OpenBenches is a recipient of a Microgrant!

We're delighted to announce that our project has been awarded a $250 microgrant from Icculus!

Huge thanks to Ryan, and everyone else who chipped in.

Because I'm part of GitHub Sponsors, the donation will be matched by GitHub.

So, that's US$500 - about £375. Nice!

If you'd like to sponsor us, you can do so on GitHub or via PayPal directly. Or, we have an Amazon wishlist if you'd like to get us a physical present.

What will we spend the grant on?

This is what we said we'd use the money for:

No one is auditing us, so we could spend it all on a luxury holiday to Bognor Regis. But we won't!

Although... There are a lot of unmapped benches in Bognor...

The web is cheap!

Don't tell anyone who wants to give us money, but it's quite cheap to run a niche site on the web!

We're lucky to be in the free tier of our 3rd party providers:

  • OpenCage provides the reverse geocoding, and is free for 2,500 calls per day.
  • CloudImage is free for small projects.
  • Auth0 does social login - and offers more features free for Open Source projects.
  • MapBox renders beautiful OpenStreetMap tiles for free, up to 50,000 per month.
  • Google Cloud Vision we're just about within their 1,000 free scans per month limit.

We've occasionally gone over those free limits, so will keep a couple of quid in reserve in case of a surge in our popularity.

Our major cost is hosting. We paid £300 for 3 years of shared hosting with - use code EDENT at checkout and we both get a fiver.

That hosting deal runs out in August this year, so the bulk of the grant will go to upgrading our package to something a bit bigger. Notably, we're capped at 2GB of RAM which we seem to regularly max out.

Because we have over 130GB of photos, we'll probably stay with Krystal - unless anyone knows of a UK based hosting provider with impeccable green credentials?

In the spirit of the grant, we'll look at moving away from Google's Cloud Vision. Current contenders are

  1. Amazon Rekognition
    • Although they're just as ethically dubious
  2. Microsoft's Computer Vision
    • Ditto!
  3. The Open Source Tesseract OCR
    • Which is sponsored by Google...

Suggestions very welcome!


Regular readers will know that I'm a proud member of Prospect - the union for ambition. As a professional knowledge-worker, I rely on my union to provide me with legal services and support me in pay negotiations. If you're in the UK and want to be part of a union for professionals - join Prospect today.

If you join Prospect, and mention my name, I'll make a £10 donation to charity.

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