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I have been using Firefox Focus for about half a year now. I came to use because I was using Chrome and simply got paranoid of what stuff Google was collecting via Chrome. So I made the switch to Firefox on my PC and started using Firefox for Android. Now before I started using Firefox Focus I was using Brave Browser for Android.

Brave Browser is a Chromium based browser that tauts privacy for the end user. Since I became paranoid of Google I naturally was paranoid of Google based technologies. Chromium though open source is a Google project. Itโ€™s development is steered by Google. So Google has a vested interest in Chromium. While making the switch to Firefox I came to learn about Firefox Focus via a Mozilla Newsletter. So I downloaded it and gave it a try.

It was a bit weird getting used to it but after a while it was my default mobile browser. What made it great was the fact that my history was deleted after each use. I never had to worry about cookies or deleting search history. It kept my browsing experience as pure and fast as possible.

This is why I was a bit disappointed at the latest update. The app started to have memory leak issues. Causing some battery drain on my phone. The issue wasnโ€™t all that bad but it was annoying enough that I just unistalled the app.

But I loved having a mobile browser that deleted search and use history after each use. When I looked in the Google Play store for other mobile browsers, DuckDuckGo, was recommnended. DuckDuckGo is my favorite search engine, so I was excited to see they offered a mobile browser. And it was highly rated (4.7 out 5) with a lot of positive reviews. I decided to give it a try.

On first impressions I really like it and it feels faster than Firefox Focus. Plus if I want I can get DuckDuckGo browser via F-Droid store too. Itโ€™s only been a few days since I downloaded it but so far Iโ€™m really impressed with it. Iโ€™ll continue to test it out and see if I stick to it or go back to Firefox Focus.

Shelf with lots of books

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Since I have been reading “self-help” books my wife suggested I check out The Alchemist. Luckily she owned a copy, so I grabbed it from our bookshelf and stuffed it in my backpack. I gotta say that I really enjoyed this book. I can now see why so many people consider it a “self-help”, book. Here are a two of my favorite passages:

 

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer”, the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse that the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity”.

I loved this part because it closely aligns with my own personal beliefs on suffering. You cannot hope to succeed without a bit of hard work.

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God”, the boy told his heart. “When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I’ve know that every hour was a part of the dream that I find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve”.

 

I got teary eyed when reading this part. It’s funny how sometimes you read something and it spurs such a deep emotion. That’s how I felt reading this part in the book. I’ve always characterized myself as an optimist and I believe that it takes a bit of courage to remain an optimist in this day and age.

Man reading book

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg

I had heard so much of Charles Duhigg from many “entrepreneurial youtubers”, so naturally I became curious of his work. Most people recommend his bookย The Power of Habit,ย I even remember a colleague reading it. But I didn’t find a copy of it at my local library but I did find a copy ofย Smarter Faster Betterย instead. Oh boy was I happy with this book. I highly recommend this book for anyone, especially if you are looking for ways to be more “productive”. The book is full of stories of how people, organizations, or businesses overcame serious obstacles to come out on top. Here’s my favorite part from the book.

This, ultimately, is one of the most important lessons of places such as NUMMI and the lean and agile philosophies: Employees work smarter and better when they believed they have more decision-making authority and when they believe their colleagues are committed to their success. A sense of control can fuel motivations, people need to know their suggestions won’t be ignored, that their mistakes won’t be held against them. And they need to know that everyone else has their back.

 

There has been very few work environments where I felt trust between myself and management. This always left me alienated and demotivated. But I’ve had other jobs where I truly felt like I was part of the team. Those were great jobs and enjoyed my time at them. Not just because it was a fun working environment but because at the end of the day I felt that my work meant something.

I was having a conversation with my wife and I said to her “You know, I feel like I’m getting dumber”. We both laughed out loud at my ridiculous statement, she then asked why I felt that. The reason I was l feeling like that was because I was simply spending too much time on other silly distractions. And no it wasn’t just “social media”, I tend to go down YouTube rabbit holes too. So I decided to try a small experiment. Reading.

In high school I read quite a bit, I was a lector at my church which required me to read the Bible. Though I never read the Bible for fun, just for my role as lector. Then in college my degree required a lot of reading. Every semester I must have read at least 10 books plus academic journal articles. So I did plenty of reading during that time in my life and I guess I got burned out on reading. I know this happens to many people but many get back to reading soon after. For me it was years since I had read a book from cover to cover.

Home Bookshelf
A picture of my home bookshelf

So in the end I decided I wanted to read more. But starting something is always the hardest part of any project. I wanted to read more but I didn’t want to spend money on books that I wasn’t sure I’d like reading. My solution, the local library! I went down one Sunday afternoon and asked for a library card. I got a card in 15 minutes I got card and checked out my first book.

Lucky for me my local library has a great selection of books. Plus they are part of a regional system which allows me to find more book across libraries in the county. In the end I checked out a book title Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright. I read it in the 2 weeks checkout period and I really enjoyed the book.

in the end I’ve been reading more and taking full advantage of free books at my local library. So if you want to get into reading go get a library card and checkout a few books.

Hello Doom! Emacs

I’m so happy I decided to try out Doom! While I was happy with Spacemacs. I think Doom provides all the necessary things I wanted. Plus most importantly it has my favorite theme “Molokai” built in!

So I’ll give it a shot for a month and see how I fare.

P.S I wrote this with org2blog in Doom!

Read The ultimate guide to DuckDuckGo – BrettTerpstra.com (BrettTerpstra.com)

By now Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ve heard of DuckDuckGo around the web (and Iโ€™ve been mentioning them for years). If you donโ€™t already have the scoop, itโ€™s the search engine that can serve as a complete replacement for Google (and Bing and whatever else you like), except it respects your privacy and security. And while Google does some cool tricks, DuckDuckGo does some even better ones.