2024 archive

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This is the full archive for 2024



· Fremantle · photography ·

It's not very early on New Year's Day, and I'm back at the same place I was last year I think: Milkmaid Coffee Bar on High Street. It's busy! I assume because not many places are open. There's a gang of teenagers looking tired and complaining that there's no alcohol in the fridge behind me. A small wet dog, white but not fluffy, is under someone's chair outside on the footpath. Is there any sense of a new year? Not really. But the breeze isn't too hot, which is enough to be glad about, and the wifi seems to work.

I'm excited about exploring with a camera and notebook. There's not much around here to be added to OSM, but that's good because now it's time to focus on improving the details and getting everything more thoroughly photographed on Commons, and to make sure that all the heritage buildings have their metadata in good form. I'm trying to make sure that toolforge:wdlocator is useful, so am using it quite often to find things to photograph. There are lots of categories that only contain a few photos, and with buildings it's often just the exterior. Of course, it's hard to get shots of the interior — but sometimes the side alleys are visible as well as other interesting details like windows and doors. Especially where there's modern signage and other things that are usually not preserved when places are redeveloped, it seems worthwhile to get some piccies for the wikis.

Ron Doig Block


· Fremantle ·

I hope Ron Doig, Sr. liked air conditioners, because his memorial building is encrusted with them:

I cycled through the hospital on my way home, and realised that the second heritage-listed building on the site did not yet have its own category. It does now (although I might try to get some more photos with more care next time).

Before they built this, the outpatient arrangements were "totally inadaquate to deal with the large number of suffering humanity seeking medical relief."[1] Not to put too strong a word on it or anything.

Sharing family photos


· blogging ·

I’m a tech reporter. Can I still post my baby’s picture responsibly? by Johana Bhuiyan, 3 January 2024:

Meysenburg also suggested using an encrypted-messaging platform, Signal, to share images with a close group of friends, rather than posting on social media. “The Signal group has at least scratched the itch of having an audience of people to give you likes and comments, which is what you really want,” he said. He’s right – that itch is the core of my Posting Disease. I want other people to coo over my future son; I can’t help it.

I think that not getting likes and comments is one of the good things about the indieweb. Here, we can just chatter away into the void, and not worry about the responses. It's harder for people to respond, but this is good: they have to respond on their own site, which means that they're less likely to bother if they don't actually have anything to say, and they're more likely to be nice about it because it's on their own site and they'll have a greater feeling of ownership.

That said, I do think the idea of having a family Signal group is a good idea.

Future of the Wishlist


· Wikimedia ·

My team at the WMF is responsible for running and working on the wishes in the annual Community Wishlist Survey. The survey is a system for gathering prioritising ideas from the editing communities, and it's worked pretty well for many years. But there are a bunch of problems with it, largely around the size and number of the wishes and the size of the team working on them. I've always felt that a survey that feeds into more teams' (and maybe even more organisations, i.e. hubs) workflows would be good.

Yesterday we announced a new direction for the survey: Shaping the future of the Community Wishlist Survey.

It's nothing absolutely ground-breaking or different really, because I think everyone's wary of plans that involve massive upheaval and reinvention of things. The key next steps are:

  • Creating a new, continuous intake system for community technical requests.
  • The new intake system will be part of our annual planning.
  • The Community Tech team will work on wishes from the backlog until this new system is in place.
Discussion is at meta:Talk:Community Wishlist Survey/Future Of The Wishlist.

Webmentions aren't always comments


· indieweb ·

Webmentions are just a way to say I linked to you - You don't have to use them as comments, posted on 2024-01-04 by Sara Jakša:

Technology-wise, all webmentions do is send a message of 'I linked to your page'. There is nothing in technology to say that you need to do anything with this - either displaying or checking it.

I think the MediaWiki system of being able to view "what links here" for any given page is great, and have often wondered about extending it to include external sites. In doing that would probably make sense to use webmentions.

More website changes


I've been stuffing around, yet again, with my website. I know I should just settle down and stick with something, but what's the point when there's more fun ideas to figure out? Today's fun idea seems to be "how to break my RSS feeds, and fail to figure out Apache's mod rewrite even after more than a decade of using it for basically exactly this."

Railway Museum


Another trip to the Railway Museum today. Last time I went it was very busy and it was hard to really explore and concentrate. This time it was 37° and there was hardly anyone there! It was a bit warm, but not too bad, at least for the exhibits in the shade under the main roof.

I tried to get a few photos to add to Commons, where the categorization really could do with some improvement.

Culleys' book


· Fremantle ·

A local author, Malakai Lelieveld, is writing a book about Culley's Tearooms and the couple who started it nearly 100 years ago.

