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These are services, digital goods or physical items that I have bought/rented and/or used and enjoyed so much that I feel comfortable recommending them.

I think these lists are useful when you find someone with similar tastes (mines are a bit strange, but hey… maybe yours are too).

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Android apps

The default store on almost all Android phones is the Google app store, controlled by Google, who takes a 30% cut of all sells, integrates tracking services and decides what and what not to publish.

That’s why, whenever possible, you should use open source apps independently published.

F-Droid is an alternative to the Google app store where you will find only open source apps with no embedded advertising or tracking (and all of them are free, although I recommend you to send a few dollars to the developer of the apps you find useful).

When you need to install an application (e.g. a compass), look first on F-Droid and only if you don’t find what you are looking for there, then go to the Google app store (or, even better, go to the Aurora store, which I explain in another entry).

F-droid, obviously, cannot be downloaded from the Google app store. You have to manually download it from here.

When you can’t find what you are looking for in the F-Droid store (for example: a banking app) you have to resort to the Google app store but if you don’t have it installed (and you shouldn’t! because it has built-in proprietary services that run with administrator permissions that constantly send information of your phone usage to Google) you can use the Aurora store, which anonymously connects to Google’s servers to download the same app you would download from the “original” Google app store (and when I say “the same” I mean exactly the same, so there is no risk of downloading a modified version that takes over your phone or tries to steal information).

You can download the Aurora store from the F-Droid store.

Podcast player.

Includes podcast search/discovery and lets you program automatic downloads (for example every night, when detecting a known wifi network). Podcast episodes are then added to the play queue by publication date.

Audio still plays while the screen is off and it remembers the timestamp of the currently playing episode when exiting the app.

You can download AntennaPod from the F-Droid store.

To synchronize the phone’s contacts and calendar with a remote server (for example with fastmail.com).

Very useful if you want to stop depending on Google services.

You can download DAVx5 from the F-Droid store.

The perfect instant messaging app (open source, end-to-end encrypted, federated, censorship resistant, …).

Now we just need to convince everyone to stop using whatsapp :)

You can download Element from the F-Droid store.

Fastmail official app. If you pay for it (and I recommend you to do so) you get email, contacts list, calendar and file storage.

You can download Fastmail from the Aurora store.

Install this service to automatically download (and keep up to date) the latest version of Firefox.

You can download FFUpdater from the F-Droid store.

Simple Hacker News browser.

You can download HN from the F-Droid store.

To control a remote server running Kodi.

I use it like this: a RaspberryPi with Kodi connected to the TV (using HDMI) that I control from my phone.

You can download Kore from the F-Droid store.

Document viewer (PDF, XPS, CBZ, EPUB and FB2).

You can download MuPDF mino from the F-Droid store.

To watch YouTube (and other video services) with the following advantages:

  • Does not send information to Google.
  • Does not force you to identify using a Google account in order to save the list of the channels you subscribe to.
  • Removes adds from videos.
  • Option to download videos and/or audio.
  • Option to play in the background and/or with the screen turned off.
  • Option to send videos to the TV using Kore.

You can download NewPipe from the F-Droid store.

Alternative to Google maps with the following advantages:

  • Does not send information to Google.
  • Better maps on many cities (and we are encouraged to contribute with new data on OpenStreeMap to build a better world).
  • Better hiking and bicycle routes.

You can download OsmAnd+ from the F-Droid store.

Use the “share” button from other apps to save links to “Pocket”. You can then read them later on the app itself or accessing the getpocket.com website.

You can download Pocket from the Aurora store.

Tune live radio stations from all over the world.

You can download RedReader from the F-Droid store.

Simple Reddit browser

You can download RedReader from the F-Droid store.

Stock market ticker widget.

You can download Stocks Widget from the F-Droid store.

Special version of Firefox which automatically routes all the traffic through Tor

Useful when you don’t want to leave tracks on the Internet or when you need to access “.onion” addresses.

You can download Tor Browser from the F-Droid store.

Use this app to manage shared travel expenses. 100% offline. Incredibly useful!

You can download Tricky Tripper from the F-Droid store.

Music and video player capable of opening both local files and remote files (such as those shared from a video server running on RaspberryPi with Kodi)

You can download VLC from the F-Droid store.



Books

Science fiction. 2004.

Five books in total (which you have to read in this order): “Pandora’s Star”, “Judas Unchained”, “The Dreaming Void”, “The Temporal Void” and “The Evolutionary Void”. Peter F.Hamilton is the best science fiction world builder, trust me.

Science fiction. 2006.

The first book is a bit hard to follow (all character names being in chinese does not help), but believe me when I say that it is worth to get past it and read all three volumes.

Science fiction. 2021.

Hard (very hard!) science fiction where absolutely everything is justified with care. The most engaging book I have ever read.



Movies

Easy watching

Science fiction / noir. 2017.

