Borders: Intentionally Misleading Marketing Ploy [en]

[fr] Les étiquettes sur les livres que je viens d'acheter chez Borders, un grand libraire anglo-saxon, sont conçues de façon à induire en erreur l'acheteur. On comprend "achetez-en un, recevez-en un: moitié prix" alors qu'en fait c'est "achetez-en un, recevez-en un moitié prix". Il faut lire les petits caractères qui sont tellement petits qu'on ne voit pas qu'ils sont là. Pas fair-play, malhonnête, et franchement, très petit.

I’m officially pissed off. Yesterday at Borders, I picked up a bunch of books from the stands near the entrance of the shop. They all had a nice red sticker advertising a reduced price. See for yourself:

Border's Intentionally Misleading Marketing Ploy

(want a [closer look](

Here is the text of the sticker, reproduced for your personal entertainment:

Buy one Get one
Half Price

Please note the follow details: line-breaks, capitalisation (“Buy”, “Get”, and both “Half” and “Price”, but not “one”), and text size. They lead the casual reader (and even the not-so-casual one, I’m ready to bet) into interpreting this advertisement this way:

Buy one, get one: half price (Borders)

Right? If you buy one, you get one — the result is that they are half price. Sounds nice!

Actually, not so. You have to read the fine print. Oh, the fine print? I actually only discovered it when I was taking the photos for this post. Let’s have a closer look:

Small Print

Oh! there it is. I can see it now. Fine print indeed:


So, actually, the text on the sticker is to be understood in the following way:

Buy one: get one half price (Borders)

With an addendum, in tiny all-caps:


Please note, again, how the layout, font sizes, and capitalisation are intentionally designed to induce misunderstanding of the sales conditions.

**This is not fair-play, Borders.**

Of course, I bought my books. It’s not when you see the total at the cash desk and you realise it’s higher than you expected, and you say “erm, isn’t it ‘buy one, get one free’?” only to be answered “no, it’s ‘buy one, get one **half price**'” that you’re going to stop everything and give up on the books which you had already acquired in your mind.

**Borders, shame on you for using such an evil marketing ploy. Disgraceful.**

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Disturbed About Reactions to Kathy Sierra's Post [en]

[fr] Comme cela avait été le cas lors de l'affaire SarkoWeb3, la blosophère s'est maintenant emparée de la triste histoire des menaces reçues par Kathy Sierra, telle une meute affamée et sans cervelle. Hypothèses présentées pour faits, coupable car non prouvé innocents, noms, déformation d'information, téléphone arabe, réactions émotionnelles trop vite bloguées et sans penser... tout y est.

Encore une fois, je suis déçue des gens.

Since I [read]( and [posted]( about [Kathy Sierra’s latest post](, and stayed up until 3am looking at blog post after blog post pop up on [Technorati]( and [Google Blogsearch](, I’ve been growing [increasingly uneasy]( about what I was reading in the blogosphere.

Like many other people I suppose, I was hit with this “tell me it ain’t so” feeling (denial!) that makes one sick in the stomach upon reading that Kathy had cancelled her ETech appearance out of fear for her safety. My heart went out to her. Of course, I felt angry at the people who had cause her such fear, and I also felt quite a bit of concern at seeing known blogger names appear in the context of this ugly affair.

And then, of course, there was the matter of getting the word out there. I [blogged it]( (and blogged it soon — I’ll be candid about this: I realised it was breaking news, heck, I even [twittered it]( before [Arrington did](!), and although I did use words like “horrible” and “unacceptable” (which are pretty strong in my dictionary, if you are familiar with my blogging habits), I refrained from repeating the names mentioned in Kathy’s post or demanding that the culprits be lynched.

One of the reasons for this is that I had to re-read some parts of Kathy’s post a couple of times to be quite certain to what extent she was reporting these people to be involved. Upon first reading, I was just shocked, and stunned, and I knew I’d read some bits a bit fast. I also knew that I had Kathy’s side of the story here, and though I have no reasons to doubt her honesty, I know that reality, *what really happened*, usually lies **somewhere in between the different accounts of a story one can gather from the various parties involved**. So I took care not to point fingers, and not to name names in a situation I had no first-hand information about, to the point of not knowing any of the actors in it personally.

In doing this, and taking these precautions, I consider that I am **trying to do my job as a responsible blogger**.

Unfortunately, one quick look at most of the posts coming out of Technorati or Google Blogsearch shows (still now, over 15 hours after Kathy posted) a [collection]( of knee-jerk reactions, side-taking, verbal lynching, and rising up to the defense of noble causes. There are inaccurate facts in blog posts, conjectures presented as fact, calls to arms of various types, and catchy, often misleading, headlines. I tend to despise the mainstream press increasingly for their use of manipulative headlines, but honestly, what I see some bloggers doing here is no better.

