twenty eleven

annual news majig

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It’s time for that annual news majig.

still in Paris
still contracting computing skills to clients
still doing that engineering thang
still not sitting still
never will

I’ve not been sitting on my hobby arse either. In early 2011 I constructed corrupt press, a poetry press. It’s published 3 collections & 15 chapbooks from 18 different authors. They’ve got some smashing reviews, too, supporting my belief that Paris is a rich source of English language poetry. Thanks to all the poets for their brilliant books. :-)



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I’ve just accepted work in Eindhoven, to start in the middle of February. Another country … :-)



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I just got a wee bit nostalgic.

30 years ago – and a little bit – I blagged myself a summer holiday job in Cambridge. The product being built did rather well. Subsequent products from the same people have been really rather successful.

I was a spotty polytechnic summer holiday job student, I had no real role in the thing, of course – but I was there. And it was good. :-)


corrupt press

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been setting up corrupt press, a small poetry publisher. Preparing books for publication is a lot of work! Anyway, please do go have a look, there’s four great books (although I’m ever so slightly biased), with more to come.

The Paris launch is on May 10th at Poets Live.


still useless

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Right now, I’m being reminded Apple’s restrictions make their App Store, and in consequence their products, pretty useless.

I want a copy of my website in my pocket, so I always have access to my work. I sometimes have the unexpected opportunity to read: I need full access to my work if I’m going to select poems appropriate in the context. Furthermore, I like to be able to revise, and see the results of the revision. For all of that, I need the webserver.

I used to own a Sharp pocket computer, a Zaurus. It did the job perfectly well: it ran Apache, and I’d have my website in my pocket whenever I needed it.

Apache is a perfectly good product, long established, highly reliable, which does exactly what I want. Indeed, Apple so like it they ship a copy on every iMac. However, their incomprehensible restrictions prevent it’s installation on my iPod. In consequence, I cannot keep a copy of my website on my iPod, so I cannot have a copy of my current work on me.

Of course, you might pretend, you can use the iPod’s wi&#fb01; to browse the web when you need to do this. But anyone who’s attempted to use public internet connectively will know how unreliable it is. Connectivity remains uncommon, and is rarely free, let alone reliable and effective. I cannot depend on having access to my online website whenever I need access to my work.

Apple’s anti-web art attitude is very disappointing. For me, it makes their product pretty useless for much more than playing music, admittedly it’s core purpose. I’ve previously pointed out their app store is laid out to prevent comparison of product details … well, evidently, that’s because you can’t buy products with useful details anyway.

All I want to do is run up a webserver that can manage SHTML so I can exploit my poetry. It’s not rocket science, but it’s contrary to Apple’s mistaken paternalism.

My main mobile is falling apart; I need to buy a new smartphone soon. Guess who’ll carefully check Microsoft and Android. Gosh, you know, it took Google two seconds to show that you can run a webserver on a Windows 7 phone.


20 questions

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Vingt Magazine have published my answers to their 20 questions. I was asked because of my involvement with Poets Live. I made some new self-portraits for them.

I’m currently proofing the first two books for corrupt press, and they’re very good first collections too. Of course, I would say that, wouldn’t I—but I mean it. You’ll be able to judge for yourself within a couple of months.

Wow—it’s a long long time since I’ve written a dear diary. Apologies, such things can be incredibly yucky.



image: revisited

I’ve revisited my old film photos again. When I first did so a couple of years ago, I presented the images I wanted to see when I took them. I soon reinterpreted, since the best turned out to be those damaged by mold, subsequently published in the smoke.

This time, I’ve reinterpreted the photos with my contemporary eyes. In particular, I’ve returned to old ‘experimentals’, and looked again at failed images. I didn’t have a chance to work with them when I first took them: I remember being extremely frustrated that commercial printers refused to print the things, often despite my instructions (it was a major reason why I moved to slides). Now, finally, I can work with my experiments of thirty years ago.

image: revisited

But I’ve long forgotten many of the ideas behind the experiments: I’m no longer the person who took the images. So I’m presenting them damaged with the fluff of time—literally—they’ve covered in dust, hairs and other horrible gunk.

The fifteen sets in revisited are 2G1, 2G2, 2G3, 2G4, 2G5, 2H1, 2H2, 2H3, 2H4, 2H5, 2I1, 2I2, 2I3, 2I4 and 2I5.


apple’s app store

Apple’s iMac App store—in my opinion, a big fail.

With the latest upgrade to Snow Leopard comes Apple’s App Store, and, so far as I can see, they’ve got it pretty wrong.

First of all, when you in, you have to use one of their accounts. Now, in principle, that’s not a problem. The difficulty is their customer accounting system is strongly nationalist. It does not comprehend that people living in one country might prefer to speak another country’s language—or to be accurate, it will let you switch languages, but as soon as you want to make a purchase, insists on switching back. I’m British, I want to make a purchase in English: the fact that I live in France should be irrelevant … and it usually is online.

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It does not comprehend that the Eurozone covers 17 countries, and that a eurozone credit card can be used in any of them. Indeed, credit cards are pretty global. Yet Apple told me an Irish credit card didn’t work in the UK, never mind I use it there all the time. When I lived in Luxembourg, they wouldn’t let me use my Belgium iTunes account, because they told me one country’s currency didn’t in the other country—never mind that the two countries have been in currency union for around 170 years. They’re talking complete nonsense. I don’t know what their real reasons for this stupidity are, but I wish they’d drop the idiot lies. That, or Apple doesn’t grasp that, for most of Europe, it’s a doddle to cross boundaries. Except with Apple, I can live in one European country and buy goods from another. They've really got it wrong. Amazon get it right, Apple get it wrong.

As you can tell, I really don’t like the nationalist politics that lies underneath the App store, they way they try for force separation between inhabitants of different European countries. They don’t understand Europe, & I don’t have a clue why an American company like Apple is making such a negative statement on a continent where nationalism has historically done such damage. I should strongly suggest to Apple that they stop presuming that someone’s culture must be connected with where they live. I’ll give Apple, they’re not the only American company to make this mistake. I’ve not found a European company that screws things up in this way, and I would suggest to Apple that they get their act together, see how European companies tend to behave, and stop being so nationalist.

The App store is very carefully designed to prevent you finding out about anything before you download it. They use colours from the nursery school, where people are of course told what to do and follow guidance because they’re too young to work things out for themselves. They expect you to select apps on the basis of pukely coloured icons rather than knowing what the product does, or at least is supposed to do. They assure you if you click on the icons, product descriptions are offered, but all the icons I’ve clicked on have offered one or two lines of texts. No product specs, no product descriptions, no requirements, no contractual information, nothing. It's bloody useless.

Obviously, this is early days. Mind you, judging by the press, their early days have badly screwed up their security, so there is quite a lot of thieving going on, it seems.

So it’s a disaster. My advice is to avoid it until they sort it out, and drop the nationalism.



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I nipped across to Dublin for a couple of days, to appease the gentlemen of tax—the French gentlemen of tax, that is. Unfortunately, I managed to screw up my drinking plans. A miscommunication occurred. Ooops. Ah well.

If anyone wants a drink in Dublin, and doesn’t want yet more black–hearted stout, go to the Porterhouse in Temple Bar. The landlord loves a good bitter, and serves guest brews from other parts of the island. He even has Gouden Carolus, my local brew from Mechelen.

The city’s very friendly. You can stand at a bus stop and find yourself in a conversation. I like that. But I was right to leave. There’s only one Paris.

I’m punting my Dublin poems to the magazines, to some success from kindly positive editors. I’d like, within a year, to have them assembled in a collection.

That collection will have bail on the front cover.


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