(the bit where I start browsing the internet differently)
I’m deGoogling in preparation for an /e/ phone, and journaling the process. I’m starting to feel (as least from a user point of view) that I’m making progress. I know there’s other stuff going on under the hood, for which I need will to rely on other’s help, but, from my end of things, its about developing new habits and reducing dependency on Google, so that when the new phone’s available, switching will be easy.
I have a trial /e/ account, and am looking where possible to start using those services now. Progress report soon.
This bit though is - I beg your indulgence - a bit of a deviation, a couple of changes I’ve made to how I interact with the internet, which I think have been liberating.
I’ve been feeling like a consumer in a shopping mall recently whenever I use my browser. So much stuff being thrown in front of me, even opening a new tab gives a fresh onslaught of suggested sites, new content etc etc all chosen for me by who knows who. I wanted to take back some digital autonomy, make my internet connection work for me not for others, and so I’ve implemented two changes:
1). I created a personal, minimal homepage just for myself. It consists of the hyperlinks I need to get to the sites I most commonly use, a couple of reminder notes, and titled with a little motivational catchphrase which I change from time to time. But most of the page is whitespace, and it’s set as both my homepage, and as my new tabs page. It has made a huge difference to my mindset - I’m now much more mindful, whenever I open the browser, of choosing where I want to go, rather than being enticed here or there where someone else wants me to go. Its the same page across my phone and desktop, and I can edit it easily on any device. (*)
2). I remembered enjoying RSS feed readers in the past, and I’ve got one up and going again (using theoldreader.com at present). Again, this allows me to dictate and fine-tune what new stuff gets presented to me, I just look at the headlines for most things so its a really quick process, the incessant ads on websites are stripped out, and as soon as something is read, it’s gone (unlike revisiting a webpage where you have to figure out what’s new and what’s old). It’s also worked really well for keeping an eye on sites or blogs that don’t post that often.
I haven’t liked the idea of signing in to browsers, and this setup lets me move seamlessly from phone to desktop. While also reducing my digital footprint.
The next bit is still being written - lots of digital adventures going on involving calendars, drive, maps and gmail - I’ll see what develops first.
(*) I use Simplenote, a markdown editor which I use for all my text-based tasks - notes, tasks, drafts, diary etc. My homepage is one of my Simplenote files, which can be viewed in a browser by a link. Updates and creating hyperlinks are easy to do in the Simplenote app on Windows and Android. (On the privacy front, Simplenote says it’s not tracking the link, but I notice the source code on the webpage still has a google analytics script in it… eg the draft for this page’s link is http://simp.ly/p/9LVX1c )