You know next year is going to include a ride on the smiler!

A review of last years resolutions 2011

Every year for the last few years I’ve been publicly posting my new years resolutions… 2011, 2010, 2009 and here’s a review of last years

  1. Ski on real snow
    Yes and this year I did it. Chill Factor in Manchester was where I skied on real snow for the very first time. So I can finally take this one off the list for good.
  2. Organise a Trance night in Manchester
    This (kinda) happened, I got together with Dirty Si and Composite and we did it in a small place called Arcadia on the Great Ancoats ring road. It lasted about 4 weeks but only shut down because the owners had a massive fight and we lost our venue in the aftermath. Shame as we were starting to build our night, Startup… Not to say its over, but I’m not pursuing it right now (for reasons below)
    Of course theres more mixes on mixcloud if you want tunes.
  3. Read more non-news stuff
    Ok so this hasn’t happen so much, still got many books I need to read on the Kindle but generally I’m reading less news stuff and more blogs and opinions. Also reading a lot of recommended stuff from people I follow on twitter.
  4. Live even more in the public
    This is all happening… I’m actually currently writing a presentation about this in the same vein as Jeff Jarvis. Over sharing or Over listening? Who knows, but I do know spilling my thoughts into the public domain is always going to cause conflict no matter how I think about it before hand. Perfect example is my thoughts about the late VivID Lounge, which still is getting comments, some negative and some positive. But they got people talking…
  5. Document more online (including films, books, photos, etc)
    Using Trakt to document all the films and tv shows I watch has worked out great….Specially when you look back across the whole year like this… Its much better than documenting them using Twitter or even Identica. Pushing things into Facebook has been interesting, specially when my friends commented “am I feeling alright?” when watching a lot like love. I keep meaning to add reviews there instead of Twitter but it hasn’t happened yet.
  6. Meet more young, progressive, single and central located people
    This is happening more and more, slowly slowly… Only real issue is they all seem to be gay (so no love action), but alas I conclude my gaydar is totally broken and I’ll just have to live with that now. Will have to work around this.
  7. Consider going out with woman who have kids
    Generally I’m more open to woman who have kids, but haven’t dated any yet. But I have spoken to a few in passing, so who knows what might happen next year…
  8. Get my finances in order
    I could have done better but to be honest, I’ve saved quite a bit money but I’ve also spent too much money on lunches and dinners out. A little look through my bank details shows a lot of transactions from the newly opened Booths in MediaCity, and Booths isn’t exactly cheap (its the Waitrose of the north for my friends down south).
  9. Work more on my healthy lifestyle
    Playing Volleyball, walking most places in Manchester and losing weight slowly but steadily. Its certainly going all in the right direction. I did sign up for the gym but they wanted a doctors note to cover there arses, which the doctor could not/would not give me. And to be honest, I think taking up another sport is more likely than the gym.
  10. Play much more
    This is one I’ve failed on for sure… Simon Lumb keeps saying, stop watching films and play instead, but I’m generally doing something else at the same time, so its continent. When Brendan was living with me for a while, we did play PES 2010 a bit but most of the time the Xbox 360 stays off. However, I’ve started pushing the Manchester Werewolf chapter again and the last one was very well attended and its great we got the venue deeply involved.
  11. Spend more time thinking deeper and focusing
    This year has been all about this. Less time keeping track of whats on everyones radar and more time focusing on things which matter to me. This could be seen as a social/media bubble but if it stops me trying to store lots of loosely related things in my head, then so be it. I’m very active about pushing away things which are not core to myself or what my goals/aims are.
  12. Take Geek Culture to new heights
    I’m pursing a few things which are related to this. There’s thoughts about whats next after BarCamp and Hackday? What would go into Geeks talk sexy series 2 and what other games can we play socially. I’ve done some ground work to work closer to Larkin About and who knows where it goes from here?

Next post has to be 2012 resolutions

New Year Resolutions 2010

Myself

So I’ve already done a review of 2009, so its time for my 2010 resolutions.