Welcome to the blogmob.

The blogmob is nothing new, of course. My first real encounter with the mob was in [May 2001](, when Kaycee Nicole Swenson [died (or so it seemed)]( and somebody [dared suggest she might not have existed]( The mob was mainly on MetaFilter at that time, but there were very violent reactions towards the early proponents of the “hoax” hypothesis. Finally, it was demonstrated that Kaycee was *indeed* a hoax. This was also my first encounter with somebody who was sick and twisted enough to make up a fictional character, Kaycee, a cancer victim, and keep her alive online for over two years, mixing lies and reality to a point barely imaginable. I — and many others — fell for it.

Much more recently, I’ve seen the larger, proper blogmob at work in two episodes I had “first-hand knowledge” about. The first, after the [LeWeb3-Sarkozy debacle](, when bad judgement, unclear agendas, politics and clumsy communication came together and pissed off a non-trivial number of bloggers who were attending [LeWeb3]( There were angry posts, there were constructive ones and those which were less, and then the blogmob came in, with hundreds of bloggers who asked for Loïc’s head on a plate based on personal, second-hand accounts of what had happened, without digging a bit to try to get to the bottom of the story. Loïc had messed up, oh yes he had, but that didn’t justify painting him flat-out evil as the blogmob did. In Francophonia it got so bad that this episode and its aftermath was (in my analysis) the death stroke for comments on Loïc’s blog, and he decided to shut them down.

The second (and last episode I’ll recount here) is when the whole blogosphere went a-buzz about how Wikipedia was going to shut down three months from now. [Words spoken at LIFT’07]( went through many chinese whisper (UK) / Telephone (US) filters to turn into a [rather dramatic announcement](, which was then relayed by just about anybody who had a blog. Read about [how the misinformation spread and what the facts were](

So, what’s happening right now? The first comments I read on Kathy’s post were reactions of shock, and expressions of support. Lots of them. Over the blogosphere, people were busy getting the news out there by relaying the information on their blogs. Some (like me) shared stories. As the hours went by, I began to see trends:

– this is awful, shocking, unacceptable
– the guilty must be punished
– women are oppressed, unsafe
– the blogosphere is becoming unsafe!

Where it gets disturbing, and where really, really, I’m disappointed and think bloggers should know better, is when I read headlines or statements like this (and I’m not going to link to all these but you’ll find them easily enough):

* “Kathy Sierra v. Chris Locke”
* “Kathy Sierra to Stop Blogging!”
* “Kathy Sierra hate campaign”
* throwing around names like “psychopath” and “terrorist” to describe the people involved
* [“Personally I am disgusted with myself for buying and recommending Chris Locke’s book…”]( and the like
* the assumption that there is a unique person behind the various incidents Kathy describes
* taking for fact that Chris Locke, Jeneane Sessum, Alan Herrell or Frank Paynter are involved, directly, and in an evil way (which is taking Kathy’s post a step further than what it actually says, for the least)
* …

In [my previous post](, I’ve tried to link to blog posts which actually bring some added value. Most of the others are just helping the echo chamber echo louder, at this point. Kathy’s post is (understandably) a little emotional (whether it is by design as

I’d like to end this post with a recap of what I’ve understood so far. (“What I’ve understood” means that there might be mistakes here, but I’m giving an honest account of what I managed to piece together.) I’m working under the assumption that the people involved are giving honest accounts of their side of the story, and hoping that this will not unravel like the Kaycee story did to reveal the presence of a sick, twisted liar somewhere.

– Kathy has been receiving threats. Some in the comments of her blog, some by e-mail, and some in the posts and/or comments of meankids and unclebobism, sites which have since then been taken down.
– Meankids was set up by a bunch of people (including Chris and Frank at the minimum). It was closed after going overboard, and the same people opened Unclebobism as a replacement. (Details about exactly what went in internally are not clear. See posts by [Kevin Marks](, [Frank Paynter]( and [Chris Locke]( for source information.)
– Stowe says this [doesn’t fit with the personal knowledge he has of Jeneane Sessum and Alan Herrell]( Other people like Lisa Stone also report phone contacts with Jeneane, and [it seems she is not directly involved in the acts Kathy describes]( (though it definitely seems she had something to do with the two sites meankids and unclebobism, if only in [linking]( for the second). **Update:** Chris gives details on her (indeed) [very minimal involvement](
– Frank Paynter [apologized early on]( on Kathy’s blog, then explains that this whole thing is [an experiment in anarchy gone overboard](
– [Chris Locke]( denies being directly responsible for any of the threats Kathy mentions, and owns up to two direct comments about Kathy on unclebobism.
– Alan Herrell seems to have shut down [Raving Lunacy](
– Kathy ends her post with “I have no idea if I’ll ever post again. I suspect I will. But for now, I have a lot to rethink.” — this seems to point to her taking a break, not abandoning blogging.
– “Joey”, the author (?) of one of the threats Kathy received, comments on her blog: [one](, [two](, [three](, [four](, [five](; he says the threat was not towards her but some other person he called Kathy (?!). See also [Brent’s response to the first comment]( I have to admit some skepticism here. He could be a simple troll. But again, not to be dismissed without taking a good look.
– **Update 28 May 2007** Alan Herrell reports being victim of identity theft. E-mail made public by [Doc Searls](
– **Update 29 May 2007** Jim Turner gives a way better account than I have here of [what we can make out of the story for the moment]( — part 2 is due to follow and here is part two: The Sierra Saga Part 2: Big Bad Bob and the Lull Before the Kathy Sierra Blog Storm.
– **Update 1 April 2007** Jeneane Sessum publishes a few words [about the whole mess and her name being dragged in the dirt](

