A Nerd’s Guide to Using The Lockdown Wisely

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Stay At Home, Stop The Spread, Save Lives.

Well, here you are!

Hell is raging outside – Your country is in lockdown, a virus is spreading, and you’re stuck at home, in your bed, your sleep habits destroyed, and your diet crumbling. You’re twiddling your fingers, asking yourself: How long will this go on? All amongst your stockpile of toilet paper, canned produce and memes.

Okay, I probably over exaggerated that.

During this lockdown, you’re probably going to be very bored. Unlike before the lockdown, (If you’re a school kid like me) the bustle and hustle of the classroom is non existent, the authority of your boss/teacher has weakened, and you’ll have nothing to do, other than, sit down, watch cat videos and eat a pack of Doritos alongside some Pepsi.

Unless you live in a really great country that is handling this crisis really well… (not the UK)… I’d assume you’d have a minimum of 2 months under a lockdown.

Doing the math: 2 months is 8 weeks, 8 weeks is 60 days and 60 days is 1344 hours. Not only can you just “do stuff”, but you can also come out with more knowledge and possibly better shaped mentally and physically.

So, here’s a little guide on how to use this lockdown to your advantage.

Organize your life

Structure! Structure! Structure!

It was the heading of one of my sections on my last blog post. At the moment, you might not be following a good structure and the path of disorganization, especially at this time, is quite easy to walk through.

Creating a structure is a good way to create a moral figurehead of authority and self-discipline. You don’t need to create a precise structure, and if you feel like all you need is a core structure, you can just schedule in wake up, lunch and dinner.

Personally, I prefer a digital approach to organization: Using Calendar apps, clock apps, To-Do list apps and habit tracker apps in conjunction to schedule in habits that I want to follow, is a great way to make yourself organized and stay engaged in the things you want to do.

My calendar service is Nextcloud Calendar, however it’s not a widely available service, so I would recommend Apple Calendar or Google Calendar.

I used to use Microsoft To-Do for all of my To-Do lists as it has a really aesthetically pleasing interface, all of it’s features are free, and it has this very satisfying ding when you tick off a task. I’ve since been trying out Todoist. I’ve not used it enough to give a concrete opinion so I might create an article on what I think about it or update this article.

However, there are other ways of going around it. If you’re a bit more creative and you want to spend a bit of time away from screens in general: Bullet Journals are a great alternative to keep track of your life

They’re books that you’d be able to log and organise your life, kind of like a diary, but you can use it as anything. I’ve seen people do sleep trackers, a book planner and a mental health log in them.

A really aesthetically pleasing and amazing Bullet Journal by @Anna_bel_9 on Instagram 🤩

Start Meditating

A common stereotype about meditating is that it’s something Monks do, it’s something to do about buddhism, it’s about sitting cross legged (which I don’t even do myself, IT HURTS!) and it’s also for hippies.

I was introduced to meditation by my sister (there’s your shout out) and it benefits have really helped me cool down my emotions and stress and create a stronger image and personality for myself, especially when I really needed it.

Starting to meditate is quite easy – there are plenty of meditation apps on the Play Store and the App Store.

When I was starting, I used Headspace to help guide me through meditation. It might seem very weird at first, sitting on a chair and just breathing deeply for 5-10 minutes over some guys voice, but by the end of my first meditation session I felt like all the stress from me disappeared; I’d describe it as magic.

When my Headspace trial expired, I started to piggy back off my sister’s Calm login and then I started doing non-guided meditation.

You don’t have to start learning on an app, there are plenty of free guided meditation resources on YouTube and if you have an Apple Watch, Fitbit or a Wear OS watch, you’d be able to use the breathe apps that should be preinstalled.


Start reading books

At school, I have this friend, let’s call him ‘Grade 9’, who is a really huge nerd, is a really expert academically, and I think I’d probably see him going to Oxford or Cambridge one day.

Well, Clark, what is his secret?

Grade 9, after school, always heads down to the school library and returns a few books and picks up a few more. Oh and, he and the librarian are practically friends.

