Out of Sight, Out of Mind

About a year ago, I disabled most Facebook notifications on my phone. I wouldn’t be notified unless they were activities directly involving me, like tags or comment replies. This meant I received almost no notifications from Facebook and opened the app less.

After a few months of reduced Facebook usage, I decided it didn’t need a spot on my home screen and removed it. And now, I don’t even think about Facebook when I’m using my phone anymore. I think I cut down my Facebook usage by like 99%.

Earlier this year, I was looking around for a new Android launcher and a post on Reddit caught my attention. It was a launcher called Niagara and it promised a new way to use my phone while allowing me to maintain my minimalist setup. Since there was a free version, I gave it a shot.

Setting it up was easy, all I had to do was pin my favorite apps. They recommend a max of 8 apps so you can access all of them without scrolling, but there’s no limit to how long you want the list to be. After that, you’re good to go.

Initially, it felt weird to be using my phone with so few apps available to access from the home screen. I felt restricted. I was constantly adjusting my pinned apps list to show the apps that were essential to me. However, since I loved the launcher’s aesthetics, I continued using it. After a couple of days, I learned to embrace this self-imposed limitation.

Because I only had access to essential apps on my favorite list, this meant I didn’t have any time-wasting apps on my home screen. The added friction of having to scroll through a list to find an app was good enough to deter me. Consequently, I stopped wasting so much time on my phone.

A couple of months ago, Reddit killed third-party apps and one of the casualties was Reddit is fun, an app I had been using for over a decade. I chose not to download the official app (because it’s trash) and continued to browse Reddit using old.reddit.com. It was no RIF, but still better than the official experience.

Since accessing Reddit now meant opening the browser and then loading up the site, this added friction caused a significant reduction in my Redditing habit. Over time, I stopped browsing Reddit on my phone and my toilet breaks have become 90% shorter. I guess I can thank Reddit for a healthier anus now.

Now for entertainment during a meal, I read an ebook instead (yay). Also, it just occurred to me that using the phone in the toilet and then taking it out during a meal doesn’t seem the most hygienic of activities 🤔

But like all good things, there’s always something to balance it out. As a result of having more time to do other things on my phone, I find myself reaching for it just to play a quick game of Six Match more frequently than before.

To be honest, I don’t even know why I play it – the game isn’t getting updated, I’m not getting higher scores, and there is no benefit to playing it other than to give me something to swipe while waiting for something else to happen.

After writing this paragraph, I decided to delete Six Match (again). But in the back of my mind, I know I’ll find some other way to waste time in the future. It’s my forte.

Am I recommending you clean up your phone? No, but if you find yourself addicted to your phone and it’s affecting you negatively, it’s something you could consider. The superior option is to improve your self-control.

By the way, there’s no need to use a fancy launcher to do what I did – you can simply remove things from your home screen manually, or put them into folders. How you do it isn’t important, as long as you achieve the intended result. However, Niagara does look sweet.

I guess this concludes my Android phone check-in. Who knows what it’ll look like in another few years?


blorgy.net is (almost) dead

Long live blorgy.net. I’ve finally done it. I’ve kicked off the migration of this blog from blorgy.net to goodnewsgeorge.com. You’ll be able to access blorgy.net until the 8th of April, 2023. After that, it’ll return an error. At least until some cybersquatter decides to buy it (lol).

Remember to update your links and bookmarks.

I don’t think I’ve ever written about how the name blorgy came about. 16 years on, it’s still as childish as it was in 2007. Blorgy is a portmanteau of blog + orgy. Why did I choose that for a blog name? I honestly can’t remember.

Maybe it was a 21-year-old me trying to will into existence an orgy between the hot bloggers and myself. Sad to say, nothing of that sort happened. Blogging didn’t get me the ladies. Anyhow, I’m glad it’ll soon be left in the past and we can all move forward with the more tasteful alternative.

