Ian boosted

If you're traveling to a different country that's not covered by your mobile data plan, check out the fantastic "Prepaid Data SIM Wiki". It covers pay-as-you-go options for a wide range of countries and gets constantly updated:

prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.c

Ian boosted

So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Gmail → Fastmail → Self-hosted (via Cloudron)
Google Contacts → FastmailNextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → FastmailNextcloud Calendar
Google Search → BingDuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing MapsOpenStreetMaps and OsmAnd
Google Analytics → Matomo Analytics
Google Drive → Nextcloud Files
Google Photos → Nextcloud Files/Gallery
Google Docs → Collabora Office (Nextcloud integration) and LibreOffice
Google Play Music → Spotify / PlexSpotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → PlexJellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OSUbuntu Touch on PinePhone (coming soon?)
Google’s Android Apps → Simple Mobile Tools
Google Chrome → Mozilla Firefox
Google Domains → Hover
Google Hangouts → Matrix and Nextcloud Talk
Google Allo → Signal
Google Podcasts → PocketCastsAntennaPod
Google Newsstand → RSS
Google Wallet → PayPal and Cash App
Google Voice →Ting Mobile

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

https://www.kylepiira.com/2020/01/09/why-i-quit-google/

Ian boosted
Approaching version 1.0 of Meetable, my open source events website. Today I worked on streamlining the installation process for Heroku, and it’s now installable in under 5 minutes, no command line required! Try it out! https://meetable.org
Ian boosted

In a previous tweet we mentioned that privacy-abuse for ads just generates 4% more revenue. The New York Times actually showed that privacy-friendly ads can even generate MORE revenue! So what is the case for user profiling again? #privacy
digiday.com/media/gumgumtest-n

Ian boosted

I can't wait to get my #Pinephone so I can text people "GNU phone, who dis?"

Spent some time tweaking my router settings and managed to get my in home Steam Link streaming up to 50Mbps when my desktop is booted to Ubuntu, but when I reboot into Windows, it is unusable and maxes out at 3-5Mbps... Such a bummer that so many games are still Windows only.

Interesting article that does beyond just iTunes, but describes a fundamental change in the culture around computing.

How the Death of iTunes Explains the 2010s - The Atlantic

theatlantic.com/technology/arc

Ian boosted

If you love working on the command-line as much as I do, you may like what I have been working on recently!

Meet glow - a stylish #markdown viewer for your shell:

github.com/charmbracelet/glow

Ian boosted

Today is #InternationalDayofDisabilities and I'd like to show off my hearing aids once again.

Without them I'm a poorly concentrated, tired and grumpy person. With them I can talk and work for hours, I can listen and be in noisy environments without getting exhausted.

Hearing loss is an invisible disability. You can't tell that I'm hearing impaired from looking at me, because my hearing aids are often hidden by my hair or simply hard to spot behind my ears. That also makes it harder to have my needs met. Even with hearing aids I need that people look at me and speak clearly when they're talking to me.

I often feel like I'm an imposter when I call myself disabled, but the alternative is to pretend I have a normal hearing and stop functioning in everyday life. I'm beyond happy and grateful that I live in a country where I get hearing aids for free and where I have rights both as a disabled student and in the workplace.

And here are my tiny, wonderful hearing aids 💞

Ian boosted
The problem with posting stuff on Craigslist is now it means I have to answer all the unknown numbers that call my phone for the next few days.

Anyone willing to help me learn (either pointers or some resources to read) how to properly cover my house with WiFi APs? Or maybe recommend something similar? I’m looking to completely overhaul my setup.

Ian boosted

WhatsApp Shows "From Facebook" in the splash screen now. I hope they add ads soon and people stop using the app.

Ian boosted

We've all had people new to the Fediverse who followed us before posting anything.

If you're like me, you just ignored them and didn't follow back.

This Saturnalia / Holiday season, why not give the Fediverse a gift and look over their profiles again? If they've posted some interesting stuff since they joined, consider following them back! After all, they once thought you were interesting enough to follow...

The best of days to you all and please boost in the spirit of Saturnalia! 🎉🎈👯‍♀️🎊👗

I feel like there has to be an Instagram like ActivityPub service and app. It’s essentially just a photo focused UI on top of something like Mastodon.

Does anyone know of anything popular?

Ian boosted

Today is Aaron Swartz Day. 2019-11-09
aaronswartzday.org/

For those who don't know who he was, here goes a documentary about him :/

archive.org/details/TheInterne

#aaronswartzday #freedom #internet

Ian boosted

Reading through AirBnB’s new privacy policy and found this gem:

“𝗗𝗼 𝗡𝗼𝘁 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘀. While you may disable the usage of cookies through your browser settings, the Airbnb Platform currently does not respond to a “Do Not Track” signal in the HTTP header from your browser or mobile application due to lack of standardization regarding how that signal should be interpreted.”

It’s apparently too hard for them to understand what we mean we we say don’t track me...

Many people willfully trade the time and patience for privacy invading options. We can do better. Let’s fix the exchange rate.

When will privacy promoting options be easy for the every day consumer?

Spent a good deal of this weekend installing Snips assistant on a new RPi to communicate with Home Assistant. Even as someone well versed in technology, it was definitely not simple. I had tabs on tabs on tabs of various debugging searches going.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good > brain dump 

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chaos.social – a Fediverse instance for & by the Chaos community