The outbreak can be very daunting for some people. An escape from everything that’s happening all around us would be welcomed by some people, and books are a great way of learning things and powering your imagination.

The standard for reading online at the moment and the most accessible service is Kindle by Amazon. At the moment in the UK they’ve priced a few e-books for free, just get the Kindle app to read them.

Audiobooks are increasingly becoming popular. Instead of reading a book, the book gets read to you. Audible by Amazon (yet again) is the most accessible service. Unlike traditional books or digital books, you can only listen to one audible book at the time.

https://b-ok.cc

A free way to read books is the site https://b-ok.cc. It’s by Z-Library, a place that sources books and articles. You’ll be able to download books in formats like PDF and EPUB. To read them, you’ll need a e-book client.

Whatever you decide, it’s great to have a little bit of downtime and to absorb yourself into a good book.


Learn a new skill

The internet can be used as a tool, if you use it properly. There are mega amounts of information scattered around the internet, and you can learn how to do anything, big or small, by just typing away.

YouTube is a great place to start learning anything. From cooking videos to D.I.Y tutorials and coding classes, It has a wide selection of courses and resources that should help you do whatever you need to do.

If you want a better experience, Udemy is another great place. There are a mixture of paid and free courses on the site ranging from Python to the Stock Markets and they are really well presented, with clear and concise sections that you can use to skip to certain parts of the course.

If you don’t want to shell out cash, UdemyFreeCourses.com is a good companion site where you can find free courses.


Get some exercise

Exercising has never been any easier. Unlike the past, exercise content is being pumped out all online and unlike only 3 months ago (for most of us), it’s possibly the only way you can keep your physical health intact.

I find YouTube a very fascinating and magical place – not only there’s learning videos to help you gain new skills but there are also loads of workout videos, ranging from HIIT workouts to 1 mile walks.

If you live in the UK, you must be living under a rock if you don’t know who Joe Wicks is.

At 9am (BST) everyday on his YouTube channel ‘The Body Coach TV, he does a live workout session called ‘PE with Joe’. The classes are designed for children and teens, however, I doubt he’d mind anyone above that age joining in.


Stay in touch

This lockdown doesn’t have to be a indication to the end of your social life for the foreseeable future. With the power of the internet, you can be right there with them!

If your friends all have iPhones, FaceTime is, hands down, the best video calling option. It’s widely integrated into iOS, You don’t need to make another account and it’s secure.

If you don’t have an iPhone or just want an alternative, Google Duo is your best bet. The service is secured by end-to-end encryption, the video quality is really good and you’re able to have video calls up to 12 people.

Unless you’re a massive nerd like me, I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to find the best video calling app, as video calling is already a standard feature in most messaging apps including Instagram DM’s and WhatsApp.


At the end of the day, we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

The burden of responsiblity has doubled on our shoulders, perfection is impossible right now. It’s fine to take a day to sit, let go of that responsiblity, breathe and just ‘live’ for a bit.

How To Home-School Yourself During a Lockdown 🎓

The past month has been a roller coaster.

Teachers start going off-sick, your peers start disappearing one by one, and out of nowhere, your school gets shut and you’re being asked to work at home, be more responsible and start home-schooling yourself.

A lot to take in, right? Before I was thinking that home-schooling myself would be a great idea!

So, on what would be the week before the end of my school’s Easter Holiday, This is how I try to maintain my memory and home-school myself during this entire crisis:

My school has set us work instead of creating online classes, so feel free to skip individual tips if you don’t need them.


Structure, Structure, Structure!

The most crucial 2 things I’ve learnt from one week of this – Planning ahead and structure is a must.

Take 30 minutes each week sometime in the weekend to plan your entire week on a spreadsheet or your notepad and putting the resources you need into folders. By doing this, you’ll be avoiding the ‘What am I doing?’ question that takes time away from studying and dedicates it to trying to find the work you’ve been set.

Create a schedule, allow for a varied amount of subjects everyday, and stick to that schedule. It doesn’t have to be your exact school schedule, however I tweaked my school schedule so it had more breaks and an earlier start.

