iPhone: chercher n’importe quoi sur son smartphone [fr]

[en] Archive of my weekly French-language "technology advice column".

Ma newsletter hebdomadaire “Demande à Steph” est archivée ici pour la postérité. Chaque semaine, un tuyau ou une explication touchant à la technologie numérique, ou une réponse à vos questions! Inscrivez-vous pour recevoir directement la prochaine édition. Voici l’archive originale.

Cette semaine, un petit truc pour les propriétaires d’iPhone.

Plutôt que de chercher une application dans son téléphone à travers tous nos écrans, il y a un moyen beaucoup plus direct de trouver quelque chose sur son téléphone: la recherche.

On y accède d’un coup de doigt descendant sur l’écran d’accueil, comme ça:

Et il suffit de taper ce qu’on cherche:

Ça marche pour les applications, mais aussi pour:

  • une chanson
  • un contact
  • un podcast
  • des photos sur Flickr
  • un calcul
  • un site web…

Et peut-être même d’autres choses!

Voici quelques exemples. Une chanson que j’aime bien ces temps:

Un contact:

Mon chat:

Vous voyez que comme j’utilise Flickr pour mes photos, il me sort directement les bons albums! Et il va même chercher le texte de mes messages:

Le podcast que j’ai envie d’écouter en faisant la vaisselle:

Zut, où ai-je rangé cette application Photos?

Un calcul rapide à faire, pas besoin de sortir la calculatrice:

C’est un petit coup à prendre. Exercez-vous! Cherchez maintenant:

  • une application que vous avez cachée quelque part
  • une chanson que vous avez envie d’écouter
  • un contact que vous auriez plaisir à voir
  • “restaurant”

Pensez-y la prochaine fois que vous avez besoin de quelque chose qui est dans votre téléphone. Et si vous avez trouvé utile, transmettez ce mail à une de vos connaissances!

PS: certains d’entres vous auront découvert qu’un coup de doigt vers la droite à travers l’écran fait aussi apparaître un écran de recherche — il est un peu moins bien car il faut toucher le champ de recherche avant de pouvoir y taper, alors qu’avec ce coup de doigt vers le bas, on peut taper direct!

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Fouiller dans ses publications Facebook [fr]

[en] So late to the game... just realised that I can easily search my posts on Facebook now by typing things like "my posts about slack" in the search bar.

Ça date, donc j’ai vraiment trois trains de retard, mais si jamais vous êtes dans le même train que moi, voici la bonne nouvelle: on peut faire des recherches dans ses publications Facebook. Et d’après mes premiers tests ça semble marcher pas mal.

Dans la barre de recherche Facebook (que vous utilisez déjà tout le temps, n’est-ce pas?), il suffit de taper l’objet de votre recherche en langage naturel. Exemples:

  • “my posts about skiing”
  • “Stephanie’s photos about Quintus”
  • “my links about slack”

Allez, je retourne me donner des coups de pieds de n’avoir pas réalisé ça plus tôt. Assez impardonnable.

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USA Border Crossing Horror Stories [en]

[fr] Histoires d'horrreur en entrant aux USA. J'ai de moins en moins envie d'y remettre les pieds, j'avoue.

I’ve been listening to On The Media again, one of my favorite podcasts. You know, each time one of these US border crossing horror stories finds its way to me, what little desire I have to enter the US just melts away a bit more.

Here are a few I came across lately, and an old one that happened to a friend of mine.

Now off to less depressing things for what’s left of my week-end — like eating my delicious plum tart.

20.10.2013 update: adding more below as I stumble on them.

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Real-Time is Burying History on the Web [en]

I am somebody who believes that history is an extraordinarily important asset in trying to understand our present. Unfortunately, when we are too focused on the future, and innovation, and moving ahead, it’s very easily to neglect history.

I’ve seen it as a characteristic of developing countries (sweeping generalization here, stop me if I’m wrong), with the thoughtless chopping down of centenarian trees and bulldozing of historical monuments in Bangalore. What’s important is where we’re going — we don’t really care about where we came from, and in some cases, would rather forget.

And we’re seeing it now in the hyper-technological cutting-edge world of the internet, where web history is being sacrificed on the altar of instant (do read Suw Charman‘s excellent post and then come back here).

A year and a bit ago, the theme of LeWeb’09 in Paris was “Real-Time Web”, and indeed, everybody was a-buzz with everything real-time. So much so that I had to give that year’s official bloggers a little wake-up call (I blogged it later) a day before the conference, because I was hearing increasingly worrisome comments (to my “official bloggers’ mom” ears) along the lines of “well, I actually don’t think I’ll blog much this year, I’ll mainly be tweeting”. I was interviewed about something along the lines of “curating the real-time stream” by my friend Cathy Brooks (there’s a priceless moment in that video, watch it), and overall, everything was about now, now, now, now now nownownownownownow.

