Although I am generalizing here, every coffee’s ‘medium’ or ‘dark’ roast will be different. This particular recipe, is my favorite one for the Tim Hortons’ Original Blend coffee. Check out my previous blog post about Tim Hortons (the good, the bad and the ugly) . I recently bought a pack just to try and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.
Since this is pre-ground coffee, you cannot control the coarseness, but you can control the temperature and brew time and technique. First I tried brewing this coffee with a Hario V60 with boiling water. Then I dialed it down to 85C, and the results were much better. The end result was a cup that had some sweetness, bitterness that was not overly harsh, and also some acidity which I was quite surprised by.
Then I tried brewing with the Aeropress and the result was even better. In my experience Aeropress performs a bit better and consistently with darker roasts than the Hario V60.
60g:1L ratio (12g of coffee to 200g of water)
no bloom required
The winning recipe
I call this recipe “The Morning Rush” because I think it is simple enough to use even when you are in a rush in the morning, and yet can produce a consistently good cup.
place the Aeropress in inverted position
add 12g of coffee
Add all 200g of water
stir it 10 times
place the cap with filter (no need to rinse if in a rush)
UPDATE: After writing this post, I was challenged to look further into Tim Hortons. The original post, which mostly painted a rosey picture of the brand remains mostly unchanged, however, I have included some additional information which I uncovered during my research which shows that the beloved Canadian brand might not be all that great as it once may have been.
Tim Hortons is the quintessential Canadian coffee experience. Although, it must be noted that it is not technically Canadian owned anymore. Burger King purchased Tim Hortons in 2014 and the two chains are subsidiaries of a Canadian-American holding company Restaurant Brands International which is majority-owned by a Brazilian investment firm.
But even though that is the case, when you think about Tim Horton’s you think Canadian, and this is the same whether you are Canadian or not. Tim Horton’s is a Canadian icon. It is so Canadian that if given the choice, Canadians would much rather pledge their allegiance to the timbits and the Double Double than the Royal Family (This is a joke.)
Some facts about Tim Hortons and Coffee in Canada
Tim Hortons (the company) was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton (1930–1974) and Jim Charade.
Canadian Business magazine named Tim Hortons as the best-managed brand in Canada in 2004 and 2005.
In the mid-2000s, their slogan was “Always Fresh. Always Tim Hortons.” (false advertising in my opinion because their doughnuts are frozen, packed and delivered to store locations)
Tim Hortons is Canada’s largest quick-service restaurant chain, with 5,352 restaurants in 15 countries, as of June 30, 2022.
Canada is one of the top 10 highest coffee-consuming nations per Capita and the only country outside of Europe in that list
Canadians consume the most doughnuts per capita
Canada has the most doughnut stores per capita
In 2022, the average price of 340g (~ 12oz) of roasted or ground coffee in Canada was $6.11. The average price of specialty coffee however is around $20.
Does anyone want anything from Timmie’s? 2 medium double doubles a box of timbits
Any Canadian would know what that means:
Timmie’s/Tim’s is Tim Hortons
Double double is a coffee with 2 portions of sugar and 2 portions of milk or cream
Timbits are doughnut holes
I, just like many others in Canada have had moments at Timmie’s. In my teens and 20s, I remember hanging out with friends, having coffee-dates, early morning breakfast runs, sometimes even business meetings, doing assignments, studying before tests, and late night revisions before an exam. Many working folks head to Timmie’s for a quick lunch break. Also, there is always a Tim Hortons nearby that is open late for club goers to sober up, or to take hard look at their life choices.
Not only that, everyone has a favorite Timmie’s. Conversely, there is also that one Tim’s that they hate to go to. As people grow older and can afford ‘better’ coffee, they start to complain about Tim Horton’s coffee, and yet they still go there.
The usual coffee comparison is between Tim’s and Star Bucks. I do have to agree to some extent; Star Bucks does offer a better selection and their customization is unmatched. As to Star Bucks having ‘better’ tasting coffee, I think that is relative. In many cases I would tend to agree that star bucks beverages do tend to taste better than Tim Hortons, however, that is not always the case, and this has become quite apparent to me recently.