I’ve also planned late starts on the days where I have PE. If I don’t have PE in my first period I move my first lesson to the period where I normally have PE in as I feel like if I have a big free period then I would loose a lot of momentum.

I set alarms on my clock app to help me stay engaged with this schedule (it honestly looks very satisfying) accompanied with Flipd, an app that’s a mindfulness timer but makes a great study timer.

Probably should of counted the time I was writing this blog post as Flipd time

I’d also recommend afterwards noting down that you’ve done something or if something is unfinished so you know when to start from again when you’re planning.


Take regular breaks

Breaks are a great way of refreshing your attention span and keep it running at high capacity, The average human brain can only concentrate for 45 minutes straight before loosing it’s concentration.

It can also boost your productivity, make you more engaged with the task at hand and make you more efficient when you work.

According to research by an app called DeskTime that tracks computer use by employee’s, the most productive workers work for an average of 52 minutes at a time, then take a break for 17 minutes before working again. (I know, the numbers are a bit goofy)

Those 17 minutes were often spent away from the computer, either taking a walk or having an exercise and not engaged or thinking about work.

The 52/17 technique works because during those 52 minutes, you are working with purpose and focus. And then when you have a break, you are allowing yourself to refresh and ‘recharge’.


Get away from your phone!

The biggest distraction you could probably have while studying is your phone. It’s your gateway to procrastination: cat videos, BuzzFeed quizzes, Instagram!

If your teachers have set you paper homework and/or you have a second device or computer you can use to view or answer digital questions, then mute your phone and put it in a drawer or keep it away from sight. It’s scientifically proven that having your phone even in sight makes you less productive and less able to recall answers.

If your phone is your only device, and you don’t have a computer you can use to answer or view digital questions, then you can configure your phone to make it more helpful.

On iOS 12+ and some Android 9.0+ phones, there are features like Focus Mode in Digital Wellbeing and Downtime in Screen Time. They allow you to restrict certain apps from being used at a certain time.

Another method you could do is try making it more complicated to access your distracting apps. If you have a phone that can have multiple users, then create another user just for productivity and school.

You can also try to make it more complicated to access them by hiding them into folders or deleting the apps all together.

On iOS and Android, there’s a feature called Greyscale that makes your screen black and white. Turning it on will make you want to use your phone less if you get distracted and creates a mental barrier between you and the content.


Switch things up

Novelty, change, and really just new stuff stimulates the brain. That’s why whenever you get a new phone, or a new set of pens and pencils, or eating at some fancy restaurant (when we were able to) makes you feel so good, other than the taste of the food.

Studying in a different place, such as sitting in your dining room, or your garden, creatives novelty, which can help you release dopamine which tightens concentration and helps you to motivate.

Novelty doesn’t just mean moving rooms, something just needs to be different: Maybe try using a different pen, getting a new notebook, or try laying out your work in different way, or using different colours, or even using the tips in this article? (following article tips could work if you’re as nerdy as me)

Scientifically, studies have shown that the plasticity of the hippocampus (the ability to create connections between neurons) was increased by novelty, and has also shown to have increased the memory retention of test subjects.


See where your gaps are

A benefit of this whole home-schooling thing is that you’re free from restrictions of a teacher and a curriculum to follow. You can finally get the opportunity to spend time on things you don’t really get.

A way you can see what you find hidden gaps in your knowledge is…. surprise surprise… testing yourself!

Find a test paper and a mark scheme from the internet that matches your exam board and exam qualification and do that test without revising to see what you actually remember, then highlight the questions you found difficult and put them on a To-Do list so you can dedicate your lessons to them, Redo that same test, or another test with the same topics on, and keep doing this in a cycle until you get near enough 80% – 100%.

This will perfect your knowledge and allow you to come back into school knowing what your weaknesses and what you are doing.


Hold yourself to account

Keep a record of what lessons you do everyday. I use an app called Loop Habit Tracker on Google Play and F-Droid (There’s probably a similar app on iOS if you look around).

