Library of Babel

The Portal
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Per-Bast
Make WWW Great Again
Mount Paozu
DOS/Win9x Game Shrines
Town of ZZT
Observatory
The Quarry
Library of Babel
Red Forest
Haunted House
Macula's Maze
Reptile House
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The Scratching Post
Dock
The PortalUFOPer-BastMake WWW Great AgainMount PaozuDOS/Win9x Game ShrinesTown of ZZTThe ObservatoryThe QuarryLibrary of BabelRed ForestHaunted HouseMacula's MazeReptile HouseWildcat DenThe Scratching PostThe Dock

Alternatives to Big Technology Platforms and Programs


Table of Contents Chat/Messaging

Discord is a vile proprietary spyware program and should be avoided at all costs, as are Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

If you like the idea of one-on-one chat and chatrooms, your best bet is IRC - a free chat protocol that has been around since the late 1980s and is still in widespread use today. All you need to use it is a client such as irssi, XChat, or Pidgin. There's a plethora of IRC servers out there housing various channels dedicated to discussing all sorts of topics. It's worth noting that many people tend to connect to IRC via an always-on server, so don't be surprised if you wander into a chatroom that is full of people yet does not currently have any activity.

IRC is text-only and does not support audio or video chat, but as I have elaborated on in another Babel rant, text is objectively superior to speaking as a communication method. Enjoy the freedom of being able to have multiple conversations at the same time, while also listening to music.

If you want a privacy-friendly alternative to replace messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram seem to be the best two out right now, to my knowledge. I have never actually used any messaging applications, so I admit that my knowledge in this area is rather limited.

E-Mail

To put it succinctly, the situation is FUBAR on this front. Virtually all e-mail providers, especially the mainstream ones such as Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo!, are designed for the sole purpose of harvesting as much data as possible from their users.

While it's not a perfect solution, and most of the domain names that it offers are offensive ones that you probably won't want to use for IRL crap, Cock.li is a relatively privacy-friendly free e-mail provider and likely the best option around. Disroot and RiseUp also look relatively solid from what I have read about them.

On my end, I rely on Yandex. Sure, they're likely almost as bad as the American big technology companies, but I consider the prospect of the Russian government knowing what I'm up to to be far less concerning than my own government here in the U.S., which has raided people for looking up information on cooking quinoa, watching my every move.

While it's an option that is unavailable to the majority of people for obvious reasons due to the technical knowledge and the amount of work that is required, the best solution for e-mail might be simply hosting your own e-mail server and mandating that people use encryption to communicate with you. Even then, it wouldn't take much for the government to find a reason to raid you and confiscate your server.

News

Essentially every mainstream media organisation in the West has been subverted from the head down by corporate, globalist interests. George Carlin put the situation very eloquently in his famous "Big Club" rant. You can read it here if you have not yet heard or read it. It's a very profound and dishearteningly truthful little speech that has only become more on-point in the modern era.

While I have links to a number of mostly solid right-leaning news websites (don't even bother with TV) on The Dock's political section, this list is minutia. A far more important thing to talk about here is that every news organisation has some sort of bias, for better or for worse. There is an uncountable number of things occurring across the world every day, and it would be impossible for any organisation to keep track of and report even a tenth of it. Every news organisation, regardless of how accurate their actual reporting is, thus prioritises talking about events that fit their biases.

Nobody would stumble upon a news website dedicated to reporting wholesome events involving cats and be fooled into thinking that all major global issues has been miraculously resolved overnight and all journalists are now following wounded kittens around looking for their next big scoop. Far too many however, lose this awareness when it comes to their favourite news website/TV channel and start to believe that they live in a perilous world where women leveling fake rape accusations or white supremacists (or any number of other boogeymen) are hiding behind every corner.

If you want to stay truly informed, or as close as possible, the best thing you can do is to check as many different news organisations as possible, preferably inclusive of those from foreign countries and ones espousing ideolgies divergent to those of your usual news sources. Think back to any logical puzzles you've solved that involved determining the truth from hearing statements from multiple (potential) liars. Hearing one of them speak won't grant you any insight on the situation, but after you've heard all of them out, you can piece together what the truth is yourself.

Operating Systems

Windows 10 is a hideous, labyrinthian spyware platform with no redeeming features beyond being the only operating system capable of running some very modern programs and games. At best, it is something that should be used for brief intervals when it is an absolute necessity, and otherwise avoided like a leper with a suicide bomb vest.

