We’re moving to France

It has nothing to do with the quickly changing political landscape in the US, but I guess it comes at the right time…

After several years of discussing our eventual move to France, Tina and I decided last year that 2017 would be the year we’ll be moving there. The move won’t be permanent as we plan on staying there for no longer than two years.

To make this happen, Tina will have to quit her full-time job. I won’t have to change much to my routine since I work for myself and just need a laptop and an internet connection. Both kids will of course attend school in France. Luca will enter kindergarten, and Chloé will enter elementary school.

While we originally planned on moving to the tiny village where I grew up, Tina is feeling anxious about living in such a small place, so we might adjust our location by just a few miles by moving to the next town over. It’s still small by US standards, but it’s what I’d call a self-contained town with enough amenities to make it feel like you’re in a “city.”

The main reason we’re moving there is that we want our kids to spend time with my parents and the rest of my family. We also want the kids to become fluent in French, and despite me speaking to them exclusively in the language, the only true way for them to become fluent is to be completely immersed.

So this will be a great opportunity to spend time with my parents, but most importantly for my parents to spend time with Chloé and Luca. Being an only child, it’s been hard on them to see me move so far away from them. And now with two grand children growing rapidly, it’s become even harder for my parents to witness their growth through FaceTime.

Living in France will also be a great opportunity for us to travel through Europe, something I didn’t really do when I lived there. We have several places on our to-go list, including Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Greece, with many more countries probably added as we go.

Now that we are getting closer to the move date (set for July 23rd), I am starting to feel anxiety. Not so much about moving there, bur rather about preparing for the move and making sure everything, including our house and furniture are taken care of.

Of course we have a lot to do, including changing our address, finding a management company to rent out our house, finding storage space for our furniture, packing, figuring out Tina’s legal situation, and do the all around planning. The planning might actually be the hardest part of it all because there are so many things to take into account.

Pretty exciting times ahead! I’ll do my best to document our adventures as we move forward, and who knows, maybe revive this blog altogether?

The fight you shouldn’t fight

Lockhart Steele, founder of Eater.com, on how to deal (or rather not deal) with people who can’t understand why you’re doing things a certain way on your own site:

Never complain—so when people are mad at you or people are throwing stones at you, or people are saying things like, Hey, you must be getting paid, you never respond. You never need to. And you never complain about what’s going on. Your work speaks for itself. If a reader can’t figure out what you’re doing, or it upsets them, or they think that it’s really fundamentally stupid that you’re writing about this thing all of the time, great news—they don’t have to read your publication. It’s a free world and our publication is here for those who are amused by it. So we will never explain why we were obsessed with something; it should be self-evident. If it’s not self-evident to you, there are many other food blogs out there, and perhaps Eater’s not the one for you.

I love the idea of it, but after 7 years of blogging, I still can’t help it sometimes. I still have to jump in the comments and explain people the gist of what we do. It’s a mistake though, because it’s an argument you never win, and as MG Siegler puts it, it’s a fight you shouldn’t even fight to begin with.

If you don’t like what I do, just move on to the next Apple blog. There are literally hundreds of them out there.

Ad blockers and the loss of revenue

don't use ad blockers

Writing for Venture Beat, Gerhard Stiene wonders whether ad blocking is theft. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it theft, but it sure one cause of loss of revenue.

Having run a blog for seven years, I’ve always been aware of ad blockers but never realized they were so popular. Considering the savviness of iDB readers, I would even think much more than 27.6% of our readership uses them, which of course is not good news for us since we rely almost exclusively on ad revenue to make a living.

Online advertising is huge. It hit $141.2 billion worldwide in 2014. This is great news for online content creators, and it should be great news for content consumers. As your favorite websites make more money, they can continue to produce more of the articles and videos that you love. Now for the bad news: According to a 2014 study conducted by PageFair, “27.6 percent of U.S. Internet users surveyed said they use ad-blocking software.” This is a problem for content creators.

Yet it seems that with the world going mobile, ad blockers should be the least of my worries. Services like Readability, Pocket, and Instapaper are the new ad blockers. Of course, they provide a better experience for readers, but they prevent us from generating ad revenue.

I won’t lose sleep over it, but it’s something to be aware of, and an additional motivation to try to think outside the box when it comes to monetization.

I personally don’t use ad blockers for two reasons. One, I like to see what kind of ads websites serve me, as well as learn about new formats. Two, I think it’s wrong to take money away from sites that provide me information for free.

Image: Technewscentral.co.uk

Achievement unlocked: 6,000 steps a day for 100 days in a row

100 days

Today marks a pretty big milestone for me as I have been reaching my goal of walking 6,000 steps a day for 100 days in a row, usually beating that goal by a few hundred to a few thousand steps. It’s a small achievement but an achievement nonetheless.

I’ve long had this daily goal, but I didn’t put my mind to really meet it every single day until December 19, 2014. Sitting all day at the computer just isn’t healthy and is causing terrible back problems. Walking on a daily basis won’t fix my broken back (I have a cracked annulus), but it helps relieve some of the pain.

It is believed that people should walk at least 10,000 steps a day, but I don’t know how you can do that on a daily basis. If you look at my progress on the image above, you’ll see that I rarely walk 10,000 steps, which would take about 1.5 hours of walking at a steady pace. Honestly, who has the luxury of walking 1.5 hours a day?

I use Pedometer++ to track my steps, and of course, all this is possible thanks to the motion coprocessor found in iPhone. For those wondering, 10,000 steps equals to about 5 miles. 6,000 steps equals to about 3 miles.

With Apple Watch just around the corner, I think it will make my step tracking even easier, but most importantly, the Activity app will likely provide an additional source of motivation, something that I haven’t found from any app in the App Store so far.

Here is to the next 100 days at 6,000 steps!

Google, the political engine

What did Google do when the FTC announced it would investigate the company’s search business in 2012?

Google hired a dozen lobbyists and arranged a fusillade of favorable public events and high-level meetings with FTC and White House officials.

The FTC eventually dropped the investigation and Google adjusted its policies on its own.

Today, only Comcast spends more on lobbying than Google, which spent $16.8 billion in 2014 trying to influence lawmakers.

Full story at IBT

Download YouTube videos in MP4

We’re getting ready for a long cross Atlantic flight so I’m loading up the iPad with Chloé’s favorite YouTube cartoons. I found a couple sites that allow you to download YouTube videos in MP4, for easy uploading on the iPad. There are dozens of tools that let you download YouTube videos, but these two are web based and don’t require any software download or any signup. I’m sure there are many more, but these two worked great for me.

With 9 hours of videos saved, we might have just enough to keep Chloé busy all the way to Paris.