lckdscl's site

I'm switching off

April 4, 2022

I am so. fucking. tired. of. phone applications. Everything requires an app nowadays. Yes, there exist parallel ways of accessing the same services such as through a browser or a phone call, but this pluralism doesn’t apply everywhere. I’m mildly glad choices are still abundant so that I can often pick options that do not require downloading some bloated shit, but I do often end up compromising for a price.

Small example to illustrate: I needed a taxi early morning to catch a coach somewhere. Now, Uber is not good for your privacy, even though they take cash, it often gives you the best price. About 6 months ago I could install Uber on my phone and use it just fine, and this was on a de-Googled custom ROM that only runs Micro-G (lets you access GMS while spoofing your device ID). I set up a work profile with Micro-G which is logged into my old Google account, keeping my default profile untouched by the Big Brothers.

Fast forward to now. I installed Uber through Play Store on this work profile and it won’t load pass this white screen. Was it my DNS? I turned that off; still wouldn’t work. Well, what about if I clone Uber to my default profile, no luck. So I am barred from ordering a fucking taxi, most likely due to my device’s being built to protect my own privacy. Begrudgingly, I will just book one over the phone on the day but it’s beer money gone.

All the C*VID-related shenanigans also require this app and that app. Honestly, I’m just glad the health service in my country allows you to still own offline digital copies of your vaccination records.

The day our pluralism of digital access ends and it all becomes applications after applications (storage is cheap, they say as their selling point), is the day I will forego my smartphone.

The idea of having a “dumb phone” sounds more and more attractive as the internet and technology get more and more dystopian. Long gone are the days of building and fixing your own devices and understanding what they do without much nonsense going on behind the scene. To be fair, while I do prefer to own a small computer on the go, it’s mostly because I don’t own a camera, nor a music player, nor big physical maps.

But looking forward, I think I won’t upgrade my current device. I will use it until the battery gives out and lasts for a minute at a time. It will be a way for me to communicate and call my family and loved ones who live abroad and perform various other small tasks. But I want to try to leave it mostly at home in the near future.

To do this, I will need a camera that I can bring to places so that I can take pictures easily. This will be taken with me not every day but on planned trips. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I will also need to carry a map of the city to places I haven’t been to, or simply ask around. Lastly, and probably most importantly, I would rather spend the money for a new phone on a good offline music player. I already own a collection on my desktop. There is no excuse paying for streaming if you’re cool and poor like me.

I might not be able to use two SIM cards, but will have return to my old one that gets spammed frequently. Regardless, I need a plan that doesn’t provide mobile data, because I won’t need it. For other tasks, I can still use my laptop. Finally, like many big changes, it’s important to understand I don’t have to do all of this permanently it’s an experiment and I can and will be able to find a good compromise.