The Jolly Teapot

Freshly brewed links, served by Nicolas Magand

My name is Nicolas Magand and I live in Paris, France. I work as a social media and engagement editor at the Global Editors Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting innovation and sustainability in the news industry. Here I blog mostly about tech and media, but many other topics can face my enthusiasm.

Filtering by Tag: china

If it looks good, it must sound good right?

Dan Nosowitz, writing for The Verge:

Online, the phenomenon is known as “Chi-fi” — a mashup of “Chinese” and “high-fidelity.” It’s usually used to refer to portable audio gear […] that come from essentially anonymous Chinese companies. […] The names of the companies are fluid, the prices are incredibly cheap, and the listings are bare bones or confusing. As a reasonable consumer, you assume that nothing priced at six dollars can possibly be good. But Chinese hi-fi offers the best possible version of that world. What if the brands were unknown and the prices bizarrely low — but the product was actually good?

I just love that this online shopping and enthusiasm for unknown Chinese hi-fi brands is named “Chi-fi.” Also – despite the fact that most of them are design rip-offs of MMCX earbuds from Shure or RHA – I love the minimal and industrial design of a few models: they look like tiny, beautiful spaceships.

When you think of a pencil, you probably picture it yellow: This is why

Another gem of a link that I discovred through Daniel Benneworth-Gray's newsletter Meanwhile. Gabrielle Hick, on Artsy, tells the origin story behind the colour yellow and pencils:

A number of pencil manufacturers, including Hardtmuth, now sourced their graphite from Siberia—the vast Russian province which shares borderland with China. That geographic proximity was key for Hardtmuth as it devised its marketing scheme.

In China, yellow had long been tied to royalty. The legendary ruler considered the progenitor of Chinese civilization was known as the Yellow Emperor; thus, centuries later in Imperial China only the royal family was allowed to wear yellow. Eventually, the shade came to represent happiness, glory, and wisdom.

Great story. I would love to see a list of products and the stories behind a particular colour or a specific shape; I can only think of blue jeans, white earbuds, and possibly the Laguiole knife. If you think of something, hit me up on Twitter.

European nations and their wish of not becoming "digital colonies"

Clothilde Goujard, writing for WIRED:

Although relatively novel, the concept of “digital sovereignty” can be roughly summarised as a country’s push to regain control over their own and their citizens’ data. On the military side, it includes the ability for a state to develop cybersecurity offensive and defensive capabilities without relying on foreign-made technology; on the economic side, it encompasses issues spanning from taxation of big tech to the creation of homegrown startups.

Seems a bit late for our governments to care about "digital sovereignty" when you look at the worlds of Google, Facebook, WeChat, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and how Europe has been lagging behind for years. How many of the big tech companies are European today? How many European companies will be part of that group in the next 10, 20 years?

Refusing to become a "digital colony" is one thing – and a totally reasonable thing to be concerned about – but switching the governent's default search engine from Google to Qwant is the digital equivalent of switching from semi-skimmed milk to skimmed milk for your morning coffee in your overall diet: It may make you feel better at the start of a new day, and… that's pretty much it.

Video of outer-Shanghai shows an infinity of buildings

Last week I came accross this video posted on Twitter by James O'Malley, showing what the outskirts of Shanghai looked like between two train stations. As O'Malley describes it:

If you've ever wondered how China has room for 1.3bn people… this is how.

You have to watch it to believe it, but is it both fascinating and kind of shocking. Shocking in the sense that I know we are only seeing the tip of an iceberg here, and the scale of this city landscape is just remarkable.

US intelligence mentions risks of buying Chinese phones, provides no evidence

Matthew Miller, writing for ZDNet

The US intelligence chiefs first referenced US government employees and state agencies in the briefing, but then they expanded concerns to private citizens and recommended we not use products from Huawei and ZTE. As a US military veteran and man who bleeds red, white, and blue, I'm willing to give up on such products — provided there is actual evidence of nefarious activity. So far, none has surfaced.

Regardless of what is happening with ZTE, Donald Trump, and the US right now (unsurprisingly it is a big mess), the last sentence of that quote is intriguing to say the least.

Maybe the evidence will come later. Maybe the US intelligence doesn't feel it needs to share this evidence with the public. Maybe they just don't have any. I wonder how it will impact brands like Lenovo (who owns Motorola), and OnePlus.