Mary Karr’s Poetry

New Yorker Poetry
New Yorker Poetry

I’m really enjoying the poetry of Mary Karr a contributor to the New Yorker. From her short bio:

Mary Karr teaches at Syracuse University and lives in Manhattan. Her New York Times best-seller, “The Art of Memoir,” will appear in paperback this fall.

I first read The Crotchgrabber her article “On a shockingly casual case of sexual assault”. It is shocking and a bit disturbing, bit is m is clever and full of insight. Read it.

Looking at her other contributions I discovered a wealth of poetry published by the New Yorker.

Serendipitously over the last month I wanted to find contemporary, literary poetry.

Illiterate Progenitor grabbed me instantly. I want to savour her work slowly so I made this note to return to her writing.

I spent a bit of time looking for a photo of Mary to use with this piece. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a Creative Commons or otherwise “free” photo to use. Authors (or their Publicists Publishers) should provide marketing collateral like author photos for exactly this use.

Update: I found HarperCollins OpenBook API which gave me the photo credit.

Technically I’m lifting the photo from Mary Karr’s twitter profile, as the original photo via the API is too small. Also the photo is cropped so it’s a derivative work of Deborah Feingold’s original portrait. While my use of the image is covered by “fair use” provisions, but it would be nice to have the licensing simplified.

Mary Karr photo by Deborah Feingold/HarperCollins
Mary Karr photo by Deborah Feingold/HarperCollins

Encrypt iPhone backup

I’ve updated my Apple iPhone to a 6S and adjusted the custom iPhone backup location on my external HDD. This time I’ve enabled the Encrypt iPhone backup feature in iTunes.

Apple does not backup important data to transfer to a new phone if you don’t encrypt your backups. Things like:

  • Account passwords
  • WiFi passwords
  • Health app data
  • HomeKit data

iCloud backs up this data fine, but with only 5GB of iCloud storage, I wanted to backup then restore my 64GB device locally.

The encryption is strong by 2016 standards. You cannot restore a backup without the password. Aside: Obviously the FBI (and NSA) can now hack your iPhone but that’s not the use case here.

If your external HDD is ever lost or stolen, you’ll be glad that your iPhone backup on it is encrypted. Just do it.

Oh! And pick a decent password to encrypt it. Not something your already used on FaceBook, LinkedIn and every other website on the planet. You are using unique passwords and a password locker by now, right? This is 2016 after all.

Server woes

Broken Time 1
Broken Time 1/e_anka

Sorry to those of you whose emails I’m not receiving.

Unless I’m receiving them and you’re in the smaller group of people who can’t receive my emails.

Unless you’re in a non-intersecting group of people who are connecting to an older server (in which case you can’t see this post).

Unless you’re in a possibly non-intersecting group who couldn’t get to this website because of various server configuration problems.

Basically I’m rebuilding my hosting and that has led to wide-spread disruption. I’ll post an update when I think it’s mostly fixed. I think I’m 80% of the way there. UPDATE: I think it’s fixed.

It’s really frustrating and part of me wishes I went with a well supported WordPress hosted provider. But I do run some non-WP projects on the side so I like to have a server or two around for testing.

Fix Google Analytics Spam

Bottom line up front: Prevent spam in your Google Analytics with only 2 filters

Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics service today so it is a target-rich environment for spammers to get eyeballs. They hope that web masters will see their url and check out where the traffic is coming from. The reality is there is no new traffic, it’s all bots manipulating the system.

Google Analytics spam is only bad for the site owner. Users never see the consequences, but the owner’s stats are full of junk, devaluing the data.

After long neglect I’m busy behind-the-scenes with this and other websites. My painful reality is bad guys hitching a ride on my corner of the web. Take care of your neighbourhood unless you want to it to go bad.

Change iPhone Backup Location

I have a 64GB iPhone 5S but my MacBook Air only has a 128GB SSD which is not enough to regularly hold a backup of my phone. iCloud offers 5GB free online space so I have to pick and chose what gets synchronised via iCloud.

I decided to move my iTunes iPhone backup location to a 2GB external drive called Seagate1. This is a really easy process for Mac and Windows users.

There is no way to change that within iTunes. I am sure there must be tools you can get online to configure it but I used the Terminal to create a symbolic link to make iTunes to use the external drive.

By default iTunes stores iPhone backups in ~/Library/Applications Support/MobileSync/Backup on Macs and \AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup on Windows. If you already have a backup you wish to keep, move the Backup folder to the new backup location on your external drive. Otherwise rename the existing Backup folder to BackupOld.

