Project Reclaim update

Back in March 2011, I kicked off the Project Reclaim project. Since then, others have picked up where I’ve left off – most notably, Doug Belshaw and D’Arcy Norman (who have surpassed me both in the reclaiming and in the blogging about the reclaiming). Behind my radio silence, though, has been a flurry of recent reclaiming activity:

  • I’m mostly de-Mac-ified. I recently bought a Samsung Series 9, which is serving as a stopgap full-time machine until I have the time to set up a desktop Linux rig. On day one, I wiped the Windows 7 installation and installed Arch Linux. It took some time to get set up, and I’m still using my Mac for a couple of things (Picasa, Skype, the old Adobe AIR Tweetdeck), but I’m almost totally moved over. I may write a post or two in the upcoming weeks about specific parts of the transition – there were some pain points, to be sure, especially in the initial setup. But, in general, it’s been smoother, easier, and more pleasurable than I would have guessed. Using Linux full time makes me feel like I’m back in the driver’s seat of my computing life, and it feels extra good to know that 95% of the software on my full-time machine is non-proprietary.
  • At the same time that I moved to Linux, I also switched to Vim. I’d been a user of BBEdit, which is a really great piece of software, but moving away from the Mac meant I had to choose something else. So I figured I’d go for the powerhouse of all text editors. Vim has a certain allure. When I was younger, I studied jazz piano. I remember watching my instructor play and being driven nearly to tears: I understood, in broad strokes, what he was doing and why it sounded the way it did, but it crushed me that I couldn’t translate that knowledge into the same kind of performance magic that he could. I feel much the same way about Vim masters. I’m far from a master, but I’m getting much much more fluent. Also, of course, Vim is non-proprietary, and it gives me major geek cred. So, big win all around. I should note that the Vim transition has actually been far more difficult than the Linux transition, and it was only after about four or five weeks of full-time use that I started to feel like I was back to my pre-switch level of productivity. (In this sense, it was a lot like switching from QWERTY to Dvorak.)

The big proprietary services and software products left in my life are Dropbox and Twitter. Moving away from Dropbox is fairly simple – see D’Arcy’s great posts on his experiments with Owncloud – I’ve just been lazy about it. Twitter is far more complicated, both technically and socially, as well as far more pressing, given Twitter’s recent NBCishness. So that’s the next mountain to climb.

How many others have been Reclaiming over the last year or two? Would love to see more projects along the lines of D’Arcy’s and Doug’s.

5 thoughts on “Project Reclaim update

  1. Doug Belshaw

    Hey Boone, nice new theme! 🙂

    I’m going to blog my ongoing adventures (inspired by your good self). That includes transferring to the D’Arcy Norman-recommended Hippie Hosting and deciding to take a hit on some aspects of my digital life. For example I’ve decided that, given the number of presentations I do, Keynote on Mac OSX is worth a certain amount of lock-in (for the moment). Likewise, I store all of my documents via Dropbox for the time being.

    It’s something I always have at the back of my mind. I’d love a world where everyone uses a system like that proposed by Unhosted but until that time I’m going to, in a Dave Wiley kind of way, ‘iterate towards openness’. 😉

    1. Boone Gorges Post author

      Hey Boone, nice new theme! 🙂

      Thanks. I figured that, after 4 years, the place could use some sprucing up 🙂

      I’ve gotta read up more on Unhosted. There are some aspects of it that I’m unsure of, as a developer – scaling, traffic, redundancy, etc. But it sounds awesome in terms of privacy and control.

      Looking forward to your Reclaim updates!

  2. Pingback: Project Reclaim: a pragmatic update | Doug Belshaw's blog

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