Birthdays, Bitcoins, job apps & celebrity photo shoots

by Leon Stafford

Feb 9, 2021

Wow, this year has gone from broke-ass open source developer, to… well, still the same, but there’s been a lot of stuff happening these past weeks:

I’ve posted my last few updates directly on my Patreon page, but their web editor is clunky and I prefer to write quickly with Markdown in Vim, so will publish again on my own site and link to in Patreon.

Carmen San Diego

I’m still at my sister’s place, with her generous donation of accommodation, I’ve now been able to save up enough for a cheap (~ AU$1,000) car, which I’ll be heading down to South Australia at the end of Feb to buy. Possibly sharing the 2,000+ kilometer drive with my dad, if he drives up to my sister’s, else I’ll fly to SA from here in the Gold Coast.

Job jobs

Around the end of year, I was getting pretty stressed about this donations-only model and applied to some jobs, seeking that “easy out”. I got a few callbacks once businesses started up again mid-January. One, which first replied at end of Jan, has now said they’re still interested, but will be reviewing APAC applicants in about 4 weeks, in March! You definitely get a different sense of time when working for yourself! I was also contacted by one of the leading SaaS in my WP static site niche, who were interested to discuss a job. It was an ego-boost to get some of these offers, but I’ve been pretty clear with people that my biggest challenge is to be a consistent full time worker in a remote position. It maybe ADHD or whatever undiagnosed sporadic brain farts I suffer from, but that’s something I need to not over-commit to a company in regards to productivity expectations. Even the thought of some of these jobs gives me anxiety. Another reason the donations-only model for me to work on open source projects is feeling more like the right thing for me. It’s still a model I want to prove to inspire independent creators to keep doing their magic.

Crypto stuff

Donations in Jan weren’t enough for me to be able to live off, but I got a big boost from checking my Coinbase account while updating the donations sections on my site with some crypto links. I had about AU$370 worth of BTC in there from a donation in early 2019. I sent that to my partner, who’s building up the cash pool we’ll use to buy the cheap car and expenses once I’m out of my sister’s place. I also got about US$430 from the Handshake airdrop. Do check that out if you had a GitHub profile with >= 15 followers in 2018. I had to cash those coins out, but it looks like I’m about to receive some more from one of the big Handshake VC players, thanks to bumping into each other on Twitter. I’m planning to use those to setup my own TLD and look into how I can offer free SLDs and hosting for accessibility-friendly websites. If none of that makes sense, don’t worry, it barely makes sense to me still, but once I can dive into that, I’ll start explaining it better!


Some of my best contacts/friends made in Twitter stemmed from heated discussions and challenging of my opinions. The #a11y/#accessibility crowd have been great in reminding me of just how terrible a job us open source developers are doing when it comes to including blind/visually impaired people. While I made my Accessible Minimalism a while back, I know I need to check/fix Lokl to be usable for blind/visually impaired users. And still nagging at my mind is to really switch to a blind-friendly workflow with my own development tooling. Besides my selfish awareness that I could lose my sight tomorrow and want to keep working, I’d love to share my love of low-tech computing and minimal development tooling, but won’t do that now, unless I can include all people, especially those who are most in need of our empathy.

I’m also starting to put the accessibility issue in front of more developers, who are still blissfully ignorant. There’s enough work for a lifetime in submitting PRs in GitHub or alerting people on Twitter about accessibility issues. In terms of solving problems to “make the world a better place” (most common lip-service in tech!), there’s not much more important than helping those least fortunate to participate in society.

To this end, I recently looked at my own GitHub repositories and how the trend is to fill up the top of the screen with pretty badges, showing things like code coverage percentage, latest release number, total downloads, etc. The problems with these, though, are that it’s unneccessary page bloat and extremely unfriendly to blind/visually impaired users, due to the lazy way people adopt to add all their badges. So, I’m working on a new GitHub Action to start solving this problem, you can read more about it at a11y friendly badges.

1 project forward, 3 projects backwards

Along with my a11y project, I started What Would Viktor Do, which, along with Lokl, serves to improve the quality of all of my WordPress plugins. I understand the frustration to my users, eager for new builds. It also stresses me out whenever I’m in a writer’s block kind of funk, to know that I have more projects to complete before I can push out new releases of my most popular ones. But, this is all in the name of quality and never has “slow is smooth and smooth is fast” been more applicable to me. Even with the What Would Viktor Do project, I took extra time to keep the code simple and well tested, an approach I’m taking more with all of my projects, making me a better software developer for it. I thank you all for your continued patience with me throughout all of this!


This pesky acquaintance still finds it way past my defenses. My environment is great here, have started swimming more in my sister and brother-in-law’s pool, we did a small hike for my birthday, followed by a great dinner (and some delicious fudge during the hike!). There’s great food here, I’m not needing to spend anything while here, my sister’s personal trainer friend has been doing little sessions with us. All of those blessings, and yet, the dark passenger can still creep in. Just writing this is therapeutic for me, as I haven’t touched the keyboard in a few days. I’m looking forward to being back on the road/transient living, which helps my particular mind not get stagnant.

Celebrity puppy photo shoot

Bit of fun, yesterday, I accompanied my sister, an RSPCA Queensland ambassador, to a beach photo shoot with her puppy, Poppy. The other ambassador in the shoot, with her puppy, Millie, was Mariafe Artacho del Solar, silver medal winner at the 2k18 Commonwealth games and awaiting news of Tokyo Olympics being on or not, having already competed at the Rio games. It was a nice morning, with my sis, Mariafe and the 2 puppies doing a great job in the Gold Coast heat. I got to be bag-minder and catch some sun, after a couple of months mostly inside (GOTO depression!).

An actual birthday

I don’t think I’ve done anything special for my birthday in many years. I’m not big into “special days”, like Xmas, birthdays, etc. My sister and brother in law did a great job of celebrating it with me, though. We went up to Tambourine Mountain, grabbed some delcious fudge and embarked on a small but very nice rainforest hike, with my brother in law’s parents. Post-hike, we enjoyed a lazy evening meal and drinks at a mountain top cafe. In showing my new age of 39, I was in bed, asleep, by 9pm that night!

Chips and gravy

Not related at all to my projects, but I have to mention this new phase of life I’m going through. Never having been a fan of the kind of fast-food gravy options, I had my first chips (fries), with a dark, rich gravy, from a supermarket’s deli nearby. Wow! We got some more at the birthday dinner and was equally impressed. When I’m back on the road/camping, I’ll be using my staple of instant mashed potatoes, but now will look at how I can make batches of such a gravy to go with them!

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