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: twitter

Hello, my name is Nicolas and I am a Xennial (apparently)

On Twitter, Ian Dunt started this thread about generation X and millennials. The second tweet of the thread caught my eye:

My lot – born 82 – never really got a name. I know we're technically millennials, just about, but we're not really. Fuck I never heard that word until it referred to people who were plainly young than me.

And then Mike Hall quoted a definition of a word that was new to me, “Xennials”:

‘Xennials are described as having had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood’.

Obviously the generation you are part of depends not only on the year you were born, but also where you grow up, the average income of your household, how “open” your parents were towards new technologies, &c.

Knowing all this, of what generation am I exactly, looking through the technology glass?

I was born in 84, so I am technically part of gen Y, a millenial by the book. I believe I had an ordinary childhood for a French kid. My mother was very open when it came to watching movies and shows on TV, or playing video games. But when it came to the questions of computers and the internet, my home was very much stuck in the eighties, probably more for financial reasons than open-mindedness, but still. Exhibit A: I perfectly remember watching hours of Dragon Ball Z on a black and white TV, that had a dial for changing channels, no remote; that must have been the year 92 or 93.

I got my first “real” computer when I was already 20, and we got the internet at home a few months after. I got my first mobile phone when I was 18 – right after my high school years – which later always made me feel left out in conversations seeing how the others millennials – my coworkers, my friends – were already using Facebook like crazy at the university, and spent their time in middle school texting their classmates. My memories are quite different than theirs.

When I did not feel like an old millennial, I felt like a very young member of the gen X. My former flatmate, who was only three years older than me, was definitely part of the gen X, judging by his still-growing collection of DVDs. At that time, not owning a TV made me feel part of the younger generation.

I guess I am indeed a Xennial, perfectly in-between gen X and gen Y. It does not mean much, but it feels good to have a word that translates my life experience so well.

Now the question is: How are people between boomers and gen X called? Xoomers? Booxers? And what about young millennials who feel part of the gen Z? Zillennials?

This attempt at defining generations reminds me of the “back cover” of the great book The End of Absence, by Michael Harris:

Soon enough, nobody will remember life before the Internet. What does this unavoidable fact mean? For future generations, it won’t mean anything very obvious. They will be so immersed in online life that questions about the Internet’s basic purpose or meaning will vanish. But those of us who have lived both with and without the crowded connectivity of online life have a rare opportunity. We can still recognize the difference between Before and After.

Highly recommended read.

Time, thoughts, tools: pick two

The last few days, I discovered a few new tools or platforms from which you can publish blog entries (hat tip to Dense Discovery for most of them). Small Victories, Listed, Blot… All three platforms aim to make blogging easier than ever: by pluging themselves on top of the tools you already use. Whether it is through Dropbox folders or the Simple Notes app, they all seem Template-based and hassle-free. If you are on the newsletter bandwagon, your Substack archive can also be used as a blog.

All of this is probably a good sign that blogging is thriving, or needs to thrive again in the age of platforms (looking at you, Medium.)

Along with the magnificent Squarespace (or Kirby, or even Svbtle which I used before), it probably has never been easier to publish on your own blog. The days of setting up a WordPress just for a personal blog seem over, and I have not seen anyone using MarsEdit for ages.

If this is a golden age for blogs, then why has this one not been updated since February ? As Carl Barenbrug says, well, on his own blog, Twitter may be the culprit :

Although we are starting to see a new wave of blogging, many people use Twitter as a means to express themselves. I still use Twitter, so I can see some value in this platform, particularly to make personal and professional connections through common interests, or to simply share something I like. However, Twitter is also a tool that encourages negative, impulsive, and ill-considered behaviour. It doesn’t really keep our minds healthy—much like all social media—in the sense that we are constantly looking to see who has responded or engaged with what we have published.

When I see something interesting, rather than saving it, digesting it, deciding whether it should appear on the blog or Twitter, I tend to just tweet or retweet right away. Maybe it is lazyness, maybe it is the need to be among the firsts, but time management has become the hardest part of blogging.

