Bibliothèque idéale

Je crois que les bibliothèques devraient être un peu comme l’Athenaeum (du Grec Athēnaion, un temple à la déesse de la sagesse Athéna) que Hadrien avait fait construire à Rome près du Capitole pour en faire une sorte d’université. Ainsi, ma bibliothèque idéale serait un temple à la connaissance, à la culture, au savoir. Un lieu qui non seulement la préserve (une bibliothèque) mais aussi la diffuse avec des salles d’expositions et de conférences mais aussi des lieux pour donner des ateliers en tous genres. Toutefois toute nouvelle vocation de la bibliothèque ne doit RIEN enlever à l’ancienne. Oui à avoir des aires où les gens peuvent participer, échanger, discuter, manger, jouer, etc., mais il faut aussi conserver des espaces où les gens peuvent lire et étudier en toute quiétude…

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Customer service is dead!

It seems that wherever we go these days companies don’t care about customer service. Either they have a quasi monopole and it’s irrelevant or, despite a competitive environment, nobody seems to pay attention to the need or satisfaction of the customer. It must be really bad in my area — or I am a VERY unlucky customer — because I keep having those horrible experiences with customer service.

Beside the notoriously bad customer service of telecom companies like Bell (about which I have talked many times — their Fibe TV is superb but their wi-fi is quite shitty and their tech service doesn’t seem to care — unless they can sell you extra service or device that supposedly would improve the situation) I can easily mention three or four companies that gave me bad service just in the last couple of weeks!

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Le chat du rabbin, vol. 7: La Tour de Bab-El-Oued

Chat_du_Rabbin-v7-cov“Ce nouvel épisode nous ramène à Alger. Le rabbin Sfar et son cousin l’imam Sfar devisent sur leurs différences qu’ils pensent inconciliables. Pourtant, lorsque la mosquée est inondée, le rabbin et l’imam s’entendent pour que les musulmans puissent, le temps des travaux, prier à la synagogue. Pendant ce temps, le chat du rabbin traverse des moments difficiles: non seulement Zlabya a mis au monde un adorable bébé, ce qui le plonge dans une profonde jalousie, mais, pour ne rien arranger, des chatons se sont réfugiés dans la synagogue… Comment de petits chats étrangers peuvent-ils avoir l’audace de boire son lait ?”

[ Texte du site de l’éditeur — voir aussi la couverture arrière ]

ATTENTION: Peut contenir des traces de “divulgâcheur” [spoilers]! Les personnes allergiques à toutes discussions d’une intrigue avant d’en avoir eux-même pris connaissance sont vivement conseillées de prendre les précautions nécessaires pour leur sécurité et devraient éviter de lire plus loin.

Continuez la lecture après le saut de page >>

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Does that ring a bell?

Bell offers a notoriously bad service to its customers. In fact, as I mentioned recently, the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-television Services  tells us that 32% of all complaints from Canadian consumers are related to Bell! I experienced this personally numerous times (I once had five services with them [phone, cellphone, internet, web hosting and satellite TV] and cancelled it all because of a really bad customer service!). Recently, after switching internet & TV service from Videotron to Bell, my VoIP phone from a third party stopped working properly and, when I called Bell technical service, I was told that they didn’t support VoIP phone and that if I wanted a good phone service I should use theirs! Also, as soon as I started using their wi-fi, half my numerous devices using internet (computers, iPhone, iPad, VoIP phone, thermostat, WeMo Insight & Switch, Philips Hue lights, printer, garage door opener, security cameras, etc. — I have over twenty different devices requiring wi-fi!) wouldn’t connect properly through their WPS and it took me a long time to figure a way to have everything working in a decent and almost stable way (using a combination of DMZ and MAC filtering — as well as using my sister’s Videotron‘s wi-fi!). Clearly, this bad service thing is not a myth… At least it has a ring of truth, but I am sure many other people can confirm that.

I always wondered how come that a company with such a bad reputation would, first, manage to stay in business and, second, never make any attempt to improve either their service or reputation. This week, I just figured it all: why improve your crappy service when you can just charge your customers for an improved premium service ?!

For instance, if you are not satisfied with the crappy-almost-inexistant technical service, you can simply subscribe to their “Bell Tech Expert” service for only $6.00 per month! There’s no incentive for them to offer a good service if they are making money with the premium service option!

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 20.04.03Or, if you find their crappy, unstable wi-fi service unbearable, you can simply subscribe to their “Whole Home Wi-Fi” service that uses a network of pods plugins that works with the Home Hub 3000 to strengthen and optimize the wi-fi! Only for $5.00 per month extra!

Some people will put up with the crappy service and some will pay up for the extra (real) service. You subscribe to Bell because (you think) they offer more than the competitor for a much cheaper price, but you end up paying more anyway for what should be standard service…

Quite annoying!

Unfortunately, I could never go back to Videotron’s TV service because Bell’s system is really amazing. It’s only their wi-fi (and customer service) that’s totally crap. Unfortunately, this makes their offers of Wi-Fi pods very tempting…

But at least, now, the Bell’s secret is out of the bag!

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The Controversial Art of Reviewing

Last September I wrote an essay on the “Subtile art of writing a review/commentary” (in French, but it is also available in a machine-translated English version). It is an essay I wanted to write for a long time, explaining how I was approaching the writing of a book or movie review — which I did for twenty years for a magazine. The funny thing is that I discovered a few weeks ago that I had already written that article in 2009 (in English) and forgot about it! I was checking out some old hard drives looking for something and stumble upon this article that I had written for a special issue (PAX #3) of the magazine I was working for, but we stop publication before it was released. It is based on the guidelines I wrote for our staff writers. My views on how to write a review have not change much since then. I thought it would be interesting to share it with the readers of this blog.

Reviewing a media product (wether it is a book, a manga, an anime series or a live-action movie) might seems an easy task, but in reality it is far from being simple. In fact, we are all doing it when we express an opinion to friends, but it is usually done in an emotional and very imprecise manner: “it was so bad, man” or “it was really cool.” In opposition, a professional reviewer—someone who does it for a living—must do his/her best to remain objective, precise and rigorous.

I admit that, if I always try to be an objective and precise reviewer, I am rarely rigorous. I am lazy and tend to keep my reviews short, introducing the subject and expressing my opinion in the most elementary manner. Today everybody is a critic as they can easily post what they think of this or that on their blog , but what makes the appraisal of a professional reviewer more interesting and valuable is experience. I’ve spent about two decades watching videos or films and reading books related to the subjects I review. I have therefore developped a methodology to assess the subject, an understanding of its workings and a set of criteria that—I hope—better equip me to examine and judge a particular media product.

In this article I have attempted to explain how I approach the writing of a review, what I think a review should be and what aspects of a medium I take in consideration when writing a review. I wanted to talked about this for a long time as I think it can offer interesting insights to both our readers and would-be reviewers.

First, there is two types of reviews: the basic or elementary review (the one I tend to favour) and the exhaustive review.

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Happy New Year

I wish you a great new year.

My greatest hope for 2018 is to find a better job (in a quieter library or a desk job — but preferably still with books), to read more, to finish repairing and improving the blog so I can finally concentrate mostly on writing, and to keep in good shape mentally and physically (i.e. sanity, health and maybe losing some weight) !

I hope the best for you all, my dear readers, friends and colleagues. Again, may Fortuna smiles upon you!

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