Merry Techmas!

close up photograph of two person holding sparklers

It is almost a tradition that in the annual holiday shutdown I take the time to do a bunch of overdue tech “honey-do’s”, items on my list to get done, and to fuck around with some techie bits.

In the past I have often done some hardware hacking with an Arduino or similar board, or tried to learn Python quickly, or to refresh my online properties.

This year, I had two goals:

  1. Move our main email from Google Suite to anything else
  2. Clean up my online properties, trying to get from two VPS’s to one, and reduce the clutter

I am happy to report that I have already accomplished both of these goals.

Mail Migration

I have been a customer of Google Apps for the Tralfaz email since 2011 or so. It is a small account, two users (my wife and I) and really, we only use the email component of it. I never really got into the collaborative tools, and the storage space provided for their Google Drive was paltry (they are going to bump it to match the far more generous Microsoft O365 allotment soon), so it was just the mail (for all the bad shit I could write about Google, their mail services are top tier, their spam blocking is amazing) but regardless of how well they do mail, I just tire of their whole business model.

While they claim to not scan the inboxes of their business customers, one wonders if they are strictly complying with that ethos.

Regardless, I was paying for services we don’t use, and wanted to get to “just mail”.

I was able to do a dry run of this back in June of 2022, as Google had announced that the free “business basics” was going away, and I needed to move my wife’s mail for her video production services to something non-google.

At that time, I researched, a ton, and settled on Fastmail. $5 per user per month (or $50 / year paid in advance) it was about 30% cheaper than Google, and the bonus is that their migration from Google to their services was lickety split, and super simple.

When it was time to pull the trigger on the main Tralfaz email, the decision was easy. Fastmail, add the domain, do the fiddly bits with the DNS records, and voila, we were up and running.

All moved, and it literally – with migration – took less than 2 hours.

Seriously, if you are considering moving off of Google and just need mail/calendar services, Fastmail is amazing.

The Digital Properties

Over the last 13 or so years, I have started, moved, migrated, and stopped several online destinations. Mostly blogs, some for fun, some for my profession (Product Management) and the like, bouncing between platforms and hosts, it has been fun.

With the advent of Digital Ocean and their “Droplets” that are simple VPS instances, it is easy to spin up and down, and drive experimentation.

But it has been somewhat chaotic.

I am at a time in life (my late 50’s) where I have a desire to simplify, and to focus on what is important. Thus, for my “outlet” this will be the main vehicle. It is the blog that I started back in 2009, and have keep up (mostly) continuously for 13 years now.

I will keep my professional side separate. That is now hosted on Substack as it is better suited to building an audience.

Nope, I will focus on this blog going forward. Expect to see a lot of posts coming out at least weekly (I mostly write on the weekends).

Odds and Ends

I have officially deactivated my Twitter account. I easily walked away from Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica events, but Twitter was always much more sticky to me.

Yet, with the chaos that Musk has brought to the platform, his reinstating many of the asshats that deservedly were suspended forever, and the janky changes to the timeline made it a simple decision to pull the plug.

Sure, I am on Mastodon (@ganders2112@mastodon.social) but it just feels different and less addictive.

So, I am channeling the 2 hours or so a day I spent doom-scrolling on Twitter playing guitar, or writing.

Product Manager in Tech. Guitar player. Bicycle Rider. Dog rescuer. Techie.