Okay, okay, I know. This birthday’s significance depends entirely on our use of the decimal system. Still, a quirk of natural selection (ten fingers) has lent a certain conventional weight to the passage of decades, and I won’t pretend complete indifference at turning forty  in a couple of days.
Furthermore, I intend to use this opportunity :-).
A few people have asked me recently what I want in the way of gifts. Thank you! I’m touched… but some clichés are clichés because they’re simply the best way to say it, and that’s certainly true in this case: my friends and family are already the greatest gift I could ask for, and nothing else is necessary. Besides, I live in a small New York apartment; where would I put presents?
But I do know some places that could use a gift right now. And just to be clear, when I say gift, I mean ca$h money. Below are some charities I support; if you really want to give a gift, please give to one of them, or to a charity that you feel does good work:
- The Center on Wrongful Convictions 
- The Software Freedom Law Center 
- The Software Freedom Conservancy 
- The Wikimedia Foundation  (i.e., Wikipedia)
- The Free Software Foundation 
- Code for America 
(Yes, I run a non-profit  too — but it would be tacky to suggest donations to that on my own birthday, so please consider donating to it the other 364 days.)