Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Je suis choqué par l'absence de l'Internet en France rurale

Ici dans le Royans (pays autour de Choranche), peu de citoyens utilisent l'Internet. Je ne sais pas comment mes concitoyens paient leurs impôts. Pourquoi n'y a-t-il pas un projet national destiné à promouvoir une formation en informatique/Internet ? Mystère...

Autre anecdote. J'ai eu récemment une analyse banale du sang. Pas moyen de recevoir les résultats sur mon ordinateur. Il fallait que je demande à mon amie Martine d'aller chercher les résultats. Quelles conneries dans la France de 2017 !

Autre problème : Certains concitoyens dotés du service Internet restent tellement illettrés, faute de formation, qu'ils sont incapables d'exploiter correctement et pleinement ce service merveilleux.

Pauvre France rurale !

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rôle de l'ordinateur dans la nouvelle France

Je suis persuadé que, dans la nouvelle France qu'imagine Emmanuel Macron, l'informatique et l'Internet vont jouer forcément un rôle important. Plus particulièrement, pour ce qui me concerne comme citoyen de Choranche, je trouve que les responsables d'une commune doivent respecter l'informatique et l'Internet. Si les élus ne maîtrisent pas du tout ces technologies, ils doivent alors faire appel à quelqu'un qui les connait effectivement, parfaitement. Ne pas le faire serait, à mes yeux, une faute impardonnable. Ce qui est pire : tenter de donner aux citoyens l'idée mensongère que les élus de la commune maîtrisent ces nouvelles technologies. Les preuves de leur ignorance seront vite évidentes. Limpides comme l'eau de la Bourne.

Monday, February 20, 2017

iPhone killed the iMac star

Au fur et à mesure que tout le monde (sauf moi) utilise l'iPhone, l'intelligence concernant les ordinateurs et l'Internet diminue de plus en plus. Aujourd'hui, je dirais même qu'elle est en chute libre. Je suis entouré par de plus en plus de gens qui n'ont pas la moindre idée de la technologie extraordinaire de l'Internet. La seule chose qu'ils savent faire, c'est tapoter sur ce gadget qui s'appelle "smart phone".

C'est dramatique...

AVERTISSEMENT  Si jamais quelqu'un se mettait à table chez moi avec son téléphone portable posé à côté de son assiette, je sortirais la masse dont je me suis servi récemment pour détruire un détecteur de fumée. Portable = fumée ? Il s'agit, cette fois-ci, de fumier de cochon.
La voix de Rochemuse transmise par satellite est pire encore.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monstre du Loch Internet

Depuis la naissance du web il réapparait régulièrement, chaque fois qu’un créateur de nouveau site souhaite faire quelque chose de magique dans l'espoir que Google indique son adresse aux Internautes de France et de Navarre. Ce monstre des profondeurs s’appelle SEO : Search Engine Optimization. Le principe : Pour une somme d’argent modique, des spécialistes peuvent « optimizer » votre beau site pour que n’importe quel visiteur potentiel le découvre automatiquement grâce à Google. C’est une belle idée. Le seul problème, c’est que ça ne peut pas marcher. L’idée qu’un bonhomme puisse insérer des termes magiques dans votre site web pour le rendre attirant est aussi stupide que de donner de l’argent à un charlatan pour qu’il vous transforme en quelqu’un de beau et intelligent.

Curieusement, c’est Google lui-même qui fait sortir ce mythe. Voici une démo magique. Je vais taper les termes “daily exami”. Admirez ce que Google me donne :

Cliquez pour agrandir

Après 0,36 secondes, Google a trouvé environ 434.000 résultats qui correspondent à “daily exami”. Magiquement, il a affiché enfin le nom du journal Grafton Daily Examiner, qui n’est autre que la canard de ma ville natale en Australie ! Je n’ai pas besoin de vous dire que, sur votre ordinateur personnel, vous n’allez certainement pas obtenir le même résultat, car vous n’êtes pas un lecteur régulier de ce journal australien. Autrement dit, il n’y a pas de magie. Google emmagasine tout bêtement les opérations que vous avez l’habitude d’effectuer sur votre ordinateur. Compris ? Ou préfériez-vous imaginer naïvement que vous seriez aussi connu que le monstre du Loch Ness ?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Will computers and the Internet improve people?

When specialized stores for art supplies sprang up in cities throughout the world, optimistic thinkers might have imagined that hordes of new Michelangelos would soon be appearing on suburban streets. But that was as silly as thinking that the existence of cheap typewriters would have given rise to many new Shakespeares.

