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I don't follow or reciprocate following several fine folk because I have enough exposure already to political news and opinion. Not that I may have anything against them.

We're home. Travel is good, returning home is better.

"However, fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Just look at the great things he has done for you!" 1 Samuel 12.24 NET.

A key consideration.

This present age is evil (Galatians 1.4) because

* it lives by its own definition of goodness and justice;
* it pursues its own interests;
* it defines its own existence separate from God.

Daily Prayer

> Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

> O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon ...

Desire the good, and be blessed.

Desire what is evil, and evil will destroy you.

We are still waiting | Forthright Fellowship Room

> We are waiting. This is something that most of us I daresay do not do well. We want things to happen quickly. We want things to be right as of now or better yet, yesterday.

Jan. 21. Jesus Talks to Nicodemus | Forthright Fellowship Room

> As we continue our study, we shall learn how the Old Testament prepares us for the New Testament to teach us how one may be born again to become a true child of God.

Blessing may come from the most unlikely sources. For Elijah it came from ravens.

Do you see your raven today?

Following the Lord - d365 Daily Devotionals

> Jesus was born into a world like ours – into our world – a world scarred by troubles. His people were oppressed by dangerous rulers. His own cousin was arrested and eventually beheaded. The shadow of death was deep.

Somebody wrote this: "You can't opt out of the gifts and the calling of God on your life." Great point, but the verse really didn't prove the point. The Wife remembered Jesus' parable of the talent. I went to Romans 12.6-8.

First stage back toward home, stopping at the big city on the coast. Nice breather before flight back.

Today is God's day,
full of life and blessings,
full of his own presence,
full of purpose and peace.

Traveled today to the northeast where it's crazy hot, as always. I live just inside the tropics, but it's nothing like this, where sweating is the natural state of things. All for a good purpose.

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A pilot has snapped a breathtaking image of the aftermath of a violent volcanic eruption in the Philippines.

The picturesque Taal volcano blasted steam, ash and rock up to 15 kilometres into the air when it dramatically increased in activity yesterday.

"Your laws are wonderful. No wonder I obey them!" Psalm 119.129 NLT.

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So I was recently asked why I prefer to use free and open source software over more conventional and popular proprietary software and services.

A few years ago I was an avid Google user. I was deeply embedded in the Google ecosystem and used their products everywhere. I used Gmail for email, Google Calendar and Contacts for PIM, YouTube for entertainment, Google Newsstand for news, Android for mobile, and Chrome as my web browser.

I would upload all of my family photos to Google Photos and all of my personal documents to Google Drive (which were all in Google Docs format). I used Google Domains to register my domain names for websites where I would keep track of my users using Google Analytics and monetize them using Google AdSense.

I used Google Hangouts (one of Google’s previous messaging plays) to communicate with friends and family and Google Wallet (with debit card) to buy things online and in-store.

My home is covered with Google Homes (1 in my office, 1 in my bedroom, 1 in the main living area) which I would use to play music on my Google Play Music subscription and podcasts from Google Podcasts.

I have easily invested thousands of dollars into my Google account to buy movies, TV shows, apps, and Google hardware devices. This was truly the Google life.

Then one day, I received an email from Google that changed everything.

“Your account has been suspended”

Just the thing you want to wake up to in the morning. An email from Google saying that your account has been suspended due to a perceived Terms of Use violation. No prior warning. No appeals process. No number to call. Trying to sign in to your Google account yields an error and all of your connected devices are signed out. All of your Google data, your photos, emails, contacts, calendars, purchased movies and TV shows. All gone.

I nearly had a heart attack, until I saw that the Google account that had been suspended was in fact not my main personal Google account, but a throwaway Gmail account that I created years prior for a project. I hadn’t touched the other account since creation and forgot it existed. Apparently my personal Gmail was listed as the recovery address for the throwaway account and that’s why I received the termination email.

Although I was able to breathe a sigh of relief this time, the email was wake up call. I was forced to critically reevaluate my dependence on a single company for all the tech products and services in my life.

I found myself to be a frog in a heating pot of water and I made the decision that I was going to jump out.

Leaving Google

Today there are plenty of lists on the internet providing alternatives to Google services such as this and this. Although the “DeGoogle” movement was still in its infancy when I was making the move.

The first Google service I decided to drop was Gmail, the heart of my online identity. I migrated to Fastmail with my own domain in case I needed to move again (hint: glad I did, now I self host my email). Fastmail also provided calendar and contacts solutions so that took care of leaving Google Calendar and Contacts.

Here are some other alternatives that I moved to:

Gmail → Fastmail → Self-hosted (via Cloudron)
Google Contacts → FastmailNextcloud Contacts
Google Calendar → FastmailNextcloud Calendar
Google Search → BingDuckDuckGo
Google Maps → Bing MapsOpenStreetMaps and OsmAnd
Google Analytics → Matomo Analytics
Google Drive → Nextcloud Files
Google Photos → Nextcloud Files/Gallery
Google Docs → Collabora Office (Nextcloud integration) and LibreOffice
Google Play Music → Spotify / PlexSpotify / Jellyfin
Google Play Movies/TV → PlexJellyfin
Google Play Audiobooks/Books → Audible/Kindle
Google Play Store (apps) → F-Droid / Aurora Store
Google Android → Lineage OSUbuntu Touch on PinePhone (coming soon?)
Google’s Android Apps → Simple Mobile Tools
Google Chrome → Mozilla Firefox
Google Domains → Hover
Google Hangouts → Matrix and Nextcloud Talk
Google Allo → Signal
Google Podcasts → PocketCastsAntennaPod
Google Newsstand → RSS
Google Wallet → PayPal and Cash App
Google Voice →Ting Mobile

Migrating away from Google was not a fast or easy process. It took years to get where I am now and there are still several Google services that I depend on: YouTube and Google Home.

Eventually, my Google Home’s will grow old and become unsupported at which point hopefully the Mycroft devices have matured and become available for purchase. YouTube may never be replaced (although I do hope for projects like PeerTube to succeed) but I find the compromise of using only one or two Google services to be acceptable.

At this point losing my Google account due to a mistake in their machine learning would largely be inconsequential and my focus has shifted to leaving Amazon which I use for most of my shopping and cloud services.

The reason that I moved to mostly FOSS applications is that it seems to be the only software ecosystem where everything works seamlessly together and I don’t have to cede control to any single company. Alternatively I could have simply split my service usage up evenly across Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple but I don’t feel that they would have worked as nicely together.

Overall I’m very happy with the open source ecosystem. I use Ubuntu with KDE on all of my computers and Android (no GApps) on my mobile phone. I’ve ordered the PinePhone “Brave Heart” and hope to one day be able to use it or one of its successors as a daily driver with Ubuntu Touch or Plasma Mobile.

I don’t want to give the impression that I exclusively use open source software either, I do use a number of proprietary apps including: Sublime Text, Typora, and Cloudron.

"May I sense you every moment : and make my whole life a prayer."

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That "wakeup call" is surely something that would destroy alot of lifes if is would happend to someone else - I would be devastated.

The journey you described is awesome, I wish that more people could think like you do :)

"We work with what we have, for as long as we have them, until God gives us what we desire and need."
—Bledi Valca (Albania)

"When Christians take things into their own hands, they can expect the result of their disobedience to be something less than pleasant!"
—Glen Stewart

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