The app is very simple and it allows me to uncheck and check certain days if I’ve done a certain habit or not, and oh boy, the misery of an unchecked box is very scary… at least to me 🤷‍♂️

On mine, I’ve listed out all 5 school periods to really give myself a challenge but you can just have a “study” task.

absolute satisfaction

I hope this has been helpful for you, especially in these uncertain, weird but historical times.

Don’t beat yourself up if you procrastinate a bit. You’re at home in the middle of a pandemic, no one can blame you. Just use your time wisely and treat it like a normal day of school, albeit with maybe a bit more Netflix 🤷‍♂️

🤓 If you’d like to join a little Flipd group I made, then join it here: https://flipd.app.link/R1KWJz1er5

A Guide To Simplifying Your Digital Life

We clean our rooms; we clean our drawers and we throw away stuff we don’t need, but digitally we don’t seem to bother.

If our digital life was a room, the room would be filled with 10000+ unread emails, old social media accounts we don’t use anymore and apps that we haven’t used in months but we keep it “just in case”.

So, here’s a little guide I put together to help you clean this mess up! 🤓


Your Apps

Scroll through your phone and find apps that you don’t use and delete them, then find apps that you don’t feel like give you any value or wastes your time and delete them.

On Android, there are apps that can help you do this (arguably, you could say this is a “Just In Case” app). My preferred one is Unused App Remover, I like this app because it has no-thrills and it just gets the job done.

Any apps that you can’t delete, try and disable or hide them from your phone.


Your Photos

For this, I’d recommend you’d upload all your photos onto cloud storage so you’d be able to access them anywhere.

If you’re not a huge privacy geek like me and you really like the Google Eco-system, then I’d recommend Google Photos. It has unlimited photo storage (albeit, kinda compressed but you really can’t see the difference) and it has useful features such as facial recognition which will automatically group photos according to who is in the photo.

(Not my image)

Other alternatives are uploading all your photos to a traditional cloud storage platform such as Dropbox or just using Apple iCloud, which is already quite integrated with iOS.

Now, scroll through your photos and delete duplicate images, weird screenshots you don’t need or random accidental selfies you’ve taken.


Your Notifications

I never really paid attention to notifications before. I used to just let them build up, but what I’ve found out is that, not only unnecessary notifications look really untidy, but they make you become less productive. Let’s fix that!

On Android

This may vary between devices due to Android versions and Android skins.

  1. Go into Settings
  2. Click Apps and Notifications
  3. Click “Notifications”
  4. Click “See all from last 7 days”
  5. Disable the ones you don’t click on or need

ON ios (iphones)

This may vary between each iOS

  1. Go into Settings
  2. Click “Notifications”
  3. Click on the apps you get unnecessary notifications from
  4. Hide them into the notification center or disable them completely

Your Computer Files

My computer files are the most messiest dump of ’digital waste‘ you will probably ever see. Full of images, .exe files and a lot of After Effects project files. You’ll probably be able to relate to an extent.

One step would be to put all your computer files on Cloud Storage, and using a sync client to integrate it with your File Explorer/Finder. The most popular Cloud Storage providers, such as Google Drive, Dropbox and iCloud (integrated into MacOS) should already have a sync client that you can use.

After doing this, you should re-evaluate all the files you have on your computer and think about whether or not you should move them onto cloud storage or delete them.

I’d then sort it all into folders that would act as little categories for all your files.

To do this I used MEGA, a privacy-first and encrypted Cloud Storage provider based in New Zealand that has plans that don’t break the bank and can be used on all devices.

This should remove all the clutter from your computer and should make it easier to navigate, not just on your computer but also on your mobile device.


Social Media

This is probably by far the most embarrassing one, I’m saying that from experience. 😂

TWITTER

Take a trip back into memory lane and scroll through your Twitter feed and delete the tweets you don’t want anyone to see.

If you don’t wanna go through all of that, there are tools like TweetDelete that are able to delete all tweets or certain tweets from a time period.

FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

On Facebook, there’s a tool called ‘Limit Past Posts’ which will hide your current and past timeline posts. To find this, it’s in Settings > Privacy > Limit Past Posts. There are also Chrome extensions you can get like Social Book Post Manager, which can delete years worth of posts and images.

On Instagram, there are apps like Cleaner for Instagram which let you select how many photos you want deleted. If you want to keep your images, there is an archive button in the Instagram app.


Your Emails

This is the worst one.

My emails are mostly full of old email subscriptions I have never opened and loads of spam emails from companies that wanna give me ‘FREE SAMPLES’. Let’s solve that!

Do anyone still believe these?

The most manual way of doing this is to just scroll through your emails and then delete/unsubscribe the emails that you don’t really open or bring value to you.

To do that, it would be really labor intensive and it would take a long time as I have so many unread emails. Fortunately, there are apps like Cleanfox that can let you do that!

The app allows you to unsubscribe to mailing lists quickly. Swipe left to delete these emails or swipe right to unsubscribe from them, There is a keep button in the center in case you want to keep that mailing list and that email.

It also shows information on the amount of CO2 you have saved by unsubscribing to these emails and the amount of times you’ve opened emails from an individual mailing list.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully ‘cleaned your room’. You should receive less spam emails, less notifications and less burden to your online footprint, vital in a time where technology is becoming a bigger bigger part of our lives.

Android without Google Play Services: The No Google Experiment

I’ve previously wrote about scrapping reliance on Google services by changing my app store, overhauling core services and using alternatives to apps. These all lowered the amount of data I send to Google and the chances of robots ever recognizing me during the next robotic invasion 🤖.

However, like I said at the end of that article, I never really ditched Google; I still used Android Messages, Google Pay and Google Photos. That is still a lot of services that are sending my data to their servers.

I decided to take the opportunity of the end of my phone contract and the start of a new year not just to completely scrap those, but to also ditch Google Play Services completely.

What could go wrong?

The technical jargon

The first hurdle was probably the one where I had the most anxiety passing through. Before this, I never really had much knowledge into installing ROM’s, custom recoveries and rooting. I had enough customization and power from my phone, why would I ever need to!

Unfortunately, The only way I could completely remove Google Services was to tweak my phone, so I took a breather, went on YouTube found a tutorial on how to root my phone.

Everything was going well; I unlocked my bootloader, I flashed TWRP and started the process of rooting, that’s when everything started going downhill.

The startup symbol looped and looped for 20 minutes straight – I anxiously started going onto as many articles and resources as I could find to try and fix my boot-looping mess of a phone. None of them helped, so I went for my last case scenario: Discord.

I was lucky, In one of my nerdy chat servers, there was someone who knew how to root. It was a simple fix, I just wiped everything off my phone.

Instead of re-flashing Oxygen OS, the OnePlus skin on top of Android, I decided to use my bets on an unofficial flavor of Android… Lineage OS.

Lineage OS + MicroG

Okay, so can I just mention how much I love Lineage OS?

It’s open source and made by contributors from around the world and has some useful privacy features, as well as customization. This either could be because of the ROM or the lack of Google Services but my phone feels so much faster now.

The ROM I installed wasn’t an official build though, I installed a fork called LineageOS for MicroG; MicroG is really just Google Play Services without the ‘Google’ in, it allows me to run apps that use Google Services with ways to limit the amount of data that gets sent through.

Most of the implementation works flawlessly, however I’ve had some trouble with Google SafetyNet which has blocked me from using some apps – I tried using Magisk Hide to fix this, but I had no luck.

Most apps also use Google Cloud Messages to send their notifications through instead of going directly to the phone, so I didn’t get as many frequent notifications.

I wish apps didn’t use so many proprietary Google API’s, MicroG wouldn’t of been needed and this project would probably be less of a pain.

My Replacements

I’m gonna clarify that my phone isn’t completely a open source, independent phone as my difficulties with Google SafetyNet and Cloud Messages has shown. I still use some proprietary software as it’s completely impossible to replace all apps, but for those I replaced, as follows:

YouTube is replaced with NewPipe, a version of the YouTube app that has no ads, tracking, uses less battery and has the ability to download videos.

