My Minimal Digital Life – Linus Edwards

Linus Edwards:

I’ve been on a mission lately to minimize my digital life. I want the minimal amount of devices, running simple software (usually stock apps if I can) that easily sync with each other, and have everything backed up to the cloud automatically. Basically, I want to be able to lose any of my devices and pick up exactly where I was with a brand new device. Everything swappable, stock, minimal. My goal is to make my devices, and the software that runs on them, as frictionless as possible so I can focus on the things I create with the devices, not the devices themselves.

Linus is mirroring my thought process here, although I don’t expect to take things nearly as far. I’m not going to get rid of something useful just for the sake of having fewer things. Fanatical minimalism isn’t for me, but I’m all for reducing complexity.

I would really like to go all-in with Apple Photos and lose my complex and fidgety Import->Photo Mechanic->LightRoom->Upload workflow. This would let me have every photo available everywhere all the time with almost no effort. As attractive as that is, I don’t trust anything that doesn’t have a “Reveal in Finder” option. I don’t know if I can get past that. Plus, Apple Photos kind of sucks. Still, I’m going to try it for a couple of months.

I’m doing the same thing with Software. The big changes are due to my growing love for the iPad Pro. This means a rule that I shouldn’t use any software that uses a specific file format and won’t (easily) run on both my Mac and iOS devices. This is difficult for me because it means I could lose a few of the apps I consider crucial: Tinderbox and Curio are two that jump out. Of course I’m not going to delete them, but I need to move to other apps for the common tasks.

The other difference in my approach is that I don’t trust iCloud. I’ve had too many things get goofy around iCloud and no way I’m trusting it with everything. I’m with Łukasz Langa here (see My Brain, Apple and the Transfer of Fragility). Dropbox has been working flawlessly for years and I see no reason to leave it yet.

One exciting development is that I deleted Evernote. Finally! I’ve avoided killing Evernote for years because of its flawless sync. I use DEVONthink Pro for managing documents but their mobile offering was not up to task. I’m currently beta testing their new DEVONthink To Go app and so far sync has been flawless. Now, all of my notes are managed with DEVONthink, too. DEVONthink does use a “proprietary” library, but every file and note is kept in its native format so I can easily get things out. Notes (usually in Markdown) can be edited right in DEVONthink or with whatever my editor-of-the-week happens to be. It’s consolidation without excessive constraints.

I’m still in the planning stages of this whole thing, but I love the idea of simplifying my digital life.