I’ve been making a lot of changes in my life of late, much unforeseen but still on my own choice and terms, not forced upon me. Some things just seem to be in the air for me to suddenly get into this mode and set off a bunch of reactions. This is the second of three posts documenting it all, to keep the posts somewhat reasonably short.
Changing to Brave browser
Not related to running, a week ago, I finally got around to having a look at, installing, and now loving to use, the Brave privacy oriented browser. That was after a month or so of adopting the encrypted texting app, Signal, but only recently telling a bunch of people about it. The question of why not do more to protect my data beyond Signal, save some website download time, block more ads while surfing, and such, all for free finally got loud enough in my head to go for it.
Changes to DuckDuckGo search engine
With the change to Brave, I also changed my search engine to the privacy oriented DuckDuckGo search engine instead of good ole Google. The search engine technology gap has closed now so there’s nothing really being lost for a typical user like me to switch to DuckDuckGo. This last of the three changes makes me feel like I’ve sort of “disappeared” off the Internet for typical tracking, aside from my public activities like this blog, my Twitter, and so on. I’ve also been posting on Facebook only once a week now, on average.
Finally abandoning Google Home alarm!
While I didn’t notice much after the Brave and DuckDuckGo change, it was just a good thing to know. But then I realized I had been putting up with a small annoyance in my life for a couple of years now that is attached to one of those big data collectors, Google. It was the fact my Google Homes speaker wouldn’t let me play music for an alarm unless I paid for YouTube music account, when I have a fantastic MP3 music library. More specifically, it was me having to tell the damn thing to turn off the alarm each morning, then asking it to play some sort of music, which was a limited selection, right after so that I wouldn’t fall asleep again before getting up. They’ve even got it incorporate into my 23andMe results somehow that I wake up right on the actual minute that I usually take after the alarm goes off to tell it to shut off!
Well, that was enough! I then set my phone to wake me up now with a much more pleasant alarm that I’m not so keen to have to shut it off, or think of music to ask my Google Home to play so soon after. Now, I get up to my phone, and some days, don’t even care for the morning music afterwards. I’m so much more at peace in the morning now, even though it’s not like I was ever annoyed long or have it last past getting out of bed. Maybe that’s why I was able to put up with it so long. Still, it isn’t like me to let anything I didn’t like persist anywhere near that long!
Got office chair to write in
Old news but a few weeks ago, I got an office chair to sit and write in that was a big improvement over the old stool I had which was chosen to deter me from sitting at the computer too long, when I wasn’t involved in writing like I am now.
Writing to the music of Minecraft
Writing short and fiction forms
To keep with the writing direction, I don’t know if either the chair and/or the music of Minecraft had to do with it, but I’ve successfully been putting out some short form pieces, some of which are even fiction. It was for some writing competitions where I wanted to take advantage of the low entry fees for those beyond the first entry. However, that meant I had to write more than one such story. I started out hoping for two entries for each competition (500 words and 300 words), nonfiction, because I have enough problems telling short stories in nonfiction, never mind fiction. However, I ended up with five postcard stories of 500 words each (post linked is about the experience, not the stories that will have to be shared later)! I also wrote three stories of just 300 words, though one is like a concept sales pitch rather than a story, but stories were not required for the flash fiction or nonfiction. Of those eight pieces, six were fiction, that stuff I tend not to read much of and thought I’d be horrible at. I might be, but at least I’m happy enough with the output to spend money to put them into contests!
That’s enough for this post, more of the slew of recent self-imposed changes in my life tomorrow!