🧹 Massive spring cleaning and digital detox

It’s time for spring cleaning and I’m engaged in epic battles against several of my digital nemeses – old/unused apps, unwatched channel subscriptions, duplicate files, and all those damn scam messages that keep showing up in my Inbox. Looks like my email address has been sold for $1.

First order of business in getting away from digital distractions is to ditch digital “communities.” This is a two pronged attack against YouTube and Discord.

I started with a handful, but I’ve unsubscribed from all but 3 YouTube channels. There is a lot to choose from, maybe too much, but despite the click bait titles from content creators, I’m not watching their videos. After skipping over them for a couple months, the best course of action is to unsubscribe and focus on channels I will watch.

The second course of action was to leave all the Discord servers and delete the client. Discord is cool and I used it to look in on a few games. The thrill only lasts a couple weeks, even less for larger games, before the conversation becomes repetitive, aimless, and the wanker personalities come to the surface.

Conversations turn to crap because people spout off to colored titles, badges, or some other virtual bling. Or you get militant “mods” flexing their admin powers.

I started skipping over dozens of conversations and blocking multiple people because of their pointless comments and need for attention. They weren’t bad or offensive, merely annoying. If I’m skipping 99% of the conversation, why bother? It’s like being stuck at the dinner table with a group of 8 year olds. There’s nothing wrong, but it’s not insightful.

I’ll check for updates on Steam or look for a developer blog to see what changes are coming. Discord has it’s moments, but I don’t see it ever coming back.

Next up is removing all the duplicate files cluttering my hard drives. Through forgetfulness, odd naming schemes, or lapses in time, I have duplicate documents all over the place.

Using the tools Clone Fighter and Gemini II, I’ve found and deleted hundreds of duplicate .ePub, .mobi, and .pdf files.

Going a step further, I’ve removed hundreds of gigs (500GB) worth of duplicate video files. Comparison tools are great against documents and images, but suck at comparing video. There is an easy workaround.

I used a video thumbnail maker, then used the duplicate tools to look for similar images. Two videos at different resolutions generate the same thumbnail page. When comparing, you can see the size, duration, and resolution of the files to see which is worth keeping.

While scanning dozens of directories, I’ve discovered hundreds of files related to my old job – documents, queries, code, and project files. I don’t need these anymore, not to mention they’re a less than ideal reminder of a job I wasn’t satisfied with, which is why I’m not there.

I won’t lie, I took satisfaction in deleting those files, hoping they were the only copies, and there was a set back by their absence. That’s wishful thinking, but it was still fun.

The final part of the battle is to get email under control. I’ve started by removing myself from every non-essential newsletter I ever signed up for. It’s way more than I thought.

It’s great to see what other cool stuff a store might have for sale, but after deleting their newsletter 20 times without reading it, it’s a safe bet we’re not doing business any time soon. I know where you are, if I need you, I’ll look you up.

I’m getting emails for conferences I attended years ago, or for a company I don’t remember shopping with. This is noise and clutter I don’t need. It might only take a second or two to stop what I’m doing and delete the email, but it takes even less time to never get it again. Now that I’m looking, it’s shocking how many I signed up for.

That aside, the spam and junk email I’m getting is out of control. It’s an endless stream of nonsense that isn’t even pretending to be legit. Titles of emails look like ransom letters, not legit business correspondence. I know my Facebook account hasn’t been compromised because I don’t have one! I’m pretty sure your remedy for knee pain, hip pain, and losing belly fat won’t work. And if I needed a loan, I wouldn’t take the advice of some random email from a company I’ve never heard of.

Apple Mail does a good job of catching this crap, but there is so much it can’t keep up. I’m trying out SpamSieve, which is an upcoming article unto itself. After training it on 500 spam messages in the last 30 days, it hasn’t caught a single thing. Going to have to check the settings on that one. Config error or another useless app? The verdict is still out.

Speaking of useless apps, to tidy up my machine I’m using Buho Cleaner, which I got in a Bundlehunt sale, on a weekly basis to remove apps I’m not using. Sure, you can toss apps into the Trash, but this is more thorough.

Each week I delete another 2, 3, or more apps I haven’t used in 3 months. It’s a serious evaluation of whether or not an app serves it’s purpose. Is it taking up space? Did I forget I installed it? Was it replaced by something better? Am I still working on that project and need this app? I’ve removed at least 30 apps so far.

Lots of apps have fallen to the wayside, but this is a good thing. It means those that survive the gauntlet are the best in their class. There is no need to clutter up my machine with apps I’m not using.

Buho launches each Friday by Keyboard Maestro. This is a great time to review apps, empty the trash, and clean out temp files.

I’m in the final stretch with cleaner drives and a streamlined Inbox. I didn’t realize how much crap was coming into my Inbox and how annoying it was until it started to stop. Clicking the Delete notification was easy enough and I didn’t think about it. Now that it’s not going off every minute I sometimes wonder if email is working.

Not dealing with those intrusions gives incredible peace of mind.

If you’ve come as an elf, see it through as an elf.
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