State of the App 2024

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article by Joshua Brown


This post includes a referral link that supports me, this could affect my impartiality, please make informed purchases based on reason and evidence!

I am currently using an Android phone with the following apps and settings.

This is how I only pay $7 a month for my phone service. ($84/year)

Note: I rely heavily on nearly all businesses and locations I go to offer free Wi-fi, so this setup may not work for all people! 

The service provider: Tello (referral link) if you sign up I get a free month or so

With Tello, you get to choose how much data you need and separately how many minutes you need, down to very granular levels. The plan that I use includes only:

500 MB of data
300 minutes of phone service
Unlimited text messaging


How I make it work:

I download all my maps using 

This app is a OpenStreetMap front end with capabilities galore, and although I do have Google Maps for certain scenarios, the OSMand+ app is so incredibly useful and it has gotten more useful because I've made it a habit to contribute to the local ecosystem by adding and editing items in areas I frequent on OpenStreetMap.

The GPS functions of the phone don't use any data themselves so this allows me to record tracks, navigate and keep favorites all on my device's local storage rather than on cloud services that slowly eat away at mobile data.

I listen to all my podcasts on

There are a number of podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis and setting up my phone to automatically download new episodes to the local storage allows me to go all day without needing to use mobile data to stay abreast of news, entertainment and edu-tainment.

I watch all my videos on 

This nifty app lets me download videos for offline viewing without paying for any special services or subscribing to any apps. The best part of the download function is that it allows me to download as video or audio, enabling me to watch or listen

To listen to audiobooks, music and interviews, I use

One of the most powerful audio listening apps, this allows me to curate and organize playlists for singles and albums, and watch videos that I've downloaded to my phone in background mode, letting me listen to video interviews without having to keep the screen on.

To organize and write notes, I use

I have used OneNote almost exclusively for the last 2 years and have developed a work flow that allows me to archive and search pretty well through all my notes and writings. It is a Microsoft app which allows me to seamlessly view and continue writing between computer and phone.

For important writing, my go-to is ODT using

This open source document editor lets me write without fear of touching cloud services, the safety and security of individual documents is also an option I use by implementing password protection.

And for password protection a great option some people use is

Another free and open source project.


Most services now use HTTPS as a base and other forms of security mean that rarely do I end up using VPNs (referral link to Proton) to access services. I do have F-Droid but I try to download APKs from the developer's own sites and use their update process when possible.

I do have an annual subscription to OSMand+ on the Google Play Store, mostly just because that is the only option for supporting them that they offered when I could start supporting their work financially.

And just because it is such a clean app with so many features for communicating, I support Telegram by subscribing.

There are many VoIP services on social media platforms and I rarely make more than 100 minutes of phone calls a month. 

Finally I don't browse social media without Wi-Fi and so I never come close to using my data each month, even at a measly 500 MB limit. Samsung now provides an app by app option for disabling mobile data usage which means that there are no accidental clicks into apps and a large spike in accidental downloading data like pictures or videos.


This is how I brought my phone service to sub $10 a month, and without forfeiting my data to big companies that haven't earned it. What about you? Do you have any methods or services that improve privacy, sovereignty or affordability?

PS - I use the Olauncher Clutter Free launcher to reduce visual stimulation and reduce the influence that apps have over me using clever psychological tricks with colors and symbols. I've been using it for over 2 years now. Highly recommend protecting your subconscious as much as possible


Last Post - Sleeping Beauty | More Fiction | Recent Poems


📅 Written November 4, 2023

📍 Written in Parker, Colorado.


Thanks for reading. I really enjoy consuming content from sources that think about privacy and security practices. Some of my favorites are Andreas Antonopoulos, T.Rex Arms, Rob Braxman and the guys at No Agenda. And I DO use social media, but only while using WiFi, so you can find me on places like Locals and Minds!

Please consider thinking. ❤️