Open Source Software

Open Source Software Solutions

When choosing which software to use, one philosophical choice you must make is if you’re OK with proprietary software, or if you will prioritize open source solutions. Open source means if you’re a developer, you can look at the code to make sure there are no backdoors or security issues. The most important time you want to make sure you’re choosing an open source solution, is if the software is intended for online communication and/or it uses encryption. These are two times you want to be able to trust your software doesn’t have a backdoor. While open source software doesn’t mean a cryptographer or auditor has reviewed it, I argue it’s a better base to start from, than blindly trusting a company, which often on foreign soil with a mandate to spy on foreigners.

Something else most open source fans don’t mind, is that it’s usually free. One advantage of choosing to philosophically support open source, is you’ll likely never have to pay for software again.
I will update this post over time, but I hope to use it as a place to list open source alternatives to proprietary solutions that you’re likely familiar with.

Last update: Jan 26, 2015:


Instead of Skype or Megachat, consider Jitsi.


Instead of Safari or Internet Explorer, consider Firefox, Chrome, or for anonymity check out Tor Browser which is based on Firefox.


Instead of Microsoft Office or Apple iWork (Pages etc) check out LibreOffice and OpenOffice


Instead of Evernote, Microsoft OneNote or Google Keep, check out Etherpad, ProtectedText,  and Paperwork.

Email Programs:

Instead of Outlook, or, consider Thunderbird

File Encryption:

Instead of Apple FileVault, PGP, or Symantic Drive Encryption, check out encfs

“Free” Email providers:

Remember, if it’s “free”, you’re the product or service being sold. That being said, instead of using Gmail, Hotmail/, Yahoo! Mail, or Facebook Messenger, check out Autistici/Inventati, MyKolab, or Riseup.

File Storage:

Instead of Dropbox, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, or Microsoft One Drive, check out OwnCloud, SparkleShare, or MyKolab.


Instead of Facebook, check out Diaspora, movim, and GNU social.

Image Sharing:

As a potential replacement for Flickr,, or Instagram, check out


Instead of Google Maps, try OpenStreetMap and Marble Map

Search Engines:

Instead of Google or Bing, try DuckDuckGo and StartPage

Operating Systems:

Instead of Windows, or Mac OSX, consider: Mint Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or anything listed at Distrowatch.

Router software:

While it will likely invalidate your warranty, you can replace the software on your wireless access point, consider OpenWRT or DD-WRT.

Buy Hop Rhizomes in Canada

Where to buy hop rhizomes in Canada

There appear to be only 5 places to buy hop rhizomes in Canada, if you know of any more, please let me know and I’ll update the map. This will likely only be of interest to homebrewers, or those looking for something to climb a surface area quickly.

I’ve also started a list of hop rhizome suppliers in the USA, although I’m trying to limit my list to those who are a source, not the middle men. Please contact me for any edits!

Reddit Logo

My list of subreddits

If you’re familiar with Reddit, you know it’s based on sub-reddits, which are effectively communities with a shared interested. This is my list of subreddits, perhaps some of them will be of interest to you:

  • Canadian Startups – For those engaged in the Canadian startup scene.
  • Idea Validation – Do you have an idea you’d like validated by strangers?
  • Co-Founder Hunt – Are you ready to start a business if you only had a co-founder?
  • Makerspaces – Community spaces that welcome everyone, open standards, and Do-It-Yourself philosophies. Also known as Hackerspaces.
  • IdeaWave – Discussion around the world’s affordable ideas conference, IdeaWave.
  • Master Debaters – Help each other master the art of debating.
  • Triple Entendres – My favourite thing on earth, can you think of a phrase with 3 different meanings?
  • New: Privacy Law – A forum to discuss privacy law in various countries and industries
Cheap meals in British Columbia

Map of cheap meals in British Columbia

Enjoy my map of cheap meals in British Columbia! If you know of anywhere in British Columbia you can get a proper meal for $5 or less, please contact me and I’ll add it to the following map:

If you’re a fan of frugal food and live in Vancouver, you might also enjoy my crowd sourced spreadsheet of the cheapest places in the city to get fruits & vegetables.

Filing taxes

Approved business tax software in Canada

I found the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) approved business tax software in Canada list, and went to each one to get their pricing. As you can see below, some don’t list their pricing at all, and those that do, there seems to be a wide range from $39.99 to $1550.00 with an average of $454.51 and median of $170.13. Click here for a direct link.

These prices could change at any time, and this is meant to be informative, not advice. If you notice and price changes or announcements, let me know, and I’ll update the spreadsheet.