It’s Friday, meaning no meetings. A peaceful day ahead. Sometimes that helps have the most productive day. Other times, it ends up becoming a rabbit hole like none other! Today it was the latter.

The first thing I did today was open Hacker News, which is the perfect place to make one’s day a rabbit hole. Especially when there are no meetings. I spent most of the time among its first two posts only. One was about the Kagi search engine, while another about an angry programmer setting out to develop his own web browser. Coincidentally, both stories shared similar theme around how Big Tech companies providing free products/services have made their users a product in their quest to make billions of dollars in ad revenues.

Kagi search engine Link to heading

While I haven’t used it yet, reading the comments on HN has surely made consider using it. I’ve been using DuckDuckGo since a while, but sporadically I go back to using Google because of the lack of relevance in search results on DDG. A commentor on HN mentioned how they were in same boat but stopped such back and forth since they started using Kagi.

In another comment on the same story, I found how someone de-Googled (let me know if there’s a better term) their life by moving to products/services from companies not relying so heavily on user data for targeted advertising. One thing they mentioned was LineageOS. While I had heard about it being a mobile OS, I had never read further. But, today, since it’s a meeting-free Friday, I decided to click. And I loved the idea. More so because my Android phone has stopped getting software updates since ages in spite of being a flagship! It’s stuck on Android/OxygenOS 12. LineageOS seems to promise an experience that I have long been seeking.

Web browser story Link to heading

I’m a Mozilla Firefox user since many years. I jumped to Chrome during its very early days, moved back to FF, then Chrome again when, at some point, I found FF to be really slow compared to Chrome, and finally back to Firefox since they released Firefox Quantum.

Ever since then I have been a FF user and use Chrome mainly for work because Google Meet works better on it.

At some point while reading this web browser story on HN, I figured that Mozilla let go entire team behind the Servo browser engine and that the project is now under Linux Foundation. I don’t know why I thought Servo was the underlying engine for Firefox. But it turns out Gecko is the underlying engine with parts of Servo being incorporated into Gecko. And that mix is called the Quantum engine.

Matrix 2.0 Link to heading

After spending more than 80% time on these two stories, I found the Matrix 2.0 story. Again, I have heard about Matrix in many conversations happening around IRC, Slack, Rocket Chat, etc. But never read more about it. But today was a meeting-free day, so I thought, “why not?” It ended up in me searching about “matrix server on raspberry pi”.

Realization Link to heading

At some point, I realized that I had spent my entire day digging a rabbit hole started from the HN home page. Do I regret it? No! I learned more about the projects I had only heard names and had 40,000 feet overview of.

While I’m not anti-Google like a lot of folks in HN’s comments are, I don’t feel excited about their products/services like I used to feel, maybe, 10 years back.