dichro: (Default)
[personal profile] dichro
I've been thinking a lot, of late, about the pieces of my life that are tied into Internet services.

I'm in the privileged position of being able to afford to spend money on things, but nonetheless I often balk at paying for online services. Getting a paid Github account was a surprisingly difficult step at the time. But on recent reflection, I'd much rather be paying for a service I like than putting up with a free one that I don't, and right now I'm particularly enamoured with the idea of financially supporting smaller, scrappier, single-product services for sympathy with their product philosophies.

Long(ish)-form writing online - blogging, I suppose - is one that I've been wringing my hands about for a while. I've tried some alternatives but haven't found anything as good as LiveJournal was years ago. I left because it was getting all ghost-towny, I think, and Twitter had supplanted it for many things, but I do miss the community. Most of whom are now on Facebook instead. But I still want somewhere to dump and store longer musings.

For some reason I'm reluctant to just go back to LJ. It probably has something to do with zee Russians, though I couldn't tell you why - they're no worse than NSLs, and I don't know that I should expect much difference from private business either. So here I am, at least for now.

I'm probably going to reactivate my Flickr account. Not only does it already have a heap of my photos on it, but I've also been pining for the API pretty much since the moment I defected to Picasa. My favourite thing (that I never used): replacing a photo without disrupting the metadata. I'm imagining uploading downsampled photos direct from phone and using resulting comments/favourites to prioritize replacing the low-res images with full-res version. Yahoo isn't exactly a single-product company, but I can't think of another property of theirs that I care about (or... at all, actually), so perhaps that's close enough.

Finding a replacement for Reader is obviously important, but I don't have one yet. Newsblur, maybe? My consumption of news through Reader is a little erratic, but certainly valuable to me, if perhaps not quite as much as for the more vocal cohort of recent weeks.

Google Voice is fairly critical for my contactability for official matters, but between number portability and how little I really use it, it's a meh issue. Perhaps if there was a service that did a better job of integrating voice comms into a unified inbox, but then I can't really imagine abandoning GMail anytime soon.

Mint is a bigger deal. I really like having all my transaction data consolidated in one place (and I'm sure they do too) but I've been increasingly uneasy about them since they were acquired by Intuit. I don't know how a smaller service would keep up with their collection of scrapers/interfaces, though - not that they cover all of my accounts as it stands, anyway.

I have a vast quantity of e-books from Amazon, who - Liz assures me - are Evil(tm). But the bug bit me hard from traveling with my first Kindle. Not having to worry about reading material before you're at the gate or even in your seat was great. But I've decided that I miss real books too much, miss seeing what people are reading on the subway, and am willing to deal with the relocation hassles, particularly for the kids. At least for the more worthwhile books, anyway. So now I have a steadily growing physical unread pile that I peer into fondly from time to time.

I already give money to Spotify, partly for the sake of having music to play at parties sans advertising, the rest to have my receiver play my Spotify playlists directly; and I'm entirely sanguine about not technically owning any music. I'm still not very good at making time to listen to it.

I pay for Google Drive too, though I do wish Dropbox would get their shit together. I'd much rather share credentials for their service (though only intentionally, natch). It's probably time to take storage seriously, though, which probably means doing something complicated with keeping the bulk of the data in AWS, a working set locally, and relying on something like Ceph to magic them together. I never want to have to care about a failing hard disk again, nor about building computers for home.

Authentication is also somewhat troubling. Logging into random sites with Facebook/Google/Twitter authentication is pretty great, particularly those that set up a complete user account with the details without any further prompting. At the same time, once you start reflecting on how much you're trusting them with... yeesh. I started using algorithmic passwords after losing an unencrypted laptop to burglary, so could just stick with per-site passwords, but the convenience is pretty great.

Which I guess comes back to Facebook. I'm rather intrigued by the possibilities of Graph Search, and wishing somewhat wistfully that I'd been checking in to places there instead of on Foursquare, and there's far too many people that I only maintain contact with through Facebook. I just discovered their free-ish business cards too, and immediately ordered some. They're going to be tough to leave.

Date: 2013-03-24 11:15 pm (UTC)
transcendancing: Darren Hayes quote "Life is for leading, for not people pleasing" (Default)
From: [personal profile] transcendancing
I am also doing something of an evaluation of online presence and trying to work out the how and what etc. So far the things I'm happiest with are the things I pay for who are as you say, one product and small.

Pinboard makes me deliriously happy as a bookmarking service and I use 'If This Then That' to push a whole bunch of stuff through to Pinboard for bookmarking.

My choice for Reader replacement is Newsblur, in part because of the small cost involved, in part because of the recommendation from Pinboard, and also because their service looks cool (just need to get up to date in my reading to complete the transition).

I'm in the process of setting up my own domain so I can host my own audience blog now that Posterous is closing down, though I know I'm late to this party :P

All my ebooks are maintained through Calibre and are in .epub format for ease of reading - I believe Calibre allows you to reformat ebooks into the more versatile format, if that's useful to you.

My passwords have become diverse and rule based if not algorithmic, and that's in place almost all across the many password requiring things.

Financial stuff is saved not in a central place but in Chrome/Google and Paypal which I probably should be more worried about but that is a problem for another day.

Facebook.... I can't reconcile myself for facebook, but I don't want to leave it either. It is ridiculous of me to still be hoping that they'll become less evil and yet... it would be convenient for *me* if this were to happen :P

I like your desire to avoid storage failure but have no idea how to go about this yet - given all the new things I'm trying to get my head around just now, it can wait a bit, I think. Also might make more sense once I learn the things I'm learning. Maybe.

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Miki Habryn

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