Why operating systems are redundant (almost)

Sometimes, Twitter conversations can spark ideas.

I realised my browser workflow (using Vivaldi) has made the choice of operating system redundant. Almost.

Consider this:

  • Browser: Vivaldi.
  • Bibliography: Paperpile (also comes with keyboard shortcuts to make it faster)
  • Docs: Google Docs/Dropbox Paper/ Sometimes Word
  • Blog: WordPress using browser.
  • Email: Fastmail in browser interface
  • Bookmarks: Raindrop
  • Social Network: Telegram. I use Telegram in Vivaldi’s web-panel to avoid the issues with context switching. It requires a simple keyboard shortcut to share URL and without shifting attention. Vivaldi makes it possible through “command-chain recipes” – a powerful browser based automation to “chain” the multiple steps achieving desired output.
  • Dropbox: Backup+Archival+Dropbox Capture. It uses the industry leading delta sync, which creates a nominal link to the files without taking up hard disk space.
  • Image capture: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. I can use its external camera as a webcam (if needed). It comes with a stellar camera, and post production tends to oversaturate the pictures, but it’s acceptable.
  • All of this is synced to iPad: PDF’s through Dropbox and local annotation (if needed) in PDF Expert, which syncs back to desktop when needed. Dropbox opens up in browser to access the file structures.
  • Telegram in browser (there are two variants: K & Z) which is the result of an internal competition. They are nearly capable as the desktop client, and make my chats portable and synced instantly.
  • iCloud is accessible through browser, but is a paltry addition.
  • Ad-blocking through secure DNS (NextDNS) and local Adguard, which gives sufficient control and can sidestep any manifest V3 changes proposed in Google Chrome for a future release.
  • Keyboard shortcuts in Vivaldi (and tiling pages) to compare them on the sides is the best value addition for my ultra-wide monitor to get the work done quickly.
  • IFTTT for automation by creating multiple “recipes” to speed up workflows even faster across platforms.
  • Inoreader for article/content discovery and keep ideas refreshed. I can use, for example, PubMed with highly specific search queries and fine tune its delivery in Inoreader using boolean operators. This helps to access events in near real-time. (also comes with keyboard shortcuts to make it faster)
  • Specific extensions on Vivaldi/Sci-Hub/Music/Books, all delivered through bots on Telegram almost instantaneously. For example, some bots even allow ripping audio-files in real time from YouTube, giving me an ad-free experience. Spotify downloaders without subscriptions are also feasible options.
  • Bots (and other automation tricks) can automate Telegram channels, including auto-posting and copying from other sources, without manual intervention.

I hope this helps!

Why overpay for a Mac? Applications are pushing through “in-app payments” and despite the claims of “distraction free variations”, are only perceived gains. Besides, the thrust to “merge iOS and MacOS lines” will harm both in the long run, despite the impressive claims of “ARM processors”. That computing “power” is required to import RAW images (if you deal with professional photography) and post-processing in photo-manipulation software. Or if you are dealing in “professional video editing”. Most of us won’t ever do anything with our gadgets, which is mentioned in marketing. iPhone (and iOS) is knee-capped for VPN’s (it uses IKE2), browser (Safari), and ad-blocking (limited rules and no element hiding possible), no control over Java-script or blocking specific elements, cookie management or realise the workflows I have listed here.

All of these are easily searchable through Neeva (my search engine of choice, now) and I have stopped wasting time on Google. Neeva makes searches relevant, and they are a privacy concious.

All of this has made the choice of an operating system redundant. I can easily shift these workflows on Linux, too (if I have time to experiment and satiate my curiosity)!

2 thoughts on “Why operating systems are redundant (almost)

  1. I have in the market to upgrade my four years old laptop. Looking at the configurations and reflecting on my workflow, came to a similar conclusion… A lot is being done over the cloud. Very little local machine based computing ability required on an everyday basis.


    1. I agree. Mac is the worst option; the OS has terrible bearings. Windows 11 has been made tolerable. Dropbox doesn’t work reliably on Linux so giving it a miss. I think there are some external dependencies/software in the OSS for Dropbox but Windows native client is the best.

      Liked by 1 person

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