Google Play Store is replaced with F-Droid mainly, however when I have to get Google Play apps I use Aurora Store to download them.

Google Chrome is replaced with Fennec F-Droid, a more open source version of Firefox for Android.

Google Keyboard is replaced with Flesky. While you might say it’s not open source, it processes everything you type on device and not through servers. If you really want an open source keyboard then use AnySoftKeyboard from F-Droid

Google Contacts/Calendar replaced with DAVx5 which connects with my locally hosted NextCloud server. If you wanna know more about it then please read my last article.

Google Maps was replaced with Magic Earth. It’s not an Open Source alternative, but it uses OpenStreetMaps data.

Everything else like the Mail app have been replaced with its Lineage OS counterparts.

Should you do it?

Are you an Android user that’s experienced and knows your custom recoveries to your custom ROM’s? Yes.

But if you’re not, This experiment isn’t for you. You could be risking bricking your entire phone and I have found the entire experience quite stressful.

When the European Commission released a report on Google’s influence on the entire operating system, which is supposed to be open source, and how it was anti-competitive, I didn’t buy it.

Now that I’ve actually done this experiment, it’s really shocking on how much Google has a grip on Android. Essential services are reliant on Google Play Services such as Emergency Location Services and Google SafetyNet has stopped me from using certain apps.

Why should we be forced into giving data to big tech companies that mine our data? We shouldn’t have to go through so many steps to do this, especially in times where we’re increasingly reliant on phones and technology in our every day lives to the point you could call them surveillance devices.

You can agree with me or disagree with me, but no one would ever give their address, their location, their phone number, their sexuality, their nudes and their bank information with a heavy-suited business man in the street for the sake of ‘personalisation’ of services, so why should we let big advertising companies have this information?

We paid for these devices. We should have the control.

A little shout out to my friend who's been doing some of my Snapchat Streaks for me (I can't access it because of Google SafetyNet, so I have to use my iPad to do it). Thanks 😊

De-Googling my Android

“Everytime you create a new account, whenever you accept those dialogs that are asking for cookies, whenever you make a search online. You are being watched and companies from big to small are trying to build a big picture about who you are, your interests, your age and so much more.”

That was a quote from my GCSE English Speaking Language talk, It was about Digital Privacy and how big tech giants harnest our data to understand who we are; I talked about Cambridge Analytica, their affiliations with the Donald Trump campaign and why we should have more regulation on how tech companies use data and secure it. The outcome went well, I got a distinction and my teacher thinks I should get a job in cybersecurity.

And then I looked at my phone, the same phone I carry around everywhere, the same phone that I check my school timetable with, the same phone that sees all my text messages and the same phone that I take embarrasing photos of me and my friends and family with.

So from then on, I decided to break up with Big Tech.

App Store

F-Droid App Store

F-Droid is a repository of FOSS (Free and Open Source) software. It’s probably the most needed app if you’re going to start dropping Google Services. Through F-Droid you can find alternatives to apps you currently use; Most of them aren’t connected to a company and are created by developers.

Inside F-Droid, there’s another App Store called the Yalp Store which allows you to download Google Play Store apk’s in case you need anything that isn’t already there.

Google Drive/Google Calendar/Google Keep

Raspberry Pi 4

My sister’s boyfriend and the host of this site, Matt Burman, gave me a Raspberry Pi 4 for my birthday. After a bit of tinkering, I started using it as a NextCloud server and I managed to sync all my files, calendar, contacts and notes inside of it.

I use DAVx⁵ to sync it all onto my phone and so far I haven’t had any problems, however my instance is still locally hosted so if I’m away from my house I’ll not be able to upload and sync – I’m currently in the process of making it avaliable through a domain so I can use it.

NextCloud and NextCloud Notes have it’s own official applications but for my calendar; I use Etar, it’s open source and it has a really nice material UI.

This is better than using Google Services as there is no direct monthly fee and I can expand it without having to pay more in monthly costs, as well, it’s all open source and it has a whole range of plugins that can make it a joy to use.