It Started with A Hint of Curiosity:

I happened to glance at the picture of Alice and Edward Culley hanging gracefully on the wall. Although I had seen the picture a few times in my visits, this day I took more notice than usual. Who were Edward and Alice Culley besides the original owners of Culley's I thought to myself. Over the next few weeks, the Culley's kept randomly popping into my mind and I found myself smiling when thinking of them. Without putting too much thought into it, I made a decision to write a book!

It sounds like they're looking for people to contact them with stories and history about Culley's.

Railway frangipanis


The frangipanis along the railway line are in flower:


Victoria Park

The BOM is giving warnings again, even pushing them at me via their app. They like to give warnings, I feel like it's since the great hailstorm of 2010 — they're very keen not to leave people unalarmed when perhaps there's going to be something to worry about.

This weekend it's a heatwave that they're warning about. And to be fair, it is a bit hot. Was still 37° at my house yesterday at 5PM. It's somewhat better today.

(Sorry, I'm not sure why I'm recording this here. There's nothing to say other than it's hot.) My laptop fan is running. The beer goes warm faster than is good. The buses thankfully are being mostly good (other than the driver just now who decided to leave us all sitting without aircon and with the doors open while he headed off for a break).

Big weather things are worth recording, I think. Hailstorms and floods are good for taking photos of — headwaves are less photogenic, and rely on melty things and parched grass to convey it. I'm not even bothering to try (and anyway I left my camera at home).

More bookbinding in Subi


· cafés ·

I'm in a café called Café Café. I saw it on OSM and figured it must be a typo, but it's correct. It looks like it used to be a Dôme, judging by the wooden floor, green tiles, and a few bits of the furniture like the display fridges and water dispenser. It has, however, thrown off the corporate-design feeling of a Dôme and is going for a "squeeze in as many tables as possible" and "expose the back of the fridges and their dust" sort of look. Not really a trendy place, I guess, and at 9AM on a Monday it's mostly empty with the only customers being old blokes with newspapers and sandals.

Subiaco history


Subiaco History Inspiration by Roel Loopers, 15 January 15 2024:

Today I went to look at how Subi celebrates it’s history on the planter boxes on the median strip all along Rokeby Road. It looks great!

And I envy Subi for the tree-lined shopping street. If only Fremantle had trees in the centre of the Cappuccino Strip and on both sides of High Street. It makes so much sense to create shade, and it enhances the streetscape.

Rogerson Buildings on the corner of Rokeby and Roberts roads

I wondered up Rokeby Road myself today, thinking similar things about the trees (although the preponderance of plane trees is a bit worrying, as the summers heat up and they can't cope).

I headed to the library, but it's closed for renovations:

So I headed onwards to the pop-up library:

Project communication with open systems


· OSM · protocols ·

@openstreetmap@en.osm.town at 20 January 2024, 23:00:

OpenStreetMap strives to be open & accessible to as many as possible, and remain independent.

In 2020, the OSMF made a commitment that essential communications will always be accessible through an open, preferably self-hosted platform, i.e. accessible through open-source software and open protocols, and do not require an account at a third-party service to access.


#OpenStreetMap #OSM #open #OSMF



  1. Stare at a problem for two hours over two days, and be confused.
  2. Give up and sleep for 17 minutes.
  3. Spend 6 minutes solving it.
The worst thing about insomnia for me is that it makes my brain generally unable to actually know that it's tired. I might sometimes say that I feel tired, but it's far less often that I actually manage to follow that up with a rest — and so often that's actually all that's required to return things to some form of calm. It's like they say (well, to actual workers, not shinybums like me): if you're wondering if you're thirsty then you're already past the point of needing to drink water.

New home for my blog


I've upgraded my blog's web server to Debian 12. I think it's all working still! I'm writing up the process and will post that later.

Metropolis, Fremantle


I was walking to the bus just now and saw the sun on the verandah of the Metropolis, so thought I'd see how many shots of the building there were on Commons. Turns out, none of the front (lots inside, of concerts).

AlphabeticalZürich project


· Wikimedia · Fremantle · photography ·

The AlphabeticalZürich project looks terrific:

The AlphabeticalZürich project is a pretty ambitious project: I want to take at least one picture in every street of Zürich, in alphabetical order.

I want to capture the interesting, the whimsy, the pretty for every street of Zürich

I do not aim for exhaustivity in every street. I may not even walk the whole street. For instance, Badenerstrasse is spanning 5km: that’s a project in itself!

I have no idea when I’m going to give up 😉 It’s an ambitious project, and life may happen before its end, or I may lose interest. We’ll start, and see where we go from here!

