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Gone With The Wind: Donation Drive For Diabetes UK

If you have been following me on socials, you probably know that I’ve taken August off from dayjob (mostly out of exhaustion — it’s been a complex three months, satisfying, but tiring), and I started looking at a number of side projects to get my mind back to a productive state. It seems cyclical, either because of me or because of the work I’m not sure.

Because one of the major drains on my energy lately has been motivation, I’m trying to do something different from usual: I set my mind on something that I find interesting, which relates to Zephyr RTOS, a Free Software real-time operating system — a Linux Foundation project that is sponsored both by my current employer (Meta) and Google (that uses it at least for the Embedded Controller of their Chromebooks.) This particular project has no relevance to my current job, but it’s a bit of a “return to the roots” for myself, as one of my first jobs was as a firmware engineer, so I thought it would be a nice side job to enjoy myself.

But to improve motivation, I also decided to do something different. The work I’m thinking about requires multiple development boards and devkits, programming toolkit and debuggers, which are by themselves expensive — most content creators would use this as a chance to plug a Patreon, Ko-Fi or other subscriptions, which are perfectly valid requests when building the content is expensive. But I’m personally not going to: first of all I can’t commit to schedules since I do have a dayjob that has demonstrated its proneness for disrupting my plans quite a bit, but most importantly I don’t strictly need subscription money — I’m a well paid engineer and I don’t plan to go back to gig working for the foreseeable future. So instead I’m attempting (again) a donation drive.

This is basically not particularly different from most charity events: there’s no perk or rewards for it, except the feeling of knowing you did something good for a charity, and gave me enough of a morale and motivation boost to keep working on this project. And unlike many (but not all) Patreons, everything that will happen will happen entirely in the open.

In this particular case, I set the milestones of the campaign to match the price of the hardware I have been buying for this project, and selected Diabetes UK as the charity target, since it’s a charity that is close to my life, and was already set up in Tiltify — I looked for alternatives because I do realize that Tiltify does take fees from charities, but I couldn’t find anything particularly useful, and a quick back of the envelope calculation tells me that those fees are commensurate to the cost of the donation processing service.

It might sound silly, since I’m not recouping any of the money involved, obviously. But it makes me feel better to know that my money is not just thrown on a personal, dead-end project. It might not be rational, but I don’t believe the world is ready for totally rational actions all the time. And after all, I’m already spending quite a lot of money every year to keep this blog (and other reference sites) running with no returns — which appears to confuse people when most of my responses are a link to my blog.

So, if you have enjoyed my writing in the past, and looking forward to get more of it, particularly on the topic of Zephyr and (spoilers alert!) USB Power Delivery, please head to the campaign page and donate to Diabetes UK.

Also, in addition to the (obivous) blog posts on this topic, you may be interested in some of the impromptu rants and updates. For that you likely will want to follow me on some social media — given the current mess and fragmented situation, you have your options:

  • the Facebook page shares the blog and will get some of the more medium-form posts on the matter; if you’re at all on Facebook, I would suggest you consider putting a like on the page, if nothing else to show your support and to expand the reach of the posts — reshares are obviously also welcome;
  • despite my lukewarm feelings I’m probably the most active on Mastodon, at least for the time being — the isolationist approach is something that I keep complaining about because I’m not a fan of it, which is why you can find me on the instance that some would describe “too big to federate”;
  • like my fellow blogger – I was tempted to say role-model, but admittedly I only “discovered” him after years of blogging myself – John Scalzi, I’m also on Bluesky (where John is a good ~30% of all I see!); you get occasional longer rants or interaction that Mastodon would find off-key;
  • I’m on LinkedIn but please don’t send connection requests if we haven’t at least interacted before (online or offline) as I’m not going to accept them — you’re welcome to follow me for the posts though;
  • and finally, not due to affiliation, I’m also posting on Threads (for the non-EU users) — like many others I’d likely be more active if it had a desktop app.

Since, I’ll repeat, this blog is a labour of love and kindness, and does not make any money, if you find any of my posts interesting, a spark for discussion, or at least useful, I do welcome shares (if you do share them on public socials, also feel free to tag me!) I’m also always happy to engage in the comments, so feel free to let me know how you feel about what I write in there.

P.S.: unlike the previous attempts I don’t think this time I will be streaming anything. I know my limits and I don’t think I’m that entertaining — it basically got zero interaction, and candidly I don’t think that does well for my self-esteem or my ability to focus.

P.P.S.: why “Gone with the wind”? Because Zephyr has a wind-themed naming (their command line tool is called west which is the direction the Zephyr wind is coming from), possibly, but not sure, because the original implementation was contributed by Wind River.

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