How I do my Computing: Part 2

Caleb Dias - December, 2019

Pic of old computer lab

I’ve made some changes to how I do my computing since publishing my previous article almost one year ago. I’ve restructured my digital life to be minimal – close to nonexistent – for the sake of privacy, and detached freedom.

The following is my typical computer usage, but I may occasionally switch things up if need be.

My computer

I no longer use a single computer that I call my own. Instead, I do all of my computing from public computers using a Tails flash drive. Tails is an operating system that routes all outgoing traffic through the Tor anonymity network, thus keeping my physical location private. I only have about 500MB of personal data, which fits in a small encrypted partition on the same flash drive.

Tails is Debian GNU/Linux based, but does include non-free firmware to be compatible with many computers, and thus is not 100% free software.

What I use computers for

I believe that the dawn of the modern computer has caused an unhealthy reliance on electronic technology. Tasks like sending letters, reading maps, reading books, and figuring things out without a search engine are almost antiquated. It’s time to reassess our usage.

As such, I rarely use e-mail anymore, but keep one inbox available in case someone wants to send me a GPG encrypted message or file. I only check my inbox on rare occasion. I still use Thunderbird with Enigmail as my e-mail client.

I no longer use instant messaging, but do have an account at Jabber.org (the first public XMPP service). I just can’t bring myself to delete it. My username is pretty cool, too.

I no longer browse the web. Instead, I only visit websites when I must. I use the Tor browser on Tails, and keep Javascript disabled.

I use nano to edit text.

I avoid SaaS as a rule, however I still host my website on Gitlab.com, and my e-mail provider is Riseup.net. Other than those, I do all of my own computing.

Telephone

I'm currently using the home phone setup described in my previous article. For a short time I gave in to the convenience factor and purchased a flip phone, but I now no longer own a cell phone of any kind.

Social media usage

None at all, and proud of it. In any case, there are ethical social media options out there such as Mastodon or GNU Social.


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