Double imposition! [fr]

[en] So, it seems that my income from the consulting gig with the-company-which-will-not-yet-be-named will be taxed twice: in the US (30%) and in Switzerland. Does this sound normal to you? Any (legal) ideas for not losing half my income in taxes are welcome.

Je viens de raccrocher avec les impôts. J’appelais pour un renseignement, au sujet d’un mandat qu’on me propose aux Etats-Unis (pour un client dont certain d’entre vous ont entendu parler, mais qui ne sera pas nommé ici). En effet: où allais-je payer mes impôts? 30% aux Etats-Unis, ou bien les impôts “normaux” ici?

Réponse: puisque je vais travailler sur place, **je serai imposée deux fois** — ainsi va la convention de taxation entre les Etats-Unis et la Suisse. Bon, ils sont gentils quand même, hein, en Suisse ils ne m’imposeront que sur ce qu’il restera une fois que les Etats-Unis auront pris leur part de gâteau.

Si quelqu’un connaît un moyen (légal bien sûr!) de ne pas voir la moitié de mon revenu pour ce mandat partir en impôts, je suis preneuse.

**Mise à jour 12h40:** Après téléphone avec mon comptable, il semble que la situation soit la suivante: je paie les impôts aux Etats-Unis, puis la Suisse calculera un impôt global sur tout mon revenu à la fin de l’année, et déduira de ce que j’ai à payer ce que j’ai déjà payé (les fameux 30%) aux Etats-Unis. Donc, pas si dramatique. Au pire, la Suisse n’acceptera de déduire que ce que j’aurais payé d’impôts ici sur le même montant (donc peut-être 17%, 20%, que sais-je), et j’aurai donc payé 30% sur cette tranche (mais je ne vais pas devoir payer encore). Par contre, je devrai payer l’AVS. Ça, c’est si j’ai bien tout compris… Ah oui! Et il n’y a pas de convention de double imposition avec les Etats-Unis globalement, c’est état par état!

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Lettre signature: pas d'accusé de réception [fr]

[en] I just learned that the signature lettre I sent to France (a client who isn't paying me) will not allow me to know if it's been received or not: tracking stops at the border. I should have sent a letter with a delivery receipt. Guess all I have to do now is send the letter again.

Vilaine surprise tout à l’heure à la poste: une lettre signature, envoyée vers la France, ne me donne pas la possibilité de savoir si le destinataire a signé pour la recevoir. (J’ai un client français qui ne paie pas et reste muet face à mes mails, donc avant de sortir l’artillerie lourde je désire quand même avoir l’assurance qu’il a bien eu de mes nouvelles.)

Une lettre signature, en Suisse, permet maintenant de savoir si elle a été reçue par le destinataire. Si le destinataire est en France, par contre, le suivi s’arrête à la frontière. J’étais un peu surprise: le principe de la lettre signature n’est-il pas de pouvoir savoir si le destinataire l’a effectivement reçue? Eh non. La lettre signature permet simplement de faire des recherches si elle n’arrive pas à destination.

Pour être certain que votre mauvais payeur hors de Suisse a bien reçu votre ultime sommation, il vous faut donc demander un accusé de réception, qui coûte trois francs de plus.

Super. Je vais pouvoir aller renvoyer ma lettre.

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Google Reader: I'm Officially Pissed Off [en]

[fr] Trouvé la source des pubs pop-up: les extraits de ma page de "diffusion de billets" Google Reader. Je suppose qu'il y a des trous et que les pubs s'y glissent.

***Update 28.10.06:** [Fixed.](http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2006/10/bug-swatting.html)*

First, excuse the strong language. Second, note that I’ve removed my latest [shared items](http://www.google.com/reader/shared/09081754150283874260) from the sidebar.

Why did I do such a thing, if [I love the sharing feature of Google Reader](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/10/13/i-might-be-switching-to-google-reader/) so much?

I did it because I finally identified the culprit in the [mystery of the pop-up ads on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/10/21/pop-up-window-on-ctts-totally-weird/). Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen: the little piece of code I had added to [display the headlines of my latest shared posts](http://www.google.com/help/reader/sharing.html#clip).

Now, I suspect this isn’t something Google did by design. I mean, I don’t suspect Google of wanting to display pop-up ads on any page which uses this kind of “clip” (that’s what they call it). However, I do suspect that there is a hole in their code somewhere that allows ads to creep in.

Google Reader people: this would probably be worth fixing.

Thanks again to [LLoyd](http://foolswisdom.com/~lloyd/wordpress/) who drew my attention to the pop-up and [Chris](http://zumbrunn.com/mochazone/) who assisted me in narrowing down the problem.

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Rob Levin (lilo) of Freenode Just Died [en]

[fr] Rob Levin, fondateur du réseau IRC freenode (plus connu sous son pseudo lilo) est mort des suites d'un accident de la route.