A few years ago, I imagined naively that the presence of powerful computers and rich Internet facilities would improve society. Over the last decade or so, these devices have become as popular as TV, and people had the impression that this technology was enabling them to become smarter and indeed happier. Like would-be novelists, they could write anything that interested them, and show it instantly to readers. Alas, they failed to realize that they still had nothing much to say. Today, I’m starting to have my doubts. I feel at times that more and more ordinary people will move away from alleged “tools of the mind” and simply become run-of-the-mill users of gadgets for dummies.

A close-to-home affair convinced me that computers and the Internet would encounter problems when trying to get accepted in popular contexts. A friend told me she was looking into the problem of getting her domestic Internet installation improved. When she called upon a local specialist to look into the situation, she was shocked to find that he expected to be paid the same tarif as a local doctor called in to take care of a child with a cough. The lady found it outrageous that a computer fellow might imagine that he was dealing with more serious problems than the sickness of a child. In fact, her two sons were doctors, so she asked one of them to “fix up” her computer system… which he promptly did. In this way, her expenses were reduced to a minimum.

As far as I know, her computer is still working well… which proves that a good general practitioner can cure almost anything. Computers must never be thought of as more complicated than sick children.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mac-based psychotherapy experience

Over a year ago, in July 2015, inside my house at Gamone, I suffered a severe accident. After consuming a little too much tasty white wine in the warm weather, I fell down the stairs and bumped my head. As a doctor told me later, I could have easily killed myself. My son François assumed the harsh task of taking a train from Brittany down to my region, and then driving me and my dog back up to Brittany. There, I was housed and cared for, not only by my son, but also by his mother Christine and her companion Michel. It was rough work for them, for several months, since I wasn’t an easy patient. To cut a long story short, I finally survived, thanks to my family and several skilled medical specialists, who patched me up remarkably well.

Since I was accompanied to Brittany by my Macintosh computer, I tried as best I could to manipulate it… but some of my previous Internet skills had been bumped into the backwoods by my accident. Personally, I was totally convinced that my basic technical intelligence—that’s to say, my computer skills—was intact…. which corresponded to official medical evaluations of the patient. Little by little, through playing around with my faithful Macintosh, I was able to confirm, slowly but surely, that most of my former Internet functionality was indeed operational, although there were several technical zones in which I continued to behave a little shakily.

Over the months that followed, right up to and including today, I have been able to use my hardware (including a new iMac and several external disks) to confirm that I know what I’m doing in the Internet domain. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my friendly Mac world has been playing a significant role as a psychotherapy guide and yardstick. For example, since the accident, I found it impossible to link a powerful external disk to either of my two iMac computers. It was only yesterday that I played around with this external disk long enough to discover that it must have been screwed up a little by contacts with somebody’s PC environment, and that I would have to reformat and reinitialize it. I lost no time in doing so, and everything returned to normal… as it had been before my accident.

The most amazing thing of all is that I am now tackling various aspects of my familiar Macintosh world in a more rigorous manner than before my fall down the stairs. The therapy challenges have made me an even better Mac user than I used to be.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Nobody owns me

Since yesterday, the administration of web names, carried out by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is no longer under the control of the US Department of Commerce. Icaan is henceforth in the hands of a private non-profit organization (NPO). In spite of its name, an NPO is not obliged to avoid making profits. It’s simply an organization with no owners. Wikipedia informs us: A nonprofit organization uses its surplus revenues to further achieve its purpose or mission, rather than distributing such money to shareholders as profit or dividends.

Have you understood? Will this change affect ordinary web-users like me, for example? Decide for yourselves. For me, this change might be superficial, but I find it fine. I never like to be owned. Particularly by the US Department of Commerce.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Life after Facebook

I pulled out of Facebook a few years ago. Since then, I've never experienced any nasty withdrawal symptoms and my existence has remained very much the same as when I had an operational Facebook account. In that last phrase, the adjective "operational" is a slight exaggeration, because I never went to the trouble of building a so-called "wall", so nobody ever "liked" me, just as I refrained from ever "liking" any other addicts in the Facebook universe.