In the mid-2000s, their slogan was “Always Fresh. Always Tim Hortons.” Which is ironic because it was around that time that they switched from doughnuts that were made at night to be ready for the morning rush to partly cooked and then frozen and delivered to every location in Canada.
Minimum Wage Increase and the Brand Downfall
In 2018, minimum wage in Ontario was increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour. While McDonald’s, Cara Foods (Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s and The Keg), and Starbucks allowed franchisees to increase menu prices, Restaurant Brands International (parent company of Tim Hortons) did not. Tim Hortons franchisees, many of whom are small business owners, responded by cutting employee benefits and health plans. There were demonstrations held across Canada which was mostly likely the cause of the downfall of the Tim Hortons brand.
Usually placing in the top 10 of the Leger research poll for the top 10 companies or brands in Canada, Tim Hortons dropped from 4th place in 2017 to 50th in 2018. In the same year, the Reputation Institute reported that Tim Hortons had fallen from 13th to 67th in its study of Canada’s most reputable companies.
Tim Hortons was one of the top 5 plastic polluters in Canada in 2018, and 2019. Tim Hortons accounted for about 11% of branded plastic waste collected by Greenpeace Canada from rivers and beaches.
Tim Hortons still uses plastic lining in their cups which makes them non-compostable.
Tim Hortons App and Privacy Violations
In 2022, Tim Hortons violated Canadian privacy laws by tracking highly personal information including users location even when they were not using the app.
The company knew when and where users went. This means they know where you live, where you work, where you buy your groceries from, where and when you go for your coffee or how often you go out for walk. Knowing the location and time tells them if you were jogging or walking.
Is Tim Hortons Better now?
Yes,… and no
I had not been to Tim Hortons since the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. In fact before the world went to sh!t, I drank coffee once every couple of months. With nothing better to do and being locked up inside, I took up coffee as my new hobby and for better or for worse, I am hooked. During the lock-down, I got super into it; as in weird nerd level into it. Eventually, I found myself in the world of specialty coffee for which I am glad. I went from hating coffee to loving it.
In autumn of 2022, I decided to give Tim Hortons another try. I had been drinking Star Bucks coffee from time to time, but mostly brewing specialty coffee at home. But this was the first in my recent history that I went to Tim Hortons.
To my surprise, Tim Hortons’ menu has changed dramatically. They now have a huge variety of things. They offer hot or cold espresso beverages like lattes, cappuccinos, americanos.
Their lunch and dinner menu has expanded with various wraps, salad bowls, burgers, grilled sandwiches and potato wedges. My favorite so far is the Veggie Cilantro Lime wrap and their potato wedges.
Not only has their lunch and dinner menu expanded, but Tim Hortons now provides non-diary/vegan options like almond, soy and oat milk.
I do not know if I am imagining it, but I believe their coffee has also improved. I cannot get myself to like their store brewed coffee because even their original blend is just way too roasted for my palate. However, their hot chocolate which once tasted like a blend of cardboard and rubber now actually tastes better; even better than Star Bucks! In fact most Tim Hortons’ vegan options taste better than Star Bucks offering!
Also, their packaged coffee tastes even better! I assume it is the same coffee that they brew in stores. However, in their stores, coffee is probably brewed at a very high temperature, and what I have noticed is that I can get dramatically better tasting cup at home, if I reduce the brewing temperature to somewhere between 85C to 90C. I thought I was imagining things because everyone in my circle tells me that Tim Hortons coffee sucks.
But then one of my coffee idols, James Hoffman, the self proclaimed ‘weird coffee person’ did a blind taste of grocery store coffees in which Tim Hortons coffee came out to be his number 2 pick! I was shocked and so was James. That confirms my suspicion. Tim Hortons is doing something different with their coffee – they have some how managed to improve it.
… and no
Although Tim Hortons may have improved their lunch and dinner menu, and perhaps even improved their quality, there are still outstanding controversies. The recent mobile app privacy scandal, and their continued use for non-compostable cups leaves a deeper bitter taste than their dark roast blend.
My original post painted a very favorable picture. Although my most recent experience at my local Tim Hortons restaurant was much more pleasurable than my previous experience in recent years, my research on the controversies surrounding this beloved Canadian brand has left me in a dilemma.
