New Year, New Me
If I truly believed the likes of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook were committing human rights violations against people in their own homes, then I would quit them.
So I did.
I believe when we flick on a screen, that we should be able to jump straight into the task we wish to accomplish without interruption. That's my life now.
My phone is a Pixel 3 with a fresh install of GrapheneOS. The only two apps I've added are Signal and Ariane, to stay in contact with those closest to me and to keep a pulse on the most interesting people from around the world. I'm not adding email, because email is work and I'm more effective at doing work on my computer.
I'm running Pop_OS! and I've downloaded all my data from the cloud to my new laptop. If I need to get online on the go, I just tether the data from my phone. I'm using Fastmail for email, calendar, contacts, and file storage. I'm beginning to experiment with their static hosting.
I guess I still need Google for work though, so I've quarantined them to a work phone and a work laptop. I kept my old number as my work number, since it's so utterly pwned, but also want to stay in touch with anyone that might want to reach out to me. That phone will be on do not disturb when I'm not at work.
Being a technologist, I still need to utilize some third parties, but I've made conscious decisions for each.
Registrar: porkbun.com DNS: dns.he.net Hosting: digitalocean.com (fastmail, maybe?) Music: bandcamp.com
Maybe one day I'll build a homelab for hosting, but for now Digital Ocean suits me well, since if we're being honest, I'm not a Linux guru and I'd still say I'm really only qualified to write CSS for a living.
I mean, I'm still using credit cards and banks and whatnot, but nothing that I can't cancel if it becomes bothersome for any reason. And it won't be like the untangling I needed to do to escape the modern web.
Quitting things successfully for me meant really analyzing what I wanted vs what I needed. Many things I was using previously, I found no alternative for and my conclusion was that I didn't need whatever it was.
Realizing everything I was using that I didn't need provided me with a daily dose of dopamine made it easier to just say no to drugs.
It was hard
I'm not gonna lie, this process was really hard. It actually started 24 months ago. My first step was to quit using Amazon, of which I averaged a purchase every four days in 2018. I ended up with four purchases in 2019, but zero for 2020.
Then 18 months ago, I vowed to not add anything new to my Google account, which mainly consisted of notes in Google Keep. I researched and decided my best course of action was to get a notebook and some pens.
My preferred notebook. I really like this one for the dot grid and the perfectly circular spiral binding. The velvet also has a nice texture.
I filled up one of these with my ideas and then I knew I could actually quit Google. They still don't have any clue of what I've written down on those pages and I'm reminded of how nice privacy is. The most valuable data we provide these companies with are the thoughts that cross our minds. AI can only emulate the data it's been fed.
9 months ago, the pandemic hit big in the US and I had a lot of time on my hands and decided to give myself an end of year deadline. 6 months ago, I found fosstodon.org and I was given all sorts of helpful advice for my journey.
Truly, I would not have had as successful of a transition without many of the folks I've befriended there. I don't really know anyone IRL that's into this type of stuff, so having a support system of effective strangers was really good.
If you're reading this and you've answered any of my questions on the fediverse, I'm really, really grateful for the time you took out of your day to help a stranger.