samedi 2 août 2008


I have just found this amusing quotation by Alice Thomas Ellis that I would like to share:

"There is no reciprocity. Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters."

I don't know whether that's true, but it's funny!

jeudi 31 juillet 2008

Diary: Job: +1, Apartment: +1, Girlfriend: -1


I don't know whether this is obvious or not, but I borrowed the idea for the title from a movie. Which one, that is the question!

The answer is: Bridget Jones, the Edge of Reason. I got to watch this movie again a few weeks ago, and at the end, Bridget ponders on what happened to her in the past year, and it goes something like this "boyfriend: 1, lesbian kiss: 1, got arrested: 1 ...". Well, I didn't have as many stunning experiences as Bridget Jones, since I neither got arrested nor had a gay/lesbian kiss, but still, this has been a busy year so far!
The latest thing being that I have found a new apartment in Paris, located not too far from my new job and in a nice place. This is very exciting! I am starting my new job tomorrow, and I am actually quite eager to start since it will certainly be intellectually satisfying; hence, I hope that my mind will be totally engrossed in what I will have to do, instead on delving into the past or having dark thoughts as I currently do.

It is weird: I don't have any brothers or sisters, so that I have always been used to being alone, and I seldom get bored, since I always have something to read or to do. Even when I am in a relationship, I don't mind being alone from times to times. However, without my ex-girlfriend, I feel more alone than I have ever been, and all the things I used to like doing when I was alone --like reading-- don't have the same appeal now that she's not around! This is kind of stupid because I certainly don't need her to enjoy a good book, but I guess that's what is implied when you say "she made the sun shine more brightly". I guess that's how I feel right now.
Well, it's only been a month, I hope it will get better as time goes on. Still, it is not easy when you know that the other person misses you almost as much as you miss her, and even though you have tried everything you could possibly do, she wouldn't change her mind. And well, yes, of course, the problem is that you still love her so much...

As to the movie Bridget Jones, well, it's quite funny at times, and I have enjoyed it, but it might convey the idea that one always deserves a second chance, whereas in life, things are not that simple...unfortunately. And of course, it has the usual "happy ending" where the two lovers finally end together against all odds.

vendredi 18 juillet 2008

Three windows apps: printkey, photoresize and evillyrics

Hi to all!

today, I want to talk about 3 free windows apps that I really like.

The first one is called Printkey and is a useful utility that allows for very easy screen captures of any size and shape. Captures can then be pasted into Word documents or saved as .jpg images for instance.

The second one, photoresize is useful for batch resize of pictures, something which is dear to my heart. Here, all is very simple: just change the number after "photoresize" to change the size of the final picture, and then drag&drop the folder with all your pictures over the photo resize, and press enter. Done!
For instance, Photoresize800 will resize your pictures to 800x600.

The last one, EvilLyrics, is only useful for those that use Itunes : it automatically imports lyrics as you listen to songs in iTunes.
I am still looking for something good to import artwork on Windows (with my iMac, I used a very cool widget, but there is nothing equivalent in Windows, AFAIK), but to no avail.

'Till next time!

dimanche 13 juillet 2008

Iphone's App store: a few applications

Hi again,

even though in France we must wait until Thursday in order to get the new iphone 3G, we can at least enjoy the new 2.0 firmware for the iphone V1.
The most important addition to the firmware is the possibility to download applications through the so-called "App store". What is nice is that it can be done directly from the iphone, since upon installing the new firmware, a new icon appears on the dashboard, the App store icon. Of course, it is much quicker to use the Wi-fi to download applications.
At the the launch of the App store on Friday there were already more than 500 applications to choose from (from games to dictionaries...), most of them not free, with prices ranging from 0.79€ to more than 30.
Still, there are a few interesting free applications such as Remote and Shazam.

Remote is an application that allows you to control the use of Itunes on your computer, directly with the iphone: for instance, on the screen of the iphone, you see all your playlists, you can sort by artists, reduce/increase the volume, switch songs...When you listen to a song, the artwork even appears on the screen! Very nice!

Shazam is a wonderful free app that allows you to identify any music you are listening to be it on the radio, on TV...Simply put your iphone near to the speakers, launch Shazam, and wait around 10 seconds and voila, you've obtained the name of the artist, of the song, and even the artwork. You might even get a youtube link providing a video of the band/artist playing the song!