Windows 7 and even Windows XP are still largely useable as of this writing, and even the ancient Windows 98 still maintains a following and can be extended well past what it was intended to handle with utilities such as KernelEx. It needs to be noted however that older versions of Windows do not receive security updates, and will only become less and less useable and secure as time goes on. They are also proprietary, big technology operating systems with backdoors designed for government spy agencies to utilise.

Macintosh is an overpriced trainwreck that arguably makes even nu-Windows seem preferable, so that leaves only Linux as a viable long term solution. There is a veritable sea of diverse Linux distributions out there, and I would encourage anyone interested in switching to do their own research and figure out which one is right for you.

If you're an absolute beginner, Ubuntu or Kubuntu would probably be your best bet. Kubuntu is basically Ubuntu with the KDE desktop environment and is my personal favourite distribution. It's relatively Windows-like and is even more customiseable than Windows 95 and 98 were. Here are two screenshots of themes that I use on my virtual machine instance of Kubuntu, as two small examples of what is possible.

Search Engines

It goes without saying that Google, Bing, and Yahoo! are absolute no-gos. Google especially is the worst search engine you could possibly rely on, as in addition to their Orwellian tracking, they also routinely censor search results and force users using a VPN or Tor to go through a CAPTCHA. Bing and Yandex get bad rap but they beat out Google in terms of search result quality in my experience, and don't strong-arm you into doing unpaid work if you're behind a VPN.

When it comes to independent and privacy-friendly search engines, DuckDuckGo and Startpage are the two that people usually bring up. It needs to be noted that neither search engine has its own index. DuckDuckGo is essentially a Bing proxy, and Startpage a Google proxy, and you are gambling on neither Google nor Microsoft having any way of linking anything you do in DDG or SP back to you. Furthermore, DuckDuckGo's owner has outright admitted engaging in partisan censorship.

Now, the one search engine whose praises I sing the most is Wiby. Although it returns fewer results than nearly any other search engine, it is entirely privacy friendly, funded by donations, and has an entirely hand-curated index that makes it immune to the SEO nonsense that marketers use to muck up search results with junk. Wiby generally returns results to places on the Web 1.0 part of the Web -- independent, smaller, old school websites like those on Neocities, and allows users to submit links to sites not in its index. What it lacks in quantity, it makes up in quality.

Beyond the aforementioned search engines, there is also Mojeek and Searx. Mojeek is, like Wiby, an independent search engine that uses its own crawler to generate its own index. While it is completely independent of big technology companies, it's quite lacking in terms of search result quality. Searx on the other hand, essentially functions like a proxy for other search engines. It's open source software and there are various instances of it of varying quality across the Web.

Social Media

I don't think I need to devote any space to explaining why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and so on are cancerous tumours that need to be avoided like the plague. They're nothing but Orwellian spying platforms that are designed to psychologically manipulate their users, feed them advertising and intellectual fast food, promote conformity, and censor divergent views.

My top recommendations in this avenue would probably be Neocities (obviously) and Gab. The latter gets a bad rap in the mainstream, but has never been anything other than a very inviting, friendly, and open platform in my experience. It's also completely independent, funded by donations, and is entirely censorship-free.

I often see Parler and Mastodon's names being thrown around when free speech social media networks are discussed, but I would advise against using either one of them. Not only does Parler force you to self-dox by giving up your phone number in order to register, but they've also been quite shaky when it comes to securing their user's information. Mastodon seems to lack these issues, to my knowledge, but it also seems to be a bunch of walled gardens run by completely separate people, instead of one big platform. This has its advantages, but in Mastodon's case seems to have resulted in nothing more than a bunch of cliquey, closed off, separate communities.

While it's degenerated greatly in discourse quality since its golden age thanks to the normiefication of the Web, 4chan still stands head and shoulders above regular social media. There is also a loose network of smaller chans all over the regular Web and the Tor Web that are easy enough to find with a bit of research. These tend to be slow but have much higher quality discussions, resulting in a very genuine Old Web feel all around.

For the "hyperlocal" neighbourhood social media site NextDoor, I have discovered that there is a traditional alternative known as "going outside." It sounds rather uncomfortable however so I'm not sure I can recommend it.

Videos

As Bill Gates once famously said: "Content is king." Lamentably, while YouTube currently reigns supreme in the world of video streaming websites in terms of content, it is dragged down by the spectre of its Orwellian tracking and spying tactics, as well as increasingly hostile censorship.

Alternatives to YouTube include the retro-YouTube-esque VidLii and BitView, as well as Vimeo, Metatube, Rumble, and Brighteon.