Browser

Kiwi Browser Logo

Kiwi Browser is my go to browser. It’s a modified version and open source version of Chromium that supports Chrome Extensions and is really fast. It’s developed by Arnaud Granal and has a huge community behind it.

It also has a dark mode and an AMOLED mode, as well as a in-built ad blocker.

The browser was named Kiwi because Arnaud met a bird which caused him to drop his phone, he bought a cheap Android phone as a replacement and it was so slow, he couldn’t browse the web on it, this was his solution.

If you prefer something that’s on F-Droid, Fennec F-Droid is a another great choice. It’s a version of Firefox stripped of some of it’s proprietary code; Like the official Firefox app, you can use add-ons and sync it to your Firefox Account.

Email

K-9!?! 😲

To replace the Gmail app on my phone, I started using K-9 Mail. It’s a no-thrills email app that supports IMAP, a dark theme, signatures and mostly everything you’d really need.

K-9 doesn’t have many alternatives that are going for it; Other clients I’ve used are either clunky or have missing features. That’s why I stick with it’s pre-lollipop outdated interface, It just works!

For my email hosting provider, I replaced G-Suite with Zoho Mail. It has enterprise quality security, it encrypts emails and it’s cheaper.

Other Apps

  • To replace Google News; I started using Feeder. It’s an open source RSS feed reader that has features like categories and exporting feeds
  • To replace Google Maps; I use OsmAnd. It’s a Open Street Maps viewer with turn by turn directions, I still use Google Maps as I’m still not quite sure about it’s reliablity.
  • To replace the YouTube app; I use NewPipe. It’s a open source YouTube client that has history, playlists, pop out video and background play. It’s a bit weird to get used to at first but it works really well and it consumes less battery.

Exceptions

Completely De-Googling is impossible at the moment. I still use Google Photos for my photos, I still use Google Pay to pay for my lunch, I still use Android Messages because of RCS, I still use Google Duo with my family and my sister gave me a Google Home so there’s no way I’d be able to let go overnight.

I will one day completely strap free from Google’s shackles, downloading all my data and letting go the accounts I ‘sign in with Google’ in, but until then, Google will still keep my information in their servers for them to experiment with and sell like a lab rat.

Welcome to my Blog

Well, hello there traveller.

Everything still needs redecorating, I’m still developing a custom layout for this, bare with me! 

If you’re here you have probably nailed 2 sides of the coin

My name is Clark Narvas

I’m 14 years old.

I’m a massive techie, nerd guy, whatever.

My sisters are too awesome and I’ll never reach their level. 😂😫

Apparently I create vlogs that only have 4 views, well, I guess you’re one of my 4 viewers! Yay.

I’ve also created a bunch of after videos for some hackathons and I used to run a podcast called Tech Byte that covered 2 stories and I made it every day, I don’t make it anymore but I’d be willing to continue it one day.

I am normally a huge advocate for attention to detail in literally everything, but I got impatient and started writing this right now. Pauline (my sister) says ship anything you have, so I guess I’m doing that?

This blog will be a portal into my nerdy but unpredictable mind. I’ll write about certain subjects from tech to politics to anything I really want. This isn’t really for views, It’s more for talking about things I’m interested in and hopefully networking with people who also like the same things as me 😊🤓

When I was younger, I always thought articles and blogs were boring compared to video. Now I reading and writing one. Wooo! 

This isn’t the first time I’ve written a blog; somewhere on the internet there’s a little blog from 3 or 4 years ago that was written on the end of my primary school years and on the eve of Year 7. If anyone still has it, please delete any links you still have 😂

Anyway, thanks for dedicating your brains to reading this ranty, talkative blog post. If you want more, I’d suggest you’d put this on your bookmarks and check every few days, or use an RSS reader and try get the RSS feed for this. I’m going to eventually set up a mailing list for all of this like other blogs so you can get notifications whenever I’ve written and published a new post.

If you’re interested in my shenanigans you can follow me on social media: @clarknarvas (twitter), @theclarknarvas (instagram)