I’ve just received [news of Rob Levin’s death (lilo on freenode)](http://www.chatmag.com/news/091606_rob_levin.html) when logging on after coming back home from a surprise evening I’ll tell you about later, given the circumstances. Needless to say I’m pretty shaken.

I’d never actually met Rob, of course. But I remember many conversations with him on freenode — about nickname issues, about [freenode](http://freenode.net/ “The IRC network which is my main online residence.”) and the underlying concept of community it was built on, about leaving New Orleans before Katrina arrived. He was somebody I always enjoyed chatting with, and I was always amazed at how he would take time for small issues like my nickname problems. He struck me as nice, patient and understanding for the little I knew him.

As [founder of freenode](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Levin), he was of course an important person to me. Freenode is a place which lies at the center of my online social life. But more than that to me, he was also simply a person I chatted with every now and again and really appreciated. I’m going to miss him.

I’m doing something I usually tell people not to do: publish stuff when emotions are fresh. My excuses therefore, if I sound a bit rambling or whatever — but there’s just no way I can just head for bed right now as I was planning to do when I got home. Hopefully writing this here will help me accept what has happened and feel a little less sick.

Bye, lilo. My thoughts are with your family and friends. You will be very much missed.

Related:






– and

– (with IRC transcript)


– (transcript)

– click on the tags below for more and latest news

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Vive les jours de lessive! [fr]

[en] Venting a bit because of the really lousy way laundry stuff is organised in my block. I was told yesterday evening that I had to share my laundry day (today!) with a neighbour. That leaves us enough time to get organised, doesn't it?

J’ai vécu dans deux immeubles, et à chaque fois le chapitre “lessive” a été une véritable galère. Dans mon immeuble actuel, les jours de lessive tombent de façon irrégulière environ toutes les deux semaines et demie (c’était toutes les trois semaines ou plus pendant très longtemps, mais je crois que mon ancienneté me vaut à présent un peu moins d’attente).

Donc, des fois la lessive c’est le lundi, des fois c’est le vendredi, des fois c’est le mercredi, des fois c’est le samedi… etc. Ça change tout le temps. Facile, donc, quand on est un peu tête-en-l’air comme moi, d’oublier que c’est son jour de lessive.

D’autant plus que le système fonctionne ainsi: si j’ai la lessive le mardi, on me donne la clé au plus tard le lundi à 19h (mais si j’ai de la chance, je la reçois peut-être à 16h!) et je peux déjà commencer la lessive le soir même. Mais pas de lessive après 20h, quand même, c’est le réglement! Le lendemain matin, possibilité de faire la lessive dès 7h, mais attention, à 19h au plus tard la clé doit être dans la boîte au lettres de la concierge pour le client suivant!

Vous l’aurez compris, si vous bossez et que vous rentrez chez vous vers 18h, vous l’avez dans l’os. Heureusement, ça n’a pas été mon cas longtemps (juste quand je bossais chez Orange à Bienne). Ensuite, bien sûr, il y a toutes les fois où la lessive tombe justement sur *le* jour chargé, celui où on ne peut pas rentrer, le jour du départ en vacances (ou justement pendant les 3 jours où on est loin)… Bref, c’est pas marrant.

Aujourd’hui, c’est mon jour de lessive. Dans le cadre de mes efforts d’organisation, j’ai noté à l’avance les jours afin de ne plus les oublier bêtement. Donc, je savais que ce vendredi était mon jour de lessive, et ça tombait rien, pas d’obligations horaire avant le judo à 18h (pour autant que [mes mains](http://climbtothestars.org/tms/) ne me fassent pas trop mal pour y aller).

Hier soir, alors que je partais pour la soirée, je tombe par hasard sur ma concierge, qui me rappelle gentiment que demain est mon jour de lessive (comme j’avais oublié la dernière fois). Je la rassure que cette fois, oui, j’avais noté. Et elle ajoute: “Alors vous vous arrangerez avec Mme F., parce que vous partagez avec elle, l’autre machine n’est toujours pas réparée!”

Pardon?!

Nous avons maintenant droit à un demi-jour de lessive, et on me dit le soir d’avant (qui n’est pas vraiment le soir d’avant, si vous regardez plus haut comment ça fonctionne, c’est en fait le début de mon “tour”) qu’il faut que je m’organise avec l’autre locataire pour le partage de la machine? Et si au lieu d’avoir la journée de libre, je n’avais que 3h en rentrant du travail pour faire toutes mes lessives, et elle aussi?

