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 building a metalworking bench, and will soon be about a set campaign-style drawers that's in the works. I've a good-sized workshop because I don't have a car.

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, and take photos for Wikimedia Commons. Sometimes I ride my bike to get there, or walk, but more often it's planes, trains and ferries.

I'm currently reading the following books: A Puritan Bohemia (Margaret Sherwood, 1896), and Arrowsmith (Anon), and Doctor Thorne (Anthony Trollop), and The Countryside Companion (Tom Stephenson).

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.

What is App


· chat · social media · websites ·

So much happens on WhatsApp, Telegram, and Discord (and other chat platforms), that I'm starting to feel like just giving up on fighting them, and even promoting the idea of ephemeral chat being the place to do everything. Mailing lists are silent, and forums work but only for fairly specific communities. Almost everyone seems to be completely happy with reams of discussion and history being locked up in proprietary websites, so why shouldn't I be too?

I don't like the fact that history is forgotten, that search is rubbish, that threads don't have subjects and can't be continued ad-hoc days or weeks or months later. That attached photos are down-scaled and have their metadata striped. And a dozen other features of these systems.

But I do like the fact that it's possible to talk to people! And that's really what it's all about. So my new approach, I think, is to focus on the ephemerality of chat — it's just like talking to pepole, there's no need or desire to record everything, and anything that's worth recording needs to be transferred to some other place. That last bit is a steep rule for most chat systems, especially those like Slack that try to make you believe that they're the long-term record of your community. But I think it works, especially if some people make it their business to copy relevant stuff to a wiki or other easily-updatable website.

So I'll give up on the mailing lists, and stop feeling worried about the personal and organisational history that's daily being put on the front of a conveyor belt to deletion. I'll not go as far as to join Facebook, but I'll stick with WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord, Slack, Matrix, and IRC groups that I'm part of, and try to free up that part of my brain that gets annoyed about all this stuff.

Talk about the Halls of Mandurah


A note from the Have-A-Go News, no 388. July 2024:

Fail log ban wiki


I noticed this morning that there is Extension:Wiki2Ban and Extension:Fail2Log, so I think we need a new one called Extension:Fail2Wiki which just stops anyone from editing at all. That'll stop the spambots.

Naval Store exhibitions

East Fremantle

· exhibitions · art · Fremantle ·

The Stations of Light exhibition (catalogue PDF), being the work of Eduardo Cossio, at the Naval Store. It was in the small western building, that has a strange little side room with a hole bashed through the bricks into the larger space.

Next door in the main building was another exhibition:

To the river


· Fremantle ·

The Monument East development seems to maybe be getting started, with the buildings on Amherst Street being fenced off in preparation for demolition. And the water pipe boring machine is working away on Riverside Road (I'm not sure why I didn't try to get a closer shot; it'd have been interesting, because it seems that the machine is pointing west but boring north).

Geogeeks July 2024


· OSM · meetups ·

The next Geogeeks hack night is this week. I've not been to one for a few months (because I've been away), but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again, and hopefully doing some more work on OpenHistoricalMap and the tramways of Fremantle, or at least continuing to catalogue which maps will be useful to do that.

And OSGeo Oceania beer.

Documenting manhole covers in Spain


· Wikimedia · photography ·

A fascinating journey: 10 years of manhole cover photography from our community, 8 July 2024 by Sara Santamaria:

Documenting a manhole cover has become an essential part of the community’s trips and outings. Over the years, some members have developed an affinity for certain covers that they consider particularly representative. Mentxu Ramilo, for example, found a 1925 manhole cover in Vitoria-Gasteiz that she found fascinating. “I let myself be infected by the Wikimedian spirit and passions, and by everything that forms part of the graphic heritage and deserves to be documented,” explains Mentxu.

I think we of WikiClubWest are going to have to up our game of cataloguing of all the street things! :-)

Cloudy day walk


· photography · Fremantle ·

I went for a bit of a walk, after the rain had passed, thinking to find some pictures for the streets project.

I wouldn't usually bother taking photos of the Jay Dubs, but it seems the 'churches of Fremantle' list needs a few more pics. So here's the Kingdom Hall in Edmund Street:

Then I went over the hill, enjoying as always the view from the top of Monument Hill and the groves of peppermints on the north side.

The Samson House wall looked nice in the setting sun:

Then the Workers Club:

Remarkably, a named (pedestrian) street that isn't yet named on OSM! Richard Lane was only named a few years ago, but still!

Lastly, another named place that wasn't named on OSM and also whose namesake doesn't seem to have much written about them, a lecture theater building at Fremantle Hospital:

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