Their lunch and dinner items taste good and fresh for a change. Their in-store coffee still tastes burnt and wood to me; but that may be because I am a weakling that cannot stomach bitter taste. Their packaged coffee surprisingly tastes great (with a roast level that, to me, feels dark even though they mark it as medium). If you brew it the ‘right way’. You can find my favorite medium-dark roasted coffee recipe here.
I will finish that one packet of Tim Hortons Original Blend that I current have, but I would have to see more positive changes towards their environmental responsibilities before I drink more of their coffee. I might still be tempted to buy their lunch menu items because frankly I like it.
As far as coffee goes, I will continue to support local specialty coffee shops because of traceability and the variety of interesting flavors.
I hope you liked this post, and if you did please feel free to leave a comment and share it with your friends.
Ten years ago I sent a video message to my future self. For the past 10 years, I have lived precariously close to jumping off with my whims, but I held onto the ladder. But of what use isclimbing on a ladder if it is leaning against the wrong wall?
So I have decided to lean into rather than away from my whims. It may not be for the next ten years, it may be for the next two, or for a life time, but what I do is that I do not want to keep living this way. If I go back further in time then this is not the life my seventeen year old self would have chosen. Listening to a seventeen year old for life advice may not be the most adult like thing to do, but then who said that the adult thing to do is the right thing to do anyway. That seventeen year old self was the no nonsense, fearless, careless and naive young man who had more to look forward to in life than his future self. I have shut him up and imposed rules and restrictions on him long enough.
I quit! I am done! Imagine having a harpoon stuck between your ribs. That is what it has felt like. It is time for me to let go of a life which I never wanted.
I am closing my business, Okinara Consulting Services for good. It started as a ‘for the time being project while I figure things out” after a failed start up. This side quest has lasted over 10 years. A side quest that in all honestly has had at best moments of “I guess this is okay”. If you spent too much time on side quests, your main story line remains incomplete.
It is safer to remain in your comfort zone goes the feeling for most people. Your job, your business, your career becomes a means to an end. Have-tos and need-tos govern most of our lives. Ironically staying in my ‘comfort zone’ has been the most unbaringly uncomfortable thing that I have ever done and I have been doing it a large portion of my life; time that I will never and can never get back.
As for what my ten-years-younger-self said to me, most of the things that he thought would have happened, never did. But I also realize how different my priorities were. I no longer want some of those things. There are still things that I do want. To quote myself.
No matter what you have achieved up until now in 2022, know that you must keep going on. You get only one chance to live so live it fully. Over the years you may have lost touch with yourself. I hope you have not. But if you have, you can reconnect to yourself, with your true nature again. Remember you are here to help others. You have a purpose to be fulfilled. I hope you are fulfilling your purpose. There is so much you have to do. Keep on going. Just keep swimming. Keep on going. I hope you have lived your life with passion and honestly. Satyameva jayate.
This abstract concept of purpose is something I no longer believe in. We are a product of cause and effect and other random events. There is no purpose in life. There is no purpose of life. It is a lie that we tell ourselves because that is what gives us meaning. Purpose of life would mean an intention. No one intended life to begin. It happened because a random series of events occurred in that specific order.
I do believe that there are true natures to people. What you decide to do with that nature becomes your purpose. Purpose is decision, not destiny.
Price! It was on sale on Black Friday and is again on sale now for $115CAD. The new version has a modern flash design. It does not have physical page turn buttons but the touchscreen is perfectly capable of easy navigation. It also has a dark mode for reading at night. I personally would not have bought one if it did not have a dark mode. It also has a warm light and brightness adjuster so it is pleasant to read in various light settings.
The other feature that I really like is Kindle’s integration with gooreads, and that is to be expected because both companies are own by Amazon. I also like the X-ray feature which is a boom for someone like me who reads multiple books at the same time. Integration with a dictionary and wikipedia is also great.
The only thing I wish Kindle had was flexibility in the format of the ebooks. I do not like getting tied to one company for anything. The greater a company’s openness, the higher is my personal rating. This is the very reason, I use open source software like firefox, linux, nextcloud, libre office etc..