I’m tired of real-time.

It feels to me as if we’re driving with our nose in the steering-wheel, never stopping long enough to look behind us and see what road we’re on and where it’s really heading. I’ve noted over the last year or so that a lot of our content is migrating into these real-time flowy presency streamy services, and that some of the precious tools we had to make sense of our online publications are all but dead, like Technorati.

But link rot aside, it’s all still there online. And that makes it all the more frustrating to know that we just don’t have a way of getting to it in a useful way, as Suw describes very well in her article. In response, Reg Chua points out that search is skewed towards speed and the present — a perfect corollary to our obsession with real-time and progress.

My tweets from day 1 (December 8, 2006 with a lot of enthusiasm) are still online somewhere. Here’s the oldest one I could lay my hands on (the podcast in question was Fresh Lime Soda), thanks to the wayback machine (if you go down that alley, note how we get a peek at what early tweeting was like in pre-hashtag times). It makes it all the more maddening that they are impossible to access if I don’t have a link to them. Twitter has them, they’re there, but they’re not organized in a way that makes them of any use.

Sidenote: this blog post is moving from “lack of access to general online history” to “lack of access to personal online history”, which is a subset of the problem.

Within that “personal online history” subset of the problem, let me state that I find it a disgrace that Twitter will not even let its users download a copy of their own data in the service, barring the last 3000 tweets.

I understand the need to restrict access to the huge number of tweets in the database for general use. I get that. But I don’t get why I should not be able to do a one-time download of what I put in the service.

I hate the expression data theft because when you take data, you always leave a copy somewhere (and theft removes the copy), but in this case, this is what it feels like. Twitter has my data and can do stuff with it, and I can’t. That just doesn’t feel right. (And don’t wave the “Twitter is free, don’t complain” argument in my face: just like Suw, I would be more than ready to pay for Twitter as a service, but they won’t let me.)

Away from Twitter and back to our obsession with real-time and what it is doing to our history: where are the online historians? who is going to build the tools we need to dig through the tremendous wealth of data online? the buzzword of 2011 seems to be “curator”: well, we don’t just need curators to avoid getting knocked over by the firehose of the real-time web — we also need curators (preferably machines) to help us organise and sort through our online history.


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Idea: Working as a Freelance Researcher [en]

I had planned taking today off, but as I’m up to my neck in work I decided to spend it in the office instead. Result (don’t mess with yourself when you promise yourself time off): I’ve spent most of my morning down the blog-hole — reading a ton of interesting things online, particularly on Penelope Trunk’s blog. (Yeah, I know not everybody likes her, but I do. More on that another day, maybe.)

So, as I was reading blogs, sharing snippets on Tumblr and links on Twitter, I was thinking to myself: actually, one thing I’m pretty good at (and love doing) is finding and reading interesting stuff, thinking about it, and sharing all that with other people. (For those of you familiar with StrengthsFinder: my #1 is Input and my #2 is Communication — more about that another day, too.)

I pinged Suw on IM to see if she had any ideas how to “monetize” (still hate the word) this kind of activity. She suggested working as a researcher.

I like the idea. Need your homework done on something? I love learning about new stuff, I know how to search online, I have a great network, I’m smart (let’s say it), and I know how to write stuff up. Think of it, a lot of my popular blog posts are the result of me taking the plunge into a topic, learning about it, and reporting back. And for anything related to social media, I have the huge advantage of already knowing a lot.

This doesn’t mean I’d be giving up my current activities. But I’m getting increasingly frustrated that I don’t have time anymore to fool around online, research stuff, read more books, learn about this space we inhabit — online and offline.

Do you know anybody who works as an online researcher? Would you hire me as a researcher? (Not asking if you need my services as of now, but more “do you think I have the profile?”) If I decide to provide this kind of service, how might I go about to (a) decide what to charge (b) find gigs?

This is a very fresh idea for me, and I’d gladly welcome any thoughts you may have on the subject. As for me, I’m off to do some research on… freelance researchers :-).

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Google: quelques trucs pratiques [fr]

[en] I write a weekly column for Les Quotidiennes, which I republish here on CTTS for safekeeping.

Chroniques du monde connecté: cet article a été initialement publié dans Les Quotidiennes (voir l’original).

