Nicolas Magand on the internet

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.

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My phone's homescreen, November 2018 edition

Since my homescreen has pretty much stayed the same in the last couple of months – despite a few changes of phones and Android versions 1  – I figured I would share what has been one of the most stable digital setup for me.

Sixteen apps are living on my homescreen: three rows of four, and the bottom four apps. The other apps are on other screens, sometimes grouped in folders, sometimes not. The bottom four obviously stay on every screen.

The bottom four are, from left to right: Signal (which double as my SMS app), WhatsApp (my main messaging app), Tidal, AntennaPod.

The "top twelve" are, in no particular order: Instapaper, Readably (RSS reader that syncs with Feedbin), The Guardian, Mediapart, DuckDuckGo (which doubles as my main browser), Dropbox Paper (as of today, my main writing/notes app), Twitter, Fastmail, VSCO, Lightroom CC (mostly to back up my photos, since I use VSCO to edit them on the phone), the preinstalled photo gallery app, and the phone's default camera app.

I could add Hello Weather to the list, since it has an ongoing notification displaying the weather forecast at all times, and also Fleksy, my favourite keyboard on Android 2 .

Since this setup is never quite finished, or balanced, we will see what it will look like in a few weeks. Here you can see what my homescreen looks like.


  1. In 2018 I used: EMUI (Huawei P9), Oxygen OS (OnePlus 5T), briefly Android One (Xiaomi Mi A1), and currently MIUI (Xiaomi Mi 8) ↩︎

  2. Mostly for the reasons that it has an option for maintaining the key buttons as capital letters, and it allows me to switch the font of the keys from Roboto to Helvetica, as you should. ↩︎︎

The new iPad Pro

When the day of replacing my good old MacBook Air will sadly come, I want to consider the iPad Pro as a candidate. As Apple unveiled the new version last week and the reviews got published today, I thought I would check if my main use cases would be improved, possible, and enjoyable.

My main three use cases would be web browsing, writing, and photo editing. Obviously the web browsing experience would be different but somehow much improved – the simple thought of reading my Instapaper list on a screen like the iPad's is dreamy, especially coming from a non-retina 11" Air. For the other – secondary – use cases, I can still use the computer from work. The perfect portability and the screen quality of the iPad Pro alone, in my opinion, justify considering it as my next main computing device.

So I focused my reviews reviewing process on two things: the keyboard accessory 1 , and Lightroom.

Chris Velazco, on Engagdet:

writing this story on the iPad's Smart Keyboard has been relatively painless: It's still covered in the same liquid-resistant fabric, which feels odd, but it's perfectly usable even for long stretches of drafting. And Lightroom CC has been terrific at editing the photos I imported onto the iPad

Matthew Panzarino, at TechCrunch:

The general effect here is that the Smart Keyboard is much much more stable than previous generations and, I’m happy to report, is approved for lap use. It’s still not going to be quite as stable as a laptop, but you can absolutely slap this on your knees on a train or plane and get work done. That was pretty much impossible with its floppier predecessor.

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

At the hands-on area after last week’s event, Apple was showing Adobe Lightroom editing 50 megapixel RAW images from a Hasselblad camera. The photos were by Austin Mann, who was there, and helpfully demoed the software, showing what a real pro photographer would do in real life with real images. The experience was completely fluid and instantaneous.

Jeffrey Van Camp, on WIRED:

Photographers and video editors might like the new storage options. The Pro comes with 64GB of memory by default, but you can bump that number as high as 1TB. And since this tablet has a USB-C charging port, you can more easily connect it to a camera, external monitor, and other accessories.

Geoffrey A. Fowler 2 , on the Washington Post:

Inside the new iPad, there’s also a new A12X chip Apple says is more powerful than 92 percent of laptops available on the market. It was robust enough to handle any processing task I sent its way, including editing and sorting through thousands of photos in Adobe’s Lightroom. (Next year, Adobe says it will bring to the iPad Pro a full-fledged version of its Photoshop app, too.)

A new kind of port on the iPad Pro can also drive a second screen. I plugged it into my office monitor just like I do my laptop.

Well, consider me convinced. 3 


  1. I am just talking about the typing comfort here: I already know that the copying and pasting, the switching tabs process, and the lack of touchpad may require some getting used to. ↩︎

  2. I tried to find a review written by a woman, but apparently, that is not as easy to find as I hoped↩︎

  3. The cheapest model is still quite expensive, but that may well enough for my needs. ↩︎

Read-later service Instapaper has been shut down for a month, will explain later

Instapaper's website, a month ago, the day the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented in Europe:

Instapaper is temporarily unavailable for residents in Europe as we continue to make changes in light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25, 2018. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we intend to restore access as soon as possible.

Not only did they give barely any notice to their users, but there is no real explanation whatsoever for this delay. Being owned by Pinterest, I would think that Instapaper would be "better resourced" when it comes to data and user privacy. Same story goes for the Los Angeles Times, still unavailble in Europe.

Using Instapaper a lot myself, I recently sent them an email asking for an update, to know if I should just switch back to Pocket or wait a few extra days before being able to use again my favorite read-later service. They wrote back:

Our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience. I can't give an exact resolution time, but I can say that we're actively working on it, have made good progress, and this continues to be our main focus. We feel we're getting closer and we'll be sharing as much documentation as we can when we're back to clear things up. […]

Again, we're really sorry that we're not able to provide service to EU IPs right now. We are doing everything we can to sort this out as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and for using Instapaper.

The GDPR regulation was adopted on 14 April 2016 by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, meaning Instapaper had more than two years to prepare for that day.

What are they doing with user data that requires so much time to comply with the regulation? Hopefully we will have an answer one day, and that the service is not on its final hours. As Pinboard's Maciej Ceglowski tweeted when Instapaper became part of Pinterest:

The “we sold to Pinterest but nothing is changing” email is Instapaper’s equivalent of reassuring grandma about her move to a nursing home.

When it comes to data privacy or product longevity, it is never a good sign when a service becomes free for unclear reasons.

Focus, avoid social clutter, get your time back

In Hagakure, there is a saying: “The more the water, the higher the boat.” I love it because it makes sense for a lot of things in life. Except for one: information overload.

Unfollowing is the new black. It has been a few weeks now that I’ve decided to clean my news feeds. RSS feeds, Twitter followings, Facebook likes, etc. Everything had to go through some heavy cleaning for me to breathe a little.

Don’t have time to watch the Instagram Stories that matter most to you? Unfollow the accounts you always skip.

Your Twitter feed is a mess of links, pictures and retweets? Unfollow those who tweet too much, mute them, disable retweets. Keep only those you cherish, only those you want to read every time.

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Apps and services I like and use

When it comes to apps, you can say that I am a nerd. I like to find the perfect app for a specific task, and I don’t mind buying a few just to try them out. I often juggle between “all-web-apps” and “all-native-apps” but lately, I tend to privilege the latter.

These are the apps I use today; three months from now, there will be changes. I am not mentioning the obvious apps that I use (Safari, Facebook, YouTube, music apps, etc.), I am only listing those that you might not know, or forgot about. If there is no mention of a particular kind of app, assume that I use the basic stuff.

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Check also

Whenever I watch Columbo, as you should, I take some screenshots.

Making lists is something on which I love to waste time; my—ever-changing—favourite songs list was a real challenge.

On the great Letterboxd, I keep a log of the movies I watch, rate them, sometimes review them. 

If you speak French, I highly recommend my friend Nabil's podcast: Art Oriented.

Click here if you want to go back to the contact page — Twitter me here / RSS me there.

Copyright © 2013–2018 Nicolas Magand