Less Facebook, Less Phone [en]

[fr] Moins de Facebook et de téléphone en ôtant l'app (restera l'ordi et l'iPad). Une collection de liens et de réflexions sur ce que sont devenus ces "médias sociaux" qui sont maintenant un "canal de distribution de contenu" dans lequel injecter des conversations est un pitch de startup.

I read this yesterday and removed the Facebook application from my phone again. Again, because I had done it a few months ago. I reinstalled it upon the death of a friend, who was also the founder of an online community I manage, and I needed to be connected better during those times. And I didn’t remove it afterwards (when is “afterwards”, when somebody dies?)

So, I’ve removed it now. I have a wristwatch again, too – have had for a few months. I like not having to take my phone out to know what time it is.

I’ve decided it was time to put my phone in flight mode during the night again, too, and I intend to leave it off for the first hour of the day. We’ll see how that goes. The next step will be implementing a shutdown time at night, too. I’d done it sometime back – no tech after 9pm.

For months now, it’s been bothering me. Maybe years. So much fear and outrage online. I’m sick of the outrage. What I fled when I stopped watching TV news has now caught up with me on Facebook. I remember this French TV executive who said very openly that they were in the business of selling “available brain time” to advertisers. Nothing has changed, it’s just online too now. I’m acutely aware how often I am “stuck on Facebook” when in fact I wanted to be doing something else. I feel a bit like a fool to have believed the digital world was something different. It was just because it was new.

As I am coming to terms with an upcoming shift in my career focus, which will probably mean “less social media”, I am reminded of what brought me here when I hear a startup pitching a social network that will “bring conversation” into social media, and describing social media as “content distribution”. I came here for people. For relationships. For conversations. For the web we lost, probably.

Too Much News? [en]

[fr] Il y a bien des années j'ai cessé de regarder les nouvelles à la télé, de lire les journaux, etc. Je m'en suis trouvée bien moins angoissée. Insidieusement, je me suis remise à suivre l'actualité du monde, via Facebook surtout. Suis-je retombée dans le piège de l'angoisse de l'actu? Est-ce que ce qui se passe maintenant est beaucoup plus grave que ce qui se passait il y a dix ans? J'ai toujours été très optimiste quant à l'avenir de l'humanité, mais ces derniers mois ont changé ça. Des fois je me demande si je devrais me lancer en politique ou alors tout débrancher et acheter des chèvres.

On the edge
Many years ago I stopped watching TV news or reading the papers, because seeing all these terrible things happening in the world and that I was powerless about only managed to make me anxious. I became much less anxious after that.
Now, slowly, stealthily, “the news” has crept back into my life, through social media. And at some point, I started “following” again. Is what’s happening in the world now worse and more important than what was going on 10 years ago? Or have I just fallen into the same trap?
I used to feel pretty optimistic about where the world was going, although in my day-to-day life I am much more of a pessimist. I believe in resilience of social structures and societies and humanity. But these last few months have changed that. I now find myself very worried about where the world is headed.
Do I worry more because I consume more news? Or do I worry more because it is more worrisome? Or both?
There are days where I feel that maybe the solution is go either “all in” or “all out”. Dive into politics, join a party, get involved beyond “Facebook activism”. Or cut news out of my life again.
Originally published as a Facebook post.

When Do You Wear or Remove Your Hearing Aids? [en]

As the founding editor of Phonak’s community blog “Open Ears” (now part of “Hearing Like Me“) I contributed a series of articles on hearing loss between 2014 and 2015. Here they are.

As somebody with mild/medium hearing loss, I guess wearing hearing aids are more of a choice than a necessity for me. I mean, I functioned without them for nearly 40 years. Today I wouldn’t give them up for anything in the world, of course, and I really prefer wearing them for anything resembling human interaction. But I can get by without. (An audiologist I had a chat with one day told me I’d be surprised at how people with much more hearing loss than me “get by just fine” without aids. Anyway.)

So, when do I wear them, when do I remove them? As a general rule, I wear them when I leave the house. (My cats aren’t all that talkative.) I remove them when I get home. Since I got my V90 aids though, I often forget to remove them when I get home.

I don’t wear my hearing aids to watch TV.


