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Independent Web Designer · · ·


What can Chrome users and website owners do about Google’s trial of FLoC?

Wall with a sign written in German telling people there’s CCTV.
Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Google trials of the new FLoC system for targeted ads have begun.

Google’s explainer over on states that “websites will have the ability to opt in or out of FLoC”, but this is misleading.

All websites are opted into the trial by default.

Tools & Privacy

Removing Google from my life, one service at a time.

The Google sign on a wooden building.
Kai Wenzel on Unsplash

One upside of being independent is that I can choose the tools I use. I’m trying to make better choices and using alternatives to Google is one of these.

I closed both of my Google Workspace accounts a few days ago.

It’s difficult to go 100% Google-free as their services…

Privacy Tools

A new standard to help users opt-out of data collection and tracking.

A woman hides her face behind a screenprint.
Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

January 28th 2021 saw the announcement of a new standard that makes it easier to users to out opt of data collection and sharing. It’s called the Global Privacy Control and lets users signal they want to opt-out of tracking through their browser.

From The Verge:

The GPC standard sprang…

Digital Minimalism

The benefits of turning off read receipts.

Someone texts on their phone.
Alex Ware on Unsplash

When I wrote about exploring Digital Minimalism, I overlooked the practice of turning off read receipts. This is something I was doing before I read Cal Newport’s book.

Turning off read receipts seems like a small thing: “who cares if they know when I read this?”

I started turning messaging…

Reframing Tech

Reflecting on the first steps I’ve taken towards digital minimalism.

Wooden wall clock over a white desk and plant.
Samantha Gades on Unsplash

In early 2020 I read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism. It completely changed my outlook on tech.

I wouldn’t have picked up the book if it wasn’t for Adam Pearson. He told me that in another of Newport’s books, Deep Work, he recommended:

  1. Quitting social media for 30 days
  2. Not telling…

Privacy and advertising

If there’s little difference in the way contextual and targeted ads perform, why do we collect that data?

Liam Shaw on Unsplash

Jeremy Keith’s piece on Clean Advertising is an excellent read. One of the key takeaways is that behavioural advertising may not be as effective as its contextual counterpart.

To recap:

  • Behavioural advertising centres around tracking users around the web to build profiles about their behaviour. Users will are shown ads…

Selling Digital Products

What’s the difference between these two services?

This article was originally republished to Google from my website, but Google is no longer respecting the canonical URLs so I’ve removed the Medium article.

👉 Read the article at

Annie Spratt on Unsplash
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Digital Minimalism

Improving the Twitter experience by going all-in on lists.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

Twitter is pretty much the only social media platform I use. It’s a useful platform, but not without problems.

I try to balance the time I spend on there. I don’t have the app on my phone and recently switched to TweetDeck on desktop.

TweetDeck took a little getting used…


Why do so many companies ignore cookie laws?

Photo by Stephen Phillips on Unsplash

Cookies present issues for website owners and users alike, and they’re nothing new. While the GDPR and PECR legislation have encouraged companies to proactively consider user privacy, the basic cookie requirements are neglected on a large number of sites.

Cookies fall into two categories: essential and non-essential. …

Privacy & Small Business

What does it mean to run a small business that considers customer privacy?

Silhouettes of tree trunks in front of a green trees hanging over a white wall.
Photo by Nick Wright on Unsplash

What does it mean to run a privacy-focused business? What does that look like and involve? Is it just GDPR — cue eye-rolls — or is there more to it than that?

These are some of the questions I’ve been thinking about recently.

The introduction of GDPR in 2018 created…

Dave Smyth

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