Paranoia

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A few years ago when I was in University, I had a cornucopia of accounts for various services and systems, mainly it was because I was a student and as it turns out a lot of places will give you free shit if given half a chance. While at the time I appreciated it, I began to grow weary, for the most part I really didn't need most of these things, most of it was doubling up on things I already was quite happy having but I would always register because "hey, it's free." My attitude towards this all began to shift after an endless stream of e-mails about "offers" and "discounts" etc. I felt the need to consolidate, I wanted convenience not services splintered out everywhere, struggling to remember what was where or if I even had an account with someone. So one by one, I went around and started closing off accounts, admittedly not a lot but those I didn't necessarily close would still be migrated to other services. I wanted to check my e-mails, calendar, notes etc all in one place. I wanted that convenience just so things were a bit less of a pain in the ass. Google was a clear winner, so for some time now, I had been using their services for most of my needs.

Then things changed.

Now I can't give you a great outline of what this means in the grand scheme of things, I believe there is sometime before this actually comes in to effect, nevertheless this triggered something. I have always been the sort to have a bit of a paranoia streak in me, but this was a bit new. I began to see some of the downsides of having everything centralised, I was now reliant on these companies that I was using to always be on their best behaviour and if they decided to perhaps be a bit of a tit, well then it would become a rather large hassle having everything moved. That was if the company was even trustworthy to begin with. I been thinking about this more lately with some of the changes that YouTube has been going through where peoples livelyhoods have come under fire and some of the rather questionable changes that have been made to that platform. Consequently it actually got me thinking about Patreon and how many people now have them as their primary source of income, if I was going about it today I would probably look at an open source site that I could self host to handle memberships because to bank it all on that one site to not make moves that might be detrimental to myself (something they have in fact done in the past but changed on) isn't really something I could see myself doing. Then again I don't need a Patreon so, I guess it's all a bit of a moot point.

So I began to make shifts, first being I immediately DroppedBox (Dropbox) I heard about some of the insecurities of Dropbox and had been using it for some time to store files of a rather sensitive nature, that I made the switch over to SpiderOak. It does what I need it to do, so there's not much to say on that front. Skype was another one I decided to drop where possible, unfortunately I still need to use it for my job, but I have reduced my use of it less since my friends have migrated to Discord. An incident where after discussion about a train journey with a friend, it began to show me adverts for tickets to said location spooked me enough to want to reduce my usage before that point anyway.

Linux has become my primary operation of choice over these past few years. As a programmer I don't like it when my time is being wasted by a program or an OS and the length it would take for Windows to boot up or to respond, or to not crash or some other bollocks would always piss me off. Making the switch to Linux has been frankly magical, it's certainly not for everybody and I'm not the sort of person to go around to everybody and go "You have to use this, Windows is the devil and this is the only way forward!" you do you, I still find in some ways Linux to be an OS where you need to know what you're getting into and should be prepared to learn a little. However, it is a mighty powerful system and being able to install libraries from the command line is just perfection. It's gotten to the point where my Laptop now longer has a partition for Windows, it is now 100% a Linux machine. My desktop hasn't quite reached that point (even as we speak I'm writing on Windows after a listless look through my Steam library to decide on what to play) but I would say I split my time 80/20 in favour of Linux. I recently made a switch from Ubuntu Mate to Linux Mint (running Cinnamon) and I have to say there's a lot I'm liking about it. I wrote a blog post some time ago about my time with Linux at the perspective of 6-12 months, can't quite remember the exact timing and one of my major gripes was that programs just seemed to have this 90's feel, as if no designers were in the process in creation of the programs. On some level I hold this to be true but Cinnamon certainly smooths out the edges to the point where everything feels rather slick and nice. What can I say? I enjoy a little pazazz in my designs.

Tonight (and the final stage to all this) has been me making the switch from Google's Business Accounts (now called G Suite I believe) over to other things. For the most part I don't really use most of the other systems, Drive is convenient but I have a Google account just for Google that any files of great import can just be placed in SpiderOak. As for E-mail the main purpose of use, I made the switch to Proton Mail. I been using it for a little bit on a probationary period and I liked what I saw, the only thing that kind of pisses me off about it is no import/export function, but they do say it's something they are working on. I also switched my search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo, but it's reliability on searches can still be a bit hit or miss.

I also recently dropped my VPS's, I never maintained them that much and wasn't really using them for anything. I create VM's for anything that I'm developing and testing, that frankly it just seemed like needless money and maintenance, so sod it. I ditched the blog and am currently using Ghost, to see if it's any good. Got 13 days left on this trial, so I suppose we will see.

Hopefully this hasn't seemed like the ramblings of a mad man, but it has felt like it sometimes. Times are changing and I'm changing with them I suppose, maybe I'm growing up, maybe I'll grow out of this paranoia but for some reason it's there and suspect it will remain there for some time yet. Plus, hey. More security over personal accounts doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.

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