The celebrated French cartoonist Charb has kindly authorized me to reproduce one of his marvelous drawings:

— from an article by Patrick Pelloux in Charlie Hebdo (France)

So, life after Facebook is a reality. Maybe, since abandoning Facebook, I've been missing out on all kinds of communication pleasures. But, since I'm not aware of what I'm letting slip by, it doesn't seem to hurt me. Some people might say that my Antipodes blog is "worse" than a Facebook account, since I'm constantly exposing myself on all kinds of subjects, and I know that Google drops in regularly on my latest blog posts, to see what I've been talking about. The big difference is that I never set out to write stuff that will make me "liked". In fact, as you can see from certain comments, there are readers who hate my guts... but that's normal, and I don't get upset by run-of-the-mill criticism (which often says more about the individual writing the criticism than about me). In any case, I've nothing to hide, and I'm happy to be known publicly as the sort of fellow who might write a blog such as Antipodes. I'm not at all like Groucho Marx when he said: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member." Above all, I'm pleased to learn (through my Site Meter account) that dozens of my old blog posts get read every day... mainly by readers in the USA, the UK and Australia.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paris tea business

These people certainly know how to market tea through the Internet.

Along with the four packets I ordered, they've sent me three samples of related products. The post-free delivery was rapid, and they included two attractive catalogues.

They have an excellent website. I notice that their orders are processed in a dull warehouse in a small street in the neighborhood where my daughter lives.

As for their headquarters, it's a typical wholesale boutique in the Marais neighborhood, not far from the place where I lived for some twenty years. So, the business is almost certainly run by a well-established Franco-Chinese family. In any case, they've got their act together perfectly.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Internet shopping

Towards the end of my blog post of 12 June 2011 entitled Basic beverages [display], I mentioned my discovery of a shop in Valence named Pivard that sells many varieties of high-quality coffee grains, roasted in their big factory on the southern outskirts of the city. Since then, I've often found myself driving all the way to Valence and back simply to purchase fresh coffee. Now, when I take into account the time it takes for such a trip, and its cost in terms of gasoline, I realize that this excursion to Valence is somewhat absurd. So, I decided to look into the possibility of purchasing high-quality coffee grains through the Internet. I soon discovered that this solution was perfectly feasible, and that the prices were similar to what I had been paying in the shop at Valence. Besides, since proximity (within France) was no longer an issue, I could choose the vendor who seemed to offer the most interesting range of products. I soon discovered that, in Strasbourg (Alsace), an ancient establishment named Reck proposes three varieties of Ethiopian Arabica for which I've acquired a taste: Yirgacheffe, Sidamo and Harrar.

Sure, it would be nicer if I were to drop in personally and buy my coffee grains at the old Reck shop in the Rue de la Mésange, five minutes away from the great cathedral of Strasbourg. But being able to purchase such products through the Internet is indeed a convenient luxury.

I've always been fascinated by the atmosphere and aromas of ancient shops that sell tea and coffee. Thanks to my KitchenAid burr grinder, I can reproduce at least the aroma of freshly-ground coffee in my kitchen at Gamone. And the true pleasure, of course, is in the drinking.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Language example

Often, when I notice that such-and-such an old blog post in the archives of Antipodes seems to receive numerous visits, I'm tempted to explore the reasons for its apparent popularity. For example, over three years ago, I wrote a rambling article entitled Professional bias [display], and I now discover that it is accessed quite frequently. Here's why:

[Click to enlarge slightly]

Click here to visit the website in question. is an online encyclopedia, thesaurus and dictionary. Click here to visit a Wikipedia description of this service.

Friday, September 16, 2011

No problems

It's easy if you try.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Online clothes

For the first time ever, I've just purchased clothes on the Internet. It wasn't such a big deal: just a few quite ordinary T-shirts, some of them black, and the others white. And not particularly expensive.

It might be thought of as a small step for the blogger in front of his Macintosh, but it'll be a huge step for William parading through the village streets wearing sexy T-shirt gear purchased online through La Redoute. If ever I were to obtain any breathtaking visual scoops on this affair, I would of course let you know.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've just purchased a fabulous new TopStar swivel chair, made in Germany, for my computer desk. It's a genuine Porsche. I'll have to get used to wearing a crash helmet when I'm blogging.

[Click the image to download the TopStar video on office chairs.]

In a recent e-mail to my Australian expatriate friend Badger in Austria [blog], I informed him that the presence of this new chair in front of the sturdy walnut-and-steel-framed home-designed desk on which my Macintosh resides is likely to bring about spectacular increases in my personal creativity. I told him, too, that my creativity will be enhanced still further by my acquisition of powerful new computer-screen reading glasses of the celebrated Essilor brand, set into my lovely old gold rims.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In front of what?

Friends see that I follow current affairs on the web (including events in my native land). Then they hear me raving on about my blogging, my Internet-assisted genealogical research, my use of word processing for creative writing and, now, my intense involvement with the complex domain of Macintosh and iPad programming. Inevitably, they pop the obvious question: How many hours a day do you spend in front of your computer screen? This question annoys me, because I can see their brains ticking over and getting ready to subtract my answer from 24, obtaining X, enabling them to conclude: This poor guy only lives in the real world for X short hours a day!

