April 14, 2021
Platform Roundup: Web Tools
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Part of my mission to run my business in a better way and to find that balance that allows businesses to do well & do good relies heavily on factors that are outside of my control. I am a developer, but there is no way I can, or would want to, build every single tool I use in my business from scratch. So the next best thing I can do is choose my platforms in an informed and conscientious way.
Last year, I shared the tools I use for development. Today I’m writing about the different web tools and utilities I use to help me with day-to-day business tasks. Just remember, this is my experience and your mileage may vary, but overall, these tools result from my research and concern for selecting products that align with my values.
Browsing & Searching
Brave browser is an alternative to Chrome (Chromium based) focusing strongly on privacy. In their own words, “Brave blocks all creepy ads from every website by default. And that thing where ads follow you across the web? Brave blocks that, too.” It works like a charm and has become my default for web and mobile browsing.
I’ve been a loyal Firefox user for decades and continue to use it along with Brave on my day to day browsing. The Mozilla foundation has a mission that speaks to the core of what I believe in, and the developer version of Firefox is an amazing asset for debugging code.
Ecosia is a German non-profit run search engine. Their ethos of putting people and the planet first makes them leaps and bounds preferable in my eyes to their major competitor. They are a certified B Corporation, incredibly transparent about their income and expenses. They plant trees as we search and put privacy first by anonymizing our data. And I just love seeing how my learning about new stuff online goes towards tree planting and not some corporation’s pockets.
Analytics have been for a while a sore spot for me, there is a very delicate balance between being able to use data to make your site and your content better for your visitors, and being nosey and disrespectful of their privacy, and making them prey to be tracked by third parties. Fathom solves this problem for me in an elegant, simple and effective way. They really are the website analytics that don’t suck and no pesky cookies mean also no hateful cookie banners, isn’t that the best?
From the makers of WordPress, Crowdsignal is a polling and survey solution that shares the human values that I love about WordPress. The pricing and ability to format your surveys to look exactly how you want them is exactly what I need.
Blocksurvey is a new find. They look incredibly promising with their focus on privacy: “A privacy-first platform. No ads, no trackers. Protect your respondents’ data and privacy”. They run on Stacks Decentralized Identity (DID) and use Blockchain to make sure all the data is end to end encrypted and no one has access to your respondents’ information.
BlackHole is a file sharing system also powered by Stack and Blockchain. They store files securely and encrypted and transfer them at blazing speed. Best of all, BlackHole is free to use and file recipients don’t need to create an account to download what you’ve shared with them.
Finally, Dropbox. I’ve been using them since they first launched and have improved my workflow significantly. Keeping all my work files in their cloud storage lets me work from anywhere and any machine.