Tag Archives: Social Networks

Life Inside Apple’s Walled Garden

For many years now, I have been a firm believer in having a cohesive, seamless technological experience. I don’t like mixing technologies/products from different ecosystems, as they never work as well. For many years, I had heavily invested in Microsoft’s ecosystem and products. When Windows Mobile croaked, I had to make a decision and I went with Apple. Since then, I have moved almost all of my services to Apple’s ecosystem & am enjoying the comforts of Apple’s Walled Garden.

To lock myself completely in this garden, I also had to move all my family members inside it. Over many years, I was successful in doing so. Below is how life is like, living inside Apple’s Walled Garden:

Apple's Walled Garden
Apple’s Walled Garden, PC: Macstories

What?

FunctionProductComments
Email/
Calendar/
Reminders
iCloud+ Custom domains are supported. Email works very well (on Apple devices). AirDrop is useful for sending larger files.

Calendar supports shared calendars.

Reminders supports shared reminders.
Desktop OSmacOSWorks very well with Apple services. The M1 Macs are very fast and energy efficient.
Mobile/Tablet OSiOS/iPadOS
Photo StorageiCloud+HEIF format used by Apple results in efficient storage of photos and allows lossless editing.
Photo SharingiCloud Shared PhotosWorks very well. I share photos to my family; they can comment/like. Is like a private Social Network.
ProductivityPages/Numbers/Keynotes
Cloud StorageiCloud+I wish they had a tier between 200Gb and 2Tb.
Instant MessagingiMessageVery well refined ; I now use it exclusively & have a lot of fun playing games inside iMessage apps.
Music StreamingApple MusicCurrently unbeatable with the introduction of Spatial & Lossless Audio.
Movies (Buy/Rent)iTunesLarge collection of movies available, especially in 4K HDR.
Maps/NavigationApple MapsNot as good as Google Maps, but at least they don’t track my movements.
Audio/Video CallingFacetimeUnparalleled quality, supports Spatial audio and Memojis.
BrowserSafariVery fast & responsive .
NotesApple NotesFunctional, supports sharing notes with family.
Password ManagementiCloud PasswordsCan detect and alert user to compromised passwords. Also has a TOTP generator.
HealthApple HealthVery intuitive and supports data inputs from a huge range of apps and services.
Home AutomationHomekitLarge number of Homekit devices available on the market. They all work seamlessly without separate apps.
My Walled Garden

It does take a decent amount of money to enter this walled garden, but once you’re in, the recurring costs are not high. Most of their services are decently priced (and can be shared with family) and devices last for years and have a decent resale value.

Social Networks & I

To say that I don’t like social networks is an understatement. I have used many social networks over the years and most have given me nothing but grief. In this post, I will lay down what exactly I hate about each social network.

WhatsApp

I will start with WhatsApp, because this is the one I hate the most. I used it because it was the most convenient way to keep in touch with people. However, I had to delete my WhatsApp account in 2019 because:

  1. Any person who had my mobile number could contact me without my permission.
  2. Everyone could see whether I was online at any point of time.
  3. There was no way to turn off read-receipts in group chats.
  4. Anyone could add me to group chats without my permission. This is something my work people exploited to the fullest. I woke up to be part of a new group every morning.
  5. Images and Videos were shamelessly compressed/resized.
  6. Archived Group chats were automatically un-archived when there were new messages in the group. There was no way to completely ignore some groups without leaving them.
  7. There was no way to get rid of the “Status” notification dot at the bottom.
  8. People sending useless & unsolicited “Good Morning” and “Good Night” forwards.
  9. People begging for things because they are too cheap to spend money

Facebook

This is my second most hated Social Network. I have used Facebook for many years but finally deleted my account in 2019. I tried again in 2021 but didn’t last more than a few weeks. The reason I cannot stand Facebook is because of the nature of posts from people, like:

  1. Attention-seeking whores post irrelevant news that people already have from other news sources. Just for likes and comments.
  2. Attention-seeking whores check-in to different airports to show-off to people that they are travelling by airplane.
  3. Keyboard activism and “social justice”.
  4. Attention-seeking whores posting photos of new things they have bought.
  5. Parents making their kids perform tricks like circus monkeys for likes and comments.
  6. Disgusting religious posts.
  7. Posts insulting people belonging to other religions.
  8. Posts cheering some sports team or sportspersons, as if they are reading these posts.
  9. “Friends” wishing each other Happy Birthday with impersonal AI generated/templated birthday wishes.
  10. People sucking up to the government/leaders.
  11. People insulting the government/leaders.

