A little dated, but relevant: The Case for Simple Digital Tools

I thought this short article was well written, and relevant.


Good piece – thanks for posting.

It more or less sums up a major reason I use plain text as much as possible.

The fancy markdown apps I use most often can do crazy useful things with all that plain text – but in the end, it’s just text, and if I need to get at the content from the command line, I can (and I have); the same is probably true if I need to get at them from some future device or operating system.


“Five years ago, I screwed up. . . . When it comes to personal documents, I’ve become locked into Google’s ecosystem.”

IMO Jonathan’s only mistake was not taking advantage of the tools that were available to him. His data was no more locked into Google’s ecosystem than ours is when we use Numbers and Pages. For example with Numbers we can save copies as CSV or Excel, etc.

The same is true of our data in Google Workspace. I can, at any time, use takeout.google.com to export a copy of all my data in standard formats. Sheets export as Excel, Docs as Word, Calendar data as .ICS, Contacts as vcard, etc.

I prefer to schedule regular exports/backups of my info. Google Takeout allows me to schedule an export of any or all of my data once every 60 days for 6 months. I keep 2 exports scheduled so I get a download of all my data and photos once a month. And non-Google formatted files are automatically synced to my Mac.

The first thing I do before using a new app or service is determine how I’m going to get my data out. I think his “6 questions to ask” is good advice for all of us to consider.


I wish more people read this article (and cared about these things). I mostly feel if you’re on this forum you’re probably not a person who needed to read this. The people who need to read it are the ones who will never see it.

There are so many examples of bad decisions with this stuff, but one of my favourite examples is the number of people who store their favourite photos on FB. It’s just insane!


So do I, but many/most? people never even think about these things. IMO they either ignore their devices until they have a problem, or they are so fascinated by them they are always looking for the next shiny app or feature.

And both run the risk of not treating them as tools that require occasional care (i.e. updates & backups, etc) and maintenance.

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