La grande majorité des gens ne savent pas utiliser un moteur de recherche. Enfin, pas efficacement. Le moteur de recherche, c’est la porte d’entrée de l’internet-bibliothèque, et il est à mon avis indispensable aujourd’hui de savoir s’en servir de façon compétente.

La recherche est un art, et comme pour tout art, la maîtriser prend du temps. Quelques conseils, cependant.

  • prenez un moment pour comprendre comment fonctionne un moteur de recherche: ce n’est pas de la magie — le moteur de recherche prend les mots que vous tapez dans la boîte, et cherche les pages qui les contiennent, en les hiérarchisant à l’aide d’un algorithme complexe
  • les mots clés ne sont pas des incantations ou des formules magiques; imaginez la page que vous cherchez: quels mots pensez-vous qu’elle contient, et qui pourraient la distinguer d’autres pages qui ne vous intéressent pas?
  • essayez avec plus de mots clés (recherche précise) mais aussi avec moins de mots-clés
  • apprenez à combiner les mots clés à l’aide des opérateurs (“AND” entre deux mots impose que les deux soient présents; le signe moins devant un mot indique que vous ne désirez pas que celui-ci figure dans les résultats; mettre une expression entre guillemets l’utilisera telle quelle, en un bloc; etc.)

Souvent, pour trouver la perle rare, il faut ouvrir beaucoup de pages. Les onglets (“tabs”) vont vous venir en aide pour faire rapidement le tour de tous ces résultats.

Faites une première recherche, puis, au lieu de regarder juste les titres des pages trouvés par le moteur de recherche, ouvrez-les toutes en maintenant la touche Ctrl (sur Windows) ou Cmd (sur Mac) enfoncée. Chaque lien s’ouvrira dans un nouvel onglet. Ce n’est peut-être pas très naturel au début, mais persévérez — vous récupérerez amplement le temps ainsi investi dans les semaines à venir.

Faites une deuxième recherche, avec d’autres mots clés. Ouvrez également tous ces liens dans des onglets. Et une troisième, si nécessaire.

Une fois que vous avez épuisé votre inspiration en matière de combinaison de mots clés, ou si vous pensez qu’il y a parmi vous onglets ouverts assez de pages potentiellement intéressantes, allez faire le tour de ce que vous avez débusqué. Ctrl/Cmd+W ferme en principe l’onglet actif: il est donc assez simple d’éliminer rapidement les pages sans intérêt, après un coup d’oeil, et de passer à la suivante.

Parfois, faire le tour des onglets ouverts vous donne d’autres idées de combinaisons de mots clés: Ctrl/Cmd+T ouvre un nouvel onglet dans lequel vous pouvez taper votre nouvelle recherche, et procéder avec elle comme ci-dessus.

Bonnes recherches!

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Content Curation: Why I'm Not Your Target Audience [en]

[fr] Je suis trop efficace avec un moteur de recherche pour être très emballée par les divers outils qui visent à organiser la masse de contenu à disposition sur le web, en temps réel ou non.

In Paris, I had a sudden flash of insight (during a conversation with somebody, as often). Most services designed to help with content curation don’t immediately appeal to me because I’m not their target audience: I’m too good at using search.

I was trying to figure out why, although I liked the idea behind PearlTrees and SmallRivers (I tried them out both briefly), part of me kept thinking they weren’t really adding anything that we couldn’t already do. Well, maybe not that exactly, but I couldn’t really see the point. For example: “PearlTrees, it’s just bookmarking with pretty visual and social stuff, right?” or “SmallRivers, we already have hyperlinks, don’t we?” — I know this is unfair to both services, and they go beyond that, but somehow, for me, it just didn’t seem worth the effort.

And that’s the key bit: not worth the effort. When I need to find something I’ve seen before, I search for it. I understand how a search engine works (well, way more than your average user, let’s say) and am pretty good at using it. I gave up using bookmarks years ago (today, I barely use delicious anymore — just look at my posting frequency there). I stick things in Evernote and Tumblr because I can search for them easily afterwards. I don’t file my e-mail, or even tag it very well in gmail — I just search when I need a mail. I don’t organize files much on my hard drive either, save for some big drawers like “client xyz”, business, personal, admin — and those are horribly messy.

I search for stuff. And to be honest, now that I’ve discovered Google Web History, I’m not sure what else I could ever ask for. It embodies an old old fantasy of mine: being able to restrict a fulltext search to pages I’ve visited in a certain timeframe. “Damn, where did I put this?” becomes a non-issue when you can use Google search over a subset of the web which contains all the pages you’ve ever loaded up in your browser. (Yeah, privacy issues, certainly.)