Please, Blogosphere. Keep your wits. This is a messy ugly story, and oversimplications will help nobody. Holding people guilty until proven innocent doesn’t either. (Trust me, I’ve been on the receiving end of [unfounded accusations]( because somebody didn’t hear my side of the story, and it sucks.)

The problem with bullying is that perceived meanness isn’t the same on both sides. Often, to the bully, the act is “just harsh” or “not to be taken seriously” (to what extent that is really believed, or is some kind of twisted rationalisation is not clear to me). To the bullied, however, the threats are very real, even if they were not really intended so. Bullying is also a combination of small things which add up to being intolerable. People in groups also tend to behave quite differently than what they would taken isolately, the identity of the individual tending to dissolve into the group identity. Anonymity (I’ve blogged about this many times, try a search) encourages people to not take responsibility for what they say, and therefore gives them more freedom to be mean. Has something like this happened here?

If you have something thoughtful to say, then say it. But if all you have to say has already been said out there ten times, or if you won’t take the trouble to check your sources, read carefully, calm down before blogging, avoid over-generalisations, and thus avoid feeding the already bloated echo-chamber — just go out for a walk in the sun and let the people involved sort themselves out.

The word is out there, way enough, and I trust that we’ll get to the bottom of the story in time.

**Update: I’m adding new links which actually add something to this story to [my first post]( as I find them, so check over there for updates.**

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Not All Switzerland Speaks German, Dammit! [en]

Here we go, yet another misguided attempt at localisation: [my MySpace page]( is [now in German](

[MySpace]( now joins [PayPal](, [eBay](, [Amazon](, [Google]( in defaulting to German for Swiss people.

[Switzerland]( is a multilingual country. The linguistic majority speaks Swiss-German (reasonably close to German but quite un-understandable for native German-speakers who have not been exposed to it). Second language in the country is French. Third is Italian, and fourth is… (no, not English) …[Romansh](

You know how linguistic minorities are. [Touchy.]( Oh yeah.

As a French speaker with rather less-than-functional German, I do find it quite irritating that these big “multinational” web services assume that I speak German because I’m Swiss. I’d rather have English, and so would many of my non-bilingual fellow-cititzens (particularly amongst web-going people, we tend to be better at English than German).

Yes, I’ve said that [English-only is a barrier to adoption]( But getting the language wrong is just as bad, if not worse (most people have come to accept the fact that English is the “default” language on the internet, even if they don’t understand it). If I want my Amazon books to be shipped here free of charge, I have to use [](, which is in German, and doesn’t have a very wide choice of French books. [My wishlist]( is therefore on too, which maybe explains why I never get anything from it.

Paypal is almost worse. I can’t really suggest it to clients as a solution for “selling stuff over the internet”, because all it offers in its Swiss version is a choice between German (default) and English. You can’t sell [a book in French]( with a payment interface in German or English.

So please, remember that country != language, and that there is a little place called Switzerland scrunched up in the middle of Europe, caught between France, Italy, Germany and Austria ([Liechtenstein]( is even worse off than us I suppose), and that not everyone in that little country speaks German.

Thank you.

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Nokia 6280 Shortcomings [en]

[fr] Au début, j'étais réjouie du fait que mon Nokia 6280 était compatible mac. Maintenant, j'ai un peu la gueule de bois, même si j'aime toujours autant le toucher du clavier.

Appareil photo de vraiment mauvaise qualité, synchronisation capricieuse, dictionnaire t9 à la mémoire courte, impossibilité de marquer comme lus tous les SMS pas lus, volume d'alerte de SMS trop fort par rapport à la sonnerie (impossible à régler séparément), réveil qu'il faut réenclencher chaque jour, et lien vers Sunrise Live (qui n'est pas mon opérateur) gravé pour l'éternité dans le menu rapide que l'on peut soi-disant configurer entièrement.