Machine à laver en panne Mais non, j’étais censée savoir, parce qu’il y a encore un mot sur la deuxième buanderie disant que la machine est en panne. C’est vrai que je passe chaque semaine voir où ça en est ces réparations. Et j’aurais dû en déduire que je devrais partager le jour de lessive de quelqu’un, c’est logique. Pas comme ma dernière lessive “partagée” où la concierge est venue me dire si j’arrivais à me débrouiller avec seulement le matin pour cause de machine en panne. Non, ça change de système et on ne me prévient pas!

Inutile de vous préciser (vous l’aurez compris) que j’aurais volontiers arraché la tête à ma pauvre concierge. Je me suis énervée, j’ai râlé (pas très utile, je sais, mais après presque une vie entière à réprimer l’expression de sa colère, on fait comme on peut), et (plus constructif) je lui ai demandé de me donner ce genre d’informations un peu plus à l’avance, tentant d’expliquer que c’était un peu à la der’. Impossible de faire passer le message. Ça tourne en rond. J’étais prévenue, parce qu’il y avait le mot sur la porte de la buanderie.

Bref, en partant de chez moi, j’ai profité du relatif isolement que m’offrait ma voiture sur la Rte de Cery pour insulter copieusement le monde entier (y compris la responsable du “système de lessive” que je subis depuis six ans). Ah! Ça fait du bien!

Ce matin, à 9h, on sonne à la porte. J’émerge du demi-sommeil aux rêves bien vifs dans lesquels je préparais le code HTML pour l’intégration de vidéos dans mes billets (sans rire). C’est vrai, je ne suis pas très matinale. Je vous le donne en mille: qui est à ma porte?

Non, pas le voisin aux croissants, pour ceux qui connaissent l’histoire. Ma concierge.

“Alors, euh, il faut que vous fassiez la lessive ce matin, parce que Mme F. a congé cet après-midi.”

Je grommelle quelque chose, lui dis au revoir, et vais voir ma tête à la salle de bains. Bleurk, vraiment pas réveillée. Mais quand y faut, y faut.

Je viens de passer ma matinée à faire lessive sur lessive, et je dois encore sortir la dernière. J’adore. Grmph.

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Sur l'arrière-train! [fr]

[en] Just got a commercial letter from IKEA using the informal "tu" instead of "vous", and am frankly quite shocked. I use "tu" very easily and tend to prefer it to "vous", but we're so use to associating "vous" to official mail that this looks very much out of place.

J’ouvre à l’instant le courrier d'[IKEA](http://www.ikea.com/ms/fr_CH/) accompagnant ma nouvelle carte Family. Quel choc!

On me tutoie durant toute la lettre.

Que ce soit clair: j’ai le tutoiement (trop) facile. En règle générale, je suis bien plus à l’aise dans les milieux où l’on se tutoie. Par exemple, sur internet, ça me fait vraiment bizarre quand on ne me tutoie pas.

Mais la lettre d’IKEA me choque carrément. On a tellement l’habitude que le vousoiement (oui, vous avez bien lu, c’est un régionalisme auquel je tiens) soit de rigueur dans la correspondance commerciale que là, ça fait franchement surréaliste.

Et vous savez quelle a été ma première réaction (spot sur les stéréotypes et autres idées reçues à la noix)? “Rah, ces germanophones! ça passe peut-être en Suisse Allemande, ce genre de truc, mais ça se voit bien que c’est pas un francophone du coin qui a validé cette lettre!” Si ça se trouve, je suis totalement à côté de la plaque…

Vous avez aussi récemment reçu votre nouvelle carte Family, avec tutoiement en prime? Qu’en avez-vous pensé, chers lecteurs?

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Dear Apple [en]

[fr] Lettre ouverte à Apple. Trois mois et demie depuis la panne de mon ibook et toujours pas de MacBook commandé depuis deux mois, ça commence à suffir.

Dear Apple,

I told you again more than six months ago [how much I loved my ibook](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/82650099/). Ever since [my ibook moved in with me](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/04/04/ibooked/), I’ve become such an enthusiastic Apple user that my dad makes fun of me. I’ve turned my back on over a decade of faithful Windows use and even started [recommending you to my friends](http://steph.wordpress.com/2006/01/05/get-an-ibook/). Over the last two years, a whole bunch of them have bought ibooks — or are now buying MacBooks.

A bit over a year ago the first cloud interrupted my honeymoon with my ibook. The [motherboard died and I spent 6 weeks without it while it got repaired](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/05/19/my-ibook-is-back/). I was glad I had given in and paid the “Apple Tax” (also known as “AppleCare”), because the motherboard died just about a year after I had bought my shiny new ibook.

Even though this had taken a long time, and there [wasn’t any French speech recognition software for OSX](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/08/08/reconnaissance-vocale-pour-osx/), my ibook was pretty, and I still loved it, so I was not shy to [let myself be photographed with it to illustrate interviews I gave](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/ibook/).

