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: Miscellaneous

Michel Gondry: "I don't believe in superheroes. I think it's a worse way of being a nerd."

Amy Liprot, on The Guardian, introducing the set-up for this very interesting Michel Gondry's interview, focusing in his new show, Kidding, starring Jim Carrey.

On an ordinary morning in Los Angeles, where the 55-year-old French film-maker recently finished work on the dark comedy series Kidding, which starts on Sky Atlantic on 29 November, Gondry just wants a simple coffee and croissant. But his sugar packet won’t open and neither will the strawberry jam. After much ripping and stabbing, his side of the table is coated in sticky crystals and his butter knife looks like a murder weapon. Gondry waves away the chaos. His sticky, human fingerprints are on everything he touches – why not his breakfast, too?

What a brilliant intro.

The definitive minimalist ressource on minimalism

Carl MH Barenburg, writing on his blog about the concept and ideas behind mnmllist, a new curated collection of links and minimalism-inpired products, books, fashion items, &c.:

I decided to create the ultimate bookmark for minimalism enthusiasts, including everything from books, bikes, clothing, furniture, to technology. All presented in a clear, well-structured, and unobtrusive categorised list of text links. Created in collaboration with web developer Manu Moreale, we launched Mnmllist.

It lists only 3 items per category, but each category can be expanded to display more links if we’ve got round to adding them.

Wonderfully designed, exquisitely curated, perfectly named. Definitely one of my favourite websites, and also one of the smartest URLs out there.

An attempt at defining content

On the Financial Times, Lou Stoppard searches for a meaning of the word content and talks with a number of content professionals, including one of them, Raven Smith:

Content is the stuff that fills the feeds we’ve created. It’s meant to make us feel content. The idea of contentedness is now in question. The key is arresting people, keeping them watching, and ensuring they take something away from the watch (the takeaway could be anything from ‘the world is going to be OK’ to ‘I want that dress’). Tone and aesthetics vary greatly, but the ‘arrest, engage, activate’ process is the same.

A fascinating read. I have never quite liked that word myself, especially in French — contenu — which sounds off. The word content is so vague — from a single tweet to a whole TV show — and yet so useful for those numerous times when you cannot really say anything else without over-simplifying it, or for those times when you really cannot list all the different formats featured in one project.

The vagueness of the word is what makes it so appealing, and so empty at the same time. Sounds a lot like the nature of the content itself we generally consume in our feeds.

"I’m a nomad who goes nowhere" – Portrait of a young shepherd in France

AFP's Jeff Pachoud, on The Guardian, portraying the daily solitary life of a 24 years-old shepherd in the Alps through a beautiful photo album. The captions tell more than there is on the pictures:

From the start of his first season, Meme [the shepherd's name] found himself face to face with a wolf and had to fight it off. 'He was there on the end of my staff every evening for a week,’ the shepherd recalls. ‘When my first sheep was killed I immediately felt that I had failed, that I had not carried out my duty.’

Absolutely wonderful read, and gorgeous photographs by Pachoud. I wish there was more immersive storytelling like this.

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.