I’ve been watching TV so long with headphones that having “ambient” sound on actually makes me self-conscious about bothering my neighbours with it (this is Switzerland). I used to always remove them to listen to music or podcasts. Now that I have the ComPilot Air II I sometimes keep them in (more for podcasts than music, with open tips there are frequencies missing for the music). If I’m travelling or wandering around on my own and not really expecting to interact with people I might take them out, too.

At judo training, I usually keep them in for warm-up and maybe the first rounds of “light” practice. Then I remove them so that I don’t have to worry about paying attention to what’s going on around my ears.

For skiing, I keep them in, despite the helmet. With my old Widex aids I’d given up on that (they really didn’t cope well with the helmet), but my current ones are fine. When driving, I sometimes wear them, sometimes not (depends if I was wearing them just before taking the wheel or not, I guess).

I also ended up removing my hearing aids once at a very noisy party. Even with the highest “speech in noise” setting, I actually managed better without them. But that was really an exceptional situation.

What about you? Do you put them in first thing in the morning and take them out last thing at night, or are you like me, sometimes in, sometimes out? And when? I’m curious to hear how other people do this. I suspect our wearing vs. not-wearing habits are also linked to how much hearing loss we have.

“It’s Just a Game” [en]

[fr] "C'est qu'un jeu!" J'ai beaucoup entendu ça ces dernières semaines. D'une part pour dire "tu as vu le temps que t'y passes?" et d'autre part pour dire "machin t'insulte mais c'est pas grave, c'est juste un jeu". Et toi, tu passes combien de temps à regarder la télé? Quant au reste... le jeu est un jeu mais les relations entre les joueurs, elles, sont bien réelles. Etre harcelé ou insulté dans le cadre d'un jeu n'amoindrit pas le harcèlement ou l'insulte.

“It’s just a game!”

I’ve heard that a lot these last weeks. About Ingress. Of course it’s “just a game”. But.

Before I get to the “but” bit, here are the two contexts in which I’ve heard “it’s just a game”:

  1. you spend so much time on it, how crazy, it’s just a game!
  2. don’t get so wound up that people are behaving like jerks, it’s just a game!

Context 1: how much time do you spend watching TV? at the gym? and if I was walking or jogging around instead of “playing a game”, would you still comment on how much time I play? or if I was reading a book? It’s interesting how because it’s a “game”, and therefore “fun”, spending time on it is a “bad thing”… And in the case of Ingress you can’t even argue that it’s “time sitting behind a computer”, because it’s actually “time spent walking and walking and walking”. Exercise is supposed to be good for you, isn’t it?

Context 2: the game is a game, of course, but the human relationships between players are real. If a player is bullying another player, or insulting them, or treating them badly, the fact that what brought them together is a game is pretty irrelevant. It makes sense to say “it’s just a game” when it comes to gauging how seriously to take the actions of the game (is it really a question of life and death, worth getting mad at others for, if Portal WhatNot is still standing in 20 minutes?) But it doesn’t make sense to use “just a game” as a reason to discount the impact dysfunctional relationships or group dynamics can have on the people involved.

Different Kinds of Downtime [en]

[fr] Déconnecter ou se décontracter peut prendre plusieurs formes, et je viens de réaliser que malgré tout le temps de libre que j'ai pris pour récupérer de mon printemps un peu intense côté travail, je ne me suis pas laissé beaucoup d'espace pour penser. Laisser vagabonder mon esprit sans arrière-fond de musique, d'activité, de TV ou de jeux iPhone.

At two points in my “grown-up” life, I’ve been through phases of intense work which drove home the importance of making sure I had enough downtime. One was when I started teaching (I ended up on sick leave) and the other was when I was preparing Going Solo (a welcome cat bite probably prevented me from burning out completely).

I learned that when you do nothing but work, you can’t recuperate. Since then, I’ve always paid attention to preserving enough time “for myself”. Even when I have a lot of work and have “no time”, I still make time to eat with friends, watch TV series, read, sleep, etc. I never work until two in the morning, I take my week-ends off (there are exceptions), and generally am pretty good at setting boundaries between “work” and “non-work” modes (which might make certain people feel I’m hard to reach ;-)).

