FJ de Kermadec

FJ de Kermadec

Professional word-wrestler

Areas of Expertise:

  • Community management
  • Quality assurance
  • Technical writing
  • Mac OS X
  • iOS
  • consulting
  • speaking
  • training
  • writing

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FJ blogs at:

Why Obama gives geeks hope

January 23 2009

For the first time in years, the Mac has been widely publicised as being used in a governmental setting. For the Mac community, this can only mean great things are afoot, regardless of the technology choices made by the new administration in the long run. Indeed, while it is no… read more

Freeware for networkers

January 13 2009

Reader Petra Hildebrandt recently suggested that I share with you a few of my favourite freeware applications. Since yesterday's post was about networking and troubleshooting, it seems only appropriate to continue in the same vein and look at a few tools that can neatly assist the budding trouble-shooter. Much like… read more

Basic tips for smoother home networking

January 12 2009

Thanks to its UNIX underpinnings, Mac OS X is a remarkably robust network client. I knew not what this really meant until I had to build a QuickTime streaming server broadcasting all around France over a NAT-protected WiFi link crossing the Seine river and get it to play music in… read more

Why Macworld is moribund — but not dead

January 05 2009

The current economic climate and the old-world flair of traditional trade shows are often blamed for Macworld's slow, and somewhat humiliating, demise. After its move back to Boston — a thinly masked prelude to the cancellation of its east coast edition —, its original version is now widely suspected to… read more

Updated a moment ago

December 22 2008

The latest trend in interface design seems to be making computers speak like humans would. This is why many interfaces today have eschewed precise wording or technical terms in favour or lighter-hearted, vaguer words. We're no longer "processing data," we're "thinking about it," and a post wasn't made "seventeen seconds… read more

The grand demo

December 17 2008

This news just in, Steve will not be gracing Macworld Expo 2009 with a keynote. For the past couple hours, the blogosphere has been quietly buzzing with unusually tame speculation about the meaning of this announcement and its potential effects on investor confidence. Overall, nobody seems unduly worried about the… read more

Is Jon Hicks already singing?

December 04 2008

For years, I have made no secret of my shameful passion for Opera, the little-loved, under-appreciated star of the browsing world. For years also, I have bemoaned Opera's lack of interest in anything design-related. True to form, the Opera engineers were releasing a great product, digging its grave slightly deeper… read more

Update me softly

October 27 2008

Back in the days when I used to write on the Apple Discussions Forums under the pseudonym of Mimi — I know, I know —, the Mac OS X Installer was a rather sorry mess. Today, it's a fine piece of updating goodness, save for one particular weakness: it does… read more

Creaking at the seams

October 16 2008

John Gruber yesterday published an excellent piece entitled Listen to Tim Cook, in which he exposes some of the characteristics that underlie Apple's uniqueness and explain their ability to withstand market seizures by moving in unique, brand-specific directions. As often, I find myself in agreement with John's piece, and I… read more

Beware the dangerous icon

October 15 2008

Jason Snell, over at Macworld, tells us that Apple has redesigned the icon of the Energy Saver preferences pane into one of these newer, more energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs that are progressively entering our homes. As I do not own one of these new MacBooks, I cannot check this assertion… read more

Why is SPAM so hard to detect?

October 10 2008

Whether you opt for the nerdy designation of SPAM, prefer politically correct euphemisms such as unwanted messages, favor Apple's designation of junk mails or even, as we crazy Frenchmen do, nickname them pourriels, you have most certainly had the joy of dealing with unwanted pieces of data mudding the stream… read more

My iPhone feels Orange

October 01 2008

When in France, do as Orange does. For the past few weeks, iPhone 3G users in France have suffered intermittent voicemail glitches, often in the form of erroneous outgoing messages. As time goes on, it appears the light at the end of the tunnel is, as my computer would have… read more

A pretty gruesome predicament

September 16 2008

No matter how much I fantasize myself a man of the world, the embodiment of culture, the essence of charm and knowledge, my friends and family remind me on a daily basis that I am, also and above all, the group's resident technical guy. That means that between my moments… read more

The "gooey" fallacy

August 07 2008

Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) are commonly believed to make computers accessible by presenting virtual concepts through visual and spacial metaphors. For every action you wish to undertake in such interfaces, there is a corresponding physical object you can interact with: a button, a slider, a window. Our files and folders… read more

The future of Apple TV

August 03 2008

The future of Apple TV is the subject of much debate and controversy around the Internet. Yet, it seems to be a relatively simple, straightforward question. While Apple calls Apple TV a “hobby product,” this is clearly not an accurate description. No company in their right mind would ever invest… read more

A little aberration

August 01 2008

Of all the technological advances of the past decade, the concept and implementation of DRM is the one that irks me most. As you know, DRM or, to give it its full name, Digital Rights Management, is collectively used to refer to a pot-pourri of technologies whose primary aim is… read more