Disadvantage of Kindle
The other disadvantage of owning a Kindle ereader is the lack of integration with public libraries. Currently, Kindle does not support local libraries in Canada( or is is that local libraries do not support Kindle ereaders. Either way, it is a no-go).
Kobo – The more open Kindle Alternative
Kobo on the other hand does work well with local libraries. Most public libraries in Canada support Overdrive which has tight integration with Kobo. You can browse and borrow books from public libraries that support Overdrive directly from Kobo ereaders. Again, this is to be expected because Kobo and Overdrive are owned by Rakuten.
Another advantage of Kobo is that it is more open and can read ebooks from multiple sources because it uses the ePub format. This way you are not locked into one store like what Amazon does with Kindle.
My choice a is a bit complicated. I subscribe to Amazon Prime, which no doubt is a great service. It includes free shipping for most orders on Amazon, Prime Video and Prime Reading, which provides you with free books that you can read without waiting for holds or having an time limits. Also, I really do love the Goodreads integration and X-ray integration.
Amazon locks you into the Kindle bookstore. Kindle also does not support overdrive in Canada, which normally would be a big knock against Kindle, however,
I live in Brampton, and 2 years ago Brampton Library decided to remove Overdrive support. So buying a Kobo, just does not make sense for me. I am very disappointed that Brampton Library no longer supports Overdrive.
But there are other good things about Kobo, like the fact that it is more open than Kindle, and Brampton Library still does support Kobo with CloudLibrary, but there are extra steps involved, which for someone like me, reading itself is an extra step IN LIFE, is a big no no.
Kobo also supports Mozilla’s Pocket, and even though I have an account and have the plugin enabled, I never really use it, but just like reading books included with my prime membership was not read by me until I got a Kindle, who knows, I might start using Pocket more if I got a Kobo.
One more thing that pulls me towards Kobo is its Canadian roots. And because it supports overdrive, I am even thinking of paying $120/year to get non-resident access to Toronto Library – oh how I miss living in Toronto.
If I am honest, I am leaning more towards Kindle. What it has going for itself is:
Amazon Audibles integration
You can sort of, kind of, may be if you are willing to go through some hoops and charter into territory of using a software like Calibre to convert books borrowed from public libraries to read them on a Kindle ereader.
If Amazon decided to open up its doors to Overdrive, then Kindle will be a nobrainer, but until then, I still need to consider Kobo as an alternative.
I am thinking of purchasing the Kobo Libra 2 to see if I like it better than the Kindle Paperwhite.
It may be unfathomable to most that anyone who loves to write, not share the same sentiment towards reading. I am such a person, or rather, and might I delightedly correct myself – I was such a person. In retrospect perhaps this was a sign on my unwillingness to listening before I spoke. Being a natural introvert, I never thought that that was a problem I had. But speaking less does not equate to listening more.
Listening before you wanting to be heard is something that I have learned from “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Normally, I would not be reading this or any other such book. Any book that I have read in my life was because I had to for school or for a work project. However, most of my work project reading fell under technical documentation or wikis.
The only reason, I started reading the book was because, it was free for Amazon Prime members, and since I had in the past from multiple sources, heard good things about the book. I had started reading it in May of this year. A week ago, I was not even half way through the book. Reading to me was an idea imagined to be worth pursuing, but lacking the same allure of…um.. anything but reading.
This Black Firday, I made an impulse purchase of a Kindle Paperwhite. It was heavily discounted, and I thought, “oh what the heck.” and the next think I knew was it was in my cart. A week later, I had it in my hands. I still waited 2 days before I opened it. My skepticism of my sudden urge to start reading was warranted. This was not my first kindle. I think I still have my first kindle in the deep recesses of my box, or boxes of neglected momentary passions.
This time, however, it feels different. For one, the first generation kindle has nothing on the newer kindles or any book modern ereaders for that matter. For the most part, ereaders have remained the same, but their speed and touch capabilities have increase hundredfold. Of course, they are not as snappy as smartphones or tablets, but no one needs those speeds when reading anyway. At least not until some company decides to ‘do it anyway’.
