I got the idea for this blog from attempting to load Lineage OS onto an old Samsung S4 phone and getting frustrated by the lack of information to get from A to B. As someone who knows nothing in-depth about technology and how it works, I figured my experiences might help others who are completely lost when it comes to technology, but interested enough to try and learn (or just fed up with being forced to use proprietary tech because it's user-friendly). let's just say, the A.5 between A and B.
So hi everyone, I'm Meta, I'm a young adult who does not work in tech (I'm in broadcasting though so, tech-adjacent?). I grew up on the internet like most other late 90s kids, but I never took the extra step to learn valuable skills like torrenting, coding, or hacking. But I've been around long enough and done enough to feel comfortable doing things with guides, documentation, and just doing what things tell me to do. The extent of my knowledge is copy/pasting HTML onto my Myspace to make it look cool, find sites (no torrents!) to watch subbed anime and manga from, and dedicating myself to scroll through pages of search results to find a college book online instead of pay 200 for one.
Forward to the start of the new decade, filled with monetization, privacy concerns, and proprietary software/companies becoming a monopoly across the board. Growing up, I kept seeing story after story about companies getting hacked, fines for antitrust violations, and new stories about how your data is being sold constantly without your permission. My data is owned by these companies and used to make more money for themselves. And it's not like I'm seeing positive changes from that imagined wealth. I've always been anticompany, but even I was still using the gm*il account I made when I was a kid because it was convenient and I didn't know that you could self-host your own email or find a company that doesn't spy on you.
But better options do exist! I don't need to rely on centralized servers. My first taste was with Mastodon, then Lemmy, then open source software communities. I downloaded f-droid and exodus, slowly replacing my old apps with open source ones. Then I started to want more. A new OS on a phone, Linux on my old Windows computers. My own server with raspberry-pi and using an old tower for NAS. OpenWRT for my router to extend my wifi.
This is all work, something that not everyone is willing to do, for good reasons and bad. But I grew up with a DIY spirit. Gardening and sewing with my mom, fixing leaks and installing new car parts with my dad. The ethos of solarpunk and punk punk and open source and zero waste runs strong in me and influence how I see the world. I know a bit about a lot. So I want to start knowing a bit about technology and free myself and those I know from the claws of companies.
No one wants to sell their data, this I'm convinced of. They want to share their memories with their family and friends, want to connect to the wealth of knowledge out there. It just seems like a lot of time, energy, and knowledge that people don't have. I hope this blog can change their mind.
These blog posts will happen when they do, and will be based on my own experiences. I'm hoping that people will see that;
- it's not as much work as you think and
- it's not as hard as you think.
If there are any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment or send me a message if you've already got XMPP or Matrix, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com respectively, or find me on Mastodon at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not yet, call out into the void and hope they pass your message to me.