Photography alone makes this a “must watch”, but in addition it has a good plot. You should obviously watch the first move ("Blade Runner", without numbers) first, but is the anyone out there who hasn’t watched it yet?

Science fiction / action. 2014.

“Simple” time travel + lots of gunshots. Enjoyable. In addition Tom Cruise is in it. He might be “special” in real life, but he is also one of the best actors out there without any doubt.

Science fiction / romance. 2016.

I went to the cinema without knowing this was a romantic movie (I mean, there were space ships on the trailer!) and yet I enjoyed this movie very much.

Anime / fantasy. 1997.

I don’t generally like “anime” (which, in case you didn’t know, that how “japanese cartoons” are called), but this one is just a master piece. Even if you are one of those people who “don’t watch cartoons”, please try this one and let me know what you think.

Adventure / fantasy. 1987.

Because it doesn’t make sense to include in this list movies that everyone hs already watched, I was not going to list “The Princess Bridebut I also recently came across two people who didn’t know about this movie!! Therefore I find myself obliged to add this masterpiece to the list in case there is someone else out there in the same situation :)

Pay attention to the screen

Science fiction / drama. 2016

Another Denis Villeneuve movie, which can only mean that photography is breathtaking. In addition, it talks about thought provoking existential issues.

Science fiction / drama. 2021.

This movie has received very bad scores from both critics and regular audience, and yet I enjoyed it a lot. It’s a solid 8/10 for me!

Science fiction. 2012.

If you are not in a hurry, read the book first. Both the book and the movie are great. I cannot describe what they are about… better experience them by yourself.

Thriller / drama. 1999.

You have probably already watched this one and yet I feel I need to include it in here just in case.

Science fiction / action. 2010.

All Leonardo DiCaprio movies are good (well, 99% of them), but this is spectacular.

Action. 2002.

I would recommend you to watch the three movies in one sitting. Action, spying, betrayal… I enjoyed the movies more than the books (which does not mean they are bad!)

Drama / mystery. 2007.

This is one of those films that takes place in a single setting where what really matters is how each character develops as conversations take place. Very good movie.

Brainfuck

Drama. 2020.

Masterpiece. Pay attention to all the details. Watch it twice.

Noir. 2001.

This is the most “approachable” David Lynch movie, and despite that, you will probably need to watch it twice :)

Science fiction. 2004.

Do not watch/read anything about this movie. Just watch it! This is one of those movies where you have to pay attention to all the details, thus switch your phone off and do not answer the door. This is probably my favorite movie from this list.

Sciece fiction. 2020.

Imagine you and some friends work on the most complext script for a movie which involves time travelling and once it is finished… you through the script into a blender, add some onions and cook it for 30 minutes. You would obtain something similar to this. Not a movie for everyone.



Online shops

Pet supplies (last used on 2021). Link

(Only available in Spain)

Good prices and they usually include little perks in their packages!

Digital printing (last used on 2021). Link

(Only available in Spain)

I have used them to print digital copies of paintings to put on the wall. Quality is good and price adjusted. I always choose the “carton pluma” format, which is the cheapest and lightest one, meaning you can hang it on the wall with just double sided tape.

Sports and Garmin tech (last used on 2022). Link

(Only available in Spain)

Best prices and they usually include little perks in their packages!



Podcasts

Most of these podcast can be played at 1.5x speed. The one called “Security Now” even at 2x. :)

Tecnology. Linux. Varieties. Entertaining.

Underground. Stories about hackers, spies, governments… stealing millions in crypto, avoiding nuclear attacks… If I could only take one podcast with me to a dessert island, this would be it.

Interviews to developers and entreperneus from the world of technology. Some of these are worth the time. Others not so much (but that’s why the “Skip” button was inventes).

A guy with a tinfol hat explains us how to remove your traces from the Internet. Interesting.

Science. Medicine. Astronomy. Psicology. Tecnology. Entertaining.

Weekly linux news. Short and to the point.

Tecnology. Linux. Informal.

Weekly linux news. Short and to the point.

Linux news. Informal. Entertaining.

News about info-sec.



Subscription based services

Once you decide to cut ties with Google, the first thing you do is to migrate your Gmail account to something else. In my case, after trying several alternatives, I settled for Fastmail.com. I have been with them for more than 5 years and have no complaint. By the way, if you decide to sign up and use this referral link, you and I get 10% off your first year.

A VPS is a remote (virtual) machine where you can run code, host web pages (such as this one), use as VPN gateways, etc… If you have never heard of this term, you probably don’t need it, but if you do, let me say that “Linode” is not the cheapest VPS provider but their customer service is top notch, the service is refreshingly simple (Amazon should learn a thing or two from them!) and they support Linux through different programs.

They make all their content available for free after one week, so you don’t really have to subscribe to enjoy their articles. However, they make such a good job that, that you should consider doing so to support the creation of more high quality Linux related content!



