I’ve been having interesting discussions on Mastodon recently about whether a tech stack is satisfactory or if better solutions lie ahead. By tech stack I mean computer, software, mobile phone, operating systems, data sync and how easy is to manage the relationship between these parts.
I’ve been following degrowth principles, slowly applying them to get to a more frugal use of my technology. Even though this is not the first time I’ve felt content with my tech stack, it’s a welcome change from the hyper-complicated downward spiral experienced since the advent of smaller smart devices.
I’m running macOS 10.14 Mojave on a 2015 MacBook Pro that Apple stopped supporting after macOS 12 Monterey. In the unlikely event that I move to that release, it’d be up to date enough to get security patches for a while.
I need Windows for game audio, so a dual boot on the internal SSD allows both systems to co-exist.
Ever since I sold my last iPhone 8 almost four years ago, I’ve been using a Xiaomi Redmi Note 7. After getting tired of its native MIUI operating system’s luggishness, I rooted the phone, wiped everything out and installed a community-driven Android v13 instead. It’s been running like a new device: speedy, efficient, clean.
As part of a push to leave everything related to the concept of walled gardens, I switched from Proton to Mailbox.org. After a quick and painless migration process, I’m very happy with the service overall.
While I won’t dig deep on everything I use, the crucial concept is getting to know software as deeply as possible so that forced upgrades get out of the way. As a random example, I’ve been using the creative tool Sketch for several years, staying on version 59. Since it’s fulfilling my needs and I know it very well, there’s no need for more functionality.
Integration and sync
Having a dual-boot Mac laptop and an Android phone means running devices that aren’t part of the same ecosystem. Given how long this has been going on, it’s become second nature. While I can understand people looking for the convenience of a tight-knit interconnected system, it makes zero sense to me.
I’m old enough to remember a time where we all used Nokia phones, which required manual synchronization. By using the open source Syncthing, I’m doing the same but with a simplifying twist. It really takes almost nothing to keep my devices in sync, especially since Mailbox.org offers DAV services for address books and calendars.
Syncthing lets me seamlessly move data between my different devices without going through Google, Dropbox, Microsoft or Apple.
I’d love to drop Apple and Microsoft and go full Unix and FOSS. No, I can’t do it now, so I’m content with how I mix my open and closed-source software, supporting the former and paying the latter when I don’t have a suitable alternative.
Time is a precious thing to me, therefore getting from A to B with the least amount of bumps on the road is paramount. Having found a way to do it largely outside of Big Tech’s ecosystems — while bypassing planned obsolescence — makes me happy.