kevin's website

Degoogling Myself (Part 1)

Kevin Nel

the year was 2018, and the internet was filled with security concerns, data breaches and stories of social media sounding more like social engineering. It was also the year I decided to take control of my digital life, giving up facebook and instagram as well as switching up my search engine usage. It was the year I began to pay more attention to privacy online. In 2019 I took this a step further. this article is about my journey and is meant to serve as a guide for choosing services that value your privacy over those that don't.


There was a time before all our calendars were synced and it was our own jobs to keep them updated. luckily this isn't a guide about stepping back in time as much as it is finding feasible alternatives to the services we use everyday. Most of my calendar usage has been tied into googles E C O S Y S T E M and I still haven't found a great non-cloud based alternative that works across all the platforms I need it to, but the best solutions so far is syncing up .ical or .csv files using syncthing, with another option being a calDav server.


I am of the persuasion that

"There is no cloud, only someone else's computer"

so in my eyes the only cloud that should be worth your time is your own one. But that has proven to be more effort than desired for me, so I have settled with a combination of syncthing and dropbox for now (I may switch over to Mega after I have had look at the privacy policy)


I have become a massive fan of markdown and pandoc over the last while (this very post was itself typed in markdown) and after having to use LaTex for a few varsity assignments I have come to conclusion that I dont need to use a wysiwyg for typesetting (or even slide shows) ever again. In order to sync stuff like todo lists I use syncthing and plain text files (with .md extensions mostly) since I can use KWGT (a really powerful custom widget app for android) to display the list on my home screen and refresh every couple of minutes, using a simple shellscript. I am thus able to edit the list on any of my devices and as long as im on the same network the list will get updated to my phone.

Operating System

I switched to linux on my laptop for university but still use windows 10 at home.


These are the three main things I chose to change although I still use gmail. towards the end of the year I started using instagram again and during my time off from social media in 2018 I discovered reddit which is my favourite website right now. I attempt to use these services with caution though but my journey with social media is a story for another day. There is also this amazing site for finding alternatives to common software and services, alternativeto, which has filters for OS and allows you to only show open source options.