Six months later I had to [replace my power cable](http://steph.wordpress.com/2005/11/24/six-down-one-to-go/). But I still loved OSX and my ibook was still pretty, so my dad had many an occasion to continue making fun of me because I was loyal to you. 🙂

This year, though, all hell has broken loose. If I’ve told you the beginning of my story, Apple dear, it’s because I want you to know how enthusiastic a switcher I have been, and that I understand nobody’s perfect and can also forgive that.

[In February my beloved ibook started freezing.](http://steph.wordpress.com/2006/02/16/done/) OK, maybe the hard drive was a bit full. Sometime durin gthe month of March the frightening “failing motherboard” symptoms reappeared, so I gave my [favourite Apple retailer](http://www.memoirevive.ch/) my ibook for a transplant. A couple of weeks later, my ibook was back home, but it didn’t take long for [things to go really really wrong](http://steph.wordpress.com/2006/04/09/broken-ibook/).

At that point, my darling ibook had worked it’s way through at least 3 motherboards, and the hard drive was going belly-up too. The shop took it back in for repairs, and at the same time I tried to see if I could get an exchange.

Well, things haven’t gone too bad: my ibook was repaired (after you sent the repair shop a defective hard drive, if my memory serves me right), but then there was a problem with the wifi card connection. Around that time it seemed like you were going to accept to replace my broken ibook, even though you would only give me the bottom-line product instead of a customized equivalent to the setup I had.

When you [surprised us with the MacBook](http://www.apple.com/macbook/), the shop agreed that if I ordered one, they would take back the new ibook I would have received and charge me the difference. Seemed like pretty good deal. On May 22nd, I finally ordered my shiny new MacBook through the shop.

Things already seemed to be moving slowly back then, but looking back, the worst was yet to come.

First, one of your representatives finally got in touch to organise the pick-up of my old ibook for the exchange. She insisted that they could only pick up my ibook at my home, during office hours. Excuse me? Apple, I know I’m a teacher (well, I was back then) and that teachers are at home all the time, but I do lead a busy life. Plus, the ibook was still at the shop (had been there for over 6 weeks), so I would have had to go to town during the shop opening hours, pick up my ibook, and then stay at home (?) one day for you to pick it up. Sorry, Apple, but do you really expect your customers to be at home during office hours? Somebody needs to review this exchange process.

Lucky for me, I have a good relationship with the store manager (given the number of hours we spent discussing my ibook problems, it was kind of inevitable). He managed to arrange for the pickup to take place at the shop. Then we lost a week (?) or so because for some reason, nobody came to pick up the ibook once everything had been arranged. Oh well.

Last week, I dropped into the store and was greeted with good news. The replacement MacBook for my ibook had arrived. Neat! But what about my “real” replacement, the customized MacBook we had ordered two months ago? Still nothing.

To this day, the last news I have is “not before next week”. I won’t hold my breath, though. “Not before” isn’t very encouraging.

So you see, Apple, I’ve done my job as an enthusiastic switcher and Apple evangelist amongst my friends, and [even in the local press through photographs like this one](http://steph.wordpress.com/2006/01/16/should-i-bill-apple-for-this/):

Photoshoot Coopération 6

I’ve been patient through my (many) trials, but this is just starting to be too much. I’ve been without my laptop since April 9th, the day it broke down. Today? July 26th. That’s three months and a half. That’s way too long. Not to mention my dad is really having fun poking at my Apple-love now.

So, dear Apple — I’m aware you’re having trouble delivering customized MacBooks or something, and I know you probably can’t do much in my particular case. But maybe — maybe — you could work a bit on making things a little less painful for faithful AppleCare’d customers?

Thanks for listening. Thanks for caring.

Yours still,

Stephanie

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About the Swiss Blog Awards (SBAW) [en]

[fr] Un compte-rendu des problématiques que je vois liées à cette histoire de Swiss Blog Awards (pour mémoire: pas de nominations romande, tessinoise, ou romanche). Je suis fâchée que les organisateurs rejettent la faute sur les blogueurs romands et n'admettent pas qu'il y a un problème dans la façon dont la communication a été menée autour de cet événement, ainsi que dans la manière dont les nominations ont été faites.

Cependant, je tiens à noter que je n'encourage personne à boycotter l'événement, au contraire. Je crois qu'il est crucial qu'il y ait une présence romande à Bienne vendredi. Faites connaissance avec les gens. Si vous avez envie que les SBAW de l'an prochain soient plus équitables, impliquez-vous, faites des propositions d'autres méthodes aux organisateurs. Je ne soutiens pas non plus la demande faite aux sponsors de retirer leur soutien, et je ne souhaite pas non plus voir qui que ce soit du comité d'organisation se retirer.