What about the social dimension of these curation tools? Well, I’m a blogger. I blog. When I want to share, I put stuff in my blog, or Tumblr. I’m actually starting to like PearlTrees for that, because it is a nice way of collecting and ordering links — but really, I’m not the kind of person who has a lot of patience for that kind of activity. Some people spend time keeping their bookmarks, e-mails, or files in order. I don’t — there are way too many more interesting things for me to spend my time on. So I keep things in a mess, and when I need something out of them, I search.

I think I’m just not a content curator, aside from my low-energy activities like tweeting, tumblring, and blogging.

It doesn’t mean there is no need for content curation, of the live stream or more perennial content like “proper” web pages. But just like some people are bloggers and some aren’t, I think some people are curators and some aren’t.

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Feedly: More Than a Newsreader, Maybe Your Search Engine of Tomorrow? [en]

A bit over a year ago, I switched from Google Reader to Feedly. I have a troubled history with newsreaders: I tend to not use them, partly because I don’t really read blogs. But I used Google Reader for some time, and then Feedly. I really like Feedly. Really. (Plus, it saved 4 months of posts for CTTS after the dropped database disaster.)

All this to say that for many months, I have not really opened Feedly, and I feel kind of sad/bad about it. Twitter and Tumblr are my main sources of “new information”, and I’d love to find a way to use Feedly in a way that works for me. But it just doesn’t seem to happen.

A couple of weeks back, I saw this tweet from Ewan:

Twitter _ Ewan McIntosh: Over the hols I managed to ...

He says that he has sorted his feeds into “30 must-read-daily RSS feeds, with the other 2000 sitting behind as personal search engine”.

Whee! For some time now, I’ve been convinced that the future lies with allowing search in subsets of the web. There’s too much stuff out there, right? Also, in this era of partial attention (which I don’t consider to be a bad thing, in the “keeping a distracted eye on” sense), you often end up trying to “refind” something you know you’ve seen (but where?) — just like I had to dig out Ewan’s tweet ten days after I’d seen it in passing.

That’s why I like Lijit, for example (I’ve put the search box back here on CTTS, by the way): it allows me or my readers to do a search on “my stuff”, including CTTS, Digital Crumble, Twitter, del.icio.us… Sometimes I know I’ve said something, but I can’t for the life of me remember where (see this? having to search your own words…)

Feedly is pretty good at allowing you to search all the stuff you’ve subscribed to:

feedly | explore facebook

It offers a mix of a little bit of generally popular stuff with “your sources”. I like that. So, I like Ewan’s idea of feed subscription as “add this to my search sources” rather than “oooh, I’m going to read this every day”.

I have to say I’m interested in hearing about how you use Feedly or Google Reader (particularly the social aspects) if you’re not a “religious-daily” newsreader enthusiast. There has to be something between “keeping up with my feeds” and “never opening my feedreader”.

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FOWA: The Future of Search (Tony Conrad) [en]

[fr] Notes prises à l'occasion de la conférence Future of Web Apps (FOWA) à Londres.

*Here are my live notes of this [Future of Web Apps (FOWA)](http://www.futureofwebapps.com/) session with [Tony Conrad](http://sphere.wordpress.com/), hosted by [Brian Oberkirch](http://www.brianoberkirch.com/). They are probably incomplete and may contain mistakes, though I do my best to be accurate. Chances are I’ll be adding links to extra material later on, so don’t hesitate to come back and check.*

FOWA 2007 24

Brian is the original Sphere groupie. Tony is one of the [Sphere](http://www.sphere.com/) founders.

Lots of blogs, but felt that nobody had made a really good job of making that content available to a more general public. => so with Toni Schneider, started Sphere in 2005.

Sphere had a promise: better, more relevant blog search.

Sphere bookmarklet: not link-based. Content relevancy. Something they threw in at the last moment, but a lot of their traffic came from there. *steph-note: if I understood that right.*

Day 8: OMG, we’re going to have to do something different.

Time contacts them to see if they can integrate context-related stuff to their articles. They loved it, but Tony didn’t like it: not a good user experience. People don’t want to go on a site called “Sphere.com” that they’ve never heard of. => little widget that would overlay on the page.

Ex. Reuters page. A-list publishers are getting very good at linking out, they understand the advantages (SEO + readership). Contextual link between mainstream media and social media (blogs). Widget works well for mainstream media and bloggers. (Long tail!)

FOWA 2007 27

FOWA 2007 29

The stuff in the left column and bottom of the page is generated automatically.

Overlay “window” with related content, also for blogs:

FOWA 2007 32

Over a billion article pages across the web in a year.

There is a widget now available for WordPress blogs, and one for TypePad in the advanced templates.

