Opting Out Update

It’s a long process, but pulling away from so-called “social media” platforms and moving to posting content on domains and sites I own has been going well. Part of this move has included moving away from ad-supported, privacy-hostile services entirely (where possible).

I started by deleting much of the content I had put on these services over the years. 50,000 tweets, thousands and thousands of Facebook posts, pics and updates, and many hundreds and hundreds of Instagram photos.

GDPR-related emails about privacy (sic) policy updates provided a nice reminder of some other services I had signed up for over the years and I deleted dozens of accounts over the past few weeks.

Instagram’s new content exporter combined with Micro.blog’s importer was a nice surprise that allowed me to bring over the last couple of years of Instagram photos to my own blog.

For Facebook, I used various scripts and some tedious manual work to delete everything I’d ever posted to that service. I also untagged myself from photos and posts that “friends” had tagged me on. Did I get everything? Probably not…so eventually I’ll need to fully delete my account. So far I’ve just deactivated it.

Since deactivating Facebook a few weeks ago, I’ve noticed the following:

  1. I’m using iMessage or SMS to talk to friends far more often. And they reply. It’s lovely.
  2. I don’t miss anything about Facebook except seeing pics posted by friends at events we were both at. I solved this by asking them to iMessage or SMS me any pics instead.

I plan to keep my Twitter account around, along with Tweetbot (as long as it still works). The same goes for Instagram and the Instagram app on my iPhone.

Both Twitter and Instagram are handy for tracking things like breaking news, transit disruptions or to get information on events I am attending (like the Vancouver Marathon). It’s unfortunate that Twitter became the de facto way to do one-to-many communications over the years. A decentralized, open standard like RSS would have been so much better.

I mostly wish that our local transit service (Toronto Transit Commission) provided service distruptions and updates via RSS. They have RSS updates for planned disruptions and changes, but not the more useful “live” updates. On my iPhone, the Transit app does a nice job of passing these along through notifications.

For following news or blogs, I’ve returned to RSS and I’m using Feedwrangler and Unread on iSO and Reeder on macOS. News is tough because it’s not well curated – I get literally all the stories from my local newspaper instead of having top stories, or some sort of categorization. Perhaps there’s a solution for that out there.

More to come…


Vancouver Bound…Again

As is the tradition, I’m writing a post a couple of days prior to the BMO Vancouver Marathon as we fly out from Toronto.

The flight provides a good opportunity to take some time to write up some thoughts about how training went and also to look ahead to the race itself.

img_0294Just like last year, the weather wasn’t great in Toronto today as we flew out. Unlike last year, it’s an Air Canada flight instead of WestJet and I have Ginny with me for the trip. The weather in Vancouver looks good, with sunny skies and warmish temps for the whole weekend.

Race day looks to be sunny with temperatures between about 10ºC and maybe as high as 18ºC by the time I finish. That’s a wee bit warmer than I prefer, but the seawall section is generally shady and it’s always a bit cooler along the waterfront as well.

Looking back, thinking ahead

Training went really, really well. I avoided injury through out and missed very little training. All four months were over 200km and I’ll have run a total of 900km after the short shakedown run tomorrow.

img_0077My long runs went really well, including a 30km treadmill run that was a solid test of my mental game. The 29km run in Naples, FL in the heat was also a big test and while I faded at the end, considering the conditions, it was a great run too.

I ran all of the hill workouts (save one when we were in Florida and there weren’t any hills) including the 10 x hills monster workout.

Race expectations

It’s been a good while since I’ve had a good marathon. My 3:36:01 in Ottawa in 2015 was the last one I ran from start to finish. Generally that lack of a good race has come down to hot weather on race day and the rib injury last fall.

The weather is looking good for Sunday and with a solid 18 weeks of training under my belt, I feel like I should be able to run a good marathon this time around. My PB is probably out of the question, but I would like to beat my course record of 3:48 if I can.

Like last year, I’ll probably run with the 3:40 group and go from there. My “A” goal is to beat 3:48. My “B” goal is to run the whole 42.195km. And my “C” goal is to just have an enjoyable race on my favourite course in my favourite city.

Open Web FTW!

The power of open APIs and standards means that my Instagram photos that used to be locked up in that service are now being uploaded to my own blog. Thanks to Manton Reece at Micro.blog for building the awesome tool that takes an Instagram export and easily uploads it to a WordPress blog.

GDPR was the reason Instagram was forced to make a way to export data from their service and I’m sure they though it would be funny to give users a zip file with a bunch of JSON data and the photos. Big mistake! They might as well have given open access to the API since that’s what this ZIP file basically provides.

I’m super happy to have my photos here now, posted with the original caption and properly time and date stamped.