Si je n'ai pas accepté de faire part de l'organisation des SBAW, c'est premièrement parce que je n'étais pas libre, et que lorsque la demande m'a été faite, les choses étaient bien en train, et que j'aurais eu un peu le sentiment de jouer le rôle de Romande-alibi. Qu'est-ce qui aurait pu être fait côté organisation pour rendre cet événement plus populaire en Suisse Romande?

*Note: this blog post was dictated, so if you see things that don’t make sense, try reading them out loud and let me know.*

I left [quite a few comments](http://cocomment.com/comments/steph/sbaw/) here and there on the issue of the Swiss blog awards. For those of you checking in now, the fact that aside from one English language blog, only German-speaking language blogs were nominated for this award is creating [quite a stir](http://www.cocomment.com/tag/sbaw) around here. It is a touchy issue, and people on both sides are getting angry and/or taking things personally — me included, to some extent. Over the last couple of days, I have seen my position on this issue misrepresented, and I would like to set the record straight and clarify some of my opinions on what is going on.

### I’ve kept my comments public

First of all, let’s say it loud and clear:

– I am not encouraging people to boycott the event, [on the contrary](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/2006/04/28/occasions-sociales-fondues-et-autres-amenagements/#comment-97);
– I do not support the [request made to sponsors to withdraw their support](http://politique.bleublog.ch/politique-federale/aux-principaux-sponsors-des-swiss-blogs-awards.html);
– I do not want anybody to step down;
– I am doing my best to be constructive, even though this whole affair annoys me tremendously.

In addition to that, I would like to stress that I have not held any private conversations about all this since the stir began, aside from forwarding [Bruno](http://giussani.typepad.com/)’s suggestion that the Bloggy Friday be held in Biel to [Anne Dominique](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/), who is [taking over Bloggy Friday](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/2006/04/28/occasions-sociales-fondues-et-autres-amenagements/) for this month as [I cannot be there](http://cafecafe.ch/concerts/cheserex/), and a chat this morning with one of the organisers. Everything I had to say was said in public. In particular, since I was asked that precise question, I am not the one who [reminded Bruno about the unfortunate LIFT episode](http://giussani.typepad.com/loip/2006/04/swiss_blog_awar_1.html).

The closest I got to expressing an opinion on what was going on in private was in the response I sent to Bruno last night, still on the topic of encouraging French-speaking Swiss bloggers to be present in Biel on Friday. For the sake of transparency, I’m reproducing my response here. It also pretty much sums up where I stand.

> Yes, as I commented on AD’s post (no hyphen for her, btw), I also think it would be good for Romands to be there.

> As I expressed in my last comments on the subjects, I do feel that [[some organisers] are mainly blaming the bloggers for not having been nominated. I guess I’m taking it a bit personally because I was approached about
SBAW and (a) didn’t have the time for it and (b) didn’t really feel totally comfortable about the event (can’t pinpoint why, which is why I haven’t said this in public yet).

Now that this is out of the way, here are a few things I’d like to say about these awards and the whole mess.

### Some background information about me

As I — along with other French-speaking bloggers here in Switzerland — am being blamed for not having publicised the awards enough and not having encouraged my readers to go on and nominate me, here is a little information about my personality that I think is relevant to the issue.

I talk about things that I’m excited about. (Or that anger me…) This is especially true when it comes to promotion. It is not my habit to promote an event or a service just because a friend asked me to. So blaming me because I didn’t put a button on my site for the Swiss blog awards is beside the point: it’s blaming my personality.

Then, I don’t like awards. For me, they are inevitably flawed to some extent. Some less than others, but still. In 2003, [I won an award for “Best Swiss blog”](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/02/11/ce-soir-a-geneve-nuit-du-journal-intime/) in the French-speaking blogosphere. Why? Because I was pretty much the only Swiss blogger to hang out in the community gravitating around some of the organisers.

### Blog awards

When an award puts out a title like “Best Swiss blog”, it creates a certain number of expectations. For example, that more than one Swiss blog will be entering the contest. That the contestants will be more or less representative of Swiss blogs in general. That the award will be given with a certain degree of fairness. That the “best blog” is in a way “better” than the others in the same category, which translates into “better quality” for most people, unless clearly specified otherwise.

I find that this is not often the case. First of all, the pool of contestants is always in some way related to the people who organised the awards. Blogging functions like word-of-mouth, but with greater reach. Inevitably, the first people to know about it will be the organisers’ networks, and then in the networks of these people, etc. Then, what is being rewarded is not always quality. I agree with what [Pascal Rossini says](http://giussani.typepad.com/loip/2006/04/swiss_blog_awar.html#comment-16620460): quality and “bestness” is somewhere in the eye of the beholder. In the case of the Swiss Blog Awards, what is very explicitly being rewarded is [the ability to campaign and get as many people as possible to nominate you](http://swissblogawards.ch/2006/04/25/and-the-nominees-are-best-swiss-blog/#comment-794).