Over my lunch break today, I think I understood something really important — and funnily, just after saying that I don’t feel like writing anything these days, I feel an urge to blog about it here.

The thing I understood is the following: there are different kinds of downtime.

I’ve been thinking about this these last days — for example, I use both iPhone games and TV series to relax or take my mind off stuff, but for different purposes.

One of my ongoing grievances about life these last months is that I feel tired and worn-out and don’t seem to be able to recuperate despite having taken a lot of time off (holidays here and elsewhere) since working too much this spring.

I go home for lunch break (it’s just two floors above my coworking space eclau, so it’s not much of a commute). I needed to sit a bit before preparing lunch, so I took a book and sat down on my balcony couch (yes, you can be jealous).

But I didn’t open the book. I just stared outside at the garden, looked at my plants, stared into space some more, did some low-level plant maintenance, stared into space, looked at the garden… See the idea? All that time, my mind was wandering idly around, thinking about this and that, and that and this, going back in time, forward in time… Just undirected thinking about… “stuff”.

And I realised that I don’t actually give myself much time for that. Thinking without doing anything else while I think. Maybe my discomfort these days months has to do with the fact that I have things to process and haven’t really been making appropriate space for that — despite all my downtime.

So, what kind of downtime do I give myself, and what need does it fulfill? And what are your types of downtime?


Fiction (whether books or TV) takes me out of my life. It disconnects me from what is preoccupying me. At the same time, it’s like an emotional catalyst. I’m the kind of person who’ll end up crying whilst watching CSI. I like movies that take you on an emotional roller-coaster. So in that respect, fiction also helps me reconnect.


I’m the kind of “on-off” casual gamer, but ever since I downloaded Angry Birds (end of last year) I’ve been playing iPhone games regularly. Games allow me to wind down and distract me, but without the emotional component I get from fiction. Games are also more active, and speak to my obsessive streak.

Physical Activity

I have an exercise bike at home I try to use regularly, I do judo, sing, and go sailing. Physical activity empties my head and tires my body — vital for something with a desk-bound job like mine. Sometimes my mind wanders off and I do some light thinking, but most of the time, I’m just completely taken by what I’m doing.

Online Downtime

Online downtime includes idly chatting, catching up with people, reading random articles… It’s a way of keeping busy without being productive, and maybe of avoiding “more down” downtime. It also leads to new ideas and insights, new interests to explore. It’s good for a breath of fresh air but at times like now where I feel worn out, overworked and oversocialized, I avoid it.


I’m not sure if socializing is a “downtime” activity for me. I’m not much of a bar/club person, so for me socializing is either “networking” (and that’s work) or long (often personal) discussions with people I’m close to. I also know I switch modes when I’m around people. I guess it is a kind of downtime I need, but there are times when I’m more in an introvert mood and seeing people adds to my stress (maybe — hypothesis — because it’s stressful for me to be around people when I’m unsatisfied with something I do not manage to put in words; hmmm, maybe blogging is to be included under “socializing”?)


Thinking is just that. Thinking. Not really doing anything. It happens when I clean the flat or the dishes or do laundry, but only if I’m taking all the time in the world and not really paying much attention to what I’m doing. Going for a walk or sitting on the balcony (without a book or an iPhone!) is also an opportunity for this kind of downtime where I let my mind wander around freely and think about whatever it is I want to be thinking, without real aim or purpose.

I’m sure that when watching TV, or exercising, or reading a book, there is some background processing going on in my brain. I’m sure it’s useful and necessary. But this is more like frontground processing.

And this, I think, is what’s been missing — and might be the reason why I’m having trouble identifying what is behind my feeling of “not quite right” (although objectively, everything is going fine).

Having understood this, I’m going to make sure I have time every day to sit on my balcony and stare into space. We’ll see what happens.

Deb Roy: The Birth of a Word [en]

[fr] Une vidéo fascinante sur l'apprentissage du langage -- et aussi sur le traitement et la visualisation de quantités étourdissantes de données linguistiques. A regarder.

