PediTools website changes

Regular visitors to PediTools have surely noticed a change in the last week or so — the addition of advertisements.

I like the idea of transparency, and although I haven't seen other websites do this, I'd like to share some of the motivations and behind-the-scenes issues regarding running a site like PediTools.

First off, I'm a clinician and the genesis of PediTools stemmed from a desire to improve clinical care delivery to our patients. I'm also a self-avowed geek, so back in ~2011 when I recognized that clinical care could be improved if there were an easier way to do certain chores (e.g., documenting anthropometric measures), I developed a tool for my own use. I then recognized that others might find the tool helpful and so the public PediTools website was launched around January 2012.

My first motivation is to help our patients. Second, I'm a geek, and I find this a fun hobby to do in my so-called "free time" :) Incidentally, PediTools has not contributed anything to me professionally: it is not part of my job, it is not recognized by my employer, nor have I received any academic recognition for its development. That's OK — I'm happy when I think of all the babies and kids out there whose care might be just a little bit better because of PediTools. And as I said, I'm a geek, and I find it fun.

But there are also costs involved. From ~2012:

  • web server hosting, ~$1,175
  • software / development tools, ~$785

Back in 2013, I added a PayPal donation option. I'd like to thank those who have donated, some of whom have been remarkably generous! And regardless, just knowing that someone appreciated PediTools enough to want to say 'thank you' was a great motivator! I know that I use a lot of free or open-source tools and don't often enough express my appreciation, but that being said, since 2013 there have been 10 donors, for ~$310.

With the imbalance in costs to income and after the Feb 13, 2018 near collapse of PediTools (probably from running very outdated software) that required emergent and time-consuming 'resuscitation', I had a brief moment of soul-searching when I wondered why I was doing this. Thankfully, it was a brief moment, and the answer was easy — it's about the kids.

But, I felt like I needed to justify the costs imbalance. Honestly, part of the reason why the development tools got so woefully out-of-date and then failed was because I didn't want my 'hobby' to cost even more, and updates can be costly. And so, in an effort to make sure I can keep PediTools up and running, I've decided to try out advertising.

Remember, I use PediTools, too. I've tried to set up the advertisements so that they do NOT interfere with the usability of the site, whether on a desktop browser or on a mobile device. If the advertisements are causing problems for you, please let me know and I'll try to adjust them.

Hopefully, this step will help PediTools run smoothly for the long term. And perhaps this post will provide some background as to why, because it wasn't a choice I made lightly.