So after I finally decided to open the new kindle, the first book I decided to read was The Seven Habits…. I completed it in around a week. And not only that, I am currently reading and listening to 7 books. Opening the kindle package, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Amazon had decided to go for a mimal packaging approach which according to Amazon: “95% of this device’s packaging is made of wood fiber-based materials from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources.” Go figure.
One obvious and important reason why I like ebooks is that ebooks are environment friendly. You are not cutting down treas to produce ebooks. Also, ebooks will not get torn, or damaged. Technically ebooks will never die. Of course, there is the possibility that vendors like Amazon or Kobo will decide to not support it in the future or do something dubious like stop supporting older version of ereaders, and this does happen in pretty much every industry now, but that is a topic of discussion for another time.
But the biggest advantage is that you can carry literally hundreds and even thousands of books on one single ereader. Not only that, if you lose your ereader, you can always purchase a new one and download all your books within minutes. Not to mention, the social aspect of reading ebooks. You can share quote and highlights from ereader.
Reading has been somewhat of a stress buster. All my worries and other nagging thoughts just fade away as I melt into a good book. One good book that I am reading is “Sold on A Monday”. Normally, I would read books like these, just the description would turn me away. Also, I do not think I have ever willingly read a fiction book, apart from The Alchemist because it is so revered the world over. But because Sold on A Monday was available for free with Kindle Unlimited and I had a free trial, I decided to download it. I am so captivated by what is happening in the book. I am about half way through the book.
The other book that I am reading is 1984 – a classic, but bares so much resemblance to over time, expect the signs are not so obvious. Big brother lurks in the shadows of the digital world.
I was clueless to the fantastic ability of authors to create characters and worlds in the minds of their readers. Perhaps, I merely forgot what it was like to read stories. I did enjoy books like Treasure Island, The Swiss Family Robinson and Making Good, as a child in Primary school. Those books were the last books I remember reading because I had no choice, but to date they bring back fondest of memories. I remember those vivid worlds more than the movies and TV shows that I have watched.
But at last I have begun my journey in reading. I hope I can continue this same level of excitement for many more books to come. I want to start with classics, the Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne books.
I did not celebrate Canada Day this year. I did not wish anyone Happy Canada Day, I did not have a BBQ or go out for picnic. I have mixed emotions about this year’s July 1st. I just got a second shot of vaccine and although I do not feeling 100%, I can take comfort in knowing that I am doing my part to protect myself, my family and my community. The restrictions due to the pandemic are starting to easy, so I can be happy about that too. Canada has a great health care system, that is free and accessible to all; I can be thankful for that. Easy access to fast internet meant that everyone who had to work from home was able to for the past one year or so. I can be thankful for all of that and more.
I am trying to look for things to celebrate, and be thankful for to be a citizen of this country. But just like many Canadians who are mourning the tragedy that is in the history of this country, I too feel pain, embarrassment and shame. Unmarked graves of children who were part of the Indigenous residential school systems have been discovered in the hundreds, and it has brought to light the dark history of this nation.
From the 19th century until the 1990s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded schools in a campaign to forcibly assimilate them into Canadian society. Abuse was rife at the schools where thousands of children died of disease, neglect and other causes.
It is not only the death of individuals, but of future generations. The pain was not only caused to those individuals who lost their lives, but also to the families who had to endure their lose,and now after generations, the entire country morns.
No amount of social progress can ever replace or hide nor should it ever the dark history of this country. I was aware of the unjust treatment of the native population in the past, and the present neglect that the indigenous people of this country face, but this just shatters the very foundation of what makes a country great. Today when I look at my country’s flag, I find it difficult to see the beauty in its simplicity of white and red, and the iconic maple leaf. I cannot help but see the blood of innocent children in the red of this flag.
I cannot help but feel that the road that I drive one, the pavement that I walk on, the floor of my home that I stand on was built on the foundation of bones of the innocent.
About a year ago, I decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle. I call it a vegan lifestyle, because I feel that there is some negativity associated with the word “vegan” or rather the phrase, “I am a vegan”.
Also, “I AM…” signifies a core identity, and that somehow that is the lens through which I see everything. I have come across the idea that being vegan is associated with someone who is uptight, inflexible, and unreasonable, and somehow every aspect of the person’s life and every decision is based on the idea of being vegan.
