Nicolas Magand on the internet

Comments about tech, media, nature, &c.

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

Filtering by Category: Technology

European nations and their wish of not becoming "digital colonies"

Clothilde Goujard, writing for WIRED:

Although relatively novel, the concept of “digital sovereignty” can be roughly summarised as a country’s push to regain control over their own and their citizens’ data. On the military side, it includes the ability for a state to develop cybersecurity offensive and defensive capabilities without relying on foreign-made technology; on the economic side, it encompasses issues spanning from taxation of big tech to the creation of homegrown startups.

Seems a bit late for our governments to care about "digital sovereignty" when you look at the worlds of Google, Facebook, WeChat, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and how Europe has been lagging behind for years. How many of the big tech companies are European today? How many European companies will be part of that group in the next 10, 20 years?

Refusing to become a "digital colony" is one thing – and a totally reasonable thing to be concerned about – but switching the governent's default search engine from Google to Qwant is the digital equivalent of switching from semi-skimmed milk to skimmed milk for your morning coffee in your overall diet: It may make you feel better at the start of a new day, and… that's pretty much it.

"What if viral content is not the best content?"

Interesting take from The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, published a few months ago:

But what if viral content isn’t the best content? Two Wharton professors have found that anger tops the list of shareable emotions in the social-media world, and a study of the Chinese internet service Weibo found that rage spreads faster than joy, sadness, and disgust. In general, emotional appeals work well, as everyone in media has come to discover.

Of course popular, viral content is rarely the best content. Just like the most popular show on TV is rarely the best show.

I like Madrigal's take on retweets: turning them off to avoid these viral, spontaneous shares of content not worthy of your precious time. But it seems a bit too much: Not all retweets can be simply reduced to low-quality content.

I prefer my way of turning the noise down: Follow a limited number of people (100 in my case), and turn off retweets for about half of them, from time to time. I find it to be a good compromise.

What will come first? USB-C iPhone or no-port iPhone? Either way, Lightning seems here to stay

John Gruber, explaining one of the reasons why he thinks Apple will not switch to USB-C anytime soon on iPhone:

[…] the nerd world may clamor for one universal connector that charges everything from iPhones to iPads to MacBooks, but the normal world just wants their existing cables to keep working when they buy a new iPhone. Lightning is obviously better than the old 30-pin adapter — the old 30-pin connectors look ridiculous in hindsight. But people upgrading from older iPhones were outraged when Apple introduced Lightning with the iPhone 5 in 2012. They saw it as a money grab — a new port introduced so everyone would have to buy new cables. The fact that you wouldn’t have to buy USB-C cables from Apple wouldn’t change that perception if future iPhones switch to USB-C — nerds might rejoice but regular folks will object.

It is a very cable/connectors nerdy article 1 , but it actually says a lot about Apple and their need of control. I wish Apple would just switch everything to USB-C, but Gruber's reasons for why they are keeping the Lightning port are very compelling. One of them being that there are way more people in the world owning just an iPhone than people owning an iPhone and USB-C devices.

Besides, if you really want to go all USB-C with an iPhone, you can just buy a USB-C Qi wireless charger and work your way around Lightning. It obviously gets trickier when you add AirPods, an Apple trackpad, or even an Apple Watch to picture. 2 .

What I think Apple should do though: introduce a new cable design. The old shitty white-turns-grey-turns-crap cables look and feel great out of the box, but they wear off too fast and too easily, and they are not really practical or efficient when it comes to putting in a bag or in a pocket. Apple is very proud of its achievements in environmental policies: I am pretty sure those cables can be improved. They may be too busy on AirPower though.


  1. Yes, this is a good thing. ↩︎

  2. If you are in that situation, I am pretty sure you don't really care about ports anymore, and you just carry a bunch of cables everywhere you go anyway. ↩︎

One of the best Instagram accounts

Stefania Rousselle, a French-American journalist, came up with a brilliant idea: on an Instagram account, AMOUR, she collects stories from regular people, asking only one question : What is Love ?

Some of these stories will bring you to tears, some of them will make you smile and brighten your day. One of my favourites so far, from a man named Lucien, 81:

There are moments where I really get depressed, when I am really low. Oh la la, you can’t even imagine. I miss her. She was a good cook because she was from the Landes, where there are a lot of good cooks.

In the winter, we would watch television, then sit near the fire and fall asleep in our respective chairs. We were happy. I always hoped it would last forever. It didn’t.

Please forgive me if I cry.

Do yourself a favour and click on the follow button, you will not regret it.

MacBook or Mac Pro? Which will be the first Mac to fully run on Apple processors?

Dan Moren, writing for Macworld, and asking when Apple will start the switch from Intel processors in its Macs, and more specifically, whether the MacBook or the next Mac Pro would be the first to fully run on Apple processors:

So where in this mix does the Mac Pro fit? Well, it could represent a whole new way of Apple doing things, and isn’t that what you want out of one of your flagship machines? Especially one aimed at a segment of the market that tends to be envelope-pushers.

I admit, it may be a less likely scenario than the MacBook, especially from a standpoint of performance. While the recent benchmarks of the new iPad Pro’s A12X chip have put it in the neighborhood of Apple’s high-end Macs for certain tasks, there’s a question of whether it can deliver the kind of performance people expect from a machine that is all about performance. Then again, maybe Apple has a surprise up its sleeve there, too.

If Apple processors are not hold back by power-efficiency and the heat/size constraints of a mobile phone or a tablet, I wonder what level of performance they may be able to reach.

Last April I tweeted that the rumoured new Mac Pro's delay may be explained by Apple really wanting to unveil it equiped with its own in-house processors, at least as an option. I still hope I was right, but I have to agree with Moren: the MacBook looks way more plausible as the first Mac running on a A12 or A-something chip.

In hindsight, it is truly remarkable what Apple has achieved with its in-house chips in just a few years. The benchmarks of the new iPad Pro must have caused a lot of tremors inside Intel's headquarters. Kudos to Anil Dash who called it years ago.