There is also BitChute, which is top notch in terms of free speech and is completely independent and funded by donations. Unfortunately it is also severely lacking in content diversity and almost all of its videos are right-leaning political stuff. I actually searched for the word "cat" on BitChute while writing this article, and the top result was somehow a David Icke video about the coronavirus.

Web Browsers

Most people are aware by now that Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, nu-Opera, and so forth are all unapologetic spyware platforms designed to make money off of tracking their users through any and every conceivable method for doing so. Mozilla Firefox is no better and is controlled opposition at the very best. DigDeeper did a whole exposé on the subject, and Mozilla has only become more rotten since he wrote it. Mozilla isn't your friend any more than Bonzi Buddy was. The oft-shilled trainwreck that is the Brave browser is also every bit as awful.

While it is not absolutely perfect, my personal browser of choice is Pale Moon, an independent web browser that forked off from Firefox years ago. It's customiseable, open source, and doesn't track the user nor trample on their personal freedoms. If you're on this part of the page because you wanted to know about web browsers specifically and don't plan on reading the entire article, I beseech you to at least also read the Other section. Pale Moon is a treasure, but even it is not enough to protect you from the tentacles of big technology on the Web without some additional measures.

If you prefer the Chromium model for web browsers to the older Firefox model, there is also Ungoogled-Chromium, which is essentially the open source Chromium browser with all of Google's spyware/tracking removed. Chromium is the browser that Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, nu-Opera, and Yandex browser are based on.

If you're a rebel sticking to older Windows versions or thinking about doing so, the aforementioned browsers will likely not be available for you. For Windows 98, the best browser you can access is an old version of K-Meleon. This will get you around much of the modern (nu-)Web about as well as a wheelchair will get you up a flight of stairs, but it's still an improvement over anything else. Much to my chagrin however, even the old K-Meleon can't get on Neocities at all due to its outdated SSL support. On Windows XP, you can actually use a modern browser called MyPal, which is a Pale Moon fork designed to run on XP.

Other (Privacy)

Even if you successfully abandon all big technology platforms right down to ditching your smartphone, you still won't be safe from their all-seeing eyes without taking further measures. Almost all websites in this day and age have trackers that follow you around the Web, recording and storing everything you do to better understand you in order to target advertisements at you. Defending against this requires taking many measures that I will only cover briefly because the subject is worthy of being granted its own article.

The first thing to do is to get a VPN if you do not already use one. This will help you to obfuscate your identity by hiding your IP address, but it will not be enough to completely protect you on its own, as I will get to soon. I strongly recommend using a paid VPN. As the old adage goes: "if you're not paying for a product, then you are the product." Hiding from entities making money off of tracking you by taking cover behind someone else whose goal is to make money off of tracking you is just creating a pointless middleperson that drains your computer's resources.

I personally like NordVPN, ProtonVPN, and ExpressVPN the most from what I've read, but any company that has proven that it does not keep logs, and that is housed in a country where it's reasonably safe from being raided by the authorities, is a good bet.

Now, as I mentioned, a VPN hides your IP address, but it does nothing to hide the many other variables that bad actors can use to track you. It is akin to wearing sunglasses in that it helps obscure your identity but cannot keep others from recognising you on its own. Browser fingerprinting is one of the most insidious methods for tracking people on the Web. This relies on tracking a person's unique fingerprint, something that draws from multiple things including their computer hardware. Pale Moon allows you to "poison" this data and render it useless, which you can enable by going to about:config via the address bar and setting the "canvas.poisondata" setting to true.

Some browser extensions that are worth using to protect your privacy online are Decentraleyes for blocking anti-privacy content delivery networks, RefControl for blocking sites from following you around by tracking where you arrived on their page from, and UMatrix (ηMatrix for Pale Moon) for powerful and customiseable overall tracking protection.

If you use Pale Moon, I recommend installing Eclipsed Moon as well, in order to obfuscate your browser and operating system and by extension avoid obviously sticking out from the crowd. You'll also want a cookie management extension (such as Cookie Masters for Pale Moon) to help you manage which websites you allow cookies for.

Last but not least, always assume you're being tracked and recorded at all times and be very mindful of what you say. Use different aliases on different websites if possible, and don't give out any information that can be linked back to your real identity if at all possible.

This is even more important if you choose to continue using a smartphone or any other "smart" device, and thus have an always-on listening device that is perceptive enough to monitor changes in your heartbeat in your pocket and/or home. Imagine you're being followed around by an arch-nemesis with a tape recorder and act accordingly. To paraphrase a Russian proverb: it's very easy to let a bird out of a cage, and impossible to ever get it back in there afterward.