Making the Internet Less Shitty

Last updated 2021-02-11

A rolling document with general tips and recommendations to help you use the Internet a little more deliberately.

Guiding Principles

Email

Custom Domains

Domains are cheap, and guarantee that you can give out the same email address to anyone no matter what email service you use. It also looks fancy, so flaunt it if you got it.

Catch-all Addresses

Having your own domain also lets you assign a catch-all address (i.e, *@enriquesantos.net), allowing you to give any arbitrary username to others you wish to keep contact with (or ignore at your leisure). This also lets you keep track of any third-parties they may share the email with, if the need arises. Just the same, you can also elevate emails from certain addresses to get your attention. All a filter has to do is look out for the X-Delivered-to email header.

For example, if I am signing up for a new service by Omni Consumer Products, I can send them the contact address of omniconsumerproducts@enriquesantos.net. Should they ever abuse the privilege and give the email address out to third-parties, I can simply add a filter to ignore all emails sent to the address in the future.

On the other hand, if I meet someone at a convention and want to make sure our correspondence is separated from the general noise I get in my day-to-day, I can have my filters keep an eye out for a custom address to get preferential treatment.

Web

Browser

Any major Chromium-based browser will do. I like Edge for its built-in Collections, Tabs Aside, and Sleeping Tabs features, but you do you. Firefox is also nice.

Extensions

There are lots of great browser extensions out there, but I try to keep their numbers to a minimum to guard against memory leaks and security vulnerabilities. I will aggressively disable niche extensions when they are not in use. These seem to stand the test of time for me.

Markdown Archiving Extensions

Instead of using services like Pocket, keep a local archive of pages that you can read on any device. Great for travel or when the power goes out. For offline Markdown viewing and editing, I’m fond of VNote.

Hosts file

For anyone willing to edit their hosts file, redirecting a list of known trackers and ad servers to localhost is a nice, blunt way to tackle the issue. It’s also client-agnostic.

Joining a New Discord Server