Mike Cartmell’s blog

Thoughts from a software engineer in Singapore.

Discovering New Music Using Spotify and Discogs APIs

Lately I’ve been in the mood for discovering new music. I had mostly been relying on Spotify for this, either looking for new material by bands I already know, or by using the Radio feature, or by searching public playlists. None of these were very satisfactory - I feel like Spotify tends to recommend you the same few bands, even though their library is vast. So I thought, OK, I’ll try searching myself....

September 24, 2022 · 4 min · Mike Cartmell

Self-hosting a cloud drive with Rclone

For a long time I had been using Google Drive to store all my important documents. It worked extremely well - always accessible no matter where I was, synced across all my devices, and never had to worry about my files being unavailable or deleted. Ultimately though, it didn’t feel like it was mine, and I didn’t like the idea of depending on Google. When searching for an alternative, I considered full-blown cloud solutions like Nextcloud/ownCloud, but they seemed overly complex to me....

September 17, 2022 · 5 min · Mike Cartmell

Trying Out iPhone

I decided to try switching over to an iPhone, as I mentioned in a previous post. The main reason is that it’s the final step in de-Googling myself, which is an achievement that I’ve been wanting to unlock for a while. I don’t really know if it’s any better for privacy than Android, but it should at least not be worse when configured properly. My phone of choice is an iPhone 7, which I got a good deal on from Carousell a while back, for the sole purpose of setting up an Apple Watch....

September 4, 2022 · 3 min · Mike Cartmell

How to Use LibRedirect on Android

I recently discovered alternative frontends - websites that let you use the ‘real’ version of Twitter, Reddit etc. through an alternate website. The advantage of this is that it stops those big sites like Twitter from tracking you, because they don’t see the connection from your web browser. Anyway, one of the most convenient ways to take advantage of this is through a browser extension like LibRedirect, which will automatically filter links and redirect you to the alternate versions of popular sites....

July 10, 2022 · 2 min · Mike Cartmell

Online Privacy: An Update

A few months ago I talked about online privacy, and how I’d been trying to give up Big Tech software like Facebook and Google products. Here’s a quick update on how that’s going. On Google: I still use one gmail account, though it’s no longer my primary email address. I use Google Drive only for a few files (spreadsheets) that I like to edit from my phone, but that’s it. I still use Android, although I’m considering getting an iPhone later this year....

July 3, 2022 · 2 min · Mike Cartmell