links

Just looking at my Micro.blog timeline you’d think it was Christmas morning or something. Nah; it is simply the case that Manton dropped a collection of exciting updates all at once. πŸŒŸπŸ˜ƒ

Not entirely sure what purpose a website would serve someone like me so this page is here to redirect you to more interesting places.

Casey Neistat

Clear, honest, useful. Everything a promotional website should be.

This conversation is a perfect example of why stronger muting tools would be good for Micro.blog. Let people moderate their own timeline where possible. I assume this is not relatively easy to implement, given the nature of the platform (feeds, etc).

Dithering About The Mac

I keep going back and forth on this but as somebody who needs a computer – even in the case of a laptop – that can be durable and capable, I’m less convinced that I should be looking at a Mac as each day passes. A Microsoft notebook might be the way to go.

This page from Michael Tsai is Exhibit A for my continued unease. It’s not that I’m likely to get a MacBook Pro, especially not as my first Mac but the progression, or lack thereof, in the higher end models is a sign of how well the lower end models will be treated. To be frank, the price of the new MacBook Air is not enough to put me off but the terribly negligence displayed by Apple toward the Mac in general is disconcerting.

At this point, I’m waiting to see if they’ll continue supplying regular updates (which to be fair, they have since the 2016 redesign) and revert some of the bad decisions of the past two years, and if they don’t I’ll avoid the Mac entirely and compare instead the iPad Pro to Windows laptops.

Edit: Another set of updates from Michael Tsai

Seriously, even if I wasn’t poor there is no way I will be able to tolerate this seemingly terrible keyboard. I write way too much to ever work efficiently; I barely have time enough for this work as it is!

Wondering if the Update On posts in Updates are necessary. You can see the release notes for the iOS and Mac apps in Help, whilst the info for Sunlit and Wavelength is on their app pages. Maybe roll the rest of Updates and Web Updates into the main blog? πŸ€”

Found a way to make hosted drafts for my blog, at least on my phone: Indigenous. It looks like a great option for focused, simple writing. Looking forward to testing it on my iPad.

Cutting The Cord

I no longer want to be tied up in various accounts for platforms and services, to be tied to black-box style technology with which if you have any issues it just doesn’t work and you’re left to shrug and wait for things to get better. Of course I know that it would be ridiculous to have full and total control over every piece of technology, since that would involve constant maintenance and other investments for which the vast majority of people have no room in their already full lives. However, not every possible app and service is necessary – no, this is not an advert for Marie Kondo – and whenever I think about just how much control of my life I am handing over to corporations there is an inexorable sinking feeling, bordering on despair.

That’s kinda shit. So I’m not doing it anymore. Let’s look at what I’ve got:

  • iCloud
  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Those are the largest arbiters of my digital life, and I would imagine relatively common for the people who are most likely to read this, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones in my sights; I’ll come back to the smaller platforms at a later date.

iCloud is not going anywhere; not only is Apple the only company talking about, and acting on privacy with any sort of semblance of truth but I am also working towards a goal of trying all-in with them, for which iCloud is essential.

Google is tough. To begin with it’s not going anywhere since I have a Pixel 2 and after trying a different Launcher (Microsoft’s no less) found performance and stability suffered massively when compared to the default set up; apparently Google are quickly taking Apple’s approach with regard to “controlling the experience”. It is highly unlikely that I’ll be able to change my phone for another year, so that’s Android set in place.

On top of this is YouTube, which is not as bad as it once was since I have massively cut the amount of regular series I watch but is still a gradual process; fortunately some of my favourite channels offer alternative methods for watching their videos, so I will work on moving over to those.

Beyond that I have moved my search over to a combination of DuckDuckGo and web-based resources such as directories and blogs, whilst I am happy with Fastmail for email. The only other catch is Maps, for which Apple and Bing are the best alternatives but they’re nowhere near as easy to access as Google on my phone and that is where I am likely to need a map the majority of the time.

Amazon is likely to stay. Between an ever reliable back-up for delivered shopping and Prime it is currently in a strong position. Although, the move to Apple might negate Prime whilst attaining one of our current big domestic goals, getting a car, would put a dent in Amazon’s power as a retailer. I would love to extract myself from their ecosystem entirely.

Microsoft is the current backend for my task management, such as it is, but that can change easily enough over time. Other than that is Windows 10 which is in a strange position; either it’s entirely fragile because of how much better Mac OS is or I’m not all that convinced by Mac OS and Windows becomes the unquestionable default for my desktop and laptop needs. Even if the operating system stays, there will still be options for third party software, such as they are on Windows.

Twitter has gone from the unquestionable social network for me to an entirely disposable, infected waste of space. My remaining account is used to convince people to join Micro.blog, a cost I am currently willing to pay since it is so entirely locked down and focused away from the maddening flood that is the inner-most thoughts of millions of people. Also: fuck Jack Dorsey.

Facebook stopped being my hub for anything years ago; I went from deleting my years-old account, to reactivating and maintaining it in “private mode” (LOL), to inevitably trashing it altogether. Since then Instagram, and to a lesser degree WhatsApp remained a hook into the ecosystem but they are both gone now. Much like the rest of these huge platforms, there are better alternatives for which my mental health is eternally thankful. Also: fuck Mark Zuckerberg.

I am now actively seeking out either non-account or non-services software for the bare essentials I need. We are in the era of Noise when it comes to software evolution for the masses and I no longer want to be weighed down by the mammoth task of moving the whole world to be plugged into one space.

Whilst I still believe it is true that these monopoly-abusing companies host the platforms upon which “everybody lives” to some extent, I simply no longer wish to bear the cost of it; I refuse to live my life by the compromised standards of other people.

β€’ β€’ β€’

I’ll be posting a follow-up to this, looking more into the future in a similar manner as I have written before now. I agree with Jack Baty with regard to where we ought to be putting our energy; great, I got rid of the thing that is bad, so what is next? Let’s all try to talk about that.

A number of other people have recently created work with which they reflect similar thoughts and approaches mentioned herein. To those people I am grateful for their contributions to these issues:

β€œWhite nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization β€” how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”

Steve King, sitting congressman

TIL Returns

Today I Learned is back for 2019, including:

  • A new page; The Phrasebook.
  • A new tip.
  • A variety of Page updates.
  • Twitter account fully active again.
  • More to come this week!

For those who aren’t familiar, @til is an unofficial resource for help with Micro.blog. It includes hints, tips, links, and much more to come over the next few weeks.

You can follow via the @-mention above on Micro.blog or using feeds:

Now is a good time to follow TIL, whilst this is also a great time for all of us to get Back To Blogging.

For The Weekend: Fourteen

A few things for you:

Enjoy your weekend!