Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Chat using only free software

XMPP is the free way to communicate between any devices or computers. Here is a quick start guide but I'll tell you what I did. First of all I chose to use the XMPP server/service. I've seen the name often but the main reason was it is run by Fachschaft Informatik at the Technical University of Vienna. So there is no greed behind but instead a strong belief in politics and freedom. Because XMPP is free there are many servers to choose from so make your own choice! They all work together so you can chat with your friends regardless of what server they use.

Then of course you need a client. Again there are many but these are recommended by My choice for Android is Conversations as it works with OpenKeychain and it is available for free from F-droid. So install a client you like, enter the account you created and start chatting!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Small changes to make the world a better place

Slowly recovering from my life as a monk in Berlin I have thought about the state of the world. It is grim but I am positive that all will be good. Not without work, though! Sitting on our fat arses letting money take over the world is the road to disaster we've been on for a few decades now. We need to wake up!

It doesn't have to be any hard work for you, either. No revolutions (watch Mr Robot to understand that) but rather I advocate small changes, continous improvement, or kaizen as the Japanese say. But what can you do? Well, I'll tell you what I'm doing and maybe it can inspire you to act as well.

  • I'm leaving Facebook.
  • I'm leaving Google. (Still need to find another place to put my blogs and find another map service.)
  • I've left the stock market. (I sold my last shares today and have placed my pension funds in "classical funds" that yield a yearly interest rate.)
  • I only buy organic food.
  • I have no debt (except my student loans which are cheap, backed by the government).
  • I buy quality, not quantity.
  • Instead of trying to earn as much as possible I'm trying to spend as little as possible.
  • I practise qi gong. This makes me more alert and see things I'd otherwise would not. I also get healthier and stronger, physically and mentally.

Leaving Google - step one

Google is everywhere and their services are often the best and on top of that usually free. But do not forget that if you don't pay then you are the goods being sold! So, first thing would be Gmail.

I happened to stumble upon my new email providor as I was looking at a Fairphone in Berlin. You can come and touch and feel a Fairphone at the Posteo facilities in the old Schultheiss brewery. So I went there and started chatting with the pleasant woman standing there and it turns out they are an email provider, all green and aware. They are private, never save more data than needed on their servers (which also saves energy) and they give their employees an organic and vegetarian lunch every day as well as extra days off so they can take the train instead of flying! Brilliant! All this at the cost of one euro a month.

So, privacy and green thinking aside, another major reason to support them is that the company has no debt. It is also not a shareholding company. Remember that debt is the basis of capitalism and the reason the poor just get poorer while the fat cats just get fatter. The money they have (you pay in advance as a customer) are saved in the GLS Bank that does not finance dirty business.