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In pursuit of digital minimalism

In pursuit of digital minimalism

Typically overused, primarily reworked right into a advertising argument, the word “minimalism” is tough to define. It evokes both a clean design and a voluntary frugality.

However it’s Cal Newport, in his ebook “Digital Minimalism”, which provides a definition that fits me and evokes me. Minimalism means considering the full value of owning an excellent or subscribing to a service.

In case you are provided an object, you intuitively really feel that you’re the winner . With out paying something, you own this merchandise. However the purchase is simply a fraction of the whole value of ownership. It’s going to certainly have to rearrange this object, which takes time and area. It should be managed, which is a mental burden. To take care of it, to wash it. Then, inevitably, you will have to eliminate it, which frequently requires effort, administration and time. Typically you must pay even when at different occasions you will get some a refund by selling it. However eliminating it also represents an emotional charge if the item was a gift or in case you have built a sentimental attachment to that object. A sentimental burden that may grow to be a burden

All in all, each object we personal has a huge value, even when we now have not paid for it. However it could possibly even have a revenue, it’s in addition to all of the curiosity of the thing.

Minimalism subsequently consists of evaluating the entire cost-benefit ratio of each of our possessions and getting rid of what the profit is just not necessary enough for. Minimalism, subsequently, is the struggle towards the instinct that “to possess is best than to don’t have anything”, a consumerist logic inculcated with a lot advertising in our malleable neurons.

In his bestseller, the High Priestess Mary Kondo does not say anything. Beneath the pretext of “tidying up”, she spends 200 pages convincing us to throw, throw and throw once more (within the sense of “getting rid”, giving being acceptable, but even as we speak, clothes recycling associations are crumbling beneath tons of rags they have no idea what to do)

The subtlety of Cal Newport's definition of minimalism is that the notion of value and profit is private. It is determined by you and your life. The minimalism of 1 shall be very totally different from that of the other. It isn’t a query of decreasing or unifying, but of elevating awareness of our uses. In this sense, minimalism turns into the other of extremism. He’s individualistic, turning into a sort of quest for simplicity peculiar to everyone.

My bikepacking experience is finally nothing greater than an exacerbated minimalist quest. In bikepacking, every superfluous gram is paid in cash. In addition to weight, muddle can also be an essential factor. It is just pure that I seek to use the identical precepts to the digital world.

Within the digital world, the fee is harder to quantify. At residence, it could possibly be summed up to my wants, efficiency and respect for my ethical values.

Again to Linux

For 5 years, I mainly use a Mac, keep in mind my last employer. If the experience was fascinating, I have a visceral have to return to Linux. To begin with because I feel that MacOS is a frighteningly poorly thought-out system (apt-get, where are you?), With typically doubtful ergonomic decisions (the cross that minimizes the app as an alternative of closing it) without that it is extra secure and less buggy than a Linux.

However the first of the causes is that I am a librist at coronary heart, that the Apple universe and its consumerism of proprietary purposes goes towards my values.

Quite than searching for Linux equivalents for all of the apps I've been using in the previous few years, I've decided to simplify my means of working, adapting.

So, I replaced Ulysses, Evernote, DayOne and Things by one software: Zettlr. So, in fact, I'm dropping numerous options, however the good thing about a single software is large. To be trustworthy, this migration isn’t but full. I still not often use Evernote to take a observe on my telephone (Zettlr does not have a cellular model) and I have not absolutely mourned some DayOne options emigrate my diary (I did made a DayOne script to Markdown.)

The rationale for this procrastination? I simply have not found an appropriate pc but to put in Linux. As a result of if I do not like MacOS, we must acknowledge that the Apple hardware is extraordinary. My macbook weighs 900g, with a wonderful display. It slips into the area of an A4 sheet and holds an entire day's work on a load or perhaps a entire week once I'm on trip and solely makes use of it for an hour or two a day.

And, no, Linux doesn’t set up on this mannequin (until I'm able to do without keyboard, mouse and lose the standby).

So I seemed along side Purism, which I I like Philosophy so much, but their laptops are approach too huge and heavy. Not to mention that the charger just isn’t USB-C and I'm not prepared to give up the comfort of a single charger in my backpack.

The Starlabs MK II Lite matches all my criteria. Sadly, it isn’t obtainable. I had pre-ordered it, however within the face of repeated delays, I canceled my order (however I respect the transparency and responsiveness of their help).

