When new technology comes along, I have always been interested in researching and testing to see how it might be applicable to me personally and my job. For this reason, I would often get questions from friends and family, as well as my workmates. This increased exponentially with the iPhone. (When I was in Information Technology, I somehow gained the nickname Inspector Gadget.)

In 2011, I decided to start a blog to have a place to park my tidbits of information versus passing it around via email. At that time, I was using Gmail as my main personal email. (Looking back, everything seemed so innocent in 2011.) Google’s free bundled services was the path of least resistance, so I used their free program Blogger, and they had some easy-to-use templates as well, and I began posting a few items. (Conveniently connecting their services makes disentangling yourself from these behemoth companies difficult, which is their intention.)

Soon my blog began to reflect all of my general interests–great TV shows, personal observations, family history, foreign trips–in addition to how we can use new technology in new ways. Google’s Blogger also had an iPhone app, which was convenient. Then they killed the iPhone app. Google kills off a lot of things eventually (RIP Picasa). WordPress has a great iPhone app, and I enjoyed the challenge of setting up this new site. I was surprised to start receiving promotional emails via WordPress trying to link me to Google Drive – kind of defeats the purpose.

Trust, however, is a huge motivation. It can be lost with one huge event or a constant drumbeat of negative incidents added together that make you say “no more.” I began to reassess all of the services I was using and how I was using them. (See earlier post on deleting Facebook.) How much information is concentrated in one place/database? Why are these companies allowed to retain so much data on us? I started to use another provider for my personal email—one that wasn’t using AI.

Next up was Amazon Prime—the price was increasing, but not to give warehouse workers a livable wage or better working conditions. I cancelled my Prime membership in December 2018. There isn’t anything I need that fast, and I’m committed to supporting local businesses in my area. I would also like to cut down on waste—enough with the cardboard boxes. Amazon Shopping Habits.

Apple continues to retain my trust. When they’ve had a misstep, they have been quick to address it and correct it. I’ve been a customer since 2007, and haven’t looked back. In the early days, the iPhones were “free” with a 2-year contract. Now we bear the full cost of purchasing a new iPhone, and I think the benefits are worth it (device security, app vetting, revenue is not data or advertising dependent). So, I continue my journey of evaluating what “free” is really costing me in the long run and making changes where I think I need to.

Tim Cook – Weaponized Personal Data

(The top picture is from The Flaming Lips concert I attended, also in 2011. We are all Yoshimi.)