Who would be dumb enough to pay to use a search engine?!

Me. I decided to pay to use kagi.com, an alternative search engine.

Not because I’m filthy rich (I’m not) and can’t decide what to do with my millions but because it’s so fucking good and it feels so liberating to use Kagi the ad-free and tracking-free search engine.

I will try not to repeat what Dann already explained so well in his blog post. The fact is I’m a Kagi convert, myself.

Discovering Kagi reminded me when I first started using Google, back in the late 90s. It was so refreshing to use Google compared to the ad-filled and the slow and clumsy web pages of the Yahoo or the Lycos or the Whatever we were using back then.

But that was back then.

Nowadays, Google search results suck. Google and Bing search suck. But Google having been so good, a long time ago, it sucks even more. And most if not all the meta search engines that use either of them as their back-end suck too.

Ok, maybe we should simply consider that everything Google do suck. But their search results in particular are just plain shit. Not even considering the constant tracking and profiling in itself, or the disintegration of any notion of privacy online in the name of selling more ads. Their search results are filled with lines and lines of useless ads and SEO-promoted content squatting almost the whole first screen instead of, you know, actually useful results that the user might want to look at.

Providing useful results to the user? What a silly idea. Let’s instead give them a link to whatever turd anyone pays us the most to promote.

Fuck that.

I want useful results. Useful to me. Not to the advertisers. Not to the SEOs. Not to Google. To me.

That’s the reason why I’m using a search engine to begin with, Google, to get something out of it. Something for myself. Something useful.

And that. It is exactly what Kagi is focusing on. Usefulness.

How do they do that? By getting rid of ads in their search engine. Simple.

And how do they do that? By asking their users — me, you maybe? — to pay to use their search engine. By doing so, suddenly there is no need for advertisers at all. And there is no place in the search results waiting to be purchased and stolen from legit websites either.

Its great and it feels so good to use it.

Still, paying to search the web… Come on…

Yeah, I know. My first reaction as I looked at their pricing was a short but sincere: LOL, I won’t pay to search the Web, dude whats wrong with you?

That was a couple weeks ago. Meanwhile, I decided to test their free trial… Less than a week later, I was a happy paid Pro yearly subscriber. I intend to remain one.

It’s up to anyone to decide if search is worth paying for, obviously.

But let me ask you this question: how often do you use a search engine? Me? It’s all the time. And since I’ve switched to Kagi it’s probably even a little more than that. And since I’ve switched, I’ve not used Google Search a single time. Not once. I must confess that I like that almost as much as I love not having to fight my search engine to hopefully get some useful results.

There are other features that make Kagi worth testing and, for me at least, worth adopting to replace Google (Kagoi also replaced Qwant and Startpage, in my case). Things like:

  • Lenses that will let you customize your search by narrowing the scope of the search to certain types of websites. Like searching only in forums, or for PDFs, or for Podcasts. And why not focus on the small web instead ?
  • Small web is great in itself. It promotes smaller and or non-commercial websites instead of the usual behemoths. This as well as the forum/reddit Lens, with Kagi’s ad-free experience decided me to switch. It was too good. I could not see myself going back to the usual crap.
  • The leader-board is also very interesting. Letting you lower or raise any domain name in the search results, even block or pin it, and making it appear sooner or later in the results, or not all.
  • There is also their AI thingy ‘FastGPT’ and their Universal Summarizer that look at least as interesting but I have yet to start really using them.
  • The team behind Kagi is also working on building their own privacy-focused browser (based on Safari/webkit), called Orion. It can use Chrome as well as Firefox extensions. And since it’s based on Safari it’s light and fast on a Mac.

I’ve been using Kagi for 10 days. That’s not long. I hope I made it clear this was not a review of their services. Nothing but a happy new user sharing his enthusiasm for a team trying to give us back a much cleaner and leaner web.

I can’t see myself going back, even after just a couple weeks using Kagi.

