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 Tag: website

On blogging every single day

Austin Kleon, on his, well, blog:

I had forgotten how wonderful blogging is as a mode of thinking. Blogging is, for me, more about discovering what I have to say, and tweeting more about having a thought, then saying it the right way. It’s also great to be able to go as long or as short as you want to go.

He perfectly said what I think, so I simply quoted Kleon here, even if his quote explicitely is about discovering what you have to say and write it with your own words…

Since November 1st I do my best to update this blog every single day. It is not easy 1 . I spend a lot of time at work, I try to learn Russian a little every day, I walk, I sleep, and I try to relax a little also 2 . It doesn't leave much time for properly reading articles, let alone writing about the most intriguing ones I come across.

This excellent piece by Austin Kleon, A few notes on daily blogging, which I read at the time, was always in my head when I was thinking of doing the same. Not for traffic, not for recognition, but for myself. For the exercice of writing. I consider it like brain-gym. Writing is for me the best way to refine thoughts and see things in a better light, and I, too, have been pretty frutrated lately with social media and the overwhelming effects of the various timelines.

Hopefully I will manage to stay on schedule. Hopefully I will be proud of the links shared here, and the written comments left with them. My Instapaper list is filled with articles I read, or saved, and found interesting enough, and I can't wait to share it with you through a good old blog.

  1. And it only has been one week! ↩︎

  2. Usually it means watching a show on Netflix (Hilda is highly recommended by the way), or a movie on Canal+ (I log all the films I watch on Letterboxd and you should join and do the same). ↩︎

Wasting time on the internet and digital boredom

Dan Nosowitz for the New Yorker, in a piece to which I was nodding all along; beautifully written too, as you can tell from the first paragraph:

The other day, I found myself looking at a blinking cursor in a blank address bar in a new tab of my web browser. I was bored. I didn’t really feel like doing work, but I felt some distant compulsion to sit at my computer in a kind of work-simulacrum, so that at least at the end of the day I would feel gross and tired in the manner of someone who had worked. What I really wanted to do was waste some time.

I highly recommend you read the whole thing, especially if you’re looking to ‘waste time’, but so many great points made here, and such a pleasure to read.

Speaking of losing time when using the computer: Very often, after I’ve read the news from a website I like, I open a new tab and spontaneously start typing the first letters of the same website, for the browser to suggest the full URL. It happens every day, and sometimes I have to wait for the page to load to realise I was already reading the same website. As if I did not have an Instapaper list the size of a small novel to keep me busy already. Is there a name for it? If not I suggest hypernewtabophagia.

My thanks to Daniel Benneworth-Gray for including this link in the latest Meanwhile newsletter.

Prince detailed discography, as a website

If it is featured in Daniel Benneworth-Gray's newsletter – Meanwhile – you know it is good: Prince Discography Annotated. This is the title of the website, and the exact whole thing. Something I would have loved to have all those years listening passionately to Prince's gigantic collection of songs.

So many anecdotes and gems to discover. My favorite part so far, on his 1989 album – and one of my favourites, Batman:

Prince was a lifelong fan of the comic book character Batman. As a child, the very first song he learned on the piano was the theme song for the late ‘60s television series Batman — an anecdote that Prince would share many times throughout his life, including at the first Piano and a Microphone show he performed at Paisley Park in January 2016. So when the director Tim Burton contacted Prince to ask if he could use two of his singles, 1999 and Baby, I’m a Star, for his new movie, Batman, Prince didn’t just sign off on the idea; within a few weeks he was on set with Burton watching rough cuts of the movie, meeting the stars of the film like Jack Nicholson, and preparing to compose an entire album-length soundtrack to accompany Burton’s work.

If you think you would like to know a bit more about Prince, but you do not know what you would enjoy most, this ressource is a fantastic place to start and browse around.

Two bonus Prince links:

  1. The Roots' Questlove participated in this one-second Prince blindtest, and he was pretty good. I am proud to say that I got them all right too.
  2. Yesterday, May 10th, was the day the Lovesexy album was released 30 years ago, one of his best albums, and the one with arguably the best cover, shot by French photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Here is what Mondino said about his work with Prince, in an interview for Vice i-D:

I did a little drawing during the night, starting from the idea of a nude. In the morning he said, "It's perfect." That same night we chose just one Ekta which I took back to Paris with me. Then I scanned that photo and used the only machine that could retouch in Paris. It was my friend Kiki Picasso who had the demonstration model. Prince took a plane and we all found ourselves in the kitchen, the kids horsing around with his bodyguards. In the end Prince destroyed everything, and he said to me, "I think what you did with the flowers was best." The cover came out and got banned in quite a few States. It's a religious image par excellence.

Don't read this if you don't want to get mad

Avi Selk, on the Washington Post

The major reason to use two spaces, the researchers wrote, was to make the reading process smoother, not faster.

I have to say I agree with Khoi Vinh on this one. This article got me mad, and the whole idea is so ridiculous to me that I had to link to it.

Why not three spaces after each dot? Why not only use m-dashes to separate sentences? Why not capitalize the whole first word of every sentence? There is a fine line between comfort and style, and for me this line is called design.

If two spaces after a dot made the reading experience slightly better for some, it appears like systematic typos to me, or as pompous provocation from the writer. This doesn't improve my reading experience at all, on the contrary, it distracts me and I end up ranting about it.