My coffee mug

Hello world, and welcome to my corner of the web. This is where I write words about what I'm working on, and post photographs of things I've seen.

I'm a Software Engineer at the Wikimedia Foundation, and so of course my personal website is a wiki (running on MediaWiki). In my spare time I volunteer with WikiClubWest to work on Wikimedia projects, mostly around my family's genealogy and local Western Australian history (especially to do with Fremantle). I try to keep up with issues on all the things I maintain (but usually fail), as well as listing the software that I use.

I try to find time to work in my workshop on various woodworking projects. Recently, that's been focused on restoring a chest of drawers and building a metalworking bench.

Travel features in my life, not because I really hugely want to go elsewhere but because I just do — and also because then I can do some interesting mapping on OpenStreetMap. Sometimes I ride my bike to get there, or walk.

I'm currently reading the following books: A Puritan Bohemia (Margaret Sherwood, 1896), and Arrowsmith (Anon), and Doctor Thorne (Anthony Trollop), and Perth (David Whish-Wilson, 2013), and The Countryside Companion (Tom Stephenson), and The Railway Adventures (Geoff Marshall; Vicki Pipe, 2018).

To contact me, you can email me, find me on Matrix as '@samwilson:matrix.org', or the fediverse as @samwilson@wikis.world. If you want to leave a comment on this site (by creating an account), you need to know the secret code Tuart (it's not very secret, but seems to be confusing enough for most spammers).

Below are my recent blog posts.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.



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.

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