I got to thinking that it may be helpful to share details here about the technological tools that help support our brand of minimalism and thus allow us to live a more mobile lifestyle. As regular readers know, Linda and I are committed to the Apple ecosystem of digital devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and their corresponding operating systems, software, and applications.
Mainly because Word is the de facto word processing program in the publishing industry the first purchase I make when getting a new computer is Microsoft Office for Mac, which also includes Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint slideshows. Apple also has free versions of these applications: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, respectively, available to us for use as alternatives.
Due to the relatively seamless integration of Apple hardware and software, we try to use Apple’s apps as our default selections. For example, I typically use the Safari browser, but also download Firefox as an alternative. Even though Google is Apple’s default search engine, they also list DuckDuckGo as an option, and I have switched to using it since it does not track us like Google. For what it is worth, Apple is the most security and privacy-minded of the major tech firms.
According to Adam Greenfield, author of Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life, “Apple, of course, pioneered the strategy of…end-to-end vertical integration in its contemporary form. It ushered computation into the post-PC era through its iPhone and iPad devices, owns state-of-the-art mobile and desktop operating systems, [and] sits cozily in the home through the Apple TV media player” (which we also own).
Other non-Apple apps we use for free include Adblock Plus for blocking online advertisements, Adobe Reader for saving and reading PDF (portable document format) documents, Amazon Kindle for reading e-books, Dropbox for automatic file syncing across all my devices, and Mailchimp for my newsletter marketing and mailings.
As for paid services, I pay a little more than a hundred bucks annually to operate this Squarespace site, about three bucks monthly each to use EarthLink email, Apple cloud storage, GoDaddy domains, and our Private Internet Access branded VPN (virtual private network), all of which works out to about a dollar per day to fund our digital life.