I’ve had a Nokia 6280 since September, and unfortunately the initial excitement of managing to make it sync with my Mac has worn down. Here’s a round-up of what works, and doesn’t work.

The phone is pretty, it’s the right size to fit in my hand, and the keyboard has a very nice touch (particularly important to me as I have RSI). The sliding mechanism is fun to play with (specially to answer calls or hang up), and it overall behaves quite correctly as a device to call other people and be called.

However. Not all is well.

One of the reasons I bought this phone was the 2Mpx camera. Well, to put it simply, it’s crap. Too much compression, artefacts, patchy colors, and an overall impression of digital zoom.

As I said, the phone works over iSync to sync contacts and calendars. When it works, that is. Half the time computer and phone are unable to recognize each other. (Yes, it could have something to do with the computer, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to blame it on the phone.)

The T9 dictionary works fine until you want to teach it new words. It remembers them for a little while, and then forgets about them. Obviously, instead of being permanently added to the dictionary, they are kept in some kind of short-term memory of very limited capacity.

Flooded with many unread SMS, maybe because you use Twitter on your mobile and forgot to turn it off? Fear not, you will be given the chance to trudge through those 30 messages one by one to mark them as read. You can “mark” them individually and then delete them all in one go, but you can’t “mark as read” in a batch.

There also seems to be no way to set the volume for SMS reception and incoming calls separately. This means that the “beep-beep” announcing the arrival of text messages is way too loud, and the ringing for incoming calls is still not loud enough.

The alarm has to be reset each day. Learning this involved quite a bit of oversleeping, until I understood that just checking the alarm time was right and then exiting was not sufficient. The “OK” button needs to be pressed each day to reactivate the alarm.

The icing on the cake? The customizable “Go to” menu (for easy access to frequently requested functions) sports a shiny shortcut to the web portal homepage of a carrier which happens to not be mine. Hard-coded. First position. Unmovable.

Crossposted to

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Geeky Frustrations [en]

[fr] Quelques râlages (comme quoi je ne fais pas ça qu'en français) au sujet de certains outils que j'utilise quotidiennement.

Right, so, just so I can get it off my chest, here is a list of little things that bug me with the tools I use daily. If I save them for a “proper write-up” they probably will never be posted, so… here goes.

– Twitter: let me see a differential list of those I follow and those who follow me, both ways. I need to know who is following me that I’m not following (maybe I missed somebody out) and who I’m following but they’re not (to keep in mind they won’t see stuff I twitter).
– Twitter: let me tag my friends, or sort them into buddy groups. Then let me activate phone alerts for only certain groups. One-by-one management is just impossible with 100 or so friends.
– Adium: let me [turn off Gmail notifications]( I have Google Notifier for that. I hate having to click “OK” on that window all the time.
– Google Reader: let me [drag’n drop]( feeds from one folder to another.
– Facebook: let me import more than one RSS feed in my notes.
– Nokia 6280 and Macbook: please sync with each other *each time* I ask you to, not once out of three.
– Nokia 6280: gimme a “mark all as read” option for my text messages, please!
– Nokia 6280: I’d say something about the really crappy camera, but there isn’t much you can do about it now, can you.
– iPod: let me loop through all episodes of a podcast instead of having to go to the next episode manually.
– iTunes: let me mix playlists as a source for Party Shuffle (30% My Favorites, 30% Not Listened in Last week, 40% Artist I’m Obsessing Over These Days… for example)
– Google Reader and find a way to allow me to automatically post Shared Items to too.
– Flickr: let me link to “My Favorite photos tagged …” so I can show my readers what I’ve found.
– **Added 18.02.07 0:10** [Google Ajax-y Homepage]( let me Share Google Reader items, not just star them.
– …

Certainly more, but these were those which were bugging me badly just now. Well, they’re off my chest, now I can go back to fretting about all the [stuff I need to get rid of]( in my flat and which is still lying around because I haven’t quite figured out the optimal way to dispose of it.

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Que d'anglais [en]

[fr] Just an explanation to my French readers about the amount of English here recently. Has to do with a post-LIFT'07 effect and the hard time I have coming back to "where we are with blogs and stuff in Switzerland". (Answer: frustratingly behind. Yeah, I'm grumpy and certainly a little unfair.)

Oui, je sais, je néglige à nouveau mes lecteurs francophones et j’écris des tartines en anglais. Je reviens de la [conférence LIFT’07]( (l’année dernière, [LIFT’06]( avait quelque peu changé ma vie), des rencontres plein les yeux et des idées qui résonnent encore dans les oreilles.

