Note: This article contains some referral links for affiliate systems that I added after writing it. My purpose for including them is so that I can learn how these systems work by participating in them, because I am interested in possibly implementing one of our own in the future. The article was written because these are all things I am using and recommend and I am very bored with the same old things.
Except for VR, the last decade of technology has been pretty yawn-inducing. I think Silicon Valley effectively killed the entire tech industry by showering a few companies with unlimited free money, but the scam is running out and you can't hold back innovation forever. In this blog I will talk about three technologies you might not have heard of and explain what each one can do for you.
Proton Mail is like the new Gmail, except better because it uses end-to-end encryption so your email is never visible on the company's servers. You can read your email by logging into the website, using the smartphone app, or by installing the bridge application to decrypt mail on your PC and integrating with Outlook (requires the paid plan, but that is only $4.99 a month). There's also a free VPN available so you can have secure encrypted connections on the coffee shop wifi.
A quick search of our mailing list shows that a lot of you have already switched to Proton Mail, making Gmail the new AOL.
It is possible to use Proton Mail's secure system with your own domain, which gives you the ability to separate your email from your website. This is pretty nice for a couple of reasons. First, if your website is down temporarily for maintenance, email keeps flowing without a hitch. Second, if some type of theoretical security breach were to hit your site, email would be unaffected by it, or vice-versa. I think it is also possible to set up directly with your DNS so you can have email on your own domain with no web hosting at all.
Why you need it:
- End-to-end encryption makes your email secure.
- No data harvesting to show you annoying ads.
- It just looks cool.
On the surface, Brave browser looks nearly identical to Chrome, but underneath the hood it is a different beast. This is the browser that is really pushing new technology with features like built-in bit torrent, crypto currency, tor, and support for the peer-to-peer IPFS Internet protocol. Not all these technologies are going to pan out, but the possibilities of doing away with the DNS system or revolutionizing online commerce are tantalizing, and some of them are going to work out. With 20 million users Brave now has the size to benefit from network effects so it will be interesting to see what kinds of things are possible with this browser.
I feel I should warn you. Once you start using Brave it is difficult to go back, especially once you understand what that would involve.
Why you need it
- Built-in ad blocker.
- No data harvesting.
- Innovative new features.
- Works all with Chrome extensions.
BackBlaze B2 is a cloud storage system similar to Amazon S3. These types of systems are critical for us because it allows a separate of website files and content files. Our website is only a few gigabytes and lives on our server, while all the user-generated files including images, attachments, avatars, and any other uploaded content is all stored on a backend file system. This makes backups to the website very small and as our content grows our core site stays the same size. Invision Power Board does not yet support BackBlaze B2 but the moment it does I plan to switch and cut 75% off our file storage costs.
Why you need it:
- Like Amazon S3, at 25% the cost.
Bonus Tip: KeyCDN
KeyCDN is a content distribution network like Cloudflare, and is another Swiss company. You can set this up to deliver images or other files faster to the user, and the basic plan lets you get started for free. I plan to integrate this into our site to serve up images and other files faster in the future.
Why you need it:
- Try a CDN for free.
- Very inexpensive paid plan.
When we continue to rely on old familiar technologies and services we block ourselves from getting involved in new things. I had no idea what IPFS was until I started using Brave, and now I want to add support for it with our website. What are some of the interesting technologies, products, services, or websites you have seen popping up? I feel like a new era has begun.