I used to be expecting so much from the Slimbook Pro X which was revealed to be means too massive for my taste, pretty ugly and probably noisy (the Macbook is fanless, a comfort that I'm going to have a tough time giving up.)

“Basic” manufacturers do not help me a lot. The Dell XPS 13 appears to suit my wishes (regardless of having a fan), but I cannot management it in its Ubuntu version. As a result of, sure, as to do, I might at the very least favor a brand that is natively Linux. Perhaps I ask too much …

In the meantime, I hold my macbook whose largest fault, apart from MacOS, stays the keyboard uncomfortable.

Keyboard mobility

For the author I attempt to be day-after-day, the keyboard is an important gadget. That's why I typically say that my go to to Beo was one among my most profitable investments. In my quest for minimalism, I additionally stopped taking pen or dictaphone notes in Evernote. Notes that have been rotting and that I needed to convert, months later, into written notes. Emptying my Evernote with its 3000 notes made me understand the futility of the train

Either I take observe immediately with a keyboard to start out a textual content, or I trust my mind to evolve the thought . In my 3000 Evernotes notes, I found as much as five totally different variations of the same concept, typically separated by several years. Taking quick notes just isn’t a assist for me, however a approach to make me really feel better. Turning into a minimalist can also be a job of letting go of sure deceptive impressions of control.

With the ability to write all over the place and be cellular is my important motivation to have a light-weight and small laptop computer. But I miss the consolation of an actual keyboard. I liked my years on a Typematrix. Once I need to discover the pleasure of writing, I flip to my Freewrite, however it’s heavy, cumbersome and notably buggy.

So I dream of a Bluetooth keyboard that may be orthogonal, ergonomic, adapted to Bep and moveable. I discover lots of information on the forum of the epoists but I’ve not but discovered the gem. In my bike trips, I exploit a easy Moko keyboard which, for its 25 €, does very properly and is more pleasant than the native keyboard of the macbook.

All this makes me assume. Perhaps it's not a laptop that I can purchase to put Linux, but a tablet related to a Bluetooth keyboard? So long as I can apply it to my knees in a hammock, this seems to me a suitable answer. With this in mind, I tested Ubuntu Touch on an previous Nexus 7 pill. Sadly, the system remains too restricted. I remorse that Ubuntu Touch is just not so actively developed, as a result of I might like to have a “convergent” telephone (which may hook up with an enormous display to turn into a real desktop).

The telephone

And precisely, since we’re talking concerning the telephone. My OnePlus 5 begins to surrender (it only accepts to load sporadically and its display is cracked). The right way to exchange it?

I really like the Librem 5 idea of Purism. However I see that abandoning Android shouldn’t be potential for me because of two major causes: banking purposes and Bluetooth gadgets. No, I don’t need to hand over my Garmin depth gauge watch and my Wahoo bike GPS. These two units contribute enormously to my enjoyment and well-being in life, the price of retaining Android appears low as compared. That is additionally a cause that makes me surrender the thought of ​​a LightPhone (along with its proprietary cloud).

While holding Android, why not take the telephone as mild and small as potential? Properly just because I cannot find one. I entered a Fnac retailer and found with amusement that it was unattainable to distinguish the phones on display. An extended line of black rectangles (they have been off) of precisely the same measurement! I felt like a parody. The Palm Telephone, which is a notable exception to this unhappy conformism, is simply obtainable within the US as a backup telephone. Too dangerous …

So, perhaps choosing a FairPhone 3 would make sense. I admit I'm not 100% convinced, not figuring out what is absolutely ethical of their strategy and what is advertising, a form of green-fair-washing.

One thing is for certain: I don’t rely maintain the Google Android. I'm ready to see what / e / will supply, but at worst, I'll turn to LineageOS

The Tablet

Although, Android, it's probably not that dangerous. An Onyx Boox e-ink tablet is introduced in Android 9.

As an e-ink pill, I'm presently utilizing a Exceptional. The Exceptional uses proprietary software, a proprietary cloud, and a proprietary synchronization app whose Linux model is not updated

To be trustworthy, I do not use the Exceptional a lot, however effectively. It is used for sketching, taking notes in meetings or, its fundamental use at residence, learn scientific papers and memoirs that I annotate. He changed the printer.

Switching to a competitor operating Android would permit me to cease utilizing their cloud and proprietary app. If, in addition, I might join a Bluetooth keyboard, I might maintain there a typewriter dream

For cons, I refuse to embark on tasks Kickstarter or Indiegogo that haven’t been rigorously tested. Furthermore, my quest for minimalism led me to delete my accounts on these platforms to avoid the temptation to spend money on tasks that may inevitably disappoint as a result of they are just selling goals.