  1. Go skiing on real snow
    This is a carry over from 2009. I really need to just go do this, specially since there is a fake skiing place in Manchester’s Trafford Centre.
  2. Blog more
    Since Twitter, i’ve been blogging a lot less. This needs to stop as this is my base and twitter isn’t. Although I can aggregate with things like storytlr, i’m very interested the support for the twitter/open-microblogging api by wordpress/automatic.
  3. A better routine and live more healthy
    Goes without saying really but I’m already signed up to PureGym the 24hour Gym but need a doctors note saying I’m not going to die of a asthmatic attack if I use a running machine before I can go for the introduction. I’m also attempting to go to sleep before 2am every night and wake up at a decent time. I need to go to more comedy clubs too.
  4. Kick off Manchester werewolf night again
    We started playing werewolf in Manchester at the start of last year as a monthly thing in the BBC bar but moved it out to Space soon after as we got more people. I want to grow it a little and run a couple special one-off’s around events like FutureEverything and other conferences in the city. Actually the 1st one of the year will be Wednesday 3rd Feb if your interested.
  5. Find my perfect development stack
    I was meant to be learning Python but it just didn’t feel right for me. Apache Cocoon 2.1 is still my baby and I use it for all types of little bits and pieces but Cocoon 2.2 and 3.x are completely different. I could/maybe should learn how use them and the new Maven approach, Maven also seems to work well in Eclipse and Netbeans (didn’t I mention I like Netbeans).
    I like the idea of XQuery specially because it does most of the things I want to do in my web applications. Add in Exist DB the open source xml database and I got a complete backend stack. I’m also still liking the idea behind ZK to ease with the front end, although I know everyone is loving a javascript library over a complete framework. Lastly I’m looking more and more into XProc but I don’t feel this will help with my development stack.
  6. Playout live more
    I’m going out clubbing more which is great but I’m feeling the need to playout/dj out loud. There’s not many trance clubs in Manchester and I’ve already tried to join the Rong Trance night via a competition. So heck why not setup my own night? Well it looks like I found a venue (TV21 in the Trendy Northern Quarter) and a couple other djs who also want to play out live. So who knows…
  7. Use even more graphics
    Inkscape, napkin sketches, raytracing are all working for me. Now I’m sketching on my ebook reader in some meetings so I just need better ways to integrate them into my presentations and work.
  8. Upgrade sooner if it makes a noticeable difference
    Sometimes I wait too long to upgrade software and hardware. For example I waited till my old battery only holds 12% charge before getting a new one. This is fine but having to go to meetings next door with a power adapter is a pain. I should have bought a new battery ages ago. I also waited too long to upgrade to Gwibber 2.0 for sure. This also extends to other stuff for example I just bought some new trainers after 3+ years of wearing the last one to near collapse. All this stuff is worth just buying earlier to avoid all the stresses which go into keeping the previous generation alive. Talking of which I really should upgrade my camera to a DSLR soon.
  9. Be involved in a regular podcast
    I started one with a few friends but we never really got it off the ground due to our pretty hectic lifestyles. However now I know I can do skype over my Orange HSDPA connection and it still sounds great, I should be able to do it from anywhere I am. So its just a matter of being committed really.
  10. Buy a flat in Central Manchester
    People have been wondering what happened with this. Well it was all happening then the mortgage deposits when from 10% to 20% across all lenders, which ruled me out of buying a 2 bedroom place. However this year I’m confident that I’ll be on the property ladder again. Although I’m thinking maybe I should consider one bedroom places too.
  11. Avoid all online services which don’t perform to my acceptable levels of data portability
    Its 2010, theres no need for closed systems which don’t talk to anything else. No OpenID or OAuth? You won’t see me signing up in the future. Can’t get my data out on to my own site via some API? forget about it, I’m not even going to venture near it.
  12. Play more games
    I love games but never play enough of them. There’s a whole selection of great games which I’ve not played which I think I’m missing out on. For example I bought Portal the other day for a day when I’m sick and need to stay in. Theres some amazingly inspiring games out there which must be played.