As you can see, this is what my blog looks like now. I’m mostly happy with it, but still experimenting with it (it’s been a while since I messed around with WordPress themes, holy shit they can be so complex these days). This blog is using Neve, a lightweight theme, that’s pretty customizable.

I’ve wanted to do something vaporwave-inspired but also tone it down a bit. I’m the biggest reader of my own blog and if it’s too much for my eyes, it’s probably too much for other people. So, muted colors, and a white background for the black text to stand out from. I might add a color or two.

The photograph at the top is a highly edited photo of the swimming pool where I live. The content is still the same, and I like my current layout, so I had no reason to change that. That being said, expect some tweaks in the coming weeks. Nobody gets things right the first time around.

I’m going to stick with this for a while until something else catches my eye or I can think of a better design. I have a feeling people may or may not like this font. If I get too many complaints, I’ll change it, but it really gives the vibe I’m going for.

Also, the old blog loaded really slowly for some reason. It wasn’t even a heavy theme, I believe this one should load much faster. I can already feel it on my end. Not much more to say other than I’ve managed to complete one of my goals for this year, so hooray.

Let me know if you have any feedback or comments about this design. I’m all ears.

I Am A Two-Percenter

On Wednesday, I joined two-percent club. I loaded a Wikipedia page like I had done every other day and was hit with the following message:

To all our readers in Malaysia,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Wednesday we ask you to sustain Wikipedia. 98% of our readers don’t give; they simply look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just RM10 or whatever you can this Wednesday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Wikipedia has been useful to you, take a minute to donate RM10. Show the world that access to reliable, neutral information matters to you.

Thank you.

It wasn’t a strange message. I had seen similar ones in the past and never had trouble ignoring them. However, this time it felt different. Maybe because it blocked the top portion of the page and I had to scroll down to read the article.

Or maybe because this time I noticed they said “readers in Malaysia”, which made it feel personal even though I knew it wasn’t. Whatever it was, it triggered something within me. It made me think about how often I used Wikipedia.

I use Wikipedia very often. When I’m learning about a new topic, it’s one of the first websites I visit. I love that they have such detailed entries on whatever I happen to look up, especially when it comes to music and bands.

I love tracing the history of my favorite musicians and finding out which bands or side projects they’ve been a part of, so I can check out more music from them. From those articles, I discover even more related musicians to listen to.

Sure, these days we have Spotify’s “fans also like” and their curated playlists, but they don’t give any context to why I should listen to them. I enjoy discovering the lore of musicians, why they leave or get kicked out, and their ties to other musicians.

I also like knowing the names of obscure bands and releases so I can hunt them down on Soulseek or YouTube. Spotify doesn’t have every song out there, unfortunately. Wikipedia makes sure I know that.

Beyond music, I’ve used it for looking up GPUs, countries, languages, comics, books, and everything under the sun. I know Wikipedia isn’t just one person. The site is great because its contributors do a fantastic job of filling up and updating the pages.

It’s not a reliable source for academia due to its editable nature, but I’m not using it for such purposes. All I want to do is grasp certain concepts quickly, or look at information compiled in neat tables. I click on external links when I want to find out more.

Easily editable is a double-edged sword: it means that it’ll be constantly updated, unlike encyclopedias. On the other hand, people can choose to fill pages with nonsense. Fortunately, attempts to vandalize articles are usually spotted and fixed very quickly.

Wikipedia isn’t as “rabbit-holey” as TV Tropes, which I’m glad because if it was, I’d never get anything done. Then again, it can already be quite a time sink in its current form but that might just be me and my curious nature.

After donating, nothing changed. I received a thank you email from Maryana, Wikimedia Foundation’s CEO and I resumed using the site as normal. I didn’t gain any extra perks which would have been a nice touch, but I guess that goes against the spirit of donations.

I guess it feels good knowing I’m doing something to keep one of my most-used websites afloat, even though it has been running for over twenty years will continue doing so without my help.

I’m sure I underpaid Wikipedia but that’s okay, other people can pick up the slack. What am I, Mr. Moneybags?