La langue que j’utilise ici dépend de l’humeur, du contenu du billet, du public imaginé. Là, j’avoue, je suis un peu coincée en anglophonie. Un peu difficile, après un [workshop magistral donné par Stowe Boyd]( et [toute une série d’intervenants fascinants]( “Comptes-rendus en français.”) de remettre les deux pieds en terre vaudoise, où les journalistes tentant de se mettre au blog [essaient d’épingler les blogueurs pour une tournure malheureuse]( (ah oui, c’est Stephanie sans accent si jamais, puisque vous tenez à la précision), les [cours d’initiation aux blogs]( sont annulés de façon répétée par manque d’inscriptions alors que la demande est là, pourtant (appels, interviews, cartes de visite, demandes… et j’en passe), les gens veulent des blogs mais quand même pas trop “blog” (mais parlez en “je”, bon sang, ça veut pas dire que vous devez “raconter vos vies”), où [internet fait peur]( et où les journaux, en passe d’épuiser le filon, [tentent de faire les gros titres avec la fin des blogs](

Donc, vous me pardonnerez, mais juste là, je retourne explorer [Facebook](, garder un oeil sur l’évolution des [blogs d’Intel]( qui ont profité de mes services plus tôt cette année, parler boutique avec [Headshift](, lire [Stowe](, [Bruno Giussani]( et [David Galipeau](, rester en contact avec [ma tribu de LIFT](, commencer à travailler à mon futur livre sur les ados et internet (surtout: sur quel blog l’écrire), mettre mon nez un peu dans ce que fait [Derek Powazek]( avec [JPG Magazine](, guetter les dates de [reboot]( et planifier ma [prochaine expédition à San Francisco](…

Un peu grinche, [la Mère Denis](, et probablement un peu injuste aussi, du coup. C’était le coup de gueule du jeudi après-midi. Vous en faites pas, amis romands — je vous aime quand même.

Merci à noneck pour la photo.

Pour me faire pardonner, allez, quelques [photos-souvenirs]( ([de moi]( et [d’autrui]( de LIFT’07.

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PointBlog: ça traîne en longueur, et Ginisty aux abonnés absents [fr]

[en] If ever you're in France, at the Festival de Romans, and you bump into Christophe Ginisty, would you do me a favour and remind him that his company (Pointblog SàRL) still owes me money for an article I wrote roughly a year ago. Thanks in advance!

Il y a un an de cela, [Cyril Fiévet]( me contactait pour savoir si j’étais toujours intéressée à contribuer au [magazine Netizen](, produit par la [société Pointblog SàRL](

J’ai accepté avec plaisir, j’ai passé deux bonnes journées à suer sur mon clavier (littéralement, j’avais un crève du diable et une fièvre du tonnerre), et le résultat a été publié dans le [numéro 2 de Netizen](

Restait à me faire payer (parce que oui, la gloire et tout c’est bien joli, mais c’est encore mieux quand ça permet de payer un peu le loyer et les croquettes du chat). D’abord, mea culpa, j’ai tardé — car je n’avais pas réalisé que Cyril m’avait envoyé par mail des choses à imprimer, remplir, signer, renvoyer, etc.

En juin (je crois, faudrait que je re-fouille dans mes mails pour être sûre), donc, motivée en partie par le [lavage de linge sale]( qui a fait un peu le tour de la blogobille à l’époque, j’envoie un timide e-mail au rédac’ chef du défunt hibernant méditant magazine, histoire de savoir si j’ai une chance de voir un jour la couleur de ces euros durement gagnés.

Un forward ou deux plus tard, aussi bien [Gilles Klein]( que [Christophe Ginisty](, qui dirige la société Pointblog, réagissent par mail pour me demander des détails pour qu’on puisse régler l’histoire. Très bien, donc.

C’est là que j’ai réalisé que je n’avais pas encore renvoyé les papiers. Je l’ai donc fait et j’en ai informé Christophe Ginisty par e-mail.

Puis, j’ai attendu.

Vous connaissez la chanson?

“J’ai attendu attendu elle n’est jamais venue…. daï daï daï daï tagada tsoin tsoin… daï daï daï daï…”

J’attends toujours.

Faut dire qu’entre-temps, j’ai quand même relancé Christophe une ou deux fois par mail, puis par courrier recommandé-signature-etc. (vous vous souvenez peut-être…). Ai aussi tenté de l’ajouter sur Skype (même si je suis une timide du combiné, avec Skype je m’en sors à peu près), mais sans résultat. Si [je ne savais pas mieux](, je me demanderais s’il n’était pas par hasard mouru.

Donc, chers amis lecteurs, si jamais vous allez au [Festival de Romans]( et que vous y croisez [Christophe Ginisty]( “Photo pour le reconnaître.”), vous voudriez bien lui rappeler que sa société me doit encore des sous, siouplaît, et qu’il doit y avoir dans une pile quelque part mails et courriers de ma part à ce sujet?

