Via Amin: A reflection on my month without Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon
The mobile phone part of this is incredibly hard. I didn't know about Sailfish; I thought there literally were no other surviving smartphone OSes other than iOS and Android. The author actually had to give up on installing Sailfish because mobile carriers lock down their phones so hard.
Here's a very short version of my own experience avoiding Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Still using an iPhone SE because I thought there was literally nowhere to go besides Google and Apple.
I use my work-issued MacBook Pro at work, and I used my Dell XPS laptop with Ubuntu 18 at home. It definitely does not look as crisp, but it's worth not handing an extra $2K over to these monopolistic tax evaders. What incredibly self-important misers.
I do not think much about Microsoft. Until they bought GitHub, I didn't use any of their products.
Now that they have, I have a lot to think about. My $7/month goes to an organization that sells services to ICE. It seems moral to stop that.
Would it be enough to just stop paying GitHub and be on the free plan? I'm still in effect promoting GitHub, though. Suffice to say, I didn't think this would happen, and I find that buyout highly unpleasant.
Though really, would it be any different if Microsoft hadn't bought GitHub, and ICE had repos on GitHub? I think it is clearly wrong to support businesses that actively support racist organizations (e.g. building things specifically for ICE), but I don't know where to draw the line on generic automated services.
If I were to say that it's OK to just provide the same things to ICE as they would provide to any other group, how is that different from arms manufacturers selling to anyone. Now that I type that out, I see that it is one respect: Arms are most certainly going to be used to kill people. Then again, if you provide pens and paper to ICE, they are most certainly going to use that to do something terrible, given that their entire mission is racist.
Does it matter, then, that they can get pens and paper anywhere? This is a kind of a converse to my decision to not try to work for the Democrats because the kind of help they wanted could have been provided by anyone. Since I wouldn't have been making a difference, I felt I hurt nothing by not volunteering my services. Does it follow then that if the help you offer to a harmful organization is highly fungible that it didn't really matter that you helped at all? I don't know!
OK, that was a lot longer than I thought it would be!
I use Open Street Maps on the desktop. On my phone, I use Apple Maps (which yeah, is one of those companies) because Google Maps always thinks I'm offline for some reason now.
Duck Duck Go is fine for search. Fastmail is great for email. It loads…fast. It does not have a 30-second load time in Firefox like Gmail does.
I do still use Google Spreadsheets, but now that I think about it, there is no reason to do so.
I quit Facebook around five or six years ago. I don't miss it at all.
Recently, though, we have benefited from my wife being on Facebook (a familiar story about a dude quitting Facebook). She is in a local parent group that's had a lot of helpful information. That's just part of being so dominant; a group like that will always appear on the most dominant communication platform. This is a big part of why their terrible ethics have such devastating effect – they can't be avoided.
I do think we could live without that parents group, though.
Conveniently, we were done with diapers when we quit Amazon Prime. So, we've been fine! There's plenty of online and offline place to buy stuff. I actually enjoy going to my local bookstore.
Incidentally, for people thinking of trying out a social media break, the author says this about it:
I still think Apple is a ripoff and Facebook continues to get pwned by lawmakers for its mishandling of user data and disinformation. After I left Facebook, however, I found that I liked being off of social media so much that I also deactivated my only other social media account—Twitter. I have often heard that leaving Twitter when you work in media is a recipe for career suicide. For journalists who depend on it as a tool, this may very well be true. In my case, however, I’ve found that now that I have excised social media from my life I am far less stressed and have a lot more free time. I read more books and devote more time to my actual hobbies rather than scrolling endlessly through timelines.