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Capitalism is quietly erasing the idea of private property. All products are effectively becoming rentals, and the companies can revoke your right to use them whenever they feel like it. It's becoming increasingly difficult to actually own anything. Media is streamed, and devices are locked from the users.

It's hilarious how all the things people were afraid of happening under communism are actually happening under capitalism.


This article describes an interesting project optimizing the web page design and web server to run efficiently enough so that it can be put on (purely) solar energy -- potential downtime due to cloudy weather is accepted intentionally.

Biggest changes were moving to static pages and reducing their footprint. Considering the trend of most websites to grow and grow in size, I find their approach very refreshing :)
They even have comments (sent in by email!)


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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.


I have just finished reading by Edward -- and am deeply moved. It's a very personal, insightful and fascinating tale that kept me turning the pages late into the night. Highly recommended to anyone that cares for their privacy (or doesn't...yet)

It is very accessible and requires no technical background; everything you need to know to understand the scope of the revelations and the NSA's ability and habit to constantly spy on all of us is provided in clear terms.

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Our resource for keeping yourself safe online, Surveillance Self-Defense, had some major updates over the past 12 months. eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/year

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WTF?!Zum Installieren der neuen #Mastodon Instanz (auch wenn die Domain noch nicht da ist,man kanns ja schonmal vorbereiten) hab ich gerade nichtsahnend die Dokumentation geoeffnet.Da kommt jetzt irgendein proprietaerer Anbieter statt der guten alten open source Seite zum Einsatz und das ist eine richtige #Datenkrake 🤢 Die Startseite von docs.joinmastodon.org bindet sage und schreibe 10 verschiedene Drittanbieterdomains ein,6 Requests zu Google Servern werden geblockt 👎 Was soll das?!

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Positive folk of Mastodon, I want to share a tradition of mine with you.

Each week, we my wife and I write a note with good things that happened throughout the week. We then add these notes to a year.

On #NewYearsEve, we empty the jar and read about the amazing year we had. It's obviously great to finish/start a year this way, but it's also nice as it "forces" us to contemplate the last week and appreciate the good things that happened, even when things were stressful or felt very mundane.

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If it is public money, it should be public code as well. I support this call for more public code under a Free Software license: publiccode.eu/

If you are looking for something thought-provoking yet calm to listen to from your way home from (or whenever you have a good half hour to spare), I found these podcast tales by Tim Harford (of BBC's "more or less") to be really insightful and entertaining:

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If you like classic Point-and-Click games, I recommend to give a try. E.g. to play 'The Legend of Kyrandia'. Most of those Games can be downloaded for free on Archive.org archive.org/details/msdos_Lege

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We need your support to support each other! riseup.net/donate

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Microsoft und Co. an Schulen? Das geht gar nicht. Warum erklärt der nachfolgende Kommentar. Leitet ihn bitte an Eltern, Schüler, Lehrer, Entscheidungsträger etc. weiter - es gilt die digitale Mündigkeit zu bewahren. 🧙‍♂️

Nutzt E-Mail, Messenger, das Fediverse etc. zur Verbreitung.

Vielen Dank! ❤️


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#Pinafore has this wonderful feature called «wellness settings» (see image), based on the guideline from the Center for Humane Technology, which allows you to hide follower counts, boost counts, favourite counts and unread notifications counts, to reduce gamification.

Boost and favourite counts are hidden by default in the mastodon desktop client as well, and are shown only when you open the toot. In pinafore, if you decide to hide them, you don't see them ever.

Of course all this has effects only inside the pinafore environment.

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Immer noch #Windows7 auf dem PC? Nach dem 14. Januar endet die offizielle Versorgung mit Sicherheitsupdates - ein guter Zeitpunkt, um auf die freie Alternative #GNULinux umzusteigen.


#DigitaleSelbstverteidigung #Adventskalender2019

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Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.