I am not like that and I do not want to be associated with such an attitude. I stopped consuming meat and eggs and anything that comes from an animal. I also stopped wearing leather belts and bought a single ‘vegan’ belt made of nylon. The fact that I have never really used it is a different matter; we have been living in very strange times. It has been a year since we have been locked in our homes in one way or another so I have not really had the chance to utilize this ‘vegan belt’.
Now, going back to why I say I have adopted a vegan life style rather than saying “I am a vegan” is again because of negative connotations associated with that phrase. It somehow gives the impression that I am right, and everyone who does not follow my way of living is WRONG. Sadly, I know vegans who do in fact behave in such a way. This really does not help the ‘vegan cause’ or the ‘vegan movement’, or whatever you want to call it.
I like a more flexible approach. To me living a vegan lifestyle is just that, a lifestyle. That is the way I choose to live my life and I do not want to be judged for living this way, neither do I want to judge others for not living this way. I do hope that more and more people join me, and ideally, I would rather have it that everyone adopted the vegan lifestyle. However, I know that it might not be a right for everyone, or rather not right just yet.
Think about the Environment
I decided to adopted a vegan lifestyle for moral and philosophical reasons. In simple terms, violence against animals was a big factor in my decision. However, there are other reasons to adopt a vegan lifestyle. There is a phrase that a lot of vegans(that I know of) say:
You cannot be an environmentalist and not be a vegan
I happen to agree with this idea. Animal agriculture is one of the leading factors in greenhouse gas emissions, which as you may know already, is one of the greatest threats to our environment.
Also, when people talk about the environment, it almost has a dissociated characteristic, as if it is something that is external and separate to an individual person. What affects the environment, affects us all. So if you care about the environment, if you are someone who believes in recycling, using electric cars, or at least fuel efficient cars, then you may want to consider adopting a vegan lifestyle.
Vegans – take the win!
And I am of the belief that every bit helps. You can be a weekend vegan, or have vegan Wednesdays, especially if you are someone who eats meat or eggs or milk 7 days a week. You can start by taking a couple of days off.
I know a lot of vegans, including some of my friends who would be appalled that I even suggested this. To them I would say, take the win, every small win counts.
Take this analogy. More people are buying electric cars, hybrid cars and fuel efficient cars. Not everyone is going to suddenly be driving electric cars over night. Likewise, not everyone is going to be turning vegan overnight. But a reduction in the consumption of meat, fish and dairy is a good start – take the win.
Drinking Milk is Weird
Not only is a vegan lifestyle good for the environment, it is also good for the body and the mind. A few thing that come to mind are fat, cholesterol, hormones, antibiotics.
Did you know that no other animal drinks milk that comes from a different species? Also, did you know that no other species drinks milk in adulthood? Humans are the only ones that do this very odd thing.
Anyway, I am not here to convince you to change your habits. All I am saying is this is the way I am choosing to live my life… and is that not a very important distinction. Choosing to live this way?
Whatever habit, whatever programing that you may have whether it is cultural, or family, or any other, you do have the mental faculty of choice. You can choose to behave a certain way. You can choose to not eat meat, or drink milk, or eat eggs. You do not have to make it permanent. You could occasionally choose not to do those things.
I’m conflicted – I want to delete my Facebook account. For some years I was benefiting from this and other platforms by working with programs and providing strategies to businesses. But I wanted out.
I stopped working on
social media related projects and I had my social media accounts
either deleted or disabled for around 2 years but I had to come back
due to academic reasons; university club meetings, tutoring sessions
and group studies are conducted and coordinated on Facebook. It
boggles my mind that that sentence describes the norm.
Just when I decided
the negatives outweigh the positives and again when I was so close to
deleting my facebook, whatsapp and instagram accounts, my attention
was brought to the current use of social media as a platform to push
forward change in a way that was not possible some 10 to 15 years
If it was not for
social media, it would not have been possible to get the world to
rally behind a cause – frankly it is heart breaking that such issues
still exists even in 2020.
During the pandemic,
we were kept in touch with our friends and family through this
platform, racism and other injustice gets exposed routinely, and
people are able raise awareness and organize actions against
injustice through this very platform.