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Airport Security [en]

[fr] Je déteste les procédures de sécurité dans les aéroports. Devoir enlever ses chaussures systématiquement, déjà, en signe d'humilité et de respect devant la "sécurité de la nation" (les responsables qui se couvrent en cas d'incident, plutôt), et maintenant, être en mesure de prouver durant 15 secondes que l'on ne prend à bord "qu'un seul sac". Encore un traumatisme de voyage pour moi, super.

I officially hate going through airport security.

It’s bad enough to have to submit to random searches, and go through metal detectors which will beep regularly depending on what jewellery or shoes you’re wearing. Actually, the shoes issue is solved now in many airports by demanding that passengers remove their shoes and walk through the detectors in socks or barefoot.

I personally find this rather degrading. Think of it. As far as I know, removing one’s shoes is a sign of submission, respect or humility before a figure of power, most of the time in some way religious or spiritual. Think temples, kings, and washing others’ feet.

So now, we are forced to walk “barefooted” through the holy ground of airport security, and submit to procedures which, if you think of it honestly, are probably there more to ensure that certain arses are covered in case of a security incident. When metal detectors beep and bags are searched day after day, and all these are “false alarms”, surely the efficiency of the security screening process suffers. Imagine an anti-virus program which generates many false alerts everyday — inevitably, you’re going to pay less attention to them.

Anyway. I’d more or less started to get used to removing my laptop from my bag, sealing my liquids in a transparent bag, taking off shoes and bracelet and patiently let people wave metal rods around me or open my bags.

I’m about to climb on my 11th plane since the end of September (lots of bad connections, I’ll admit, but still — I’ve been through security a bit). Here in London Heathrow, I have just discovered yet another feature of the security screening process: “one bag only”. As far as I can remember, cabin luggage has always been “one bag only”, and it meant that women could still carry their handbag in addition to that. Unfair, yeah, poor guys, but that’s how it was. And indeed, I’ve never had a problem with that before today.

So, freshly off my totally uneventful British Airways flight from San Francisco to Heathrow (thanks partly to [melatonin-induced slumber](, I was following the connecting flights signs when I was stopped by a first security barrier. As an aside, it always kind of amazes me that you have to go through security multiple times when you have connecting flights. I assume this means that airports do not trust security staff in other countries to conduct security screening properly.

Anyway, this was “one bag only” pre-screening. I had my new [Hello Kitty laptop bag](, crammed with stuff like clothes to sleep in on the plane (really worth it), and my (equally new and Hello Kitty) handbag with the usual random stuff I carry with me everywhere (including laptop, camera, sunglasses, notebook, purse, phone, etc… — I put all the cables in my check-in luggage, for those who were thinking about asking). The security guy stopped me, and rather harshly told me that it was one bag only, to which I pointed out that one of them was my handbag. The line was repeated, with a little extra information: “One bag only, so unless you can make them into one bag, you can’t come through.”

Great. I couldn’t make them into one bag, I told — and showed — him. “Then you have to go through passport control, find your airline, go through check-in.”

That sounded weird. My first thought was that this was some kind of express security passage, but I had a sneaking doubt the idea behind that option was to make me check in one of my bags. I queued at passport control, on the verge of tears (I’m starting to realise travelling is a perfectly dreadful and stressful experience, and really need to find a way to not end up in tears each time I travel at the point where obstacles start showing up.)

I told the immigration guy I wasn’t really sure why I had been sent this way and what I should do, and he told me that indeed, if I went out this way it would be to check one of my bags in. When I told him I couldn’t (neither of my bags were fit for it), he basically said it wasn’t his problem, that he could show me where to go to check one of my bags in, that he refused to argue with me, and that I could go back to argue with the security guys instead. Well, guess what, that was just what I needed to hear to take from fighting tears to giving in to them. I tried to tell him I didn’t want to argue, I just wanted to know who I could talk to. He stuck to his script, and told me to go and argue with security again.

I was stuck, and what I needed just there was somebody I could talk with to try to figure out a solution, and who wouldn’t just spew out script lines at me. Immigration on the left, security on the right, and they had both proved equally unfriendly and drone-like in that respect.

Back to security anyway, I picked another guy than the one I had dealt with to start with, and was lucky (or maybe I was just crying enough by that time). Anyway, this one was nice, stepped out of the line, listened to me, took matters into his own hands by throwing out my empty water bottles, removing my laptop from the bag (I could carry it by hand), and squashing my poor handbag into my bigger Hello Kitty bag, which almost needed to be sat on to be shut. Great, I had one bag.

I thanked him, walked straight through that first bit of pre-security without anybody even looking at me, got into the longer line for the proper security screening, and promptly separated my too bags again — I was afraid my laptop bag would explode and my more delicate stuff would be crushed.