Well, there are hundreds of apps, and more are created by the day, so expect some updates as I discover interesting new stuff. Personnaly, I have also downloaded a free bloomberg application which allows me to follow the world financial markets as well as my portfolio. You can even enter the number of shares you own of a certain stock, so that you get the amount of money you lose/gain over the day: I lost more than a hundred euros on Friday!
Of course, it is not useful for everyone, but it is definitely an improvement over the basic Yahoo app.

vendredi 11 juillet 2008

A new life!

Some good news and some bad news for the summer:

first, a piece of good news: I have finally found a good economist job at a financial institution! I am supposed to start on the 1st of August.
I will be in charge of making economic forecasts as well as both strategic and tactical asset allocation (TAA), with an emphasis on the later. Whereas strategic asset allocation mostly consists in finding a suitable benchmark (i.e. long term allocation) for a portfolio, TAA basically consists in short term deviations from the benchmark by temporarily over/underweighting certain asset classes within the portfolio.
The salary is quite good, and much higher than what I could expect in the public sector and my future colleagues seem quite interesting and nice.

As to the bad news, well, after almost 3 years together, my girlfriend and I have broken up last week. This has been the most difficult break-up in my life so far, and I feel like my heart has been torn to shreds. I keep having this weight on my times, it's so overwhelming, I feel like I can't breathe anymore. It's also strange how you can miss so much all these little things you were routinely doing with your lover without realizing how lucky you were...
There are so many things I wished I had told her when we were together and that I may never have the opportunity to tell her. I think she may never know how much she meant (and she still means) to me, how much I love her. I wish I had shouted my love for her to the whole world when I could... Life is so meaningless without her. As they say, the sun rises and sets with her...I know she was not perfect, but for me, she was!
I think she still loves me (or at least, she cares a lot about me...), but still, that's not enough it would seem...
But I won't give up, and as long as there is still hope...
Anyway, I know she will remain dear to my heart forever.

Well, the good point is that I will have much more time to blog now, even though for the moment it is difficult, since I don't really feel like doing anything.

'Till next time!

jeudi 12 juin 2008

One year!

Hi to all!

yes, it's been one year since I started this blog! The least I can say is that I haven't been very active, above all lately. For my defense, I have worked a lot, but now things are calmer, so, here I am!
Before it gets restarted, I have reproduced my final ClusterMap as of June 12th at the beginning of the post.

I have had more than 23000 visits over the past year, something I didn't expect. I guess the main reason lies in my post about the MacBook Air, so maybe I should do something about the forthcoming iphone 3G. However, since I already have the first iphone, I am not sure I will upgrade to the new one. It will depend on its price in France, and above all the price of the associated phone contract. Still, a GPS and the 3G is not something to sneeze at.
I will follow the evolution of the iphone's pricing in France with a deep interest.

jeudi 28 février 2008

vendredi 25 janvier 2008

Macbook Air vs Toshiba R500

Hi to all,

today I want to talk about the brand new subnotebook by Apple, the MacBook Air.
Since it has been announced at the latest MacWorld conference, I have seen and read countless whining posts where people complained against pretty much everything.
I think most people miss the point of this notebook.
Here is what I said in a french forum (sorry for my english readers!):

Bonjour tout le monde,

ça fait quelques temps que je ne suis pas venu sur le forum par manque de temps et de choses intéressantes à raconter, mais l'arrivée du MBA me fait réagir. Déjà, parceque la lecture de nombreux posts m'interpelle. Je ne veux pas généraliser, et je ne vise pas particulièrement des posteurs de ce forum, mais parfois on voit des trucs de fou. Ici par exemple:
" il ne correspond pas a mes attentes, mon blackbook actuel me donne satisfaction , et est mon seul ordinateur a la maison, j'attendais un portable plus puissant et plus léger..."

Ah ouais, donc en fait, il faudrait un 13" avec un C2duo 2.33 Ghz, 1 kg, un lecteur dvd, et 7 H d'autonomie c'est ça? Ah oui, et à 1200 euros aussi, sinon c'est trop cher.