It’s a great tool
that has helped change for the better. But it’s also a pit that
drowns people and tears people apart despite being one click away.
It’s a platform that encourages what the world needs and fights
against what shouldn’t exists. But it also does the opposite.
It taps into our
humanity and satisfies that need to connect, but also chips away our
But digging deeper
what it really feels like is The Matrix, where you and I are
batteries in a vast farm of others like you and me, it’s sole purpose
to keep us engaged, to keep us dreaming so that our lives can be
harvested and sold and traded to benefit the few that are at the very
We have willingly
taken the blue pill. In the next days or weeks to come, I intended to
delete my Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, gmail and other google
and microsoft accounts. That’s the plan, it didn’t work in the past,
but let’s see.
alternatives to gmail, microsft office, onedrive, google drive,
whatsapp, android with Googleapps, windows, macos, ios … Not easy,
but doable. I have moved about 80% away from these.
Follow my blog if
you are interested in alternatives or want to join forces and start
taking control of your own data.
Something happened after I wrote the post about moving from Linux to Windows , where I talked about how Windows 10 really is the only operating system most of you would need and there is no real reason, at least not for me.
I came across a project where the best option was to use docker. For now, docker on WSL( Window Subsystem for Linux) does not work – WSL2 will fix that. Then I tried using Hyper-V to install Ubuntu on a virtual machine – which was not a great experience. I had to fiddle around a lot to make networking barely work. I tried to setup docker on windows and yes it worked, but it was not as seamless as I would have liked it to be. Then I started to have issues with Python on Windows. I regularly write and use python and shell scripts to automate things sometimes for ridiculously simple things which manually might take less than 30 seconds. My python scripts were working on Ubuntu, but kept failing on Windows. When I tried to install packages, pip wouldn’t work and there was just a long and torturous 3 hours “I can see it, it’s right there”, “but that’s exactly what I did”, “I love this keyboard, but this time if it doesn’t work, I will smash it”.
If you’re a developer, go Linux(Ubuntu) – it’s so much easier
Since Widows 10 came out, it has been my daily driver, but now…ironically right after I touted Windows to be the number 1 choice, I’m back on Linux, and I am really enjoying it. Working on Linux is amazing. I had forgotten how powerful apt-get was.
Missing package? No problem
sudo apt-get install this_feeling_is_glorious
In no time, I had customized my workspace just the way I wanted and it seems over the years, the Ubuntu Desktop has improved considerably.
For example, by default, all apps no matter if they are spread out across different workspaces, get bunched into one – a nuisance when switching between apps/windows with “Alt+Tab”, but you can easily customize this by downloading a package from apt-get.
Also, the Snap App Store is great. The terminal is such an integral part of Linux and as much I admire Windows Powershell and the object oriented nature its commands, the Linux terminal is really where its at -it’s hard to quantify, but makes me feel like wizard. With linux permission levels and UFW + Iptables ( the Linus firewall), I was quickly and easily able to secure and compartmentalize things.
Linux isn’t perfect – nothing is
It’s not perfect; it does have issues, but they are different from issues on Windows. For an average user, Windows IMHO is still the best general purpose Operating system – it does almost everything pretty well.
For power users, developers, opensource enthusiasts, Linux is where it’s at.
I recently got into skateboarding, and a fitting analogy is Linux is the shortboard 0f operating systems that lets you do cool technical tricks, but you’re you’re not into doing tricks, get Windows because that’s a cruiser. 😉
The Journey sailing through different operating systems
Before, I begin, let me clarify things a little. I have not really moved from Ubuntu to Windows recently. I made the transition long time ago, what I am here to tell you is that, I don’t think there are really all very compelling reasons to move from Windows to Linux(for me and people like me).
I have been using Ubuntu on and off since the very beginning when I first stumbled upon it while in university. I have used multiple Linux distros, but I always keep coming back to Ubuntu. There was a time when Ubuntu was my primary driver. This was the time when I had quit my job to work on my startup. I had turned my old Windows XP (yes, that’s right, XP!) into a Ubuntu machine because I didn’t want to spend money on upgrading my hardware or the operating system to Windows 7. Plus, I didn’t really like windows 7. I used it for a couple of years until I needed to move around with my work so I bought a macbook which I absolutely loved!
