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I’m Simone Silvestroni 👋

I design and code accessible websites since 1998, now using Jekyll and WordPress.


I think there is no future without the acceptance that humanity needs to face degrowth as a proper voluntary choice.

A friend recently asked if there is something I do in my day-to-day life that might represent well the current version of myself. While I knew the response is surely connected to the concept of degrowth, I realized how I have an established routine capable of answering part of the question.

As a believer in the power of small changes, I have absorbed several of these habits through a mix of personal adjustments and discussions with both friends and strangers. I’ve been broadcasting little pieces here and there, either as blog posts or on Mastodon.

Avoid centralized corporate-owned media websites, such as mainstream social networks

Never hanging out in heavily crowded places, in neither country where I lived, is the direct result of a natural instinct to refuse noise and toxic behavior that leads to a lack of concentration. Why would I want to behave differently online?

Ignore the “news” and read only long-form analysis, essays and books

However controversial this might sound, I’ve gone down the same road more than a decade ago and it never failed to bring concrete results. After reading the manifesto by Rolf Dobelli and debating at length with my friend Claudio, it feels like one of the savviest choices I’ve ever made.

Don’t follow any hype

It comes natural. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a distaste for the way people around me wanted to be homologated. One thing is the feeling of being part of a larger group, such as at work, a sports team or a music band. Something entirely different is the impalpable force that seems to be able to attract masses, making them wear the same clothes and shoes, speak the same lingo and whatnot.

Fads and memes don’t speak to me.

Stay clear of surveillance capitalism as much as possible

Can’t say I’ve been ideologically strict in pursuing this goal. I still have a Google account, even though it’s barely used. It’s more a matter of finding a balance that feels like it’s going towards the right direction. Perhaps, one day I’ll set myself free.

Take practical actions that show what tech companies are really doing

Yesterday, instead of upgrading to macOS Ventura, I’ve downgraded to Catalina — though I initially wanted to move even further back.

Why did I embark on such a lengthy and risky procedure? An army of inconvenient bugs that, when put together, plagued my experience ever since moving beyond 10.15. On a computer, the focus must be on my work, not the OS. Also, I want less flat design, not more.

Things I’ve noticed after being back to Catalina for a day:

  • With subsequent upgrades, macOS has become ridiculously bloated. The installer has doubled from Mojave (6GB) to the current 12.5GB. Broadband consumes electricity worldwide, therefore inflating online installers that must be downloaded (often multiple times) isn’t as green as Tim Cook try to make people believe.
  • Bluetooth finally works again. No idea why, but ever since I moved to Big Sur and later Monterey, any bluetooth device failed to reconnect after waking up the computer from sleep. Nothing worked, except a forced restart.
  • The widely touted Shortcuts app, that the previous Apple’s CEO would have made available to older OSes as well, is indeed useful. However, good old Automator fulfills my needs without manuals or tutorials.
  • External drives eject rapidly again, while on the most recent OSes they somehow took an unexplicable long time.
  • Very minor: if dragged to the desktop as shortcuts, files and folder with custom icons retain the icons. On Big Sur and later they reverted to the default.

I’m sure it sounds trite to say that an older OS on a quite old machine feels snappier — regardless, the immediate result is how faster and more efficient the computer is. I won’t dwell on the better looking GUI either.

The lesson here is: if I don’t want to change hardware that’s still perfectly capable, it is pointless to upgrade the operating system. After Apple’s arbitrary and foolish move to annual releases, the system has progressively become unstable, unpolished and bloated, showing a distinct lack of proper quality assurance.

Don’t buy the newest shiny thing, fix what’s not beyond repair instead

Directly connected to the previous habit, this is why I keep doing all my personal and business-related work on a 7-year-old laptop.

Similarly, my phone is a 4-year-old Xiaomi that was worth £130 back then. After removing the original locked system, I replaced it with the newest Android release from an independent source. Even if it’s officially unsupported on said phone, it runs sharp and efficient.

A seismic metamorphosis if compared to less than ten years ago, today the whole of my technology is happily outdated, while still capable of holding the entire weight of my work.

I repair stuff whenever possible: last week I brought back an early 2007 27” iMac from the dead. Instead of becoming the umpteenth potentially working hardware to be dumped in a landfill, it now runs spectacularly well for a 15-year-old machine. All it took was a simple SSD drive swap and some internal cleaning. Cost: €60.

Don’t upgrade software when I can do everything using my current “old” version

This is especially true for professional audio software. I only buy from small companies and stopped using inefficient behemoths like anything from Adobe or Avid.

Also, beware of companies acquiring other companies to form larger corporations. Several mergers have subsequently applied the stupid model of sticking to forced annual releases, with an obvious result: products don’t offer improvements that people actually need. It’s mostly marketing gimmicks.

Strictly refuse the walled-gardens of ecosystems

No iApple, no Google, no Microsoft. It’s perfectly possible to work outside of the so-called convenience. I don’t struggle to keep my diverse devices in sync and actively avoid giving my files to any of the big corporations.

Don’t bloat the web with pointless data

It might sound minor, but I always wonder why people still attach featured images to their blog posts. The habit of including meaningless huge “artsy” images comes from marketing bullshit infused by so-called SEO gurus, and the direct influence of social media unfurling the URL into a fancy card. Just appoint a logo image for the scope and it’s done.

Personally, I want to read the article, not stare at an image only remotely related to the post. Use images when they’re really needed, and optimize them for the web.

One concrete action I’ve achieved yesterday was the complete eradication of Node, Bootstrap and SASS from my computer and this website. Once Catalina was up and running, I’ve decided not to restore the previous development environment, building a new leaner one instead: it took less than an hour.

I now only have to handle Jekyll (Ruby and a few gems) and plain CSS. I run tasks through aliases in my Bash and after buying DevUtils, perform my beautify and minify jobs directly in the app.

Again: these choices have a real cost. Downloading a ton of data through the internet uses electricity that would have been better spent doing anything else.


I truly admire people, especially in Northern Europe, striving for self-sufficiency and sustainability. Everything else is pure waste to my eyes.

Yes, I still live in a rich capitalist region of the world. No, I don’t have a feasible alternative and I don’t live off-grid. Yet, there is a way to carve some space within the current system, by de-growing.