The same way after testing it, years ago, I could not (and still can’t) see myself going back to using Google Chrome instead of Vivaldi.

And yes, I’m willing to spend money to support Kagi. The exact same way I would spend some money on any Vivaldi Premium features, if the team ever decides to announce one. Both teams offer exciting products and have exciting visions. I want to support their work.

Hopefully — this is just a personal wish here, I have no insight whatsoever — if enough users start paying for Kagi, their free plan may also be extended? I would love to know that kids and penny-less students all over the world can use the sale ad-free and a tracking-free search engine I will be using for now.


Kagi has a free 100 search available with no-string attached and no credit card required.

Thx for reading 🥰

Really force YouTube to NOT autoplay a video when a page loads

Up until recently using Vivavldi’s setting to block Autoplay was working fine on YouTube. Not anymore. I hate it when a website decides to override our browser settings. That should not be allowed.

The only solution I found are two extensions, you can use either one.

One is called StopTheMadness. Its an extension that helps in getting rid of many, many of those irking stuff web devs use to make our browsing-life miserable, and that also helps in restoring useful features those same saddistic web devs are preventing us from using, and not just on YouTube as it works everywhere. It’s a great extension but it is paid and available to Mac users only. At the base, it’s a Safari extension that, once purchased, you can also install on Firefox and on any Chromium-based browser, as long as you’re on a Mac.

Once installed, you just need to check the Stop autoplaying audio and video:

Note that you can define different options for each website you visit. The extension is not cheap, true, but it makez it so simple to remove so much nuisance of the actual Web. For me, it’s worth its price. That said, there is a free alternative that is also natively available for Vivaldi. See below.

The other extension is called Enhancer for YouTube. This one is free and available on any operating system. Youc an install it on chromium-based browsers, and is was available for Firefox too, up until recently at least. As per its dev, there is so much work to do on the FF version that its distribution is on hold:

Distribution of Enhancer for YouTube™ temporarily stopped!
Due to the countless changes that the YouTube developers have made, Enhancer for YouTube™ is now completely broken for Firefox (partially works for Chromium based browsers) so I had to pause its distribution. A huge amount of work is necessary to fix all the issues so don’t expect a new version to be released in the upcoming days. Please do not contact me for an estimated date of release, I don’t have one.

(If you already have the extension, it still works to prevent autoplay on Firefox)

On Vivaldi, once installed, you need to check those three settings: Disable autoplay, Prevent video loaded in background tabs from automatically playing and Prevent videos loaded in the foreground tab from automatically playing.

It works — at least, for now.

To tell you everything, I have been a Premium YT subscriber for quite some times but I’m also getting really tired of YT shit decisions. So tired, that I’m thinking about cancelling YT Premium. Their last decision to crack on ad-blockers — even though I’m not concerned, as a Premium user — is one I consider among the most disturbing. It doesn’t bode well.

Remapping laptop’s keys under Windows

For the time being, I will be using a ThinkPad laptop running Windows 10. No idea what exact model of Thinkpad it is beside it being labelled ‘X1 Carbon’. It probably is an older model seing the really poor TN screen it comes with, what a shame.

It has a much nicer keyboard, though. Except a few keys that I find oddly placed, and some others that are missing.

Missing keys: Play/Pause, Next and Previous. Too bad for me, I listen to music almost all the time.

Oddly placed keys: PgUp and a PgDn are placed next to the arrow keys. And they’re configured to go one page backward/forward in a browser. Sure, why not but is it really that useful? I’d rather have the End/Home keys there instead. Those are keys I use all the time to quickly reach the end/beginning of a line of text. And I don’t have to look at the keyboard to find them, they’re just next the arrow keys.

Said Home/End keys being stored far, far away from my fingers at the very top of the keyboard, alongside the smaller FN keys. Making it a real pain to press them without having to stop whatever I’m doing in order to look at that stupid rows of keys first. A pain.

