What to Give: Tech Gadgets that Respect Our Freedom
“All I Want for Christmas is...” a device that works as a tool for me not as a tool that continues to work for its maker
We love a new tech gadget. What will it be? It's all about “smart” these days.
- A smart watch (full article)
- A smart phone (full article)
- A smart home (full article)
- full of IoT things: doorbell, lights, sockets, security cameras
What do You Mean, “Freedom-Respecting”?
Today there's a huge gulf between the Big Business approach and the freedom-respecting approach.
What do I mean by “freedom respecting” and why would I care this much? After all, we might ask,
“Dear Julian, we know you love Open Source, and we know those Big Tech prorietary vendors are out to get us with their vendor lock-in, their advertising, and their data collection. Yes it's annoying but it's how things are in today's world. We put up with it because we just want something that's easy, that does what we want. They make that stuff, and it works. Why are you still getting so upset about it?”
For insight, read or listen to The Future of Computing and Why You Should Care and The Neighborhood and The Nursing Home.
For some of my personal recommendations, read on. There is a longer article linked to each one.
There's an open source smart watch → the PineTime (main | shop | wiki) from Pine64
- Both its hardware and software are open source
- A review | DDG search for “pinetime review”
- Being created in order to inspire open development, Pine64 sell it directly for a very low price
- There is working software so you can just use it. For developers, there is a development kit
→ Read the full article: PineTime Smart Watch — Awesome Open Source
“What's it to be: Android or iPhone?”
Actually, NO! Apple and Google both press us into their servitude with their extreme vendor lock-in, advertising and data mining. We don't have to accept it, once we learn there's an alternative.
What to buy:
- Murena /e/OS smartphones
- deGoogled, Android-compatible phone
- with deGoogled “cloud” suite: email, docs, storage, etc. (optional, free or €2~20 /month)
- choice of phone models (€300~600) including Fairphone
Being freedom-software (open source), the maker guarantees your freedom to use the tools they provide or change to others. What does that mean in practice? For example, if you don't like the terms and conditions of the Murena cloud software suite, you can use a different one provided by someone else, be it an independent commercial provider, or run by your school or club, or at your best techie friend's home. And then you don't even need a Murena account.
→ Read the full article: All I Want for Christmas is... a Smart Phone?
Smart Home Automation
Automating our lights, security cameras, all the Things? We'll be needing some IoT Gadgets and a home automation system.
Recommendation for home automation control centre:
- Home Assistant controls and monitors everything
“Open source home automation that puts local control and privacy first”
There are different ways to run Home Assistant. You can buy it as a tiny device pictured above, code-named “Home Assistant Yellow”. Alternatively, because Home Assistant is freedom software, it's open source so your best techie friend can set it up for you on more or less any old computer you have, if you prefer.
For lots of information about using Home Assistant, listen to The Self-Hosted Show podcast.
For recommendations on security cameras, also consult The Self-Hosted Show.
For your smart switches, plugs, lights, temperature sensors etc.: mylocalbytes.com (UK) or cloudfree.shop (USA).
→ Read the full article: A Freedom-Respecting Smart Home
#fossGadgets #openHardware #awesomeFOSS
- email me:
- matrix me:
Donations gratefully accepted