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May 27, 2019 12:46:48

Technology investment

by @danielmiller | 430 words | 🐣 | 314💌

Daniel Miller

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I approach my use of various technologies in a similar way to how I approach financial investing. I try to keep my usage diverse.

Most people are heavily invested in large platforms and ecosystems. I see this as kind of like having all of your money in one large stock. Apple and Facebook are great examples. Most people in my socioeconomic demographics are on iPhones and I would be willing to bet if I looked at their phone stats Facebook and Instagram are their #1 and #2 most used applications (in either order, depending on their inclinations).

There is a lot of talk these days about dominant social software platforms and their dangers. But not a lot of people are talking about the disadvantages of subscribing to a single technology ecosystem. There are a lot of advantages, to be sure, efficiency being chief among them. But there are also advantages to not locking oneself into a single ecosystem.

Exposing oneself to different technologies is educational. Different UI patterns and ways of working exposes one to different thought patterns and ways of being.

Spreading ones use of technologies across platforms reduces risk. Should one platform fail, or have a security breach, or even just work non-optimally in some circumstances, having more platform diversity will help mitigate that risk.

Sometimes the efficiency gains are too much to overcome. Because I use the G-suite for both personal and work email and calendars, and use an Android phone, I'm far too locked into the Google ecosystem. That will probably continue until some point in the future when I have more time to set up a personal email and calendaring system that's not Google's. But it will take more work. I will have to further diversify the tools I use. But there are likely many hidden advantages I will reap when I do so.

Phone operating systems are another problematic area. There are really only two choices. Mozilla and Canonical both tried to create competing OSs and failed. The fact that the only two choices anyone has in mobile OSs are developed by two of the largest corporations in the world speaks to just how difficult and resource-intensive the task is. It is a difficult choice, as more vendor lock-in (Apple) allows for more privacy (as long as Apple is willing and able to uphold it). Unfortunately for me, Apple phones require a financial investment I'm just unwilling to make at this time. I'm optimistic Copperhead will become available and accessible enough for at least moderately technologically-inclined people such as myself to use as a main mobile OS.

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