Nobody asked me to “make them into one bag” to screen them. Basically, I went through all that to prove during 15 seconds that my two bags could pass for one.

I just feel totally disgusted by all this. Next time I’ll carry a strap so I can strap my two bags together to “make one bag” instead of squashing them.

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Biofrais: ça suffit! [en]

09.01.2007: Le responsable de Biofrais a partagé avec moi son inquiétude quant aux répercussions négatives que cet article pouvait avoir sur son commerce. Je voudrais préciser que le mécontentement que j’exprime ici concerne uniquement la politique éditoriale du site internet. Je ne me prononce aucunement sur les produits vendus ou la qualité de l’entreprise en tant que telle, que je ne connais pas. Je n’ai pas non plus de griefs personnels à l’encontre du responsable de cette entreprise, outre l’épisode relaté ici.

Il y a quelque jours, je tombe sur [cet article]( qui reprenait sans autre forme de procès [mon billet d’introduction à Second Life]( Oui, je publie mes articles sous un [contrat Creative Commons](, mais en l’occurence l’article en question ne citait pas nom nom et se contentait d’un vague lien vers la page principale de mon site.

J’ai laissé le commentaire suivant:

>J’apprécie l’intérêt que vous portez à mon article.

>Cependant, je vous demanderais de bien vouloir indiquer que le texte que vous
reproduisez ici est une citation. Je ne suis pas une contributrice à votre
site. Ce serait aussi sympa d’indiquer la source précise de l’article:


>De plus, selon les termes de la licence CC-by-sa-nd sous laquelle est mis à
disposition mon contenu, je vous demanderais de bien vouloir indiquer
clairement (en utilisant mon nom) que je suis l’auteur de ce texte.

>Merci d’avance!

J’ai également posté [dans le forum]( un message expliquant que ce n’était pas moi qui avais contribué l’article en question (effacé depuis).

Suite à mon commentaire, je reçois une réponse de l’administrateur du site Biofrais:

> c est fait steph a+;)

Je vais vérifier: en gros, mon prénom a remplacé l’URL de mon site (“Rédigé par Stephanie”) et un lien (cassé) vers mon article a été rajouté. Mon commentaire a été supprimé.

J’ai envoyé à l’administrateur le message suivant par e-mail, que j’ai aussi republié en commentaire et dans le forum:

> Merci d’avoir réagi!

>Cependant, je reste un peu mal à l’aise avec ce procédé. Pourquoi
reproduire du contenu (en le sabrant, puisque sans la photo une partie
du texte perd son sens) plutôt que de faire un lien vers ce contenu?

>Je préférerais nettement que la personne qui a contribué l’article
écrive un bref texte d’introduction, cite une partie de mon article,
et fasse un lien. (D’ailleurs, votre lien vers mon article est cassé
— il y a un http:// de trop)

>Je ne connais pas votre site, je n’ai aucune idée de ce que vous
faites, et je suis également un peu mal à l’aise de me retrouver citée
comme “rédactrice” chez vous alors que je ne vous connais ni d’Eve ni
d’Adam 😉

>Je serais nettement plus comfortable si vous citiez une partie de mon
article (clairement indiqué comme citation) avec un bref texte
d’introduction et un lien. Je suis ouverte à d’autres propositions
bien entendu.

> (Dommage d’avoir enlevé mon premier commentaire, il permettait quand même de
donner un peu de contexte, et du coup les lecteurs arrivant en cours de route
et ne lisant que celui-ci vont être un peu perdus… Voyez le forum, si

Suite à ce message, le lendemain, l’article a été raccourci et le lien vers mon billet réparé. J’ai reçu un autre message de l’administrateur de Biofrais:

> c etait juste une facon de faire connaitre a mon reseau le second life pas de m approprier le texte ni l article je m en oocupe de suite 🙂 bonne fête

Suivi quelques minutes plus tard d’un deuxième message:

> D ailleur second life j y ai rien compris tout est en anglais j ai un pote qui m en a parler
ca me semble compliquer en plus qu elle avenir pensez vous a ce sujet
si vous aviez une video ou vous expliquiez le fonctionnement je pourrais l herberger et faire une redirection vers vous car j ai essayer d ouvrir un compte sur second life c est payant et je comprend pas vraiment pas le but de ce truc en plus le fn et reuters si trouve j ai un pote qui ma dit qu il vendais de la biere virtuel qu elle idée …

Mon deuxième commentaire a bien entendu été supprimé. En allant dans le forum, je constate que mes deux articles ont été supprimés également. Je laisse un message exprimant mon étonnement face à la disparition systématique de mes “contributions” au site.

