1. Deep reading is screen time well spent.

    Readup offers distraction-free reading and noise-cancelled comments, built by and for readers. The future is focus. The future is slow. Join us.

    The New York Times Company | Kashmir Hill | 7/31/20 | 6 min
    30 reads15 comments
    9.5
    The New York Times Company
    30 reads
    9.5
    You must read the article before you can post or reply.
    • bartadamley
      Top reader this weekScoutScribe
      1 month ago

      This article reminds one of how really unrealistic it is nowadays avoiding the overpowering reach of big tech. I have tried to outwit the game and shift my usage to alternatives, but one really has a ton of additional research to conduct to even find these alternatives in the first place.

      An easy recommendation at first, is to start using DuckDuckGo as your default search option instead of Google.

      ^ this is a small step to take in the grand scheme of things, but it is a step in the right direction.

      Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” My takeaway from the experiment was that it’s not possible to do that.

      • KapteinB1 month ago

        DuckDuckGo is great. Their search results are on par with Google in my experience, and I actually like their interface better.

        Firefox is accessible on every platform. The newest Android version can finally match Chrome on performance, so now is a good time to switch.

        Linux covers most computer users' needs. The biggest issue there might actually be the overwhelming number of choices. Ubuntu is generally considered the best option for new users.

        Mobile is definitely more of a challenge. You can't really buy a smart phone without an operating system and install your preferred option, like you can with a computer. What you can do is buy certain Android models and install a third-party alternative. Personally I've been using Sailfish OS for years now, and I genuinely like it more than Android and iOS.

        When it comes to email, there are loads of lesser known alternatives. I used Fastmail for a while, and was mostly very happy with it. The biggest issue with using lesser-known alternatives is that you always have to repeat your email address an extra time when giving it to someone orally. (The reason I stopped using Fastmail was that they at the time used the domain fastmail.fm, which confused everyone I interacted with. These days they use fastmail.com, which is probably a lot less confusing. I bought my own domain and have used Thunderbird for email for years now.)

        Spotify is the OG of music streaming services, which I've been using since before Big Tech even entered the market.

        YouTube is the one Big Tech service I've found it impossible to live without. Most content creators seem to upload their videos only to YouTube, maybe due to exclusivity contracts, fear of missing out on ad revenue, or just laziness. A bunch of creators have joined together though and created Nebula, which is definitely worth checking out, although a bit lacking when it comes to both content and features.

        1. Update (8/12/2020):

          Forgot a few important ones:

          LibreOffice covers most users' office software needs.

          (There are also alternatives to online office suits, but I can't personally vouch for any of them.)

          MEGA has all the features you expect from a cloud storage provider, and offers an impressive 50 GB of storage in its free tier.

        • bartadamley
          Top reader this weekScoutScribe
          1 month ago

          This list is breathtaking! Thank you for taking the time to write this out.

          Do you have any recommendations for creating word docs to not be stuck with Google? My Microsoft membership just expired as well that I had set up for undergrad, and am curious if you knew of any alternatives?

          • KapteinB1 month ago

            Right, I forgot about office software. Check out LibreOffice. In my opinion it's on par with MS Office.

            • bartadamley
              Top reader this weekScoutScribe
              1 month ago

              Excellent- I will give it a download, cheers!

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 month ago

        I was just about to post the exact same quote.

    • sjwoo1 month ago

      You could block Microsoft from your life, if you did not work. But if you work for a corporation? Good luck with that.

      As an Android person, Apple is pretty much self-blocked already with almost no consequence. Facebook could go as well, except I would absolutely lose touch with many people. I could live without Amazon, too, but it would be hugely inconvenient.

      For me, Google is the only really indispensable entity. But of course, this is all because we do want convenience.

      You could almost make an argument that the greatest threat to humanity is convenience.

      • SEnkey
        Scout
        1 month ago

        Agreed on Apple and I haven't used facebook for a decade. But I can't kick the others...

    • aussak1 month ago

      Fascinating!

    • Florian
      Reading streakScribe
      1 month ago

      I know all of this but reading it black on white is a good reminder just how wide their net spans

    • chrissetiana
      Top reader this weekScout
      1 month ago

      We are slaves of tech.

    • jbuchana
      Scribe
      1 month ago

      At my job I'm supposed to collect email addresses from any customer willing to provide one. That has led to quite a few discussions about use of modern digital/online technologies in everyday life. I'm surprised every day by how many people do not use email, and in many cases, don't have any internet access at all. Of course, a lot of these people are older, but surprisingly, some would appear to be in their 40s or perhaps even a little younger. They have various reasons for their lack of participation, the two biggest ones are that they survive just fine without the complication of being online, and those who want to avoid interaction with the big tech companies listed in this article. Of course, some of the older people just don't understand computers and the internet, but that's less common nowadays. A lot of older people do have email and are quite happy for us to send catalogs, coupons, and receipts to their email. A lot of them say they buy on Amazon and spend a lot of time, usually with their kids and grandkids on social media.

    • jwigdor1 month ago

      Important counterpoint to the “don’t like it? don’t use it.” argument against big tech regulation. De facto monopolies can be even more nefarious than de jure examples.

    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      1 month ago

      Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” My takeaway from the experiment was that it’s not possible to do that. It’s not just the products and services branded with the big tech giant’s name. It’s that these companies control a thicket of more obscure products and services that are hard to untangle from tools we rely on for everything we do, from work to getting from point A to point B.

    • Ruchita_Ganurkar
      Scout
      1 month ago

      You do think, tech giants have created mess in your life? The more we try to clarify it, more it affects. The author of this article tried to live without tech giants & written that experience here. I think we all need break! but the problem is there are alternatives for products and services offered by the tech giants, but they are harder to find and to use.