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So looks like my local rail franchise may be nationalised by default because they are so bad at running it that they literally can't make money off a gifted monopoly.

I shouldn't have to dig into gsettings to restore access to the Rhythmbox menu in Ubuntu 19.xx, some bad UX decisions have been made for Gnome3 =/

In tech, 'smart' refers to any device that stops working when the company that manufactures it goes out of business, regardless of what it does.

Mozilla just laid off 70 fantastic people. If you can help them - open positions, offering helpful conversations and references, anything else - please say so.

Use as an umbrella tag for easy finding. (It's already flowing on the birdsite.)

If you've been affected, I'm happy to chat directly. Also have some open positions (see rest of this thread). But doesn't have to be today - take time to recover if you can.

Most of all: thank you folks for making the web better.

heads-up for UK people with overdrafts 

So, the UK financial regulator tried to simplify the way banks charge people for overdrafts and make it fairer. No more daily fees, no more punitive fees for unarranged overdrafts. Just one clearly advertised interest rate for all overdrafts. The changes happen in April.

BUT, because banks are bastards, they are almost all planning to set that rate at around 40%. If your account spends most of its time overdrawn, this will really affect you.

The Money Saving Expert blog has a guide to who's announced which rate and also info about possible options for switching bank and getting a bit of respite that way. If you're permanently overdrawn, it's really worth doing something before April.

moneysavingexpert.com/banking/

So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Gmail → Fastmail → Self-hosted (via Cloudron)
Google Contacts → FastmailNextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → FastmailNextcloud Calendar
Google Search → BingDuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing MapsOpenStreetMaps and OsmAnd
Google Analytics → Matomo Analytics
Google Drive → Nextcloud Files
Google Photos → Nextcloud Files/Gallery
Google Docs → Collabora Office (Nextcloud integration) and LibreOffice
Google Play Music → Spotify / PlexSpotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → PlexJellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OSUbuntu Touch on PinePhone (coming soon?)
Google’s Android Apps → Simple Mobile Tools
Google Chrome → Mozilla Firefox
Google Domains → Hover
Google Hangouts → Matrix and Nextcloud Talk
Google Allo → Signal
Google Podcasts → PocketCastsAntennaPod
Google Newsstand → RSS
Google Wallet → PayPal and Cash App

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

https://www.kylepiira.com/2020/01/09/why-i-quit-google/

perusing the Fedco seed catalog and found the 4 freedoms for free software repurposed for seeds!

"OSSI (Open Source Seed Initiative) opposes intellectual property (IP) provisions
that restrict what OSSI has identified as the four seed freedoms:
1. The freedom to save or grow seed for replanting or any other purpose.
2. The freedom to share, trade, or sell seed to others.
3. The freedom to trial and study seed and to share or publish information about it.
4. The freedom to select or adapt the seed, make crosses with it, or use it to breed new lines and varieties."

love it!

I shut down my Twitter and Instagram last week. Instagram and Facebook are their own thing, but with Twitter, it's gotten bad. Despite that I ostensibly enjoyed the chronological timeline of Tweetdeck and third-party mobile clients, I still opened it up on three or four random occasions over the new year to find some big name calling some other big name stupid. There's more to my life than that watching people sling shit.

I think it's kinda weird that the president of the US gets to stay on Twitter after threatening war crimes and cyberbullying children because his tweets are "of public interest" but the president of Syria gets banned...

Not that I'm sympathetic, but it does seem hypocritical and highlights the issues with social media that's controlled by a single US company. Why do they get to enforce their own interests worldwide?

#Facebook has released more of their computer vision road detection results for nearly all countries for """"import"""" into #OpenStreetMap

And the data is bad.

twitter.com/MapWithAI/status/1

My revolution is entirely boring.

Minimize my participation in systems that hurt
Maximize participation in systems I support
Save resources & money
Gather and practice skills

Buy as local as possible *when possible

Volunteer for community events, political candidates that help humans,
Mutual support of aligned people
Actions

Don't own more than I need
Don't desire what is inaccessible to most

Stay realistic by focusing on money and actions instead of words

So boring I can do this daily

Could this be Twitter realising that it's increasingly out-of-control silo of propaganda is going to be on the wrong side of history? 🙏

twitter.com/jack/status/120476

twitter will embrace decentralization just like they did with 3rd party developers.

Tired: "men are too emotional to be leaders." *replicates the sexist assumption that unemotionality is always a superior trait and is inherently associated with dominance/authority.*

Wired: "Men aren't emotional enough to be leaders." *Hot take. Asserts the value of traits devalued by patriarchy. Radically re-envisions what leadership ought to look like. Doesn't throw men who experience positive emotions intensely under the bus for being insufficiently "in-control" (read: masculine).*

About to go EDI -> NOC, English pilot keeps saying "kuh-nock", the K is silent, sir =P

RT @jezdez@twitter.activitypub.actor
This is your regular reminder that the Django Software Foundation is running a fund raiser this year, it's at 93% of the 200,000 USD goal. There are many ways this money is used for: organizing sprints, financial aid, Django Girls support, Django fellows.

djangoproject.com/fundraising/

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