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Why I've migrated my mail, calendar and contacts to Fastmail

5 min read

Up until this weekend my mail, calendar and contacts services were a little disparate:

Now I have all three hosted by FastMail

So why was I using those particular services, and why have I now moved away from them?

ProtonMail

I migrated from Gmail to ProtonMail when it was still in beta. As part of the IndieWeb journey I've been on since 2014 I've been trying to move away from silos and big data as much as is practicable.

I supported the concept of what ProtonMail were doing (and still do), particularly the privacy ethos and the ad / tracking free nature of their offering. From a geek perspective I liked the tech behind the way they secure email at rest and (claim to) never be able to access your emails, though as email is inherently insecure that isn't what tipped it for me.

Moving away from Gmail meant the 'trinity' of email, calendar and contacts being all on the same service was broken. But the change seemed to be low-friction for me, and anyway at that time I was planning to keep calendar and contacts with Google until such time as ProtonMail supported all three (spoiler alert: at the time of writing their contacts support is better but still no calendar)

I did have a few niggles with ProtonMail:

  1. Contacts support was poor. At that time it was just name + a single email address per contact (e.g. two separate contacts for one person if they had a personal and work email!), and so I had ended up retaining my main contacts list in Gmail and having a duplicate contact list of emails in ProtonMail. This was a real pain to keep in sync.
  2. Price / value. I don't mind paying for a service, but having two domains and needing about 15-20 email aliases pushed the price up a bit and I was soon at the limit I felt was value for money. I did feel that paying around US$90 ought to have led to a bit more genorosity. (Everyone has different limits of course.)
  3. No calendar support.

Google Calendar

Like any well-honed silo, the water is warm at Google and so it was with their Calendar. It just works, and the UI is a dream. It had all the functionality and connectivity I wanted, so from that perspective there was no incentive to change (which is why most people won't, of course). It's what sits behind it all that is the worry for the community: 'you are the product' and all that!

Moving email away did lead to some friction, as I could no longer directly accept Gmail calendar invites sent to my non-Gmail main email address. Instead I had to either ask people to send invites to my Gmail address (defeating the purpose of moving email away), or do an export of the invite to an *.ics file and then import it into Google Calendar.

Nextcloud Contacts

My IndieWeb user page tells me that I migrated my contacts to OwnCloud in January 2017 (and then to NextCloud in June).

The main reason I did this was because contacts support in ProtonMail was poor (see above).

OwnCloud/Nextcloud has a contacts app with CardDav support, and so I was able to use that to migrate contacts away from Google and so scratch off one of my itches. But it didn't solve the 'two contact lists' issue, which I kicked down the path for another day!

I have been happy with this service, and it was only my need to re-unify email, calendar and contacts that led me to leave.

So why FastMail? Aren't they a silo too?!

I had considered using the NextCloud calendar app instead of Google Calendar, but it was quite slow and not as feature-rich as I wanted. (One showstopper for me was the lack of single-event deletion for repeating events.) So I decided to look for something else that would better meet my overall needs.

Well, yes FastMail is a silo I guess. But I read plenty of reviews about them and pored over their privacy policy, and was satisfied that the trade-off was worth it. They are ad-free too.

At $US50 a year I get all three services I want in one place, with no domain or email alias restrictions. CalDav and CardDav support is built-in so no problems syncing with my mobile devices.

Usability is good: for email and contacts it is better (for me) than ProtonMail / NextCloud respectively.

The changeover was relatively easy to do (the usual tension of waiting for new MX records to propagate across the internet notwithstanding!), and so far I'm happy with my decision.

Early days, though, so let's see how it goes....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just finished migrating my mail, calendar and contacts over to @FastMail All working well (touch wood!) and via and syncing nicely with my Android phone :)

"be brutal with your subscriptions". Well that inspired to me to look at my feeds list. I'd forgotten Tiny Tiny RSS has a list of inactive feeds. I've deleted all feeds that haven't posted in over 6 months (except Steve Gibson's blog, because Steve is Steve and when he posts it will be worth the wait!), which got rid of 30. Also looked at the 'feeds with errors' list, and got rid of another 5 that had errors that seemed terminal. Feels good to have had a clearout.

I loved the board game as a boy - great fun when the ball went down the chimney and rolled down the stairs :) https://cobwebbedroom.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/denys-fisher-haunted-house-board-game.html

Interesting read, Jeremy.

Just on the plumbing side of things I'm currently thinking how I want a more comprehensive main page for myself (currently trying out a WordPress instance), whilst having my Known posts show up on the same page. That way I won't have two completely separate streams. I don't have the plumbing skills to do the manual stuff you have, but it's interesting that those of us on the journey are wrestling with similar principles.

Obviously one size will never fit all (or we may as well go back to silos!) but it's certainly useful to see the different sizes on offer!

Hi @ReclaimHosting I've installed a test instance and notice it's installed under /home/<me> rather than /home/<me>/public_html - anything to worry about or is that fine? Thanks.

Turning a Strava Club Event route to a Garmin Course

3 min read

This post is written in response to queries from my local cycling group as to how to get a Strava Club Event into a Course on a Garmin device, so people can follow the course on the day.

At the end of this post I also show how you can save the Route into your own 'My Routes', so you can ride it again and again!

Method One (copy and paste):

If you have received a Strava Club Event that has a route included, the top of the Club Event web page will look something like this:

Screenshot

If you scroll down a little bit you will get to the actual route, which looks like this:

Screenshot

To get the route onto your Garmin device:

  1. Click on Export TCX (for devices without viewable maps, e.g. Edge 200) or Export GPX (for newer devices with viewable maps, e.g. Edge 1000)
  2. Save the GPX or TCX somewhere on your PC / laptop, e.g. Desktop or Downloads
  3. Connect your Garmin device to your PC / laptop with a USB cable
  4. Using your file explorer (e.g. Windows Explorer) navigate to your Garmin device's 'Garmin/NewFiles' folder, which in Windows Explorer will look something like this:
    Screenshot
  5. Copy your downloaded TCX or GPX file into the NewFiles folder (make sure it goes into 'Garmin/NewFiles', and not into just 'Garmin'). It will look something like this:
    Screenshot
    6. Unplug your Garmin device from your PC / laptop. The Garmin should then restart and the route should appear in your Courses list.

Method Two (use the 'Strava Routes' Connect IQ app ):

If you have a newer device that supports Garmin Connect IQ apps (e.g. Edge 520, Edge 1000), a much simpler method is to use the (free) 'Strava Routes' app. Instructions on how to install and use this app are here

Saving a Club Event route into your own 'My Routes':

Remember above where you can see the Route Details. The link to the Route (in this case PP: Stondon Shillington Pirton) is actually clickable, so if you click on:

Screenshot

you will get to here:

Screenshot

Notice the little grey star on the left of the route name (I've circled it in red)? If you click on the grey star it will turn red (Strava calls this 'starring'):

Screenshot

Starred routes will be saved in your own 'My Routes' folder, which you can get to by clicking on Dashboard > My Routes.

Screenshot

It will look something like this (notice the red star in the top right):

Screenshot

N.B. It's not just Club Event routes that you save in your own 'My Routes'. Any route that has been shared with you can be saved in the same manner, and you will be able to use Method One or Two above to add them as a Course onto your Garmin device.

Anyway, hope this has been useful. Any comments please let me know.

Rob

First posted: 22 October 2017
Last updated: 22 October 2017

Great idea, Chris. I can't think of a better person to write this book, as your introduction articles have been comprehensive yet easy to understand - not an easy combination! If there's a crowfunding for it I'm sure many of the IndieWeb community will contribute - I certainly would.