Mais ça encore, c'est pas le pire que j'ai pu lire. Des trucs comme : "ça fait depuis 2001 que je n'ai pas vu un portable sans lecteur optique..." Bah dis donc, je sais pas trop où il a chercher le gars, mais il y en a eu des ordis sans lecteur CD/DVD, notamment dans les ultras, tels que certains thinkpads, des asus, des acer en 12", des sony achetés au Japon customisable...
Bref, tout ça pour revenir sur un point qui m'horripile: beaucoup de gens (encore une fois, je ne généralise pas!) sont très prompts à juger un ordi en fonction de leurs besoins personnels (ce qui est bien) pour ensuite propager leur avis en pensant que c'est le seul valable (ce qui est est moins bien): s'il ne me convient pas, c'est donc forcément que c'est de la merde!

Et bien non, ce n'est pas le cas. Tout ordi (tout produit de consommation en fait...) a une certaine cible de marché en tête, et n'a généralement pas pour objectif de satisfaire à toute la population. C'est pour cela qu'en économie on parle de biens dits "différenciés"...bref, je m'égare.

Dans le cas du MBA, la cible marketing n'est clairement pas une personne qui dispose d'un seul ordi, et dont le MBA serait la seule machine. Dans ces conditions, je suis d'accord pour dire que le MBA ne remplirait pas sa tâche convenablement (et encore, ça dépend...) car il souffre de certaines limitations, que tout le monde s'est empressé de souligner. Je ne nie d'ailleurs pas la présence de ces limitations, mais il faut bien comprendre encore une fois que nous n'avons pas tous les mêmes besoins: moi par exemple, je n'utilise pas de firewire, donc ça ne me manquera pas, j'ai rarement utilisé plus de 1 périphérique USB en même temps (notamment parceque ça bouffe de la batterie...), je n'ai pas besoin de lecteur, à part pour réinstaller Windows, et ethernet, en déplacement, je m'en fous. J'avoue quand même que ce dernier point m'ennuie un peu, mais bon, je suis assez pour tout ce qui permet de limiter l'accumulation des câbles en tout genre.
Prenons la question du lecteur. Moi aussi, avant d'essayer, je me disais que ça risquerait de me gêner de ne aps avoir de lecteur. Mais, en fin de compte, je me suis rendu compte que je ne m'en servais jamais, car j'ai tout sur un DD externe (divx, fichiers, musique...). Au pire, si j'ai besoin d'un truc sur un cd, et qu'il y a un autre ordi dans le coin (avec un lecteur), je fais une image disque, que je fous sur ma clé. Bon, c'est pas pratique, mais ça dépanne de temps en temps. Bref, je pense qu'un lecteur n'est vraiment plus indispensable de nos jours, mais je comprends que certains soient encore réticents.

Passons à la puissance ou à la capacité; c'est étonnant d'ailleurs cette manie qu'on les gens de regarder en premier la taille du DD:"ouah, 160 Go, c'est trop de la balle! Et puis 2.33 Ghz, c'est trop rapide..." Ouais, c'est vrai, mais pour un ultra, ce n'est pas le but. Et si on ne joue pas, ou si on ne fait pas de montage vidéo, franchement, on n'utilise jamais le proco à fond, ce qui est con, vu qu'on le paye cher, et qu'en plus ils tendent à ne pas être sous-voltés, ce qui consomme pas mal. Pareil pour un DD: certes, un 7200 rpm, c'est bien; mais ça chauffe, ça consomme énormément, et c'est gros. Donc, dans un ultra, ça n'a pas sa place.
Moi, j'ai un toshiba R500 de moins d'1Kg, sans lecteur dvd, avec un proco de 1.06 Ghz, et il remplit toutes ses fonctions, même si, sur Vista il est un peu lent parfois quand je fais tourner un logiciel de maths, ou quand je compîle en LaTeX. Sur Linux, il est un peu plus rapide déjà...
Tout ça pour dire que dans un ultra (il faut bien définir ce qu'est un ultra aussi: quand je vois que tom's hardware compare des ordis de 2.3 kgs en les appelant des ultras, je reste dubitatif...), il y a ps mal de choses qui n'ont pas leur place, un gros dd et un gros processeur en faisant partie.
Certes, cela ne convient pas à tout le monde, en plus la miniaturisation se paye souvent cher. Soit; mais encore une fois, le MBA n'a pas pour objectif de plaire au grand public, qui lui préférera acheter un Asus (je précise que je n'ai rien contre Asus, j'en ai eu 3, et j'ai fait acheter à ma mère un Asus) à 1000 euros, pesant 2.5 Kgs, un écran 15"4, une magnifique résolution de 1280x800 (la résolution: encore un point souvent oublié dans les comparaisons; moi, je ne pourrai pas bosser sur un ordi ayant une résolution faible sur un 15"4 par exmeple...), une carte graphique qui consomme bien comme il faut, un DD de 160 Go, histoire de garder ses 80 films tous dessus...