Issue: thinking about the scaling issues.

Different “client/users” have different requirements for what they want to filter out of their searches. Funny: CNN asking to remove the safe filter, and running lead story about “Pornification of American Culture” — Sphere did indeed find all the relevant results… and got an earful.

Publisher partners don’t want adult content.

Brian: lots of talk about how little it takes to bring a product to market, but this story is about what comes after… people scaling. 10 people now but not in the same office. *steph-note: Brian, not sure I interpreted correctly what you said*

Close to Automattic, which is a completely “virtual” *(steph-note: I hate that term)* company, meaning they’re scattered all over the place. Freedom to pick out the very best people for the job. Sphere communicate non-stop, always online, always on the phone, get together at 4-5 every Friday. At one point Tony had met 6 of the 10 people on the team, and he was the one who had met the most. So brought everybody in location in SF at some point, and it was awesome! *steph-note: Matt told me they had this happen at WordCamp for Automattic this summer.*

Tony: advocate of taking baby steps. Figure out an idea that’s going to be in a big space and nibble around the edges.

Brian: business model? how is this company going to make money?

Tony: Somewhat advertising-based (Brian notes there are no ads now).

Brian: is there an API?

Tony: to do an API right, and not screw people around, without conflicting with their ability to serve their partners the way they are today… *steph-note: sentence that never ended…*

Sphere’s focus is more at the publisher end than the long tail end (at least for the moment).

Testing people’s online collaboration skills is part of the hiring process.

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Lijit Feedback [en]

[fr] Un peu de feedback sur Lijit, un moteur de recherche sympa qui s'organise autour du contenu en ligne d'une personne et de son réseau.

I lost the first version of this post in a Firefox crash while I was writing [my post on structured portable social networks](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/16/we-need-structured-portable-social-networks-spsn/) (that’s what I get for doing too much at the same time). With a bit of luck it will be better 😉

So, as promised, here’s my feedback to Barney about [Lijit](http://lijit.com). First, for those of you new to Lijit, [Stowe Boyd blogged about Lijit](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/08/lijit.html) about a week ago, which is how I discovered it. (Yes, go sign up now, but come back here to read the rest of the post when you’re done. Thanks!)

Signing up must have gone reasonably smoothly, because I don’t have any screenshots of it — which is a good start. (When I bump into any interface problem or bugginess nowadays, I quickly [grab a screenshot](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/screenshot) with [Skitch](http://plasq.com/skitch) and upload it to Flickr with a few notes. Photographs of my online life, if you like.)

I was disappointed that I could only add my del.icio.us and MyBlogLog networks. The latter is a good addition, but how about my Twitter network? Or a blogroll on [my secondary blog](http://steph.wordpress.com)? CTTS doesn’t have a blogroll (pure laziness). I tried importing my network from Facebook, but it was way too creepy, I disabled it as fast as I could. I got the feeling it was going to allow people to search through my friends’ notes and stuff — as well as mine. I do take advantage of the “walled garden” side of Facebook to publish slightly more personal stuff there than “outside”, and I know I’m not alone here.

What would be really neat would be if I were able to export *just the connections* I have to other people from Facebook, and if they are Lijit users, import their blogs and content into my network. Think [portable social networks](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/16/we-need-structured-portable-social-networks-spsn/).

Being able to import the blogs I read (they’re my “network”, aren’t they?) directly from Google Reader (filter with a tag though, so I can keep all those naughty sex blogs I’m keeping track of out of the public eye).

I used Lijit twice to find the old posts I linked back to in the post above. First, on the Lijit website itself:

Holes in my Buckets (Lijit)

Then, using the wijit I installed on my blog:

Lijit Search On Blog

That’s pretty neat. Lijit opens a “fake window” over the current page with the search results, and when I click on a link in the results, it loads in the initial browser window. Sounds obvious, but I like that it works — many ways it could have gone wrong.

I’m moderately happy about the space the wijit takes up on my blog:

Lijit Wijit on CTTS

I know companies are hungry for screen real estate (“make that logo visible!”) — but be less obtrusive and I’ll love you more! Notice that I now have Lijit search, normal Google search, and WordPress search. Way too many search boxes, but for the moment there isn’t one that seems to do the job well enough to be the only one. (Maybe Lijit, but I haven’t had it long enough…)

Stats page is neat, though I’m still totally unable to tell you what the two pie charts on the right do:

Lijit | My Stats

What on earth is Ma.gnolia doing in there?

There, that’s what’s on my mind concerning Lijit for the moment. Watch out for [the screenshots](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/lijit) if I bump into anything else!

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