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This week-end I was listening to a Fresh Air interview of the author of Irresistible, on addictive technology. I don’t like the idea of considering tech overuse as an addiction. But if we leave words like that one aside, I find myself in agreement with Adam Alter.

Here’s my main take-away, the one that has been trotting in my head since then: if you find yourself checking Facebook or whatever on your phone when you would actually rather be doing something else, then it means there is a problem.

This happens to me. A lot. But being aware of it makes it reasonably easy to snap out — which I have been doing regularly these last days. “Do I really want to spend my Sunday morning hanging out on Facebook?”

I’ve also installed Moment to try and get some objective measure of my usage, but I keep forgetting to take the screen shots.

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Tout à l’heure, j’ai écouté l’épisode “The Russian Passenger” du podcast Reply All. Alex arrive avec une question: il a d’un coup commencé à recevoir des alertes Uber pour des trajets à Moscou, au milieu de la nuit. Il voit que les trajets sont facturés à sa carte de crédit.

Il tente de se connecter à son compte via l’application sur son téléphone mais… son compte ne semble plus exister! L’investigation subséquente nous mène dans le monde du traffic de comptes et de mots de passe. On envisage d’abord l’hypothèse d’une faille de sécurité chez Uber, abandonnée au profit de la réutilisation de mots de passe. En effet, quand on réutilise ses mots de passe, il suffit qu’un service qu’on emploie soit compromis, et les trafiquants de comptes vont ensuite essayer notre combinaison “e-mail + mot de passe” un peu partout, pénétrant ainsi dans des comptes de service qui n’ont pas été compromis. Dans le cas d’Alex, il semblerait même que ce soit son compte Gmail qui ait été hacké, alors même qu’il utilise la double authentification… Le mystère demeure.

Bref, encore une histoire qui met en avant l’importance de ne jamais réutiliser ses mots de passe, et donc d’avoir un gestionnaire de mots de passe pour les gérer (parce que s’en souvenir c’est impossible).

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I think that now that we are all experiencing that we can be “public” (something we couldn’t 20 years ago) we’re going to be crawling back into more private spaces, understanding that the advantages we can see to “reaching more people” or “micro-fame” come with a load of drawbacks. But we need time in these public spaces to really get what those drawbacks are (as a society).

On a personal level, I can feel the pull towards publication spaces which have more friction. I was reading an author’s blog this morning — a full-time SF author who is quite well known. There were only a handful of comments on each blog post. It felt, reading his blog, that I had a priviledged contact with him — something I’m not going to feel on his 25k+ facebook page. Something that reminds me of the early days of online socialising and blogging.

When I write stuff on my blog, although it’s “the public internet”, it feels like a more intimate space, because it’s less reactive. The content is harder to get to. And there is value in that.

This was initially a Facebook comment.

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La surdité est la plupart du temps invisible (“malentendance” serait plus correct mais moche). On voit les lunettes, mais pas les appareils auditifs. Tout à l’heure au centre de biométrie et des documents d’identité, le gentil fonctionnaire m’envoie dans la cabine photo-empreintes, puis me donne des instructions depuis derrière son guichet.

Je ne le vois pas. Je ne l’entends pas très bien. Je stresse, j’ai peur de mal comprendre ce qu’il me dit. La première photo, je regarde à gauche, parce que j’ai pas retenu “regardez droit devant vous” et que je tendais l’oreille pour voir s’il me disait quelque chose, et quand je tends l’oreille, je regarde à droite et à gauche, visiblement.

Sur la deuxième photo, j’ai la pire tronche de repris de justice, parce qu’en plus du look “photo d’identité biométrique” je suis stressée et concentrée.

Je ruminais sur cette histoire en rentrant, et j’ai réalisé un truc: j’ai toujours peur de mal comprendre les consignes ou instructions quand il y en a. C’est vraiment un truc qui me stresse. Si on me demande de faire un truc, je dois avoir 100% compris ce qu’on attend de moi. Peut-être que ce n’est pas juste un truc d’angoissée, mais aussi un truc de malentendante-pas-appareillée-durant-ses-tendres-années-formatrices?

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Pro tip: if you’re booking flights online, make sure using your Mastercard doesn’t cost you an extra 50 for your flight ticket price.

It happened to me earlier this morning as I was booking a flight. I went on Kayak, found a flight I liked, clicked the link that sent me over to eDreams to book it. By the time I was ready to buy, the price had silently hopped up 50 CHF. I tried other sites. I tried the airline site directly. I couldn’t find the flight at the price Kayak advertised.

I made a last-ditch effort to book the flight, starting over from Kayak and keeping an eye on the price. I saw it had jumped as I filled in my credit card details. I looked closer. I saw a discreet notice advertising “best price using Visa credit”. Switched my Mastercard for my Visa. Bingo.

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Sometimes I get the nagging feeling that everybody (or almost) who used to be a fellow freelance consultant has now drifted into coaching. What is going on here? There seems to be a Ponzi-like dynamic going on, as with all these people giving online courses about how to earn money through your online business. It’s not quite life coaching for life coaches, but sometimes it feels very close: earning money by getting people to give you money so that hopefully they can make money like you’re making money.

Unfortunately, it seems that is where the money is. People are willing to spend money… if it helps their business make more money. And that’s not the kind of gig I want. Am I doomed?

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Earlier today, I was listening to Malcolm Gladwell on the TED Radio Hour podcast. He was talking about choice architecture. In short, how the way we frame the available choices influences decisions (think: opt-in or opt-out, for organ donors for example). James Clear has made me think about this a lot, under the title of “environment design”.

A podcast or two later I’m listening to Fresh Air, about Bannon and Sessions vision for remaking America. Terry Gross and her guest are talking about Breitbart and the kind of coverage it puts forward, namely crimes committed by immigrants.

Do you see the link?

The media landscape we float in, the ideas we’re exposed to, the articles we read — they are the environment in which we make our decisions about what to believe. They are the choice architecture of our beliefs. They follow the path of least resistance. That is why things repeated often enough become truth. Choice architecture.

Note: don’t see a title? Normal, this is my first aside.

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