"What if viral content is not the best content?"

Interesting take from The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal, published a few months ago:

But what if viral content isn’t the best content? Two Wharton professors have found that anger tops the list of shareable emotions in the social-media world, and a study of the Chinese internet service Weibo found that rage spreads faster than joy, sadness, and disgust. In general, emotional appeals work well, as everyone in media has come to discover.

Of course popular, viral content is rarely the best content. Just like the most popular show on TV is rarely the best show.

I like Madrigal's take on retweets: turning them off to avoid these viral, spontaneous shares of content not worthy of your precious time. But it seems a bit too much: Not all retweets can be simply reduced to low-quality content.

I prefer my way of turning the noise down: Follow a limited number of people (100 in my case), and turn off retweets for about half of them, from time to time. I find it to be a good compromise.

MacBook or Mac Pro? Which will be the first Mac to fully run on Apple processors?

Dan Moren, writing for Macworld, and asking when Apple will start the switch from Intel processors in its Macs, and more specifically, whether the MacBook or the next Mac Pro would be the first to fully run on Apple processors:

So where in this mix does the Mac Pro fit? Well, it could represent a whole new way of Apple doing things, and isn’t that what you want out of one of your flagship machines? Especially one aimed at a segment of the market that tends to be envelope-pushers.

I admit, it may be a less likely scenario than the MacBook, especially from a standpoint of performance. While the recent benchmarks of the new iPad Pro’s A12X chip have put it in the neighborhood of Apple’s high-end Macs for certain tasks, there’s a question of whether it can deliver the kind of performance people expect from a machine that is all about performance. Then again, maybe Apple has a surprise up its sleeve there, too.

If Apple processors are not hold back by power-efficiency and the heat/size constraints of a mobile phone or a tablet, I wonder what level of performance they may be able to reach.

Last April I tweeted that the rumoured new Mac Pro's delay may be explained by Apple really wanting to unveil it equiped with its own in-house processors, at least as an option. I still hope I was right, but I have to agree with Moren: the MacBook looks way more plausible as the first Mac running on a A12 or A-something chip.

In hindsight, it is truly remarkable what Apple has achieved with its in-house chips in just a few years. The benchmarks of the new iPad Pro must have caused a lot of tremors inside Intel's headquarters. Kudos to Anil Dash who called it years ago.

My phone's homescreen, November 2018 edition

Since my homescreen has pretty much stayed the same in the last couple of months – despite a few changes of phones and Android versions 1  – I figured I would share what has been one of the most stable digital setup for me.

Sixteen apps are living on my homescreen: three rows of four, and the bottom four apps. The other apps are on other screens, sometimes grouped in folders, sometimes not. The bottom four obviously stay on every screen.

The bottom four are, from left to right: Signal (which double as my SMS app), WhatsApp (my main messaging app), Tidal, AntennaPod.

The "top twelve" are, in no particular order: Instapaper, Readably (RSS reader that syncs with Feedbin), The Guardian, Mediapart, DuckDuckGo (which doubles as my main browser), Dropbox Paper (as of today, my main writing/notes app), Twitter, Fastmail, VSCO, Lightroom CC (mostly to back up my photos, since I use VSCO to edit them on the phone), the preinstalled photo gallery app, and the phone's default camera app.

I could add Hello Weather to the list, since it has an ongoing notification displaying the weather forecast at all times, and also Fleksy, my favourite keyboard on Android 2 .

Since this setup is never quite finished, or balanced, we will see what it will look like in a few weeks. Here you can see what my homescreen looks like.