The symlink links the folder from ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup to a backup directory on my external drive – in my case /Volumes/Seagate1/iOSBackups/Backup.

Mac OS X
Open Terminal either by searching for Terminal in spotlight or use Finder to navigate tothe Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.

Terminal will normally open in your home folder with a $ prompt.

Type the following command create the symlink, change Seagate1 to your external drive name.

ln -s /Volumes/Seagate1/iOSBackups/Backup ~/Library/Application\ Support/MobileSync/Backup

That’s it! Connect your iPhone and back it up.


Open the Command Prompt window by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, and then clicking Command Prompt.

Type the following command to create the symlink ,change SEAGATE1 to your external drive letter.

mklink /J "%APPDATA%\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup" "[Your External HDD]:\iOSBackups\Backup"

That’s it! Connect your iPhone and back it up.

ZagZ redesigned

Symbol home from hands isolated on white
Symbol home from hands isolated on white

During a hasty server relocation I discovered that the database that stores was slightly corrupted. Not badly enough to affect the performance of the site. But enough that the backups didn’t notice it and reported themselves happily complete.

The actuality was that the posts and comments tables where horribly damaged and it was only while trying to restore the backups that I discovered how hosed those tables were. Now if this site was my main focus I would not be running it the way I was. But it is my little plaything so them’s the way the cookies be crumblin’.

So I’ve recovered all the posts, and most of the comments. There are definitely missing comments, but they will take more time than it’s worth to find them and reintegrate them in to the new site.

Meanwhile I’ve redesigned and am reworking the backend so that it is the starting point for all my online identity.

Let me know if you stumble across something more broken and lost than normal.

Crowd Funding for Independent Film (Series)

Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,
Army of Dollars,by Svilen Milev, Bulgaria,

I am writing a huge series of articles on crowd funding for independent productions. The emphasis is on international projects outside the USA. Taken together they form a comprehensive plan you can follow to launch your own crowd funding campaign.

Crowd funding works even when it doesnt. Huh?Lots of films have failed to meet their crowd funding target but got made anyway. Ill cover that.

Even more indie films were not made because they couldnt get enough fans to back them-andmaybe that was a good thing. If you cant get enough fans to commit to buying a ticket, download, screener or DVD of your movie, maybe it doesnt have an audience. If you cant convince people to give you money for a god-damned postcard or othertsotchke quit.

Were doing an MBA for Film Producers here.

The last bit of advice it will take more work than you thought, probably as much as you will put into making your film.

Topics include

  • Does your project needs crowd funding?
  • 10 things to do before you launch a independent film crowd funding campaign
  • 5 great things that from missing your crowd funding target

If you have specific questions, ask them in the comments and Ill respond.

Good Review for Beijing Punk by The Impaler Speaks

Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford  Poster
Beijing Punk by Shaun Jefford Poster

Truly insightful analysis of the movie matched with deep knowledge of history & currency of punk. This guy gets it.

Beijing Punk is fast-paced and fun, with a fantastic selection of music from the cream of the Chinese punk scene being heard the majority of the time, and an engaging visual style that maintains a steady focus on the subjects at hand at all times.

The Impaler Speaks is a local music blog supporting indie music, indie film and indie life. Local iswhereveryou are. In their words

The Impaler Speaks supporting local music worldwide, from Austin TX to the United Kingdom and everywhere else. The Impaler has been a member of the Mass Movement creative team since it was a cut-n-paste fanzine many years ago. This is a way to add some depth to the coverage I am able to provide in MM, and so much more. Support indie music. Support indie film. Support indie life.

Thanks to Beijing Punks US DVD distributors MVD Visualfor supporting Beijing Punk and getting press attention.

The review is at The Impaler Speaks – Beijing Punk Review

Disclosure: Im a producer on Beijing Punk

If I did pull quotes out of context for marketing purposes (something Id never do) Id go with

dissecting the lifestyleunder the Chinese government in a hilarious fashion

I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate||Spoken Word

Im enjoying the spoken word piece I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate by Suli Breaks. Its a great track with an amazing video.

Follow him on twitter at

Im a father and have raised my kids (I hope) to value self reliance and life long learning. I have never been asked for a copy of my high school results. Until one job about 5 years ago, I have never been asked for a copy of my university transcript or testamur. With hindsight I should have run away from that job as soon as they asked for a copy of my degree, as they were more interested in proving they covered their arses than turning the business around.