Sam's notebook

Blogging and rolling August 20th, 2018, 5PM

Open content

Why don’t we just start blogging and rolling again? Why not go back to making content on my own, er leased, servers? It was never that hard to make a blog and it’s even easier now. Within a few minutes, good ‘ol Dreamhost (proud customer since 2001) and WordPress had me back up again. So I’m going to start cranking out blog posts again even if only two people read them. I’ll tell you, it’s much easier to write and read a blog post than a tweet storm.

— Mike Tatum, https://www.miketatum.com/2018/08/20/think/

[No comments] [Keywords: , , , ] [Permanent link]

Start blogging and subscribing to each other's Atom feeds! August 20th, 2018, 5PM

Open content

How about if, instead of ditching Twitter for Mastodon, we all start blogging and subscribing to each other’s Atom feeds again instead? The original distributed social network could still work pretty well if we actually start using it

— Simon Willison

[No comments] [Permanent link]

re: Public art lost for future generations August 20th, 2018, 10AM

Woodworking

PUBLIC ART LOST FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

By Roel Loopers August 20, 2018.

The initiative by the City of Fremantle and other local councils to introduce a percentage for the arts scheme has been good for WA artists and the public, but it comes with the risk that the lifespan of some of the artworks will be relatively short if they are attached to buildings.

Take the great Rick Vermey art within the LIV apartment building at Queen Victoria Street. Nowadays buildings are considered to last for about 50 years before being replaced by more modern structures, e.g. the Queensgate and Myer buidings at Kings Square. If the LIV buildings get demolished in 50 years that would also be the end of the Vermey artwork and that would be a real shame and a loss for future generations.

The same applies to the Loretta Grant artwork on top of the Quest Hotel in Pakenham Street and the round artwork on the building on the corner of Bannister and Pakenham streets by Tom Mueller.

The percentage for the arts scheme states that the requirement for a public art contribution can be waived by the City of Fremantle where the same value of artwork is incorporated in the development, clearly visible to the general public.

It worries me that many outstanding new artworks in Fremantle, created as percentage for the arts, will not be preserved because they are incorporated in a development and not free standing in the public realm. We have a duty to share our cultural riches with future generations!

https://freoview.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/public-art-lost-for-future-generations/

This is an interesting point about the short projected lifetimes of buildings. Fifty years doesn’t seem like a very long time to expect a building to last. But perhaps it does make sense: maybe the cost of building something to last 100 years (say) is more than twice the cost of building something twice? Or is it just a case of people now offsetting that cost onto people in the future?

I always feel sad when I see a building in Fremantle demolished. Not just demolished, but in the modern way of completely and utterly erasing its presence from the landscape: every skerrick of its fabric removed and the site raked clean and level. I know it’s easier to build new things that way, but it does seem to mean that there’s no accretion, no embedding of (small, incidental) bits of history in the places. Sometimes developers put an intentional relic in, like the weighbridge from the CSR refinery, but it just looks silly.

CSR memorial weighbridge
CSR memorial weighbridge (2018-04-14): The weighbridge deck set into the road on Colonial Gardens in Mosman Park.

[No comments] [Keywords: , , , , , ] [Permanent link]

Embed Piwigo 0.3.0 August 15th, 2018, 5PM

Programming

Embed Piwigo now has a home on WordPress.org, and I’ve announced it on the Piwigo forum. And you’ll notice it’s got a new name! It seems that WordPress plugins aren’t allowed to begin with a trademark, so piwigo-embeds was pooh-poohed and embed-piwigo suggested instead.

Now I want to make sure the caching is okay, and figure out what the captions should contain. There might be other problems too.

[No comments] [Keywords: , , , , ] [Permanent link]

Goodbye Dreamhost August 14th, 2018, 4PM

Open content Programming

I finally closed my Dreamhost account yesterday, after nearly 11 years of hosting my websites, email accounts & lists, Jabber, and code repos with them. Over the last couple of years I’ve been migrating things to other providers: the web stuff to Digital Ocean, email to Fastmail, and a few bits and pieces to Google and Github. It’s a nice feeling to shed this old account! And a bit sad.

I now have just three main computers in my life: my phone, laptop, and VPS.

It’s not because Dreamhost is bad that I’m leaving, not at all: it’s just about simplifying things, gaining control, and feeling confident enough to manage a Linux server on my own. If I wanted a shared hosting account, I’d still use them, and I dare say I’ll carry on recommending them to anyone looking for a place to host their own WordPress, MediaWiki, or Piwigo etc.

I get the impression that self-hosting isn’t as popular as it once was, and that people prefer to hand their data off to firms who will dictate structure and offer reliability and ease. I think that’s partly because of the network effect of it being somtimes better to use the same service as everyone else, and partly because self-hosted software isn’t as easy to use as it should be. The former is hard to fix (see Mastadon etc), but the latter is about building quality software that’s easy to install and maintain. That’s something I want to help with.

[No comments] [Keywords: , , , ] [Permanent link]

Piwigo Embeds (for WordPress) August 12th, 2018, 7PM

Open content Programming

Here’s my first draft at making Piwigo sites embeddable in WordPress: github.com/samwilson/piwigo-embeds

‘Embed’ here is what WordPress calls the ability to add a URL of a site on its own line in a post or page, and for a nice rendering of the site at that URL to be provided automatically. It works with core WordPress with sites like Youtube and Flickr, and somewhat for random other sites if they provide the right metadata. Piwigo does not yet provide particularly rich metadata (there are some ideas to do so, though), but anyway it’s nicer to be able to do something more complicated that uses the Piwigo API.

As a first hack at this, my plugin just shows the medium-sized image, with title below and description as the tooltip, and the image linked to the page on the Piwigo site. I plan on introducing caching, and perhaps some nicer display (dates, comment count, etc.). Ideas welcome!

[No comments] [Keywords: , , , , , ] [Permanent link]