when ideology ruins technology

I’ve been conducting an experiment with myself as the test subject since the first of this year. The reason for this personal experiment has been to determine if I can live without the Chrome browser and Google search.

I can’t go cold turkey on Google. I have multiple Gmail accounts to handle various tasks, having been a Gmail user since 2005 when I was invited to participate in the Gmail beta. In the past I attempted to use Google+, and I will on occasion go slumming through YouTube to look for some off-beat bit of music or old TV program. I experimented using G Suite and its individual tools in place of Microsoft Office, but I’ve since just installed and use Libre Office everywhere, not out of some misguided idealogical motivation but because it wouldn’t do all I wanted, the way I wanted.. Finally I’m a Go language user, Go having been developed by Google and for Google’s internal use before it was released as open source for the rest of the world. Google search was the first Google product I turned to, abandoning Yahoo! search completely the day I switched to Google Beta in late 1998. That’s over two decades of using Google products in some form or fashion. And I haven’t even talked about Google World and Google Maps…

Regardless, I fell under the sway of the screaming mimies that Chrome in all its forms was Evil, as was using Google Search. Ok. So on my iPhone and iPads and Mac I started using Apple’s Safari. It was pre-installed and Apple has this big deal about being privacy focused. I’ll give it a shot. For search I turned to DuckDuckGo, the current champion of the digital cognoscenti everywhere. So how did that work out for you Bill?

In the beginning it was a little rough. Search results, in particular, were a little thin, both in quality and quantity. Using Safari was OK and wasn’t all that different than using Chrome or Firefox. Until later.

Over time I found a problem with Safari on both macOS and iOS and iPadOS. It would crash and any open tabs were lost. On. All. Three. Platforms. I use my many open browser tabs to keep track of research that is ongoing at any given time. Over time, the oldest open tabs bubble to the back and are eventually closed by me. I make those decisions. But after three crashes (two on my iPad, one on macOS), I got really peeved. I’ve never had the problem with either Chrome or Firefox. They may crash, but they have tab recovery. No so Safari. The worst crash was on macOS where I had over a dozen leading tabs out of almost 100 open to areas I was actively using for my software and hardware development. That one truly hurt.

I’ve now gone back to a combination of Chrome and Firefox. I won’t even consider Microsoft Edge, so please don’t mention it. As for DuckDuckGo, when I switched browsers I switched back to Google and got what I consider much better search results. For technical questions, I consider Google’s results to be much superior.

Lesson learned? In the future, take everything that is pushing a technical ideological agenda with many grains of salt.

5 thoughts on “when ideology ruins technology

  1. Yes indeed. “The latest is the greatest” doesn’t apply to technology.
    I use Startpage to get around the more annoying aspects of Google.
    Also Chromium on the Linux machine, with some add-ons to block ads and trackers.
    But then my computing needs are quite different from yours.
    Or anyone else’s it seems.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I switched to DuckDuckGo some years back and really don’t miss Google Search at all. I would miss Google Maps tremendously. I’ve tried OpenStreetMap, but it just doesn’t cut it at all. As for the browser, I switched to Vivaldi and have really liked it. I’m sure I’m not as intensive of a user as you, but it works great for what I do. And I like the sync feature so my history, bookmarks, et al, are on both my laptop and phone. My wife uses Firefox on our desktop and it just mildly frustrates me any more.

    I also use Syncthing to keep some folders synced between my phone and laptop. It has worked flawlessly, with one exception of a few weeks about a year ago when it wouldn’t sync no matter what. And then it did again and has ever since. Pretty much eliminates the need for a cloud service for me, though I occasionally do use DropBox.

    And, yes, LibreOffice, which seems to do everything I need in that respect, and for which MS Office would simply be overkill.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny you should mention Vivaldi. I’ve got it installed on every x86-64 machine in the house, and for a while I was pretty much all Vivaldi. But then it fell out of favor and I “forgot” about it. I just fired it back up after a few months of non-use, and allowed the updates to hit.

      Thanks for mentioning Syncthing. It looks very interesting.


      • I think I actually did the same thing with Vivaldi. Then I got it out and went through the settings and found some things I liked more than I thought I would. I’ve gotten used to the grouped/nested/stacked tabs feature (I forget what they call it). I like that I never have to remember to open a new tab before clicking on a saved bookmark because it will always open in a new tab. I like that when I close the last tab, Vivaldi stays open to a screen with thumbnails of my most used links. For just a few. Oh, and the history screen is what history should be – calendar form, but also easily searchable.

        My son turned me on to Syncthing. We looked at using it for a backup to each other’s devices, but the interweb is just too slow for it to realistically work. But for the few folders I want to share between my laptop and phone, it works great. I keep some diaries on my parents’ health and personal things, my wife’s health, my health, projects, and that sort of thing. Nice to know I can add to them or make changes on either device whenever a thought occurs to me.

        Good luck!



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