### I was approached to be part of SBAW

Here are some details about the last comment of mine in the e-mail reproduced above. I had known about the Swiss blog awards for some time, if my memory serves me right because Matt had talked to me about it. I was officially approached in February. Even though there were perfectly good reasons for which no French-speaking blogger was yet involved, the fact that it became a crucial problem so late, when the date for the awards was set, and most of the organisation was already done, did make it appear bit like an afterthought. I know it was not an afterthought, but still, the fact that organisation had got so far underway did make me feel like my presence in the organisation was desired only to promote the event over here and make it appear like it was not just a ” Swiss German thing”.

I should have raised the issue and clarified with the organisers at the time, and for that I plead guilty. However, I was in any case not available on the date of the awards, and my personal life was a mess (it often is), so I declined and left it at that.

### A Swiss blogosphere?

One of the goals behind the Swiss blog awards is to increase visibility of blogs and blogging in Switzerland, and also improve communication and networking inside the Swiss blogosphere. Improving communication inside the Swiss blogosphere is also one of the goals of the [blogerbosse list](http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bloggerbosse/). I approve of the goal, but I wouldn’t personally have chosen an award for that. A LIFT-like conference, but more Swiss-oriented than international-oriented, would have suited me better to adresse those issues.

I have my doubts about the viability of such a thing as the “Swiss blogosphere”. The borders on the Internet are linguistic. I learnt German at school, but are not comfortable enough with it to read German-language blogs. I stick to my mother tongues (plural, as I’m a strange bilingual animal), English and French. I have a foot in the French-speaking blogosphere, and the other one in the English-speaking blogosphere, but I really don’t have many clues as to what’s going on in all these German-speaking blogs. The Swiss-German blogosphere is almost as much a mystery to me as a Spanish-speaking blogosphere.

It would be interesting to have statistics describing which language blogs people read. I suspect that most people only read blogs in their mother tongue. A fair amount of people probably read blogs in English in addition to that. And then, I suspect we find a small number of brave or a bilingual people who go around reading blogs in other languages.

### Language barriers are even stronger online than offline

Language is an issue in Switzerland. French speakers are a linguistic minority here, and often have the feeling that the German-speaking part of the country ignores them. Funnily, we often forget that are part of this country speaks Italian, and yet another Romansch. I personally often wonder if French-speaking Switzerland isn’t culturally closer to neighbouring France then to more distant, German-speaking parts of the country, which are nevertheless part of the same political entity.

I know where this can make me sound as if I’m promoting the Röstigraben. I don’t want to encourage or promoted. But I think it’s there. Trying to pretend it isn’t there will not make the problem go away. Offline, Switzerland makes sense. We are held together by institutions and politics. We travel from one part of the country to another. We do our best to communicate with fellow citizens who have a different mother tongue, often using English in the process.

But online? What is there to “hold Switzerland together” in cyberspace? These are real questions. The “Swiss blogosphere” must exist because everybody wants it to. The media want to know things about “blogging in Switzerland”. Swiss bloggers want to feel they’re still Swiss when they’re in cyberspace. But how real is it? I think the “Swiss blogosphere” is a pretty artificial concept. That doesn’t mean I think it’s bad. On the contrary. But it means that we must not underestimate the difficulties we will face when we try to make something out of it.

### Publicizing via blogs still requires you to be active

The Swiss blog awards were supposed to be a bottom-up, grassroots event. I don’t think you can create that. Grassroots movements are unpredictable. If you want something to go in one direction, even if you are using the power of blogs to spread the word, you need to be active. In my opinion, letting the word spread on its own and then blaming people for not having picked it up when they complain is unfair.

In the case of the Swiss blog awards, hoping the word would spread through the French and Italian speaking parts of Switzerland with an all Swiss-German team communicating in English was wishful thinking. I know there was no evil the intent on the part of the organisers. I know they tried to get French-speaking people on board. But in my opinion, given the context I described above, having motivated and enthusiastic people from various parts of the country on the committee should have been a requirement before starting to design the awards.

If that is not how things happened, (and again, I’m aware there are valid reasons why it did not happen this way), then a massive communication effort was needed to get the word out another linguistic regions. It’s too easy to just say that [popular bloggers this side of the Sarine ignored the SBAW, while Swiss German A-listers promoted the event](http://swissblogawards.ch/2006/04/25/and-the-nominees-are-best-swiss-blog/#comment-853), and that therefore French or Italian speaking bloggers can just blame themselves for not being represented. Making sure the word spreads in the whole of Switzerland is the burden of the organisers of the **Swiss** blog awards.