However, my desktop operating system was still Ubuntu Desktop, while I used Centos Server for work. I have never liked Centos, the any variant of it – we used Redhat in University and I used Fedora for desktop for a little while. At that time, I thought, I will never in my life ever move back to Windows for anything. I even installed Ubuntu on my parents desktops. They were okay with it. Didn’t get many complaints.
As time went by, I upgrade my macs, and with every update, I became sadder and sadder. During that time, I had moved from Iphone and Android and was shocked at how well Android did things that IOS just coudn’t. I was tempted with Windows 8 after using it on my sister’s laptop, but I needed to the *nix experience because of my work. I had completely stopped using Ubuntu Desktop at this point. However, I had moved all my servers to Ubuntu.
Then came windows 10, and also the update to Mac OSX, which I don’t remember what it was called, but I clearly remember thinking, “IS THIS A F*CKING JOKE?”
Then I finally decide do take the plunge into windows. The touch screen, the new browser, the new menu system, the promise of Universal Apps(sadly this didn’t come to fruition). Everything about it felt better than Macs. Initially, for about a month or so, I regretted my decision because I finally realized how dependent I was on *nixy commands. I tried to manage with cygwin, but truth be told, it was just awful. Crashes and bugs and just a whole long list of disappointments and endless frustration and workarounds. But I stuck with it.
I converted my shell scripts to python scripts for my dev work. And it was going okay.
Meanwhile, evernote had started to fail me with constant crashes and multiple changes to UI, and I decided to switch to OneNote. Up until now, I was always looking for an excuse to use my digital pen. But now, with one note, I rediscovered (and in some sense had to relearn) the joy of writing. I will never ever go back to MacOs, or even think about going back to it unless and until Macos has touch screen capability. I was already sold on having touchscreen on a laptop, but now with one note, things got to a whole new level.
Then came Bash on Ubuntu on Windows
You can read about my excitement here: Ubuntu on Windows. This started to change everything. With the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), I could start using some of my shell scripts again. SSHing to severs was easier, and my workflow became fun and my productivity just sky rocketed.
Then, (from what I remember), the WSL was separated from “Bash on Ubuntu on Windows” as a standalone thing with Ubuntu becoming a downloadable app from the Windows App store and other Linux distros were also introduced.
Gaming on Windows
After a long period of thinking “I have outgrown games”, I bought an Xbox One and rekindled my love for video games. Still not satisfied, I decided to build myself a gaming PC. Let’s be honest here, Windows is the best place to game on out of all the desktop operating systems.
SSH on Windows
SSH client is now natively built into windows, so I find myself using less and less of Ubuntu on Windows.
One thing that Windows has that Linux does not is a built in application level firewall. No, iptables is not enough and yes I do use iptables on some of my servers and UFW on other servers. Windows Firewall is THE BEST builtin out of the box firewall out of all the operating system I have used in my life. Paired with something like Windows Firewall Control, I can have a very customized firewall, something that I have not found any other free or paid firewall do well.
WSL 2 is coming!
Windows Subsystem for Linux version 2 is coming and it could not have come at a better time. WSL 1 was like a translator between common Linux commands and the Windows Operating system. BUT, WSL 2 will be an actual real Linux kernel – THAT’s RIGHT! Windows will now ship with a Linux kernel. It will be a virtual machine, but Microsoft is saying, without the slowness of a typical VM. I assume they will be doing some sort of optimization to make this happen.
I was using Hyper V to get Docker working on Ubuntu since WLS 1 is not compatible with Docker. (Yes, I can use docker on Windows too). I do have Ubuntu installed on one of my desktop hard drives which I use when I feel like having a change. Recently, I found myself contemplating moving my work back to Ubuntu Desktop, mainly because of consistency. I will not have to switch from git on windows to git on ubuntu or windows desktop to Ubuntu server etc.. etc…
I even tried it on Ubuntu Desktop for a few days. I missed Windows – I love Windows. With WSL 2, I hopefully will not have any reason to doubt calling Windows 10 my home.
So these are my reasons for using Windows Desktop. Working, note taking, gaming and just general ease of use, IMHO Windows 10 is currently the best desktop operating system.