A tall glass of sparkling updates

July 30 2008

A few months back, my little team and myself were fortunate enough to assist a well-known software company release the latest version of their Mac OS X application. Among the improvements we recommended, and helped implement, was Sparkle-based updating. One of our testing points at the time was to ensure… read more

iPhone, meet 2005

July 24 2008

Now that the iPhone 3G is old news, and that developers are comfortably settling into their new development digs, the time seems ripe to investigate new ways the iPhone and the Mac — or the PC — could interact together. I have previously discussed the disappointing docking system, that seems… read more

The iPhone, now with iWipette

July 11 2008

Now that the iPhone 2.0 firmware has been released, even if unofficially as I write these lines, iPhone 1.0 users have gained the ability to securely erase their devices, through the enhanced "reset" menu item. Since the iPhone tends to store so much in unencrypted form on its internal memory,… read more

Security is my apple squash

July 08 2008

I am no security expert by any means but I like to read the occasional security-related web site. While the intricacies of buffer overflows escape me, they allow me to keep an eye on what it is researchers are focusing on, what flaws are being found in my platform of… read more

Avast anti-virus for the Mac

July 05 2008

After spending an entire day installing Windows updates on a friend's computer, I decided to have a bit of good geeky fun by trying out Avast anti-virus for Mac OS X. Whether Mac OS X users need anti-virus at the moment is still up in the air, but regardless of… read more

iPhone and sync services

July 01 2008

As some of you may have deduced from my previous, rather negative entry about Google's SSL practices, I have spent a great deal of time investing their services as of late. Overall, and despite the aforementioned disappointment, I am extremely impressed by the quality of the offering. Most iPhone users… read more

SSL on Google means Semi Secure Links

June 26 2008

After much debating, we decided to enable Google Apps Premier Edition for in-office use. SSL had always been a sticky point for us, and Google Apps are notoriously lacking in this regard, but probing around various newsgroups and sites seemed to show behavior had been improved across the board. Unfortunately,… read more

SIM ejector tool

June 20 2008

One of our office iPhones recently had to return to Apple for "service" — read replacement. For some reason, the phone started complaining at random intervals that a mysterious phantom accessory was incompatible and kindly suggested we enable airplane mode to avoid any risk of interference. Judging by the sympathetic… read more

MobileMe suspicious

June 11 2008

Apple's latest MobileMe announcement has me elated. In fact, I feel just as I felt when .Mac was first introduced: hopeful, excited and happy at the prospect of being able to rely on Apple for one more thing instead of shopping for vendors all around the Internet. Of course, this… read more

It's your RAM, to fry

May 05 2008

A few months ago, I decided to resurrect one of my first Macs ever, the very computer that once held my life, to go. Unfortunately, not being invested with divine powers, I ran into a bit of odd trouble in the process. With the help of a friend, the solution… read more

Another take on design

April 25 2008

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I unpacked a Hewlett-Packard accessory: a 24 inch LCD monitor, to hook up to my MacBook Air. I am not one for unboxing porn, especially given how little there would be to wet your appetite, but I felt compelled to share a… read more

Install me, baby

April 04 2008

There are two delivery extremes for software in this world: there is the Panic way and the Adobe way. The first relies on a simple ZIP archive, that, for most users, gets unpacked and moved out of the way automatically. The second on a slew of installers, updaters and package… read more

A new reason to block ads

April 01 2008

After years of refusing to install extensions in my browsers or proxies on my machine, I have, for the past few months, started to work seriously on blocking connections to ad servers. The reason? The increasing number of security issues linked to these ad networks and their ability to inject… read more

Press any key to continue

March 25 2008

For years, the Macintosh world has lived under the assumption that Vista's look is crap and Mac OS X rocks. Everything on the Mac side screams quality and reliability, elegance and composure, style and attitude. Compared to our elegance, unique style and peaceful workflow, Vista's bumpy, bright, tawdry interface does… read more

Appel d'urgence

March 17 2008

The iPhone is one curious beast. Since I first started showing affection to mine in public, I am happy to report that I have never run into an embarrassing moment: it has always behaved properly, performing as expected and wooing audiences with its cute grin, boyish attitude and tactile features.… read more

The jailbreak is futile

March 12 2008

Since Apple announced the iPhone and iPod Touch, hordes of developers have focused their efforts on bringing freedom to the masses. Whether you call the process "pwnage," "jailbreak" or something else altogether, the core ideas are always the same: allow people to do anything they wish with the device they… read more

Action for typography

March 11 2008

After months of careful research, kerning and tweaking, I gave a stroke to my friend and typographer when I proudly announced my next logo would be set in ITC Garamond Narrow. Thanks to him, it is perfectly kerned ITC Garamond Narrow but ITC Garamond Narrow it remains. There are too… read more

No iChat on iPhone? Good!

March 07 2008

It seems the announcement of AOL working on an iPhone version of AIM before Apple releases iChat Touch – so to speak – has a few commentators stumped. In fact, many are speculating that Apple is waiting until it can enable video and audio chat to release a shiny, crowd-pleasing… read more

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