Ah yes, another video. You see, some evenings, instead of sitting in front of the TV (not my usual evening occupation, by the way), I sit in front of my computer and watch videos I’ve queued up on Boxee — or hunted down for the occasion. No surprise, TED Talks are a favourite hang-out of mine.

Here’s one titled The Birth of a Word: researcher Deb Roy recorded the whole three first years of his son’s life to gather data which, once analyzed, would bring insight on how we learn language.

It’s fascinating. Fascinating for the language geek in me, and also fascinating from a data visualisation and analysis point of view. In the second part of his talk, Deb moves on to analysis of publicly available commentary (online) matched to TV shows they’re about. The visualisation is stunning (he’s showing us real data) and the implications left me feeling giddy.

Your turn.

Hat tip: thanks to Loïc for pointing out this video on Facebook.

Ce soir: Scènes de Ménage [fr]

[en] On TV tonight (just 5 minutes). Will post a link once it's online.

Je fais très bref vu l’état (et je vous parlerai de SarkoWeb3 quand j’aurai récupéré). Si vous êtes à la maison ce soir, vous aurez l’occasion de me voir faire de mon mieux pour répondre aux questions de Martina Chyba durant les cinq minutes que dureront le plateau de l’émission Scènes de Ménage (TSR1), consacrée ce soir aux geeks et à la technophilie rampante en cette période de Noël. Cinq minutes qui ont occupé tout mon vendredi après-midi, et même plus.

J’ajouterai le lien une fois que l’émission sera en ligne. L’émission est en ligne!

Update (en direct): je tiens à préciser que je ne suis pas d’accord avec la “définition” geek (+ nerd) donnée dans l’émission après le premier sujet… Pour moi ils parlent des cas déjà problématiques, là.

Eh ben mince, alors! [fr]

[en] Too bad. Digital cable TV here does not allow me to do what I do with normal cable TV: listen to movies and TV series in English instead of the dubbed French versions. Bye-bye digital TV. Don't want you if that means I have to watch CSI in French.

Je viens d’appeler Cablecom au sujet de la TV numérique par câble. (Oui, je sais, cet après-midi vous pouvez suivre mes faits et gestes en lisant mon blog.)

Eh bien, la sentence tombe lors de la réponse à ma première question: pas de bicanal!

Excusez-moi, mais c’est vraiment nul. Je garde mon téléréseau normal, à ce prix-là, et je continue (merci beaucoup) à pouvoir regarder mes séries préférées en anglais sur trois chaînes.

Quant aux autres questions (quelle capacité de stockage pour l’enregistrement d’émissions, et y a-t-il possibilité d’exporter les données enregistrées), je ne les ai même pas posées.

Déçue, là, franchement.

Infimes précisions [fr]

Je n’ai pas écrit Blog Story. Remise en contexte d’une remarque que je commente dans Journal Infime. Allumez vos téléviseurs dimanche à  20h00, je serai l’invitée de Mise au Point sur la TSR1. Quelques commentaires sur mes aventures avec les médias.

[en] A clarification about something said in the second part of my radio interview. Aside from that, I'll be on TV Sunday evening. I'll try to find out if it can be viewed online.

Si vous avez écouté Journal Infime aujourd’hui, vous aurez sans doute noté que suite à  une petite maladresse de la présentatrice, je me suis retrouvée propulsée auteur de Blog Story. Je vous rassure, rien n’a changé, ce sont toujours bien Cyril et Emily qui en sont les auteurs.

Il y a un point dans l’interview d’aujourd’hui qui mérite un commentaire. Martine Galland m’invite à  parler d’une remarque que je fais dans mes réflexions blogosphériques:

N’allez pas chercher plus loin qu’une famille “à  secrets” pour saisir mes motivations profondes…

Revenons au contexte dans lequel je fais cette remarque. En fait, j’essaie d’expliquer d’où vient la tendance, parfois très marquée chez moi, à  décortiquer les discours, les événements ou les idées, à  vouloir traquer “l’erreur” et la désinformation, casser les mythes et les illusions.