### Why am I writing all this?

The main reason I’m writing this is that I’m annoyed. (I know this might not be the best reason to write on a topic, but here we are…) I’m annoyed that we the bloggers (the “candidates”) are being blamed that there are no French-speaking blogs among the nominees. I’m annoyed that I’m being suspected of trying to create trouble, of saying things behind people’s backs, of deliberately trying to make the awards fail, of encouraging people to boycott, and of wanting people to step down. None of this is true.

I’m annoyed that an event that was supposed to bring Swiss bloggers together is dividing them. If the organisers were willing to admit that the nomination design was flawed, and that the communication was badly handled, or that maybe including language-specific awards would have been a better idea, I think it could go a long way towards placating angry French-speaking bloggers. But no, if we are unhappy about not being present in the nominations, it’s our own fault. This kind of attitude is not helping keep the peace.

I’m also annoyed at myself, because from the beginning I had a vague feeling that this event was “too Swiss German”, and I had trouble seeing how it would be accepted and endorsed in this part of the country, but the feeling was too vague, I had other worries, and I didn’t say anything. Would it have changed anything if I had?

### What now?

I don’t have a miracle solution. I think bloggers who do not feel represented in the nominations should by no means boycott the award. Their displeasure has been heard, and there is an occasion in Biel to “meet the others”. Be there. Go to Biel on Friday. It’s much more important to be there now than it was before this whole mess broke out.

As for the organisers… I don’t really know what to suggest. I would have suggestions for things that could have been done earlier on, but I’m not sure they’re very useful to give now. What can still be done now, though, is what I suggested above. Accept your part of responsibility in how things turned out instead of blaming the bloggers for it. Start asking for suggestions *now* for how bloggers from linguistic minorities would organise the nominations so that everybody has an equal chance of being represented. Start prospecting *now* for French and Italian speaking bloggers who would like to be part of organising better Swiss blog awards for next year.

This will show angry bloggers that you already had to do things differently from the start next time, and that they have been heard. There is nothing worse for somebody who is angry than to hear: “let’s just sweep this under the carpet for the moment, and get on with the party, it’s your fault anyway.”

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Revue de presse pas si expresse [fr]

[en] Updated my press page. Complaint about the sorry state of some journal online archives and sites. La Liberté seems to get it right, though. All this smattered with early Sunday afternoon ramblings.

Tout d’abord, un grand bonjour aux lectrices et lecteurs de Femina qui passeraient par ici pour la première fois. Je vais être d’une originalité déconcertante en disant que j’espère que mon blog vous plaira. Si le technologie vous rebute et que vous préférez les photos, j’ai aussi [un certain nombre d’albums en ligne](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/).

N’hésitez pas à [laisser un commentaire pour me dire bonjour](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/02/19/revue-de-presse-pas-si-expresse/#respond “C’est par ici!”) — je vous promets, même si c’est la première fois ça ne fait pas mal.

Passons aux choses plus graves. J’ai mis à jour [la page presse](/about/presse) du mieux que j’ai pu. Je commence à me retrouver citée dans les journaux sans le savoir. C’est d’ailleurs [la deuxième fois](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/01/22/revue-de-presse/ “Voyez la première.”) que [Raph](http://bonpourtonpoil.ch/ “Flippy pour les intimes.”) me l’apprend — “(12:39) ah ben c’est ça, [la popularité](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/01/16/etre-madame-blogs/ “Quelques réflexions autour de ma croissante visibilité médiatique.”), machin”. Et dans le même ordre d’idées, Stéphane Le Solliec m’informait que mon nom figure dans [le dernier Joël de Rosnay](http://www.pronetariat.com/ “Avec un accent, quelle horreur!”)… Bref.

Si vous avez lu [dans La Liberté](http://www1.laliberte.ch/journal/jo_archives.cfm?vDest=chronoArtikel&id=235421 “Lire l’article”) que j’ai dit que la Suisse avait un net retard dans l’utilisation des blogs en politique… disons que je n’ai pas été aussi catégorique. J’ai plutôt dit quelque chose comme “euh… oui… ben [je disais il y a quelque temps qu’on était un peu à la traîne](http://www.lematin.ch/nwmatinhome/nwmatinheadactu/actu_suisse/blogs__les_romands.html “C’était dans Le Matin.”), mais là il me semble depuis quelques semaines qu’il y a vraiment des choses qui sont en train de démarrer, enfin ça bouge, donc on a un peu de retard, c’est clair, mais il me semble que c’est en train de changer…” Bref, moins catégorique. Et comme j’ai précisé à la journaliste, je ne suis vraiment pas une grande spécialiste du blog politique. Parce que moi et la politique… ça fait plus qu’un.

