Spring cleaning, 2014!

Inspired by Google, I’ve decided to do my own spring cleaning, and do it each year from now on. It will be the cleaning of online accounts. This year primary target will be Google.

My objective is not to abandon all online accounts, but decentralize them — self-host as much of my contents as possibly, or move it out of the US, preferably to small(er) companies.

Why would I do such a thing you ask? — There’s couple of good reasons!

Privacy for example… Now there’s the NSA affair… Big deal, right? US government is spying on all of us.

I, for one, do not wish to further enable them doing this nasty things though.

But it’s not just the NSA, it’s the fact that moral in our society is really low, and at the lowest point are American corporations. Everything goes: tax avoidance, disrespect for employees, disrespect for the consumers. Aggressive advertisement of toxic and useless products, destruction of the environment, etc… You name it. I’d like things to move away from huge corporations and globalization, into the direction of regionalisation and more fragmented industries. But that’s a topic for another day.

What else is the problem?

  • Censorship,
  • DMCA,
  • your account being terminated by mistake or deliberately,
  • termination of Service itself.

Abandoned / Deleted

When Google shut down iGoogle and Reader, - both of which I was using, I’ve realized: I’m using too much of their products. And also, – they don’t care much. I’m not complaining so much about iGoogle, but I think Reader had quite a lot of (active) users.

Well, at Google they have their own agenda, or… is it obsession? It’s called Google+, and they’ll burn as much bridges as needed, to force people there.

It worked on me. I mean, I didn’t go there. But, I cannot trust them anymore with my data. I cannot be sure what’s their next target: to be either canceled, merged with Google+ or morphed into something terrible (like YouTube is now).

But of course, there’s also a question of privacy and all the things stated in the introduction of this post.

But wait, there’s more!

Did you know that Google endorsed a controversial attempt of censorship called Ban Bossy? The mentioned campaigning suggested that we should start banning words, which could negatively impact self-confidence of future (female) leaders! You can’t go crazier than that. If you want to know more about it: Thunderf00t, American Enterprise Institute.

Replacement: Yandex Mail (temporarily); for documents: my own server; for searching: Duck Duck Go, StartPage, Yandex Search.

Facebook

I’m not, and never have been, using it much. I’ve never posted much of my personal info there, and I’m not using majority of features. It’s above all for consumption of (other people’s) information. I could just remove the account, but, what’s the difference at this point? It doesn’t seems Facebook actually delete anything – so I’d be just restricting my access to the data that’s already there.

Replacement: none.

DeviantArt

I’m a member since 2005, and at the begining I was quite active. Lately I’m not doing much of art, so I’m not posting anything new there.

I have idea to make a small portfolio on this site, since all my data is already prepared - I have low-resolution version of all images + json formatted meta data for each of them. All I need is to write a simple JS to query the available data.

DeviantArt became much like Tumblr. It’s overflown with social justice warriors and silliness like Feminism (much criticized campaign I Need Feminism Because…) To be clear - this is endorsed by DeviantART, if it would be individuals in community I’d had no problems with it. With all the women are so much objectified speeches happening lately, dA will have to start censoring some art if they’ll want to stay true to the cause they supported.

Replacement: eventually this site.

Dropbox

It’s not that I’m against Dropbox, – it’s just that, it’s not so useful for me lately. Actually, I am against Dropbox, they’ve hired Condoleezza Rice, that’s beyond outrageous.

I’ve put together a small server at home, to keep my data there. If I need to put something online, I upload it to Yandex Disk, which has GNU/Linux client, and WebDAV support. That’s more than enough for my needs.

Replacement: my own server + Yandex Disk.

Shelfari

Why? Lack of functionality (not much of Slovene titles available). The firm was acquired by Amazon (same story as with Goodreads). Since that happened, they’re trying to convince users to merge their accounts with Amazon. No thanks!

Replacement: I’ll just create list of books in this blog, to serve me as a reference.

Last.fm

Giving the information about every song I’m playing to CBS - no, thanks.

Replacement: none.

Tumblr

The first version of this blog was on Tumblr, but not for long though. I much prefer to host my own content myself. Also, Tumblr became a strange community: Welcome to Tumblr! video explains it very well.

Replacement: my own server.

Future Targets

YouTube

I wrote about my annoyances with YouTube already. The user experience became worst since then, and their policy even more aggressive — especially towards those who produce content.

YouTube must be the most buggy and poorly designed mainstream website I’m (or ever have been) using. But on the top of that, rather than addressing UX and technical problems, Google is abusing its popularity, as a tool to boost usage of much hated Google+. In doing this, they went so far that at this point, since I refuse to use G+, I cannot comment on majority of videos. But, that’s fine.

Chromium / Sync & Google Account

In a very near future I plan to drop Google Sync. I must do further research of what’s out there and what would allow me to sync data to my own server. Since I’m not using many devices and Sync between them is not of a big importance to me, I might just automatically periodically backup whole browser’s config directory to the server, and then restore it as needed.

As for the entire Google Account, I must see if it’s possible to remove it, without also removing Gmail address - my suspicion is, I won’t be able to do it, as accounts are merged together.

Skype

I’d very much like to drop my Skype account due to very poor support on GNU/Linux, reasons of privacy, openness and their greed*.

However getting rid of Skype account would mean losing all contacts - purposing everyone to start using alternative service is mission impossible.

I’ll just have to wait something else (hopefully more open) become popular.

* Your credits (=money) will expire after six month of inactivity. There’s no reason other than greed for this to happen. Company which threat me like that, don’t deserve my money. I’ve just recently lost 2+ EUR, - the money which I could use for something awesome like: ice cream, smoothie or beer. :) As of 2010 class action lawsuit, Skype credits are deactivated rather than seizing, and can be reactivated.

Keep

I’ll continue to use: Twitter, Reddit, GitHub, Digg Reader and Vkontakte.