  1. In 2018 I used: EMUI (Huawei P9), Oxygen OS (OnePlus 5T), briefly Android One (Xiaomi Mi A1), and currently MIUI (Xiaomi Mi 8) ↩︎

  2. Mostly for the reasons that it has an option for maintaining the key buttons as capital letters, and it allows me to switch the font of the keys from Roboto to Helvetica, as you should. ↩︎︎

On blogging every single day

Austin Kleon, on his, well, blog:

I had forgotten how wonderful blogging is as a mode of thinking. Blogging is, for me, more about discovering what I have to say, and tweeting more about having a thought, then saying it the right way. It’s also great to be able to go as long or as short as you want to go.

He perfectly said what I think, so I simply quoted Kleon here, even if his quote explicitely is about discovering what you have to say and write it with your own words…

Since November 1st I do my best to update this blog every single day. It is not easy 1 . I spend a lot of time at work, I try to learn Russian a little every day, I walk, I sleep, and I try to relax a little also 2 . It doesn't leave much time for properly reading articles, let alone writing about the most intriguing ones I come across.

This excellent piece by Austin Kleon, A few notes on daily blogging, which I read at the time, was always in my head when I was thinking of doing the same. Not for traffic, not for recognition, but for myself. For the exercice of writing. I consider it like brain-gym. Writing is for me the best way to refine thoughts and see things in a better light, and I, too, have been pretty frutrated lately with social media and the overwhelming effects of the various timelines.

Hopefully I will manage to stay on schedule. Hopefully I will be proud of the links shared here, and the written comments left with them. My Instapaper list is filled with articles I read, or saved, and found interesting enough, and I can't wait to share it with you through a good old blog.


  1. And it only has been one week! ↩︎

  2. Usually it means watching a show on Netflix (Hilda is highly recommended by the way), or a movie on Canal+ (I log all the films I watch on Letterboxd and you should join and do the same). ↩︎

"Live the internet at your own pace"

Manu Moreale, on why he is getting rid of feeds in his digital routine:

I don’t want to live a life where “staying up to date” is a priority. I don’t need that. I don’t need to always know what’s going on everywhere and with everyone. And neither do you (probably). Which doesn’t mean that I stopped reading or listening to what people have to say. I still enjoy reading good blog posts and listening to great podcast episodes. It simply means that I’m no longer subscribed to their feeds.

I see his point, but it implies that feeds have to be read now, and that unread counters have to be down to zero.

I have the opposite approach : I use feeds for most things (RSS, Twitter, newsletter) – even for YouTube channels I use RSS – but I don't mind an unread counter; from time to time I just mark everything as read. I prefer feeds because it is a centralised way of following topics I care about and minds I value. Feeds are a way for me to not wander too much. I have a few websites that I keep checking via direct access, but mostly because of their superior homepage.

I join Moreale on his conclusion though :

Good content is rarely time sensitive. You don’t need to consume it NOW. Take your time, live the internet at your own pace.

Exactly. That is also why I don't follow too many people on Twitter, I don't subscribe to too many podcasts, etc. Same goal, different ways.

Elon Musk, closer than ever to become a typical Bond villain

An interesting – to say the least – article about Elon Musk by Erin Biba, following his dumb tweets from last week, and him calling "BS" the work of a nanotechnology researcher named Upulie Divisekera (because he is now a nanotech expert apparently):

I was concerned that Musk doesn’t realize the broader impact of his lashing out. With every criticism lobbed at a journalist, (or a scientist), Musk reinforces the growing public mistrust of essential institutions seeded by the Donald Trump wing of the GOP. And, though the Tesla co-founder later clarified that he believes some nanoscience is legitimate, the downstream result of his original tweet is that Divisekera has spent days defending her science and explaining why it’s legitimate.

I could not agree more and I'm glad Biba points it out. I told before that I believe Musk knows what he is doing: delegitimizing voices of authority for his own benefits. Journalists' voices when it comes to the coverage of Tesla's workers wishes of unionization, and maybe now scientists' work because it gives him some extra science cred among his fans?

Biba adds:

We need to make these men look at themselves and recognize the true scope of their power and the RESPONSIBILITY TO HUMANITY that comes with it.

Indeed, Musk's recent tweets are either irresponsible, dumb, or malevolent.