So, here we go, from Aargauerstrasse to Zypressenstrasse!

What is this project?, 2023-08-17

It makes me wonder about the Fremantle streets project that I seem to be engaged in, where I'm currently definitely lacking in guidelines or rules to keep me focussed.

The Freo streets list started just as a way to give more context to the Fremantle Society Photographic Survey, but there's lots more that can be done with it I think. One of the troubles with it is that there's no solid rule about how to handle historical vs current places/buildings/etc. — if a building has been demolished and another build, or a large block subdivided into smaller ones, does that mean the website should have one page that explains the location through time or separate pages for each incarnation of the place? This is really one of the great strengths of the Wikipedia model, I think: that ambiguities and confusion can be handled really well, because you just write it out in words, and link to everything.

Basildon shortcodes


· Basildon · programming ·

I sat at the airport last night and finished fixing a bug with Basildon. I'm not quite sure why I'm persisting with that project, because I think I'm not going to continue using it for the HMW archives (which currently has the messy setup of being simultaneously on two websites). The bug occurred when an inline shortcode was used within an inline Markdown construct. For example, a linebreak in emphasis such as this:

Lorem *ipsum{br}sic amet*.

That should be fine now, although I did make an intermediate mistake of making it necessary for the shortcode callbacks to receive either a ShortcodeInline or ShortcodeBlock object. I quickly followed up with a return to just giving them a Shortcode object (if they need to know which is which they can look at $sc->getBody() I think, although maybe it'd be worth adding $sc->isInline()), so there's no need to change anything. The shortcode package is still pre-release so I don't feel too bad breaking things quickly like this — and of course I'm absolutely the only person who's using it or even knows it exists.

Anyway, it's the next morning now and I've got a while before my next flight, so I might see what photos are needed on Commons. Although I dare say this airport sees enough bored and camera-equipped Wikimedians that there's not that much left to do.

Open geodata in Sweden


Open geodata provides a boost for Wiki Loves Earth in Sweden, 8 February 2024 by Alicia Fagerving and Eric Luth:

For us at Wikimedia Sverige, the most interesting geodata was that of protected natural areas, as it would make it possible for us to run our very first edition of Wiki Loves Earth. While we have been organizing Wiki Loves Monuments since 2011. WLE was not possible due to the lack of a freely available, comprehensive list of protected natural areas in Sweden. Did you know that Sweden has over 5,000 nature reserves? A good number of them – far from all – had Wikipedia articles and Wikidata items, but without an official data source, it was hard to know which ones were missing. Most of our nature reserves are under the administration of local county administrative boards, so in order for the community to assemble a comprehensive list on their own, they would have to check the websites of each and every county administrative board. Furthermore, a small number of nature reserves are under municipal administration.

Fortunately, complete datasets of Swedish nature reserves, national parks and natural monuments are available from Naturvårdsverket under a CC0 license!

Invalid magic words


· MediaWiki ·

Recently I've been getting annoying intermittent errors about invalid magic words, but usually only after updating MediaWiki core:

  • UnexpectedValueException: Error: invalid magic word 'if'
  • "" is not a valid magic word for "if"

(In this case the {{#if:}} parser function comes from the ParserFunctions extension, but the errors happen usually with whichever magic-word-using extension is loaded first in LocalSettings.php.)

It seems that these stem from the $wgLocalisationCacheConf['store'] = 'array' in DevelopmentSettings.php, which means that the localisation cache is stored serialized in text files in the cache directory.

The problem is that DevelopmentSettings.php also defines $wgCacheDirectory as follows:

$wgCacheDirectory = TempFSFile::getUsableTempDirectory() .
	rawurlencode( MediaWiki\WikiMap\WikiMap::getCurrentWikiId() );

Which uses the wiki ID in the directory name. This would be fine, but for the fact that I have a weird set-up and define the wiki ID myself (based on various things that I'll go into in a separate post).

So the fix is to make sure I define $wgCacheDirectory after including DevelopmentSettings.php:

$wgCacheDirectory = __DIR__ . '/cache-' . $wikiId . '/';

Tram 611


The tram at the Albion Hotel in Cottesloe has what I think is a new sign inside it, detailing its history and vital statistics. However, the information appears to be for a different tram! They say it's a Y1 class, number 611, but that tram is in active (heritage) service in Sydney. It looks like they should've searched for number 118 (of some other class).

Favourite café window


· Fremantle ·

I've sat in this window many times before, but not often in recent years since this place turned into a burger joint. It used to be Old Papas, and was then the Merchant. It seems that sometime recently they added the bars.