Their question is indeed poorly worded. No doubt poorly conceived. A more significant question would be: How many hours a day do you spend in front of your brain, your reflexions, your intelligence, your background, your culture, your identity, your ambitions, your creative activities, your intellectual projects, your passions, your destiny, etc…? And my answer would be something in the vicinity of 17 to 18. In other words, I have little spare time to waste, to be bored.

Back in Paris, when I worked as a technical writer in the high-powered ILOG software company (now a part of IBM), my fellow-workers used to laugh about a cleaning lady who, before dusting down a computer screen, would always say to the user, politely: "Excuse me, give me half a minute to clean your telly." Her use of the term "telly" gave us the impression that she looked upon our group of ILOG software engineers (who often worked late into the evening) as a joyous throng of guys and gals who seemed to be paid to spend hours on end watching mysterious TV shows, in languages that they alone could comprehend. Well, she wasn't really wrong. Except that purists would have pointed out that our screens didn't capture and display the heavenly signals designated as TV, but something a little different, emanating from within our "tellies". We were watching and appreciating shows that we ourselves had just produced. But none of us had the courage (nor the desire, for that matter) to attempt to explain that situation to the cleaning lady.

In a similar sense, I wonder if there's any point in trying to explain to friends, today, that the vast time I seem to spend sitting in front of a computer screen is not simply "time spent sitting in front of a computer screen". It's much more than that. As I suggested earlier on, I'm seated, for much of the time, in front of… myself! Introspection, maybe, or even narcissism. I would speak rather of computer-assisted cogitations or meditation. Much more, in any case, than dumb screen-watching.

To my mind, in terms of wasting time, there are worse things than a computer screen to be seated in front of. For example, the steering wheel of an automobile. Or fellow passengers in public transport (trains, buses, trams, etc). Sitting in front of a TV screen in certain English-speaking societies (which I hardly need to name), or their media in general, can be a most effective way of plowing mindlessly through time. Personally, I would not willingly swap the least amount of computer screen-watching for, say, time spent waiting to be served in a dull restaurant offering poor-quality food. But the deal would be off, of course, if I happened to be dining on a warm evening, say, in Arles with a dear Provençal friend [display]. It's not so much a question of where you're sitting, but rather a matter of the quality of the entity in front of which you're seated!

I don't deny that spending hours in front of a computer screen might, in certain circumstances, be thought of as a waste of time. (But who am I to judge?) Maybe that's why I detest all kinds of games (including bridge evenings with suburban neighbors… who don't exist here, fortunately, at Choranche). On my Macintosh, there has never been anything that looks remotely like a video game. I hate all that fake stuff. On the other hand, it's fact that I can "waste" precious time gazing up at the Cournouze, or down into the eyes of my dogs. As I said, it's not so much where you decide to sit down, but rather what you want to watch. And I would be a liar if I were to suggest that I don't like spending a lot of time watching what gives on the screen of my faithful Macintosh. I hasten to add that I'm also very fond of my splendid TV screen, and vaguely concerned (when it's absolutely necessary, which is rare) by the relatively insipid screens of my iPad and iPhone.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First snow for Gamone newcomers

I've had an outage of the Internet and my house telephone for the last couple of days. Funnily, I don't think this breakdown had anything to do with the violent winter weather that hit us at the same time. It's more likely due to a mishap brought about by the armada of earth-moving engines that are working nonstop, down on the road below Gamone, installing a new sewage system for the entire district. These huge renovations (which will prevent us from driving through the main street of Pont-en-Royans for another month) don't concern me personally, because my house was renovated according to the new sanitation legislation in vigor in 1993, and I have an excellent ecological system of sewage disposal—inspected annually by the competent authorities— installed underground on the slopes below my house.

Meanwhile, Fitzroy has had his first in-depth contact with snow… and he loves it.

That's to say, he sees it as a marvelous soft support for his never-ending jousts with Sophia.

The little donkey Fanette has also experienced, for the first time, the slight discomfort brought about by the disappearance of the greenery (grass and weeds) under a 25cm-thick blanket of snow.

I prefer to speak of "slight discomfort" rather than of hunger, because the two donkeys are obscenely fat, after dining regularly on apples and walnuts over the last month or so.

As for the mésanges (wild birds, known in English as tits, which spend the winter months at Gamone), they've been happy to discover a big stock of sunflower seeds in the bird-house, and they swarm around it as a throng of a couple of dozen tiny black-and-gold creatures.