In fact, it might be even higher to be able to join a Bluetooth keyboard to my eReader, which I all the time with me, regardless of the state of affairs.

It have to be stated that after having reviewed piles of readers, I finally found the uncommon pearl: the Vivlio Contact HD (Vivlio = Pocketbook = Tea with regard to hardware)

Fantastic, mild, with button to turn the pages, a backlight anti-blue mild and virtually waterproof, the e-reader allows, by way of just a little quibbling, to use the CoolReader app that permits me to read in reverse mode (white on a black background). Only note-taking and highlighting depart a lot to be desired

However a reader with which I can simply take notes in passages of books and on which I can connect a keyboard is my final dream. I do not despair

Software program

Minimalism can also be revealed within the software program. I've already advised you about Zettr, which now replaces 4 paid purposes all by itself.

However find out how to attempt to promote open source, simplicity and cross-platform compatibility? Tips on how to shield my privateness and my knowledge


Some solutions are self-evident. Bitwarden, for example, very favorably replaces 1password, Dashlane or LastPass (solutions that I have used for over a yr every). In use, Bitwarden is straightforward and excellent. Definitely less lovely, but so effective. I even migrated some secure Evernote notes into Bitwarden. In fact, I took the paid version to help the builders.

In addition to open supply, an important facet for me is the safety of my knowledge.

That's why I exploit primarily Signal to talk. I try to convert all my contacts (please me, set up Signal on your telephone, even if you do not plan to use it, it’ll please those that want to shield their privateness). For refractories, I unfortunately still need to hold a Whatsapp account. I additionally hold a Fb account for one purpose: to participate in the group of Belgian freedivers. Without that, I might not be told about dives! Thankfully, my associates Universal Freedivers publish increasingly more systematically the news on their blog, that I am by RSS. When I’ve the conviction not to miss activities, I’ll completely erase my Fb account (as I deleted my Instagram account and as I plan to delete my Linkedin account quickly.)

However I will converse another occasions of my quest to delete accounts that led me to erase, one by one, almost 300 accounts scattered on the web.

Typically, an account could be useful, however it’s not often. This is the case of Airbnb or Uber. My answer is to uninstall the app and install it only when wanted. This enables me not to be notified of updates, to not be spied by the app, and so forth.

The large job

Up to now, it's relatively simple. The bulk of the job stays my Google account. I have already migrated a whole lot of my emails to Protonmail. And I regulate its most lively competitor: Tutanota.

The large drawback with Protonmail and Tutanota is the shortage of a calendar. Protonmail claims to work there for years. Tutanota even already has a primary calendar (too) simplistic. This is the last thing that basically blocks me with Google.

It have to be stated that a good calendar is just not straightforward. Beneath MacOS, I exploit Fantastical and I have not yet discovered an equal in Linux (especially so as to add occasions in pure language). Perhaps But anyway, I should cope with the schedule that Tutanota or Protonmail will supply.

Last link with Google? This isn’t totally true. Google Music is certainly a service that I discover very highly effective. I’ve uploaded all my MP3s for years and I exploit it without spending a dime. He makes random mixes in my favorite songs in a really convincing means. I attempted to play with Funkwhale, however it is extremely far (already, most of my music does not upload as a result of too massive …).

Google Maps can also be probably the most sensible software and probably the most environment friendly to hint routes, even with public transport. That stated, I'm in search of Qwant Maps, because I favor the standard of Open Road Maps knowledge (and no, OSMAnd just isn’t usable day by day).

I additionally use Google Photograph, which is incredibly convenient for saving all my pictures . That stated, I can do with out it, because my pictures at the moment are additionally routinely saved on Tresorit, an equal to Dropbox.

A shifting goal

To be trustworthy, I was hoping to arrive someday at a “answer good “and describe the options I had discovered. I understand that the best way is long, however, as my framapotes say, the best way is free.

The best way is free …

My perfect, my aim is lastly fairly shifting. Minimalism just isn’t a state that we attain. It's a mind-set, considering, consciousness to enhance.

I am a librist filled with contradictions and, slightly than disguise it, I made a decision to be open, to share my quest with you to collect your opinions, your recommendation and, who knows, also offer you ideas. This publish is just an introduction to a path that I hope to share with you

Photograph by Ploum on Unsplash

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