On notera en passant que [sur le site de La Liberté](http://www.laliberte.ch/), on peut faire des fouilles assez efficaces dans les

(http://www1.laliberte.ch/journal/jo_archives.cfm) (une fois qu’on a trouvé le minuscule lien dans la colonne de gauche). En utilisant la recherche par date, je trouve sans problème [toute la liste des articles “Régions” du 17.02.2006](http://www1.laliberte.ch/journal/jo_archives.cfm?vDest=chronoHeadlines&ausgabe=2006-02-17&ressort=Regions), par exemple. En mettant mon nom dans les mots-clés, on trouve deux articles — mais pas celui-ci, bizarrement? Donc, bravo La Liberté, c’est bien mieux que [d’autres que nous ne nommerons pas ici](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/01/01/quotidiens-romands/ “Catastrophe: archives en ligne de trois quotidiens romands.”)!

On notera également en passant (je vois bien que je suis incapable de publier quoi que ce soit “d’express”) que la romandie compte maintenant enfin une star blogueuse: [Marie-Thérèse](http://porchet.romandie.com/ “Le blog de Marie-Thérèse Porchet.”). J’ai voulu [ouvrir un blog chez Romandie.com](http://blogs.romandie.com/inscription.php “Formulaire d’inscription.”), pour voir, mais alors là … Un gros cactus, allez — vous avez vraiment envie de donner votre **adresse postale** quand vous ouvrez un blog, vous? Allez plutôt chez [WordPress.com](http://wordpress.com). Même si pour le moment c’est en anglais, il y a plein de blogs en français là -bas, c’est joli, il n’y a pas de pub, on vous demande juste une adresse e-mail pour vous inscrire, et c’est une super plate-forme. [Laissez l’adresse en commentaire](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/02/19/revue-de-presse-pas-si-expresse/#respond “Pour les commentaires, c’est par ici.”) si jamais vous décidez de vous lancer à l’instant, et j’irai jeter un oeil!

Je termine ce billet avec un autre gros cactus, pour Femina. Eh oui. (Rien à voir avec l’article, qui est très gentil et flatteur.) En allant chercher la version en ligne de l’article en question pour [ma collection](/about/presse/), j’ai vu que [le site de Femina avait été refait](http://www.femina.ch/ “Attention, intro Flash! Avec son!”). Peut-être il y a longtemps, je n’y vais pas souvent. Bon. Alors. D’abord, intro Flash avec son, non. On ne me donne même pas le choix d’y échapper. Et si j’étais en train d’écouter la radio pendant que je surfe, déjà ? Ou ma chanson préférée? Me flanquer du son dans les haut-parleurs de mon iBook sans me demander, c’est vraiment malpoli.

Ensuite, recherche d’articles. D’abord, [c’est tout en je-sais-pas-quoi-j’veux-pas-l’savoir](http://epaper.femina.ch/), et puis il faut s’inscrire avant de pouvoir voir quoi que ce soit. Au revoir, moi j’essaie même pas. C’est quoi le problème avec un bon vieux répertoire d’archives en HTML ([valide, si possible](http://pompage.net/ “Pour faire l’éducation standards web des webmasters qui en auraient besoin.”))? Je crois vraiment qu’il faut arrêter d’essayer à tout prix de rendre l’accès à l’information difficile…

Bonne fin de dimanche!

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Video Complaints [en]

[fr] Souvent pas facile de voir les jolies choses vidéo qu'on nous met à  disposition sur le web. Je me plains un peu.

Stupid user or balkanisation?

I’m listening to a (http://www.freestudios.tv/?cdroite=tablo_lift06). First of all I got a pop-up window which looked like a “go no further, you don’t have what it takes to view this” message. Actually, there’s a RealPlayer link in there. OK, cool. They have a partial podcast of the event, but I can’t open it in iTunes. What a shame!

At LIFT’06, I learnt that part of [Robert Scoble](http://scobleizer.wordpress.com “Microsoft’s official blogger.”)’s job is barging into people’s offices with a camcorder and saying “hi there, what do you do at Microsoft?” So I headed off to [Channel9](http://channel9.msdn.com/) to try and listen to some. My first impression upon landing on the site, I have to say, was “ew, what a mess! Where do I find Robert’s stuff in there?” OK, I found one: [Jenny Lam – Designing Experiences at Microsoft](http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=161254). Click, click. Launches VLC. Doesn’t work 🙁 Quicktime usually works. Ah, damn, Quicktime is an Apple thing, isn’t it?

Yep, I’m running OSX, Firefox, and I’m not exactly a Microsoft fan. I’ve been very positively impressed, though, from what I learnt that Microsoft was doing in the transparency department. Aren’t I precisely the kind of audience Channel9 could be interested in catering to? Make it easy for me, please 🙂

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