Voilà, mon coup de gueule est passé, j'espère que je n'ai froissé personne, ou au moins, pas trop de monde.
En tout cas, je vais suivre un peu l'évolution du MBA, et surement le prendre assez rapidement (même si j'aime bcp mon R500, et que 950g, c'est quand même génial!) s'il s'avère que le DD réagit quand même bien avec Léopard. Ce qui m'embête le plus en fin de compte, c'est Excel: comme j'ai l'impression que ma vie future va consister à passer pas mal de temps sur Excel, l'absence de pleins de raccourcis claviers sur Mac Excel (par rapport à je suis sur Windows au boulot...) m'ennuie un peu, même si on peut customiser pas mal de choses apparemment.
Mais bon, moi qui dit depuis longtemps qu'un 13"3 est une taille idéale (i.e. un bon compromis entre portabilité et efficacité), un 13"3 de 1.36 kgs, c'est vraiment génial (avant le plus léger était le SZ en version carbon à 2500 euros, et il faisait quand même 1.7 kgs...même s'il a bcp d'autres qualités...mais bon, il est sur Windows)!

EDIT: j'oubliais: la batterie soudée, c'est vraiment, vraiment, vraiment, une idée de merde par contre...
Par contre, la RAM soudée, franchement, on s'en fout: 2 Go de Ram dans un ultra, c'est bien suffisant. S'il vous faut plus, c'est qu'il faut prendre autre chose qu'un MBA.

Basically, what I say is that the MBA is definitely a secondary computer: I, for one, would not even consider buying one if this was my only computer. However, given that I already have an iMac, I am only looking for something small and light to carry around. I really don't care about the optical drive since I almost never use one, I don't really care about the single USB port since I never use a mouse (I don't like mouses, I am all about keyboard shortcuts, and I consider a mouse to be a waste of time most of the time...) and I seldom use more than one port at a time. I do not use firewire, so I don't care either. I might miss the ethernet port, but I also seldom use it.
Maybe I am not a typical user, but I don't think the MBA is for a typical user either.
Finally, it is not because the MBA does not suit the great majority that it is not a good laptop. I have read a lot of funny comments in some forums, such as "you can have more by paying less...". Well, I guess this guy was refering to some 15"4 Asus notebook (btw, I really like Asus, and I had my mother buy an asus) costing 1000 euros and weighing around 2.9 kgs with an awesome XGA resolution and, of course, a large 160 G hard drive. In my opinion, you can't compare the two: the Asus is certainly good acting at a desktop replacement which is going to move around once or twice a month. But carrying it all day long, every day? No way!

Finally, for my english readers, here is a nice post that I really like:

I don't agree with all that he says (above all about the battery...I really disliked the fact that it can't be removed!), but he pretty much sums up what I think. Moreover, some of his comments are pretty hilarious!

Personally, the question is: should I sell my Toshiba R500 to get the Macbook Air?
This is a difficult question since my Toshiba has a nice format (i.e. 12") and is much lighter than the Macbook (i.e. less than 1kg vs 1.36 kg). Battery life should be about even...
However, the macbook air is a bit more powerful (which is always nice), has a larger screen and above all, it has Mac OS! This is the main selling point for me, even though I have to admit (a bit reluctantly) that Vista is not that bad after all (for instance, I am a big fan of its "recent places" and "recently changed" links).

Well, I am still hesitating, and I will wait for some feedback when it is finally out in France.

EDIT: wow, since I have added this post, more than 1000 persons have visited my blog yesterday!!! Now I know how to get more popular: just talk about Apple new toys :-)