I’ve been contemplating a lot about the cost of operating all these web tools and I have to say: damn, a lot of these are expensive. Especially when you’re starting a new project.
Right now, my server costs stand at around US$81 a year. That’s a $15.16/year domain name and a €4.90 VPS. With currency conversions and other fun stuff, that’s around ₱300/month with a big fat ₱700 payment on January for the domain name. Now that might not seem to be a lot of expenses, but you need to remember that I’m still in high school. My school gives me a monthly stipend of around $10 and my parents give me an additional allowance which is highly variable.
Of course, server expenses aren’t the only thing I spend my allowance on. I still buy physical things such as, these being the most recent, an Arduino Mega 2560, some 22AWG wire, an Arduino prototype hat, and of course, the occasional McDonald’s. So that leaves me with a small amount of money by the end of the month while I wait for my next set of allowances, probably around $2 to $5.
Now, if you’re like me who plans to spend $1,000 on a plane flight to the United States to meet your internet girlfriend, then it’d take me (and you, I guess) 16 years to get $1,000 from just $5 every month.
What is within reason that I want to do is to get a job. Perhaps a remote one where I make software. But as of now, I cannot work. Not because I don’t want to or because there’s a legal roadblock for it, but because I am too swamped in academics in order to dedicate time to a job. I was even bargaining to myself about getting a part-time IT job at a local hospital while I’m still in high school, but with COVID still in the air (literally), it doesn’t seem like a safe option for me.
I’m 100% committed to making software that’s available for free to everyone and I definitely don’t want to put any of my tools and bots, such as the PAGASA Parser, JTWC Archiver, and Ralsei Bot, under a paywall or ad campaign. And with the amount of ideas I have in my head and the accompanying lack of resources that can help me execute them for free, I’ve gone ahead and set up a Patreon.
UPDATE (29 Sep 2022): I have closed my Patreon and moved to GitHub Sponsors. You can support me there instead.
Let me make it clear: the last thing I want to do is beg for money by forcefully filling my websites with ads. That just sucks. But I still want to be able to do some of my ideas without the repercussions of being broke as hell. So that’s hopefully where the Patreon comes in. It’ll help shoulder some of the costs that come along with hosting a server, and will allow me to spend even more money on things that I want to start.
Speaking of things that I want to start, this is where the new project comes in. Feel free to skip if you’re not that into tropical cyclones or storms of the sort. My storm archiving efforts have been completely independent so far, with the PAGASA Parser running on my VPS under pagasa.chlod.net, the PAGASA Archiver running on Toolforge, and the JTWC Archiver also running my VPS but under wiki.chlod.net. I’ve really been aiming to also include JMA archives into the list, along with other PD or freely-licensed bulletins and advisories. So I’ll be merging the archivers into one big website and then sunsetting the wiki.chlod.net/jtwc subpath within the next year or so. Hopefully that’d centralize everything better and also prevent my name from popping up on English Wikipedia mainspace (since it’s part of the archiver URL).
As part of my commitment to open-source, the new website will also be fully open-source and freely-accessible to all. As of now, I’m also paying for the new domain out of my own pocket, but I’m okay with sacrificing a few dollars for another domain name.
So that’s basically it for this very short update post. I have a Patreon now, and I’m working on a new website. I’ll be documenting most of these as time goes on for fun (probably). Sam also told me to start streaming, which I might do. Who knows? 🤷
Addendum: Why did I register for Patreon instead of Ko-fi? Ko-fi unfortunately doesn’t allow minors.