Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

Time To Reduce My Reliance On Big Tech

From Mac to Linux – First Impressions on a Major Workflow Shift

Tonight I’m writing, once again, from my iPad. It isn’t because I don’t like my new Linux laptop but because I want to do more, right now, that just write. For as much as I enjoy working with Linux, for the moment it isn’t all that useful for anything except for code and writing for me and that’s a bit of a problem.

As I sit here on this iPad, which can do pretty much anything I need it to do except for code, I can’t help but think about the daunting task I have ahead if I want to make non-Apple hardware work for me and, frankly, I’m not sure I have the energy for it right now.

Apple just works… for me

For all its faults, and for as much as I prefer the UX of systems such as Linux and Android I can’t deny that Apple works well for me and my family. In the last hour, from the iPad, I’ve worked in numerous apps for projects for my day job, changed and then stopped music we were playing throughout the house, turned on the lights in my living room, turned on and then changed the channel on this TV, search for an old photo of a relative who recently passed and still managed to browse mastodon and start this post.

For years my tech goal has been to only need one device at a time. With the dawn of smart phones it quickly becomes necessary for me to own two devices, a laptop and a phone, due to all the travel I do but I still actively avoid having to deal with them both at the same time. From texts, to calls, to music and work itself I want to be able to do everything from one device and only move to the other when the environment calls for it. If I’m typing on one device and have to grab, for example, my phone to complete a task such as stopping my music or answering a text, my tech has, as far as I’m concerned, failed me.

Apple is starting to break that ability with its Fitness and Wallet apps but, for me the most part I can use my devices together in exactly the way I want to use them and that’s important to me.

The problem open tech

When I went to Linux and Android last time I was actually able to make the tech mostly work for me outside of phone calls. As long as I stuck with Google’s ecosystem I could do almost everything I did with Apple with some things even being a bit better, and some a bit worse. As a whole the only reason Linux was successful for me last time was I went from the Apple ecosystem and its restrictive hardware requirements to more “open” hardware and all Google for my services.

My problems started because I don’t believe Google is a safe place to keep my data (and, yes, I know Apple is questionable too) so I tried to move to all open-sources solutions like Nextcloud, Home Assistant and others. That worked fine for me but fell apart as soon as I had to onboard my family to all of it. Today, as a result, I’m even deeper into the Apple ecosystem than I was the last time I started trying to work my way out of it in 2017.

A new crossroads

Today I find myself at another crossroads with my tech as the same feeling that I’m in too deep with Apple is back. I’ve bought a Linux machine to get started with moving out of Apple yet I’m finding it hard to justify doing so.

I know Apple is a shitty company but I also know that, if I want to make a change that will work for everyone I need it to, my only real alternative will be to go back, at least to some extent, to Google and I’m not sure I want to do that.

All that said, I’m committed to trying to make it out of Apple. I’ve been playing with Nextcloud and other alternative apps again and have them working but that, just like last time, only gets me so far. Seemingly simple things like continuing to listen to music the way we do and going through my own photos are not easy problems to solve outside of Apple of Google’s ecosystem.

So now I find myself looking, once again, for ways to make this all work and I realize that the end goal, instead of escaping big tech entirely, is going to have to be to reduce my reliance on it as much as I can and find a way to be comfortable with what I can’t.

Here goes nothing