It’s been quite an interesting year regarding technology and social media, so this is what has happened in my world.

Social Media

I have kept clear from social media somewhat this year, maybe because the world is in such a mess reading more about it makes me depressed. Also, the constant barrage of hearing about Trump depresses me too.

  • Twitter/X – It’s been over a year now since I left the platform and I don’t miss how toxic it’s become.  Mr Musk has certainly destroyed it further.
  • Facebook – I am still on there but don’t post frequently, only 5% of my friends actually use it now. I will delete my account there in the near future, there will be a minority of people who would keep in touch, probably can count them on one hand.
  • Instagram – I deleted all my posts and just view what other’s put up, mainly museums and art galleries. As Facebook, I will most likely delete my account in the near future.
  • Threads – I was on there for one day, pretty much says it all.
  • Mastodon – I am on this platform more frequently given its a non-profit and feels like a safe place. However, there is potential connectivity with the Meta’s Threads so I will have to monitor what happens when there is more information available. They have connected to Flipboard and followed a couple of entities there but not seen any posts come through.
  • Pixelfed – Also part of the “Fediverse” this is the new Instagram for me although I don’t post that often. Being a non-photographer doesn’t provide me with much impact.

China

Earlier in this year I found out China is blocking my website. Upon further investigation it looked as though they blocked it in some, but not all, areas of the country. I was advised it was because I used Google Analytics and placed YouTube videos in some of my posts. The Chinese firewall blocks Google. I also understand it also blocks the DuckDuckGo search engine. It’s interesting to note that my website is linked from Chinese search engines.

I received a notification from Google Search Console that iQiyi, the Chinese TV maker/platform, had asked Google to remove links to my review of Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty. The message suggested that they wanted to control all messaging about the program. I removed the content from my post even though the company didn’t have the courtesy to contact me directly or go through the usual DMCA rules about removing copyrighted material. Not sure why they wouldn’t want their programs promoted but it’s no big deal for me to distance myself from them, they certainly aren’t going to make friends with this attitude though.

If I have any more stress from China I may just drop all related reviews from this website and just stop doing all reviews. We’ll see how things go.

Other Tech

  • Microsoft Outlook – I am disappointed with what Microsoft have done with New Outlook. It’s been 3 years since they been working on this and functionality is more advanced with other email programs. I’ve tried Apple Mail and it’s really slow, there are many issues with Mozilla Thunderbird too so those aren’t really doable for me.
  • Tap Forms 5 – This is a database software for Mac that I do most of my work in, I created my own CRM in it. This is now my vital tool of choice.
  • Cloud – I stopped using Microsoft OneDrive and now use either external drives or iCloud.  I found OneDrive fairly hit and miss to use.
  • Computer – I have a souped up 2017 iMac and I know I will have to replace it at some point. With Apple’s current offerings I’m not sure what I would get, either way it would cost me an arm and a leg. The 2023 iMac is very disappointing at only 24″ so this wouldn’t be worth it. I guess we’ll see what happens in the future.
  • Adobe – Although the software is expensive I am pleased with the progress the company is making. I tried out their Generative Fill/AI tools in Photoshop, they appear hit and miss right now. I have used it to clean up old photos with either extremely impressive or very poor results. I look forward to see how this feature develops.
  • AI – Aside from Adobe above, I have played with other online AI tools. They are quite amusing but don’t have a real need for them right now. I have made several moves to protect my assets, in particular this website, from text and pictures being utilized by these companies.
  • Joplin – This is now my notes program of choice, been using it a while and it suits me perfectly. Apple Notes and Microsoft One Note are really slow to sync.
  • Apple Calendar – This is ok for my needs, the New Outlook one has too many issues, Thunderbird Calendar is unusable.

Web Site Security

For my client websites more of my time is taken up with security issues. The constant barrage is tiring. December has been a fairly quiet month though.

For my website, I have blocked Russia and Belarus so I don’t have any security issues at all. For the reasons stated above I have also blocked China.

News and RSS

Meta has blocked news links on their site, this is a good explainer from the BBC. As I discovered, non-news websites can be blocked, Facebook and Instagram have never been to bright with their “algorithms”. This is obviously another reason to keep off Meta entities but my main source of news has always been via RSS feeds and more so during 2023.