As of this morning, the sun is shining, the snow is melting, the road has been cleared by Frédéric Bourne in his tractor equipped with a giant steel blade… and my Internet is up and running. All is well at Gamone.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Most boring day of the year

For the second year, the French web daily Rue89 has launched the concept of the Most Boring Day of the Year. It falls in the first fortnight of August, when many French people are on summer holidays, and the flow of interesting news events drops almost to zero. The exact date varies slightly each year, for technical reasons. This year, it happens to fall on August 11: today. And, since the early hours of the morning, observers have been astounded to discover that today is indeed an exceptionally boring day in France.

This morning, the media dullness got off to a good start with a perfectly boring video showing the French president Nicolas Sarkozy riding his bike down on the Rivera, and halting briefly to savor a dish of frittered courgettes (zucchini) at a roadside tavern… where a TV crew just happened to be ready to shoot the event.

The instigators of the Most Boring Day of the Year phenomenon were thrilled to find that their media colleagues on the other side of the English Channel apparently shared their enthusiasm for dull news by publishing a perfectly boring front-page story with a photo of the unshaven president and his wife.

For the moment, everything's going fine in France. All the news stories of the day (which I don't intend to summarize) have turned out to be incredibly boring. With a bit of chance, unless a major catastrophe occurs in the next few hours, the day will be a total success.

Naturally, I've been wondering whether this special day could be celebrated simultaneously, in the same exciting fashion, in the Antipodes. A rapid perusal of today's Australian press reassures me that it was a remarkably dull day Down Under. A splendid example was a story about a football player who got mixed up in drug abuse. A dull 30-second video trailer on this subject is said to be "sending shockwaves across the country". Another great front-page news item reveals that a white van hit a woman in Melbourne, injuring her seriously, but failed to stop. Then we were invited to enjoy another boring item of news: a fine specimen of Australian reporting about hugely wealthy individuals and their pricey possessions. We have here, on the front page of today's web edition of The Australian, a photo (accompanied by an article) of a flamboyant 10-bedroom house near Brisbane that can be purchased for just over 8 million dollars:

Now, the trouble with labeling a particular date "the most boring day of the year" is that the day in question immediately becomes interesting, precisely because it's claimed to be exceptionally boring. In the case of the lucky individual who saw that photo and immediately grabbed his checkbook to purchase that house, the 11 August 2010 will surely go down in his personal history as a tremendously significant date. And I would not be surprised if he were to get around to inviting all his friends along to the house for a poolside barbecue, every 11th August, to celebrate this most happy event.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New computing, new Internet

Clearly, the birth of the Apple iPad (which arrived recently in France) has shaken up considerably the world of personal computing. And I've been attempting arduously to pick up the threads (which explains incidentally why I've been spending less time contributing to Antipodes). In this context, I've decided to create a new website based upon the "promised land" of HTML5. For want of a more informative technical title, I call my website Gamone. You should be able to access it using modern browsers such as Firefox, Safari and Chrome (but not necessarily Internet Explorer):

I shall be happy to receive feedback concerning your reception of this website. Meanwhile, I promise you that, with time, it will become less skeletal, more meaty and hopefully more interesting.

POST SCRIPTUM: I knew, right from the start of this project, that I would run into problems when attempting to mix English and French (because of accented letters). For the moment, I'm aware of this obstacle, which mars my website, but I hope to overcome it rapidly.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Enemies of the Internet

[Click the banner to access their website.]

The highly-reputed French association named Reporters Without Borders describes itself as follows:

Reporters Without Borders is present in all five continents through its national branches (in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), its offices in New York, Tokyo and Washington, and the more than 120 correspondents it has in other countries. The organisation also works closely with local and regional press freedom groups that are members of the Reporters Without Borders Network, in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burma, Colombia, Democratic Congo, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Russia, Somalia, the United States and Tunisia.

Reporters Without Borders is registered in France as a non-profit organisation and has consultant status at the United Nations.

In 2005, the organisation won the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Today, March 12, happens to be their World Day Against Cyber Censorship.

[Click the poster to access their description of this event.]

The association has just published a report entitled Enemies of the Internet. Here's a paragraph that mentions Australia:

Among the countries “under surveillance” are several democracies: Australia, because of the upcoming implementation of a highly developed Internet filtering system, and South Korea, where draconian laws are creating too many specific restrictions on Web users by challenging their anonymity and promoting self-censorship.

Browsing through the complete report (available on their website), we're obliged to admit that Australia is not exactly in nice company: Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan and Vietnam.

BREAKING NEWS: The story about so-called "enemies of the Internet" has been reproduced widely in the French press, accompanied by the following map: