The great deGoogling - part 6

(the bit where I look up from my busy-ness to give you an update)

I’m deGoogling in preparation for an /e/ phone, and journaling the process. (Other bits 1 2 3 4 5 ) It’s been a really busy week, actually doing the mechanics of change-over. To the extent that I can as a user, I’m extracting myself from the Google ecosystem, but I’m doing it as an orderly retreat so as to not lose important files, sign ins, etc in the process. And that takes time.

Chrome has just gone! It took much longer than I expected to go though my history, bookmarks and casual logins on Chrome, but it seemed a good time to have a declutter, not just shift them all across in bulk. There is quite a bit of accumulated usefulness embedded in a browser history and saved usernames - they tell you how to get back to where you have been before, and I needed to be sure I wasn’t creating difficulty for myself by just bulk deleting. On advice from a reader I’ve taken the plunge into password managers, which I now use across my devices. So I’ve just now removed Chrome from my phone, quite a step in my journey. But also, with my bookmarks and passwords managed independent of browser, I’m now free to switch browsers easily in the future.

Maps: Google Maps was removed a few days ago. I didn’t have many locations ‘bookmarked’ in maps, and I’m not in a position of depending on maps at the moment so it was a low risk step. I’m trialling the /e/'s Magic Earth as a replacement, and will see how that goes. (Before I deleted Google Maps I had a look through their privacy options. I was astounded by how many settings you had to turn off in order to make it less ‘data leaky’. While it’s technically true you may be able to run Google Maps almost privately, you are made to feel so bad turning off all the location-based functions, that unless you go into it quite determined you’d probably be verbally bullied into leaving many settings on.)

Files: This process has made me think carefully about online file storage, and about whether it was really device syncing I wanted. It involved not just what was in Google Drive, but I also had smatterings of files in OneDrive that came with my desktop and also a Dropbox account; it was all a bit messy. How to arrange things? When I thought about it I discovered I really had two different needs. I have a relatively small requirement (<1GB) for files that I want actively synced between my devices, and then a larger, much less active ‘archive’ where online access would be nice but is not critical. So I have used SyncThing to set up a shared folder across my devices for the ‘active’ files. The ‘archive’ files can live for the moment on my desktop, with perhaps cloud storage/backup for that down the track.
With SyncThing, they tell me its just my computers syncing with each other; the files are not sent to any third party server. I’ve spent the week rejigging my folders to make this all work. One thing I have to watch with this setup is that because the ‘active’ files are all physically stored on my phone, I can’t let the size of the folder blow out. (For some reason on my version of Android SyncThing can’t sync a folder on my memory card)

The next bit will detail some progress on the email question, I think.


Yes, why do we always want to keep dragging all those files with use wherever we go? OK, I did have some things from college 20 years ago help me land a job, but it’s a rarity.

I think the same approach you took with your files is good advice for email as well. What I mean is, do you send all your emails to one account? All you bank accounts, retirement accounts, cryptocurrency transactions? And all synced to your phone, right?

How about this- Have a totally separate email account for all your sensitive financial accounts. And don’t sync that one to your phone! Only access that account from a known secure PC, like your home computer. There are many email providers now that offer great security so you can use one provider for your personal email and a totally different one for your financial accounts.

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Agreed - digital stuff is so central to much of what we do these days, and yet most people (readers on this forum would be outliers in this) are very unplanned when it comes to ‘digital lifestyle design’.

By analogy, one email for everything is like piling all your clothes in one drawer.

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i don’t think this analogy holds

having all your email in one email service is like having your clothes in one organized closet

having three separate email accounts for different kinds of emails is like putting fancy clothes in one closet, winter clothes in another closet and summer clothes in another closet