Buying a product, not being one

With Instagram’s recent hiccups, Google’s push to ‘plus’ everything, Twitter’s restrictions on app developers and Facebook’s continual disregard for my privacy I am beginning to think that Anil Dash was right about the web we lost. All of the money grabbing, not from me but from people who sell my information is a little disconcerting. So, this year I am working to buy products, not being one.

This is not an easy task. I am aiming to remove all “free” services from my computing experience, but there are so many. Dropbox, iCloud, Google Reader are just a few and don’t get me started on Facebook and the plethora of apps that they have spawned, acquired or require a Facebook login. I left Google Reader a long time ago, around the time they updated, forcing the use of Google+ for sharing. I have been using Fever ever since and have been very happy. This is the pattern I want to repeat, functionality similar, if jot better, wherein i have better control over my data. Ultimately, to get this process started with all of the other processes I have, I made a list of all the processes and what services are associated with them.

email — Dreamhost & iCloud*
blog — Dreamhost
analytics — Mint note: hosted on Dreamhost
status —App.net
videos —Vimeo
photos —Flickr
RSS reading — Fever note: hosted on Dreamhost
calendar sync —Baikal note: hosted on Dreamhost and iCloud
contact sync — Baikal note: hosted on Dreamhost and iCloud
file sync — Dropbox note: Currently on free plan* and FTP/WebDAV via Dreamhost
Writing — TypeRighter
Bookmarking — Pinboard
Task syncing — Omni Sync Server note: Currently free*
1 off Podcast listening (Huffduffer.com) — Home grown note: hosted on Dreamhost
Watch Later service — Home grown note: hosted on Dreamhost
Search — Duck Duck Go note: Currently free*
Dynamic DNS — Dreamhost and iCloud
Launcher — Spotlight

The services with issues:

  • iCloud — I have no control of what Apple does with my information even if I am paying them. Having more than a free account lets me have the illusion that I have control, but this is going to be a tough one to break.
  • Omni Sync — I hadn’t been using their service until the introduction of Mail Drop, but my automated email catching, task producing system has started to be unreliable, so Mail Drop is a great save. I have purchased about $100 of software from the Omnigroup and plan on purchasing what ever upgrades to the products that I use, so again, I will consider this one covered.
  • Duck Duck Go — Search is a weird one. It is like air, or in computer terms, DNS. While DDG doesn’t accept direct support, I will try to put a few dollars towards their Flattr account to offset my use.
  • Dropbox — This one is the hardest of them all. I barely use the 2 GB free plan (Currently sitting at 16% and that is will a bunch of things that need to be deleted) and the next tier up is the Pro plan with 100 GB for $100. That is a tough pill to swallow considering I am using less than 350 MB. This one requires more contemplation.
  • Twitter — The hardest thing to leave is going to be Twitter. I have cajoled enough friends and family to use the service that moving to the paid App.net feels like I am leaving them behind. I have only been on App.net for two days, and I have felt like it is the most awesome coffee shop, where most of my Internet friends hang out, all it is missing are the friends that I hangout with in person.

Much like my inspiration Partick Rhone wrote the other day:

The mess is something we generally reserve for only our closest friends and trusted sources. The mess is the imperfections we know others know but would only reveal to those willing to forgive us for it.

Yet the mess is the very essence of creation. The planets and stars and life itself is born of chaos and disorder and confusion.

And part of my being able to publish here daily will mean that, some days, it will be a bit messy and you will just have to forgive me for that.

And while I am not posting daily, this will be messy, none the less.