En retournant plus tard au forum, je me trouve face à un pop-up me disant que mon quota d’accès journalier est dépassé. Une fois la page chargée, un message m’indique que mon adresse IP a été bannie. Problème avec le site? Je vous laisse juge, on ne peut que faire des suppositions.

Mon dernier message sur le forum a été tronqué pour ne laisser que la phrase introductive “je vous remercie encore de votre intérêt”.

Inutile de dire que je trouve cette façon de faire déplaisante au plus haut point. En regardant le site de Biofrais, on a l’impression que j’ai contribué un article, et que je remercie ensuite gentiment le monde de l’intérêt qu’on lui porte. Ce n’est pas vrai. Tous les commentaires que j’ai laissés sur [l’article]( ou le [forum]( ont été systématiquement effacés, voire pire — édités pour en changer le sens.

Heureusement, je peux quelque peu rectifier le tir ici pour mes lecteurs. Par contre, je doute qu’il me soit possible de mettre un lien vers cet article sur le site de Biofrais.

**Edit:** étant bannie du forum, j’ai voulu publier le commentaire suivant sur l’article. Je suis visiblement bannie là-bas aussi. Je viens donc d’envoyer le commentaire par e-mail à l’administrateur en lui demandant de le rajouter à son site, et lui signalant que sa politique éditoriale est franchement déplaisante. (Oui, je peux être méchamment revendicatrice dans des situations comme celle-ci.)

> Je n’apprécie pas du tout la façon dont vous censurez systématiquement mes propos sur votre site — ou pire, les éditez afin d’en changer le sens (comme le commentaire tronqué qui demeure dans votre forum). Je ne sais pas si suis bannie de publier dans votre forum par erreur ou si c’est volontaire de votre part, mais dans l’impossibilité de publier là-bas, je vais laisser mon commentaire ici. Je vous prie de vous abstenir de l’effacer.

>Voici [les commentaires effacés et ma réaction à vos pratiques](

**Edit, 10h05:** réaction à mon e-mail…

> Bonjour stephanie,
> je fais la promotion de second life et de voàtre site et vous vous servez de mon site pour casser du sucre sur moi bon comme c est comme ca merci d eviter mon site et dailleur l article sera detruit .

> Merci

Nous noterons tout de même que pour ce qui est de la promotion de mon site, l’article en question compte 165 lectures à ce jour (dont une bonne vingtaine de moi-même, probablement).

**Edit, 10h40**

Vous noterez que l’article original a bien été effacé et [remplacé]( par [un autre “pompage”]( (avec photo cette fois). Voici [l’article tel qu’il était ce matin](

**Edit, 10h46**

Oh, puis pendant qu’on y est, voici une [saisie d’écran du fil dans le forum](

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Flying Home Tomorrow With Easyjet. Or Not? [en]

[fr] Vu la situation (brouillard) à Londres et l'impact que ça a sur les vols, je crains un peu de me retrouver coincée à Londres demain soir. Surtout qu'Easyjet est injoignable par téléphone entre 20h et 8h et que leur site web refuse de reconnaître l'adresse e-mail que j'ai utilisée pour réserver mon vol.

I’m supposed to fly home tomorrow from Gatwick. If you’ve been anywhere else than under a rock these last days, you’ll know that [flights out of London have been severely disrupted](

This morning, I called [Easyjet]( to see if there was any chance my flight would be delayed or cancelled. Their website didn’t yield much information besides the standard [arrivals page](, which told me that one flight to Geneva yesterday afternoon had been cancelled.

Anyway, the lady was very reassuring. She took my flight number, and told me that the flight yesterday had arrived on time, and that I should be fine.

Tonight, I checked the arrivals page again, and saw that both flights to Geneva this evening had been cancelled. Ouch!

This is where it gets bad. I tried to call Easyjet again, but all their lines are closed after 8pm. Great! Even the one you reach after spending 10 minutes in the menus, where you choose “if your flight has been cancelled, please press 2”. They just tell you to use the website if you want to cancel or change a flight. Well, that’s fine with me, except… For some reason, Easyjet doesn’t recognize the e-mail address I used to book the flight. They’ll send me a newsletter to the address, sure, but will say they’ve never heard of it when I try to use it to log into the website.

**And** the technical support line is £1/minute.

If I know there is a good chance of my flight being cancelled, I’d like to know about it so that I can make other plans. Change my flight, go back to Leeds, take the Ferry, whatever. What I’m worried about is that my flight is after 8pm. What if it’s cancelled, and I’m supposed to “contact my airline”?

All this is making me somewhat grumbly. I’d really like to get back home for Christmas.

*Update: I sent an e-mail to Easyjet about the e-mail address issue. I’ll receive a response from them withing 20 working days. How’s that for an SLA on e-mail responses?*

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