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Dandy Cast 005: I don’t like to believe I’m the crazy, tinfoil hat-wearing type

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on December 17, 2019.

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Show notes

There’s some trouble a-brewin’ and it’s looking like it’s TikTok’s fault. Is it any surprise, given how many people use it, how much information is fed into it every day, and just exactly who owns it? **cough** CHINA! **cough**.

So is it really the danger that some of the more paranoid amongst us think it is or is it just some never-ending time-suck? At this point, who knows? One thing’s for sure, though: it’s not something I ever want or need to use for Dandy Cat Design. I’ve got more important things to do with my time and energy than giving myself yet another feed to mindlessly scroll through.

I ain’t no zombie!

There’s a brand spankin’ new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, The Best Squarespace Template (and Why You Should Use It).

Last week was all about leaving Squarespace. This week is all about finding out which template you should turn to first when making a website on that platform. Hey, I did say last week that Squarespace is a great service. Unfortunately, choosing a template to start with is a daunting task. Read this post to make it a whole lot easier on yourself.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

China brings in mandatory facial recognition for mobile phone users - The Guardian

Facebook: Cambridge Analytica took a lot more data than first thought - ZDNet

Facebook says nearly 50m users compromised in huge security breach - The Guardian

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information - Gizmodo

‘Beyond Sketchy’: Facebook Demanding Some New Users’ Email Passwords - The Daily Beast

How TikTok Holds Our Attention - The New Yorker

TikTok Said to Be Under National Security Review - The New York Times

The Best Squarespace Template (and Why You Should Use It) - Dandy Cat Design

Travelers - Netflix

It’s a Wonderful Life | Sparklehorse - YouTube

Worth Dying For | Lee Child - Goodreads

The full text

The Dandy Newsletter - 12/17/19

No really. I only use aluminum foil for baking.

But online privacy is an important consideration for me. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, you’re well aware of the Internet, all the good it can bring, and of course, all of its negative aspects. Oh, those negative aspects... The egregious and casual assault on our personal information by entities like Facebook, Google, and pretty much any world government with money to sling around is becoming normalized at a worrying rate.

In fact, China appears to be going full-on dystopian, à la Minority Report, by requiring its citizenry to consent to a facial scan when they activate a new SIM card in their phones. Their ministry of information and technology describes this requirement as a way to “protect the legitimate rights and interest of citizens in cyberspace.” It’s not hard to see this requirement for what it really is—a method of controlling a populace.

Here’s where the tinfoil hat bit becomes apparent: I’m keeping an eye on TikTok. For myself, of course. The political influence I have amounts to pretty much nothing. However, when a Chinese company purchases a service that then develops into one of the fastest growing social networks ever, it’s foolish to ignore it. I have friends running social media management businesses that are pushing TikTok as a service their clients should use because of its growing influence. That sort of thing concerns me because of the massive amount of personal data that runs through TikTok’s servers. Just look at all the trouble Facebook has earned for itself to see how corruptive that kind of control can be.

Just because TikTok is the new hotness and the current “sunny side of the internet” doesn’t mean there isn’t necessarily bad dealings happening under the hood. I do hope I’m wrong about that, but thankfully, the company and its acquisition hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I’ll take whatever “old man” comments anyone wants to lob at me for everything I’m writing, but it’s important to me to protect my personal data. It’s important to not take that for granted.

I recognize that I’m saying that while I currently have an Instagram (owned by Facebook) account for Dandy Cat Design and have posted on there. I also have a Twitter account. And a Pinterest account. I’m not without fault (but I’ll probably be deleting at least the Instagram account in the future).

What I don’t want to compromise on is the privacy of my website’s visitors.

Truly, if I could run my business without receiving any personal information from my customers and subscribers, I would jump at the chance. I want to communicate with you, but I sure as hell don’t want your very personal information. That’s why I don’t take your email inbox for granted. You entrusted it to me and I intend to respect that.

I’m going to make it my mission in 2020 to create a website and a business that collects and gives me as little data about my visitors as possible. I want to strive to be better than the Facebooks of the world. I don’t want to track you. I don’t want to have to provide cookie notices for every dang service I use. I don’t want any of it. My dream is to run a successful business based around receiving only names and email addresses. If it limits the amount of money I can earn, then so be it.

I’ll sleep better at night.

It appears that one of the side effects of moving away from Squarespace is an ability to do just that. I’m currently looking at moving Dandy Cat Design over to Ghost. I believe it’s the platform that’ll allow me to chase down my website dreams. It’s really powerful and has a lot of potential. As a great bonus, it’s also open source. I’m thrilled to see what I can accomplish there.

As the icing on the cake, the standard Ghost site has underlying HTML and CSS code that’s a beauty compared to the mess that Squarespace sites are written in.

A quick side note...

I’ll be taking the next couple weeks off from writing and sending out the Dandy Newsletter. I think it’s important to spend as much time as possible with loved ones. If the holidays aren’t the best time for that, then when is?

So I’ll be seeing you here again on January 7. I’m sure there’ll be loads to talk about.

Until then, happy holidays! I hope you have a lovely end of the year and a great start to the new one.

Oh wait. I'm not actually finished just yet.

I’ve got a new blog post up for you. It’s called: The Best Squarespace Template (and Why You Should Use It).

I may be moving away from Squarespace soon, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s an inherently bad service. What’s wrong for me is totally, 100% right for many other people. I’ll still be recommending it to those who want to build their own website. It’s super easy for anyone to pick up and has enough power under the hood for the serious tinkerers.

Does that mean it’s easy to choose a Squarespace template to start with? Heck no. Is it ever easy to choose a template? Again, heck no. Squarespace does have a “secret sauce,” though, and it’s called “Brine.”

Brine is the template family every new site should be created with. In fact, all the new sites made with Squarespace’s new 7.1 platform are essentially Brine templates, so even Squarespace believes that. If you already have a Squarespace website and aren’t using Brine, you’re missing out, friend.

Read on to my post today so you can:

  • Learn why Brine offers you the biggest bang for your Squarespace bucks.
  • Get a peek at the truly crazy amount of site styling options a Brine template gives you.
  • See why Brine’s index pages, navigation, and banner images will make your website a true internet beauty.

Squarespace is still one of the coolest things out there. The Brine family of templates is one of the strongest reasons why the service is becoming more well known these days. Read on to the blog to see how a Brine template can benefit you, too.

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then leave a comment on Instagram or at the end of one of my blog posts. Or heck, reply to this email.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.


Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶

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