iPad and Poor Vision Part 1: Setting up the iPad and iOS

The iPad is an amazing device–for leisure, for reading, for listening and for working–as long as you don’t take into consideration one tiny detail: out of the box, I can barely use it at all.

Why? Because of my terrible eyesight, texts, menus and buttons are unreadable: too small, too thin, and not contrasted enough.

Luckily, iOS comes with many accessibility options that can help a lot. Depending your needs.

In this post, I will list the settings I use to compensate for my bad eyesight. It’s not an exhaustive list–not even as far as vision goes.

Continue reading “iPad and Poor Vision Part 1: Setting up the iPad and iOS”

macOS: How-to invert colors in a video

Why would anyone want to invert colors in video, you may ask?

Well, let me ask you this: why wouldn’t they want?

More seriously, I do that for a very specific reason: my bad eyesight makes it so that I can’t read black text on a white background. You know, the kind of text you occasionally find in books, or in slides. The kind of slides, you’ll find almost everywhere while watching College de France many lectures. Like in Dario Mantovani’s Usages juridiques du passé (dans la pensée des juristes romains).

A slide from Dario Mantovani’s lecture "Usages juridiques du passé (dans la pensée des juristes romains)". Text is printed in red on a white background.
A slide from Dario Mantovani’s lecture “Usages juridiques du passé (dans la pensée des juristes romains)”. Text is printed in red on a white background.

To read this slide, I need the background to be dark and the text to be light.

Under macOS, I could easily invert colors of the whole screen, but that’d be impractical as that’d also invert colors in all my other windows that are already dark.

Here is how I invert only the colors of a video under macOS (see here for Windows).

  1. Install IIna, a free fork of VLC optimized for macOS. It’s a great app, really.
  2. Open the video you want to invert and go to Video->Video Filters.
  3. In the window that opens, click the + sign at the bottom left and select Negative. Click Add.
  1. Back to the first window. Click the Save button that is next to the new line with your filter and give your filter a name.
  2. Done. From now, with any video you play in IIna, you just need to go to Video-> Saved Video Filters, and click your filter. Or you can define your own custom keyboard shortcut in the Filter window.
The same slide in inverted colors. The text is now blue on a black background.
The same slide in inverted colors. The text is now blue on a black background.

My deepest apologies to Dario Mantovani for the treatment I put him through, but I’m sure he’ll understand that I was more interested in being able to read his slides than to look at him during his lectures 😉

Cloud & Privacy: Boxcryptor

Abandon privacy all ye who enter the cloud” is something that should be engraved over the entrance of most, if not all, cloud services.

At least this is what it feels like to me, having to relinquish all notion of privacy and intimacy knowing my files will be analysed—some cloud providers being more invasive than other in that regard. 

I’ll gladly open all my files and folders to any legit authority asking me to do so, provided they have a reason and the right to ask. But I don’t want anyone else accessing my files–be it on purpose, in order to offer me some service, or because of a security breach–to be able to read them.

I don’t want anyone to discover that I’m the author hiding behind the pen name of dear « Dulcinea Von Liebe, Duchess of Hot Steamy Romance ». I don’t want anyone or any algorithm to be able to read my medical documents, or to see the pictures of my cat. That’s none of their business. That’s, you know private. And that’s not the reason why I decided to use cloud to store my files.

The obvious solution would be to not use the cloud at all. Problem solved, thx for reading, bye. Save that I want to use the cloud: it’s a great tool. It’s just the lack of a stricter legislation that makes it such this Wild West and this Eldorado for those companies, giving them free rein over our data.

Enters Boxcryptor. 

Continue reading “Cloud & Privacy: Boxcryptor”

Google explains why the Pixel 3a has a headphone jack

Google explains why the Pixel 3a has a headphone jack:

We debated on this headphone jack but we really felt that consumers at this price point in this price tier really needed flexibility, and that’s what that headphone jack gives you. We still support digital audio, and it is the ultimate way to consume your audio. You can either use the USB-C adapter on the bottom, or you can use Bluetooth headphones. And digital audio is incredible. But, a lot of people have headphones, and we didn’t need to create anymore e-waste in the world so we’ve decided to put a 3.5mm headset jack in so that people could use the accessories that they already had available to them.

… And that is why every single phone (and tablet) should have a mini-jack port, no matter its price or its user ability to throw away cash on some high-end smartphone. And that is why I don’t want no wireless headphones.

Updating PHP from 5.4 to 7.3, WordPress not functioning anymore?

This morning, after WordPress complained once again that my PHP version was not secure enough, I updated it from 5.3 to 7.3. Everything went perfectly fine with this update, save for the slightly annoying fact that the blog was not accessible anymore.

Bad error 500, bad!

To make it short, this article explains everything much better than I could, you just need to activate another module called nd_mysqli, in your cPanel or wherever you went to update your PHP version on your host.

Many thx to the author for sharing the solution.

Apple teams up with Goldman Sachs on Credit Card Paired with iPhone’

My big question is what the interest rates are going to be. Credit cards have turned into a dirty business where people who carry a balance pay exorbitant interest rates, even if they’ve never missed a payment. And the higher the interest rates, the harder it is to pay off the balance. Is that where Apple wants Services revenue growth to come from? Charging people usurious interest rates on their credit card debt?

John Gruber.

I’ve been saying that for years now, but I also remain persuaded that the other way Apple’ld be diversifying its operations is by becoming it’s own mobile operator/carrier.

Mobility, constant access to our data, is a huge part of the user experience Apple so much relies on to sell us its devices. And it’s a part where Apple has not much control: Apple is running the date centers, it’s running the apps we use to connect to them and the Mac, iPhone and lPad those apps are running on. Leaving only the network itself in the hands of third parties.

There is no reason for Apple not to try to get a slice of this huge cake, imo.

Developing a Mindset for Successful Learning

My niece having started college this year, I was somewhat surprised to see how poorly students were prepared for this in school, with close to nothing on essential questions such as:

  • How to read books and highlight meaningful passage, 
  • Effective note taking during a lecture. 
  • How to study those notes, aka how to get a personal understanding of the notions studied more than memorising them. 
  • How to avoid overconfidence, or the lack of. 
  • How to organise one’s learning time, using short-and long-term goals. 
  • How to focus (avoid distractions).
  • How to test one’s comprehension.
  • And, at least as important as all the others: how to deal with failure. Learning to take it for what it is–a direct and sometime painful feedback on the way one has learned–but nothing more.

It was no better when I was a student myself, some 25-30 years ago. But one’d have thought things were better nowadays, with the ever growing importance of qualification, and all the studies being made on, well, studying and being a student.


Recently, I stumbled on Dr. Stephen Chew’s “How to Study” series of videos to help students “develop a proper mindset to become an effective learner” which is the academic way of saying “to help students getting good at it, without working themselves to death and even, why not, enjoying it.

The fourth video, “Putting the Principles for Optimizing Learning into Practice”, as its title suggests, is the most practical of the series. 

Some of them are covering basic stuff, while other, Dr. Stephen Chew being a professor of psychology, are dealing with more psychological matter, and not all questions are covered. But they’re all worth watching as they’ll give any student sound foundations, even if one is to follow only some of the advice given—plus, they’re short videos: there’s no excuse to skip any 😉

How to Study Video Series, Stephen Chew, Ph.D.