It seems like five people have recommended Discord to me in recent weeks, so

so I'm giving it another go. There's active severs for MediaWiki, Wikipedia, (but not it seems, Wikimedia in general), and other things I'm sort of active in like OpenStreetMap and WikiTree. So I guess I'll give it a go again, alongside Telegram, Slack, Matrix, and WhatsApp.

Sunday afternoon


1895 receipt for goods purchased from Galbraith & Co.

I headed down to Officeworks this afternoon to get some more foolscap manilla folders. I'm working through a box of documents like the one at left and need to separate them better while they're put through the (year-long) flattening process. They'll not stay in these; for long-term storage I have buffered white ones, but for this it's nice to have cheaper and larger ones that can get dirty.

On my way hom I stopped to rest in the shade near the Women's Auxiliary Services' Memorial and noticed that it's one of the few bits of Monument Hill that doesn't have it's own Commons category. It does now! Although I'll try to go back when the sun's in the east to get a good illustrative shot of the arch.

Love Data Week


· LoveData2024 · Wikimedia · WMAU ·

It's Love Data Week this week! Not data about love, but about how we all love data. Wikidata, mainly.

The thing I'm excited about this week with Wikidata is a project that I'm working on that involves adding sources to various statements, and I'm then building a bibliography list directly from that. Of course it's possible to do this with a single Sparql query but I'm finding that I keep hitting the timeout and so am doing it a bit hacky: looping through my items (which are cached and updated weekly) and looking for the references to the statements that I want to include, and manually excluding duplicates. Then it's reasonably easy (well… I've not actually finished yet so I might be wrong about that) to do a sort of CiteQ type of thing to output the bibliography.

This has the advantages of both not having to maintain a separate list of references, and also it means that I discover references that other people have added or ones that I've added but forgotten about. The formatting of the bibliography is useful too because it requires all the bits of the reference to be there and so I have to go back and fix up references that are lacking (slightly tedious but usually worthwhile because there's other stuff that can be added to those items).

Geogeeks, February 2024


This evening's Geogeeks hacknight was good. Not a huge group, but big enough. Big enough for beer and pizza (thanks OSGeo Oceania!). I mainly worked on some small parts of wdlocator, fixing up a few styling errors and submitting the project to be included in TranslateWiki.net so that the UI strings can be translated. Also had a good discussion about how to improve it's behaviour with map features that belong to multiple relations (e.g. buildings in a university campus).

Other than that I just continued editing OSM around Fremantle.

UAM building being demolished


· Fremantle · buildings ·

Demolition of the old UAM office in Beaconsfield has started. The office I worked in for seven years is now exposed and smashed up, and it's a bit weird to see!

The office and hardstand is heritage-listed as the site of a former Transperth bus depot (which I think might be wrong anyway because surely it was MTT?). The entry says that it's "DEMOLISHED — retained on MHI database for historical information purposes only." Which will be true soon enough.

Resources tours


In the golden age of railway the WA government ran affordable holidays to show off the state's attractions, by Emma Wynne 18 February 2024:

"Fundamental to the reso tours was that the passengers would sleep on the train rather than a hotel or other accommodation."

A few trains are still operating, the Prospector to Kalgoorlie and the Australind to Bunbury, but there are no more sleeper cars and no more reso tours.

It seems reso tours were a thing elsewhere in the country too.

You should build an 'expert' website


· websites ·

Beyond the Wikipedia Silo Suggestions for Your Next RetroWeb Site, posted on February 17, 2024 by Brad:

I see lots of personal websites and personal blogs both of which I enjoy. But I don’t see as many expert websites like existed in the old Geocities days: these are sites, created by an individual, where he/she shows their expertise on some subject, and I’d like to see these comeback.

People would create a site about whatever they were passionate about and had some knowledge about. There was no Wikipedia, so if you had knowledge about a topic you created a website about it and shared with others. For example, there was no end to: Star Trek sites, TV show episode, character and shooting location guides, fan sites, hobby sites, how to sites, history sites, cooking sites and sites about so many subjects it’s hard to count them all. These websites were more than just animated GIF’s, these sites were the stuff and substance of the Web. They were also the “street fair” of the web as they enlightened and entertained us.

New coworking space in Fremantle


It looks like there's a new coworking space in Quarry Street, called Hybrid Warehouse. Seems cheaper than some, although like others I do wonder how that big tin shed will fare in the heat of summer. It does provide wifi, coffee, electricity, spring water, kitchen facilities, and cleaning. Presumably toilets too, so all the essentials really. I'll go and visit it I think, and at least add it to OSM.
  1. R. Doig Memorial Ward (1933, October 5). Fremantle Advocate (WA : 1926 - 1942), p. 5. Retrieved January 1, 2024, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article255759735