For full hipster points, make sure you’re using these services, and then casually drop them into conversation by saying “Yeah, it’s a pretty obscure service; you probably haven’t heard of it…”
A list of alternatives to Google’s products.
Gene Wolfe: A Science Fiction Legend on the Future-Altering Technologies We Forgot to Invent | The Polymath Project
We humans are not good at imagining the future. The future we see ends up looking a lot like the past with a few things tweaked or added on.
A fascinating thought experiment from Ted Chiang:
So let’s imagine a world in which Chinese characters were never invented in the first place. Given such a void, the alphabet might have spread east from India in a way that it couldn’t in our history, but, to keep this from being an Indo-Eurocentric thought experiment, let’s suppose that the ancient Chinese invented their own phonetic system of writing, something like the modern Bopomofo, some thirty-two hundred years ago. What might the consequences be?
I like this theory!
China Miéville gives a rundown of some underrated classics of the alternative history subgenre …including Richard Curtis’s Notting Hill.