Every time I try to give Facebook a chance, I either get infuriated by any of the above posts or get drawn into arguments. Surprisingly, the only thing I liked about Facebook were the targeted ads. Normally, advertisements are irritating, but Facebook is so good at targeted ads that they are actually useful. Many times I have been looking for something specific to buy, just for Facebook to show a completely relevant ad in the app.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is supposed to be a “professional” social network, but in reality it is no different from Facebook. People post all the same bullshit things here, that they do on Facebook. And here you cannot even react negatively to posts lest some potential employers see it and get turned off.

On a related note, I have never had a job lead from LinkedIn nor have I seen anyone else get a job lead there when they needed it.

Twitter

I can tolerate Twitter as a news feed as long as I am anonymous & don’t follow people I know in real life.

Telegram

I can tolerate Telegram to chat with friends because unlike WhatsApp, I can have people not find me using my phone number. I have to give someone my User ID explicitly for them to be able to chat with me.

Keeping away from social networks as much as possible is one of the keys for me to maintain my mental peace and sanity.

A Note on Mental Health

I have documented my struggles with mental health on this blog before. Considering the focus of the media on the mental health of famous people these days, I decided to write a longer rant about my own struggles.

During my college days I was a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Although I did get depressed once in a while, I was never-ever worried about things. After college, while working a job I didn’t like, I also went through bouts of depression, but got over it quickly once I found a better job.

My second job was the best job, mentally, of my career. I had friends at work, I enjoyed what I was doing and I never even thought about work outside office. It was a shift-job where you could switch off completely after work.

It was in 2012 that I realized something was wrong. I suffered from IBS for almost 2 years. During this time I also turned lactose intolerant. I did read about the close connection between the gut and the brain, but I couldn’t figure out which affected which. After 2 years, I suddenly got better and didn’t think about it again.

Things started to go south again around 2016-17, when I wasn’t able to handle non-stresses from my work. I would lay awake at night thinking about trivial things from work, lost weight rapidly and couldn’t concentrate on non-work things. I tried things like meditation and mindfulness but nothing helped much. The mind just won’t stop racing and over-thinking.

This was the first time I decided to go see a shrink, at a hospital. I was hoping for a quick solution to all my troubles, but she prescribed me with very-expensive counselling sessions. The cost of the sessions made my issues worse, so I never went back. Thankfully, the shrink did give me a diagnosis, that of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Eventually, this phase also passed and I forgot all about it.

I switched jobs again in 2020 and this time anxiety came back to attack me with a vengeance. It was clear that this time it was worse than before. It was so bad that I couldn’t sleep for more than 3 hours for a week straight. Sleeping aids didn’t help either.

Eventually, I decided to go to another shrink. This one was in a busy market popular with people I knew. I was ashamed to go see him. This doctor also confirmed the diagnosis of GAD and decided to prescribe me medications immediately. Within a few days, I was feeling much better. Although anxiety never went away completely, it is now quite under control, thankfully, to this day.

What I do

I use the following techniques to keep my anxiety under control

  1. Medication, which I am slowly weaning myself off of.
  2. Exercise – Even a short run helps a lot. Even walking is better than nothing.
  3. Listen to music I love everyday, without fail.
  4. Writing (Blogging)
  5. Whenever I have too many thoughts at night, I write them on a piece of paper before I go to bed. Next day I action all the items on that piece of paper and then tear it away. I found this strangely therapeutic.
  6. Stay as far away from Social Networks as possible.

I know many people have found relief with mindfulness, but for me it tended to make things worse. Maybe I was not using the tool correctly.

The Rich

On the news, I repeatedly hear stories about the struggle of famous people with mental health, especially sportspersons. Although I am happy that they are raising more awareness for mental health, the impact of mental illnesses on them is much different than it is on regular people like us.

For them, quitting means an outpouring of support and being called “brave”. For people like me, quitting would mean being called a failure, losing my house and not being able to feed my family. So no, I don’t think these sportspersons are brave for quitting. They quit because they are filthy rich & can afford to.

Not everyone can.