La problématique du secret n’eclaire à  mon sens pas vraiment, comme la structure de l’interview le laisse entendre, mes motivations profondes à  vouloir partager ainsi [ma] vie avec des milliers de lecteurs. Ma remarque, remise dans son contexte, concernait mes motivations à  décortiquer (et critiquer) les articles parus sur les weblogs. Face à  ce qui me paraissait être une forme de désinformation, je montais sur mon cheval de bataille pour clâmer au monde que la vérité n’était pas celle qu’on leur avait servie, poussée par un élan qui pour moi prend clairement sa source dans ce que j’ai vécu, enfant, dans ma famille.

Ce qui me pousse à  partager mes idées et quelques morceaux de ma vie sur internet, c’est à  mon avis plus un besoin d’exister, d’être entendue, reconnue. Je n’y vois pas tant un besoin de mettre au grand jour ce qui est caché en moi qu’un besoin assez primordial d’expression. En écrivant ces lignes, toutefois, je me rends compte que ce besoin d’expression pourrait être interprété comme un refus de jouer le jeu du secret — du silence. Est-ce lié? Possible… mais pour moi le lien n’est pas clair, et je ne le faisais certainement pas lorsque j’écrivais mes Réflexions blogosphériques.

Vous venez en passant d’avoir une démonstration, en direct, du besoin impérieux qui m’habite de m’assurer que j’ai bien été entièrement comprise…

Je poursuis ce billet coloré “presse” en vous proposant de regarder Mise au Point dimanche à  20h00 sur la TSR1. (Je ne vous donne pas plus de détails, z’avez qu’à  regarder… ou lire la suite!)

Après le petit couac concernant Migros Magazin, j’ai été heureuse d’apprendre le fin mot de l’histoire au sujet de ma mésaventure avec Le Temps. En effet, j’avais été interviewée pour un article, que la (fort sympathique) journaliste m’avait ensuite soumis pour relecture et feedback (quelques échanges de mails). Quelle n’a pas été ma surprise, lorsque, lisant le dossier consacré aux blogs dans les pages 2 et 3 du Temps le 2 février dernier, j’ai pu constater la totale absence de cet article que j’avais pourtant vu à  plusieurs reprises!

La journaliste qui m’avait interviewée étant à  ce moment-là  en vacances à  l’autre bout du monde ou presque, elle n’a pas été en mesure d’éclairer ma lanterne quant à  la raison exacte de cette disparition. C’est maintenant chose faite, et c’était un peu ce que je soupçonnais: manque de place, on a sacrifié un article. La journaliste n’avait malheureusement pas les lignages exacts pour réduire ses articles avant de partir en vacances. Ce sont des choses qui arrivent.

Sur le moment, cela m’avait d’autant plus déçue que la parution de ce dossier dans Le Temps avait incité la production de Mise au Point à  changer l’angle du reportage sur les blogs, renonçant à  m’interviewer pour pouvoir aborder plus longuement la question des adolescents skyblogueurs. J’avais passé plus de 6 heures à  parler avec le réalisateur, on avait fixé un jour de tournage, il m’avait montré un premier jet de scénario… double déception. Mais, comme je vous l’ai dit, les choses finissent bien pour moi (enfin, je trouve!) puisque je serai l’invitée du plateau de fin d’émission.

J’avoue une certaine excitation à  l’idée de “passer à  la télé”, et j’ai réalisé en en parlant autour de moi que tout le monde ne réagirait pas ainsi. Et vous, chers lecteurs — ça vous plairait, une apparition télévisuelle, ou bien c’est plutôt le genre de chose que vous préféreriez éviter? Je suis curieuse de vous entendre à  ce sujet.

Mise à  jour 17.02.2005: extraits cités par Mireille Galland dans la troisième partie de l’interview:

TMS: ce soir sur M6 [fr]

Dans Capital, ce soir sur M6, un reportage sur les TMS.

[en] An enquiry about RSI on the French TV channel M6, tonight.

Une maladie a fait son apparition depuis quelques années qui touche aussi bien les employés de bureau que les ouvriers: son nom, T.M.S, pour troubles musculo-squelettiques.

Ce soir (dimanche 6) dans Capital, sur M6

[Lien ajouté par moi-même.]

A regarder, ce soir, peut-être? Je rappelle l’existence de la liste de discussion TMS-RSI, pour ceux qui se sentiraient concernés.