One final and personal gripe I have with that otherwise very fine keyboard is that Lenovo, in a logic that trully escapes me, decided to squeeze the PrtSc button right between the right Alt and Ctrl keys.

Do people really need to take screenshots that often for them to have that key constantly under their fingers? I don’t.

To make it worse, that button is tied to one of Microsoft’s very own pre-installed malwa… utility, their screenshot app. An app I find:

  • Slow-ish to start, and cumbersome.
  • An app that asks me at every single launch (and I often hit that PrtSc key by mistake) if I want to store my screenhots in One Drive? Yes or Ask Later.

I don’t give a whale’s crap where my screenshots are being saved. I don’t want this key to take screenshots at all.

I could not find on Microsoft or Lenovo support pages any obvious way to change that behavior. And nothing to remap the other annoying keys, either.

But I quickly found about AutoHotKey.

It’s a tiny freeware that does just one thing: running scripts. It’s tiny and 100% free, but it’s also incredibly powerful. I had a look at the doc and was blown away. It would probably takes me months to learn all its features.

The good news is that in order to remap keys I don’t need all that power. In fact, I just had to use what is probably one of AutoHotKey most basic feature, a command that looks like this: “a::b”, and reads “if the a key is pressed, type b instead”.

Remapping PgUp/PgDn and other keys, adding Media controls

I opened the new empty script file AutoHotKey created for me after I installed it (hat script is a simple text file, you can open it in Notepad or in any other text editor) and I added those lines, one for each key I wanted to change (I added a short description of each instruction, right after the # tags):

PgUp::Home # PgUp becomes Home
PgDn::End # PgDn becomes End
$PrintScreen::RAlt  # That stupid PrtSc becomes (another) right Alt key

# And here my new Media contrtol keys

As soon has the script is running, the keys are remapped. Neat.

I told Windows to run said script every time I log into the computer and AutoHotKey makes sure my keys are remapped however I want them.

I love this app. It made this laptop’s keyboard much nicer to use.

A Debian and a Mac user

My laptop is a 2011 X220 ThinkPad running Debian 12. It has a shitty (polite version) TN screen but I often use it connected to an external monitor and, with its maxed-out 8g ram and an upgraded 1To SATA SSD, it still rocks… for what I use it for,. Mostly: writing (Mousepad and/or LibreOffice), designing ebook covers (in Inkscape), listening to music, watching movies (I don’t use Blu-ray or really high definition videos), and browsing the web… on Vivaldi, obviously (coupled with the right extensions, blockers and stuff to make that bloated-web somewhat usable).

My other computer is a newer Mac Studio M1 that I use for video editing (DaVinci) and fore more intensive image editing than ebook covers (using Affinity apps). This Mac is impressively powerful and responsive. My ‘other other’ computers are also Apple: an iPhone and an iPad.

I like the integration of Apple’s apps and how, for the most part, stuff just work between the Mac and the phone or the iPad, it makes things a lot simpler, but I still prefer using GNU/Linux Debian as often as I can.

  • I love how I can configure GNU/Linux (and Xfce, my desktop environment) however I fancy, without any of the artificial limitations Apple is forcing upon its users.
  • I love that GNU/Linux and FLOSS in general respects my privacy and my rights as a user.
  • I like how Debian is incredibly snappy on my old laptop, more so than all the other distros I tried (Manjaro, Ubuntu, Fedora), the only that can compare being Arch (but it was requiring too much attention).
  • I like how Debian is unobtrusive and rock stable, too. Security updates, and that is all. Years of peace of mind, if you feel like it. And, yep, I do. I’ve first installed Debian 10 and have simply upgraded it to 11 and now 12.

If only I could use Debian on my tablet and phone too, and get the same quasi-flawless integration and frictionless workflow Apple is giving me, I would probably not miss Apple. Meanwhile, I live and work in between these two worlds 😉