Exercise free options

2020-09-17 @Lifestyle

Many options out there are free; many superior options, all secondary consequences considered. It only remains to assert these options. Many don’t require much effort; some, only a marginal learning curve.

Whatever the case, it makes great sense to leverage such an option when it lies right in front. But enough prating. On to examples.


It’s a luxury for many living in cramped quarters of perpetual noise and locomotion; or for inhabitants of turbulent, unstable surroundings of physical violence and villainy.

If that’s not you, why voluntarily forego the luxury of silence? Why plague your mental abode with television, streamed media, phones, meritless web browsing, background music, or like sources of mind subjugation? Why voluntarily inhibit your brain from calming, creative pursuit, when available as a free option?

Open-source software

Open source software (def) is generally free for at least the non-commercial, if not all use. The source code is open for effectively anyone to view, hack, discover weaknesses/bugs/limitations and contribute.

You need not generally concern yourself over questionable behind-the-scenes functionality. The transparency thus renders the software (as a whole) more reliable, robust and secure in the long run.

Closed-source/proprietary software is maintained exclusively by the provider/developer. You are at their mercy to address bugs, security holes, and not engage in malicious acts of conflicting interest (ie mine and share your data).

Many are constrained to proprietary software for corporate regulations or very catered type of work that doesn’t lend to open-source alternatives.

And yet many simply pursue closed-source for no reason but the status quo. (No, not the ease of use. I could have offered you the benefit of the doubt in the year 2002, but not in the third decade of the 21st century. Too many open-source options exist of all degrees of user-friendliness and power-usage.)

Open-source options extend from the underlying OS (ie Linux, BSD) down to the individual tools: email, document editing, backup, synchronization, calendar, security, encryption, web development, audio/video/music editing, programming, networking, etcetera.

Why forego this option when you have it? See the tools I use, as well as the guides for many of them.

Email hosting

Why have a cloud giant manage (and probably data-mine) your email? You can handle the entire affair yourself, offline, via Mutt, Thunderbird, or a slew of email clients).

First, host your email either via a more obscure service than a top-five major player. Even better, host it yourself on a general web host or VPS (if able).

Second, retrieve the emails via IMAP or, better yet, conduct an offline sync via mbsync or similar. Don’t rely on web clients or cloud tools. You voluntarily subject yourself to numerous mining opportunities or sketchy practices in conflict with your interest.

Plain text over cloud services

Why appeal to the cloud for managing your private notes, journals, organizers, calendars, to-do lists? Is not what’s underneath effectively plain text: text you can manage, backup, and synchronize yourself, offline, via simple means or open-source tools? Again, see my tools for examples.


Why opt for the processed, the synthetic, or the sugar when you have free access to vegetables, natural fats, lean meats and healthier grains? Be it not a buffet, but a normal eatery or a home kitchen, the effort in proper nutrition only moderately increases.

Why opt for a lifetime of obesity, cardiovascular problems and unwarranted health expenses to mitigate the very damage you voluntarily subject yourself to?

This is a question of your inner essence, your physical appeal, your underlying performance. Why neglect such a crucial aspect?

Social interactions

If your aim is for open-ended casual mingling and surprise opportunities, opt for environments with more people, more options, less of a fixed agenda.

Obvious, no? Yet how often have I voluntarily subjected myself to closed, tiny, time-wasting settings of little opportunity or flexibility. And I’m not the only one.

If, however, you’ve got a specific purpose, the above advice need not apply. In fact, I can think of few less respectful gestures than ‘shopping around’ for ‘just-in-case’ opportunities when you aim for quality time with a friend. (And for the record, appealing to your phone for an escape is hardly an improvement.)


Why entrust a third party with the encryption of your data? Be it an online provider, a closed API, or proprietary product, you cannot ascertain security against the party managing it.

Exercise your own security practices, offline, in total, transparent control. See the free and open GnuPG, available for all sorts of clients and operating systems.

Simpler tools

I subscribe to this credo religiously. Why introduce unnecessarily complex mechanisms into your life for simple use-cases? I speak of opaque mechanisms of greater dependencies and more secondary side-effects.

The Cloud options for simple offline needs that I spoke of above, are but one example. I could list numerous cases:

Lighter weight → lower resources → cheaper hardware → no need to upgrade.

Questions, comments? Connect.