Some recent reading posted on 30 January 2018

I recently read a few books about poverty in the United States:

I do not plan to write a review of all these books since you can probably find some on but these books paint a very interesting picture of poverty, and were eye-opening about the situation in America.

Beside learning about (extreme) poverty and how it impacts people lifes, it was also a reminder about how lucky I have been in my life. While my parents were far from being rich, I grew up in a stable environement, with a loving family, a roof over my head and food on my plate.

If you have a few hours to kill, I would really recommend reading these books. You will likely see the world through a different lens after that.

Photos for French passport in the US posted on 26 January 2018

Just a quick post in case you are looking to take pictures in the USA that meet the requirements for French passports. You can simply go to Walgreen. Their software can select the requirements to meet for a French passport photo - and from what I saw, many more countries were available.

As far as I was told (after calling them), UPS and Fedex cannot take photos that match non US requirements.

Coute version française:

Vous pouvez faire des photos d’identité pour refaire un passport framçais à Walgreen. De ce que j’ai vu, ils peuvent faire des photos pour de nombreux pays. UPS et Fedex ne peuvent pas faire de photos aux normes françaises.

Firefox Focus, a brilliant use case posted on 19 August 2017

Mozilla recently announced Firefox Focus, a new lightweight browser that is the perfect fit for one off session. For example a friend just sent you an article and you want to be able to quicky read it.

  • Focus is shipped with a native ad blocker. Load the content you are looking for, not the ads.

  • Focus has a single screen, no tabs. This means a faster start up. There is no need for your phone to load unrelated tabs.

  • Focus clears cookies and history after each session. Again this means a fresh (e.g faster) start but more importantly you are less vulnerable to a whole set of attacks like CSRF attacks. No one can trick you into sharing an article on Facebook since you are not even logged in.

What I believe will make Focus successful is that it tries to solve a very specific yet common use case: quickly open a link or perform a search. You can also safely make it your default browser as once a page is open in Focus, you can easily switch to any other browser.

Grab it for Android or for iOS.

Convincing people takes time and effort posted on 12 August 2017

Convincing people takes time and effort. If you are not willing to be patient and understanding, your actions will likely have the opposite effect.

A few days ago, an engineer’s manifesto caused a uproar. People took to social media to give their opinion on the situation and many got into heated discussions. The main issue behind these is that social platforms (e.g Twitter) are not suited for healthy discussions - and in my opinion provide more harm than good.

People form their opinion on different topics over time - maybe their whole life. Tweeting them your opinion is not going to instantly change theirs. Calling them name or labeling them will not help and instead, polarizes people on the subject, making it harder to discuss and reason about it.

If one wants to spread awareness of a social issue and improve the situation, here are a few things that I wish people would do more:

  • Always be polite with others - insulting/labeling someone does not encourage healthy discussions.
  • Keep an open mind. You should approach others with an opinion that you are genuinely willing to change. You want to exchange ideas, not force yours or make the issue more polarized.
  • Try maybe to spend time with people face to face may be more effective, especially if you are talking about a social issue. Empathy is hard to communicate with a tweet/facebook post/etc.

I strongly believe that people are naturally good and that our society can improve as a whole and not as one side winning over the other.