How I use the internet
Inspired by Michael Harley’s How I Internet, which was inspired by Cassey Lottman’s, My Internet, I’m sharing how I spend my time online.
I still prefer e-mail over any other form of communication.
A few years ago I’ve switched to Protonmail, after possibly using all the available systems out there — both free and paid. Even though I’m not entirely satisfied, it fits my current privacy needs.
After a few years with Proton, I switched to Mailbox.org. I now sync my calendars and address book with Android through the open source DAVx5.
My first e-mail client was Eudora.
RSS is still my primary mean to read online, as it has been for a long time. After having used desktop clients for decades, I’ve recently switched to Feedbin. The prompt was a need to consolidate several sources and cut the middle figures. Their business model seems honest enough and the UI/UX is satisfying.
I can read newsletters there, collected within a single tag, follow my YouTube subscriptions while avoiding the website altogether. This strips their algorithm out, along with the noise of comments and whatnot. If the urge to interact comes up, it’s easy to click the link and go to the website.
While I enjoy the web app on Android, I’ve been using the free and open-source NetNewsWire 6 on macOS, which supports Feedbin accounts in the best and cleaner possible way.
Since I’m not following mainstream news, the categories in Feedbin reflects my main interests:
- Personal blogs
- Music tech
- Sound design
- Video game industry
- YouTube subscriptions
Besides following subscriptions through RSS, I tend to save important videos offline. I use
yt-dlp for this.
After discovering the pages functionality in Feedbin, I ditched my Pocket account. NetNewsWire handles them well, making it easy to save articles from the Mac.
I joined Mastodon in 2017, only to leave after a few months because I still was on Twitter and its mechanism of keeping people hooked on the platform. In 2020, I’d deleted all my social media accounts and re-joined the Fediverse.
Another angle on the Fediverse that I joined is Pixelfed. Promoted as a humane alternative to Instagram, is (intuitively) a photo-sharing platform. It’s quiet and relaxing, probably because it’s got a small number of subscribers.
Outside the fediverse, I follow a few onine forums, in particular Reaper’s. My Reddit account is strictly in read-mode, subscribing to a small bunch of sound design and game audio-related groups and checking them once a week.
I started in the 1990s with BBSes and Usenet newsgroups. Still missing both.
Personal and work websites
Work on my websites is performed manually, after years on WordPress. It’s a minimalistic approach which perfectly suits the need to cut down on bloat and (digital) noise. I use Jekyll with its Liquid template language, writing posts in Markdown and deploying to Netlify. I love the process and it doesn’t cost a dime. Along with Mastodon, the blog is my way of reaching out.
I started bloggin in March 2002.
Traditional media online
The only news outlet that I keep checking on regularly is Legible News. Like the newspapers of yore, they publish an update the day after. It’s slow, accurate, private and doesn’t track.
If, for whatever reason, the need to read mainstream news headlines arises, I use the text version of NPR. Nine times out of ten, I don’t click the links. The number of times I find myself checking the site decreases exponentially over time. Every blue moon I check The Guardian and The Atlantic, in search for long-form analysis that can be added to my read later list.
It might be 4 or 5 years since I stopped using Google as my search engine. Today I use a mix of DuckDuckGo and Startpage. Sometimes, Marginalia is a good place to go to find weirder and authentic things.
My daily rider has been Firefox for more than a year, on both desktop and mobile. I use a Mozilla account to keep them in sync.
While I still prefer e-mail for communicating with people, I have an account on Telegram and — unfortunately — WhatsApp. The latter feels forced onto me by the fact I’m about to move abroad again, and apparently my home country is hooked on Meta.
I used IRC for a very long time. Don’t even know why I stopped, maybe the network effect.
I also maintain a /uses page ↗ with a detailed list of equipment, both hardware and software.
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