Technology

When people ask me which laptop they should buy and I know that person does not have special needs (such as real time video editing or AAA gaming), this is my pick. It packs a Ryzen 5 3500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 14 inches display and a small USB C charger. All for less than 600 USD (including taxes).

I’ve tried a lot of running headphones over the years and the problem I have with all of them is that, after half an hour, my ears start to hurt. Well… the discovery of bone conduction headphones (like this one) is a moment comparable to when fire was discovered: how could I not have heard about this technology before? (actually, I had heard about it but I thought it was one of those homeopathy scams, hehe). As nothing is inserted in the ear the discomfort is zero, and I can spend hours with them jogging with no problem. The sound is not as good as in “normal” headphones (especially in the bass), but it is not bad either (not at all!). But that’s not all because these headphones also meet the other requirements that I consider essential: 1) USB-C charging (no microUSB or proprietary magnetic charger), 2) Physical buttons (no touch buttons), 3) Connected by a strap that goes behind the head (so I can take them off and leave them resting on my neck, and not get lost) and 4) Sweat resistance. They cost me (on sale) 69 euros and I couldn’t be happier.

NOTE: There are other superior (and twice as expensive) models with bigger battery and better water resistance (some can even be used for swimming)… but they sacrifice the USB-C port and use a proprietary magnetic connector instead, so they don’t work for me (and the difference in sound quality is said to be very small anyway).

These are simply the best noise canceling Bluetooth headphones that you can get today (2021) at a reasonable price (~320 USD if you are lucky). I use them for everything: from watching movies at home to listening to podcasts while I’m having a walk (but not in the summer, as they can get sweaty if it is too hot outside). Anyway, if you don’t mind their size and want to treat yourself, this is a very good option.

NOTE: By the way, I’ve heard that the previous version, the Sony WH-1000XM3, are equally good and cheaper. The main different is that, unlike the newer version, they can not pair with two devices at the same time (ie. you have to manually go to your phone’s Bluetooth menu when you want to change the connection, which is a bummer, but nothing terrible)



TV shows

Animation / drama. 2014.

Do not let the animation part fool you: this is a very depressing show with a fine black humor that I love.

Science fiction / drama. 2020.

Mini-series of 8 episodes that treats existential issues and has a brilliant photography.

Animation / science fiction / misc. 2019.

18 independent episodes of less than 20 minutes each from different teams of artists and writters, which talk about different dystopian topics.

Thriller. 2015.

Hackers, conspiracies, murders… Many people say that the first seasson is the only good one, but I enjoyed all of them.

Thriller. 2019.

Mossad trained agent infiltrates Syria. Inspired by real-life events. Interpreted by Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen in a very serious tone that has nothing to do with his other works.



Video games

2D platformer. 2018.

I started playing this because it was included in Xbox’s Game Pass free month, but I liked it so much that, once I finished it, I had to buy it on Steam as a “thank you” to the developers. Each screen of this game lasts 15~20 seconds but you will have to go through it a thousand times before you figure out how to do it correctly. 100% addictive.

3D first person shooter. Open world. 2004+.

This is my favorite game genre: a massive open world where you can get lost just walking / hunting / discovering new places / minding your own business and/or you can follow the main story line in increasingly difficult arcade type missions. The are (so far) six FarcCry games. All of them are good. I specially enjoyed the fourth one.



Youtube Channels

3D

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics… With it you can create these types of things.

To learn to use Blender from scratch this channel is the best option. Very detailed and easy to follow tutorials (oh, and Andrew, the author, is a great guy).

Link.

Short, very fast paced, sometimes surreal but always funny Blender ideas.

Link.

Linux

More about programming than Linux, but I didn’t find any other cathegory where it could fit.

Extremely good content but you will only find it interesting if you are into programming.

Link

A guy in love with minimalism, Linux and open source. Sometimes he talks about some other completely unrelated things and yet I still listen to him :)

Link.

Very good (and frequent!) quality content (news, random thoughts).

Link.

Linux news and software reviews.

Link.

Linux news and software reviews.

Link.

More obscure and random Linux and hardware content.

Link

Misc

Science fiction books and movies recommendations. Excellent!

Link

Science

Maths, physics, astronomy… All his videos are incredibly interesting.

Link.

Technology

Hardware and software reviews. Extremly good quality content.

Link

Daily technology (and sometimes random but funny) news with a bit of cynicism.

Link

The #1 Youtube channel about technology. News, reviews, recommendations, …

Link

Weekly technology news. Almost daily in-depth product reviews.

Link

Very old hardware. I’m in love with this channel :)

Link

Videogames

Analysis of videogames graphics.

Link.

Experiments and gossips from the PC gaming world.

Link.

Retro-gaming / emulation hardware reviews.

In Spanish. Link