I've recently acquired some new toys that I'm not getting any use out of because of my unusually strong hatred of spyware, adware, and "social networking". Specifically, I've had a new Moto G phone for about two weeks, an iPad mini for a few months and a Macbook Pro for about two years. I'm not getting any enjoyment or use out of these tools because I need help configuring them in such a way that they don't bother me with social networking noise and spyware-related crap. Please help.
Back in the day, I used to build my own systems for fun and profit (mostly Windows, sometimes Linux). I configured these boxes exactly
how I wanted them and this brought me a lot of pleasure. I was also a huge tech geek and kept up on all the latest tech toys and software. In 2006, I'd finally had it with Windows and Linux couldn't run all the apps that I needed, so I bought a Mac Pro and never looked back. It's been a dream to use (minus a few small O/S-related hiccups) and it's still, to this day, the best computer I've ever owned. It's fast, quiet, and efficient and it stays the hell out of my way unless I allow it to bug me.
These days, I don’t have the time or the inclination really to keep up on all the latest tech gadgetry and software. Privacy rights are very important to me, so I’ve configured my Mac Pro to within an inch of its life to avoid spyware and I don’t use or care for social networking. I don’t have anything to hide, I just resent the never-ending creep of surveillance that’s come to be the norm in the United States these days, so I try not to participate as much as humanly possible.
The problem: I bought a few new items over time as my older stuff started needing replacement, yet because they came with so much social networking cruft, spyware crap, and the need for me to use Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store to install software, music, or movies I want or already own, I’ve been basically paralyzed with resentment and rarely use them. I've played about 1000 games of 2048 on my iPad and watched a few movies on my laptop, but that’s it. My new Moto G stares balefully at me from the corner, daring me to use it, but all I’ve done is charge it.
This is stupid. I want to use my toys! Can you offer any advice as to how to get these devices to do what I want them to do and nothing more? For example, my Mac Pro runs Snow Leopard. After lots of tweaking (adding apps I want like Little Snitch
, Firefox, 1Password, VLC, Quicksilver, Adium, etc and disabling things I didn’t want like the App Store, Flash, the Dashboard, iChat, iDisk, etc. I love Snow Leopard. (That's the main reason I don't really like my Macbook Pro -- because it came with Lion, a pale imitation of Snow Leopard imo -- and I haven't even bothered to upgrade it.)
Specifically, I want to avoid the App and Play stores as much as possible. I absolutely loathe Chrome and can barely tolerate Safari, so I want to use whatever Firefox-like browser is best from a privacy standpoint. The same goes for chat apps, cloud storage, pdf reader, and music player since those are basically what I’d be using the most. I have one friend who has an iPhone that I’d want to text and possibly tweet (ugh) or facebook to (using a fake account obvs); other than that, I’m not interested in joining the social networking revolution.
What apps should I use? How do I use my toys with as little google and Apple snooping as humanly possible? Thanks in advance for any advice! I’ve tried researching these things myself, but all I get are product reviews, gaming sites, and other non-helpful info.