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📰 Friday 2. April 2021: upp is a panda companion. It’s is a Lua-scriptable lightweight text preprocessor.
🆕 since December 2020: Playing with the actor model in an embedded multicore context. C imperative components become C stream pure functions with no side effect ➡️ C low level programming with high level pure functional programming properties 🏆
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🆕 Sunday 24. May 2020: Working at EasyMile for more than 4 years. Critical real-time software in C, simulation and monitoring in Haskell ➡️ perfect combo! It’s efficient and funny ;-)
🚌 And we are recruiting! Contact if you are interested in Haskell or embedded softwares (or both).

Kick Google out

Christophe Delord

Introduction

Google is too big and too powerful to be trusted. I recently had troubles with Google Pay (fraudulent direct debits) and I was treated like a sh*t… Hopefully my bank reimbursed me.

And recently the fact that Google fired employees that warn about the issues in their A.I. (Timnit Gebru and Margarett Mitchell, more information here (in french) and here (in english).

The “don’t be evil” moto seems to belong to another era.

So it’s time to quit Google and I’ll share here how I’m switching from Google services to more ethical services.

The first step is to only keep a minimal Google account for my Android phone. And then to switch to a Google free mobile OS (maybe /e/).

I can replace all the Google services I used to use with free alternative such as Nextcloud hosted at home on a Raspberry Pi connected to a USB SSD.

See also:

Google Play out, F-Droid in

Google Play contains a lot of bloated softwares (not only Google ones). When possible it’s way better to install alternative applications from F-Droid. They are smaller, faster and not encumbered by spywares.

Google Pay

Account deleted, application uninstalled. As simple as this! French credit cards are way more secure.

Who likes ads? I do not!

Two nice ways to get rid of ads:

Blokada is perfect to block most of the Android ads. But you’ll have to install it from F-Droid because it has some obvious limitations on Google Play. And no rooted device is required!

Phone and SMS applications

The Google phone and messenging applications have interresting features (antispam) but are Google applications.

Nice alternatives are:

Calendar / Contacts

I’ve replaced Google Calendar and Contacts by Nextcloud hosted on a Raspberry Pi. It works perfectly and it’s well documented.

Mail

My GMail account is just used to log in to my Android smartphone. For real life emails I’ve bought a domain name with an email account (e.g. Gandi or OVH). It’s pretty nice, SPAMs can be avoided by using aliases which is more efficient than the obscure Google spam filter.

Thunderbird and K9-mail are great Gmail alternatives and can easily be configured to use your own email/contact/calendar server.

Photos

Google Photo is too curious and I’m not sure about what it does with my pictures. It can be replaced by:

Also Nextcloud provides a very nice synchronization service. As my cloud is in my local network it’s amazingly fast, way way faster than Google Photo.

Podcast and radio

Two great applications on F-Droid for podcasts and web radios:

Google search engine

I’m using Qwant for months on Firefox (Linux and Android). Search results are pretty good. I had forgotten I was using Qwant only until I had to write this blog entry! So I do not miss Google at all 😃

Google search engine is very dangerous. It returns only search results that are supposed to be “relevant” according to your previous requests. But Google users are then trapped in the Google bubble, always redirected to the same kind of pages (e.g. complotists and naive people always get to complotims web sites…). IMO Google is at least as dangerous as Facebook.

Hey, Google, when I’m looking for something, I want to discover and find new things, not things I already know and become dumber. Your algorithms suck!

Google drive

I was using Google Drive mainly to tranfer files from my smartphone to my PC. SimpleSSHD is way more efficient to synchronize files with my Linux PC (e.g. with Midnight Commander and sshfs). I can simply delete all my files on Google drive.

I also use Nextcloud hosted on a Raspberry Pi. As my cloud is in my local network it’s amazingly fast, way way faster than Google Drive which is very very slow and unstable on Linux. The Linux Nextcloud client synchronizes files on a local drive, just like Dropbox but faster and safer. And a lot faster than Google Drive (which often crashes or timeouts or dies in the cloud).

It’s incredible that such a big society is not even able to have a good file synchronization system while everybody can do way better with a simple Raspberry Pi and Nextcloud!

Conclusion

A locally hosted Nextcloud is much better than Google:

My Nextcloud data center

More information on how to setup a Nextcloud server the easy way here: Nextcloud setup on Raspberry Pi 4 the easy way.

My data center is pretty basic but yet an amazing alternative to Google (and this is cool!):

Look how small and pretty it is:

My Raspberry Pi data center