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).

I also 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 more interesting mapping on OpenStreetMap.

I'm currently reading the following: A Puritan Bohemia (Margaret Sherwood, 1896), and Doctor Thorne (Anthony Trollop), and Fathers of Men (E. W. Hornung, 1912), and Perth (David Whish-Wilson, 2013), and The Railway Adventures (Geoff Marshall; Vicki Pipe, 2018).

To contact me, you can email me or find me on Telegram (as 'freosam'). 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).


I wonder if there's any sort of indieweb:Homebrew Website Club in Perth?



I've switched to msmtp from ssmtp. It's actually maintained; that seems good. With some help, I've got a super simple setup to get it working with Gmail:

In /etc/msmtprc:

tls on
tls_starttls on
tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

account default
host smtp.gmail.com
port 587
auth on
user serveraccount@gmail.com
password foobar123
from serveraccount@gmail.com
aliases /etc/aliases

And /etc/aliases (with my own email address):

default: admin@example.org

Set it up as the default sendmail:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/msmtp /usr/sbin/sendmail
And lastly, test it with something like echo 'test'|sudo sendmail -d -t www-data



I am in a café in Perth where for the first time I've heard a flat white called a 'flatie'. I guess that's a thing.

I'm heading to the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute's National Bushfire Recovery Map-a-thon. This is a national event that's happening today, at a bunch of office locations in cities around Australia and with lots of other people taking part distributedly. I'm looking forward to it, especially if the waiver comes through soon to enable the use of new Nearmap imagery for OpenStreetMap tracing. I've not looked at it yet, but I've heard that it's really high resolution.

There's been a bit of discussion about how SSSI have handled this thing though: it sounds like they originally thought they could use OSM tools but not contribute the data back to OSM. (I mean, that's quite possible, but not without hosting the tools yourself; to use them as found on the web, all the data needs to be open.) This is such a common thing — not just with OSM, but also the Wikimedia universe. It sounds like there are lots of great people on the case (on both sides) and I'm so grateful for the people who do this sort of work. I love contributing, but I've no head for the interminable discussions that are such a crucial part of shaping the direction of things.

Keywords: coffee · OpenStreetMap · copyright · data · open content ·

Typing pain


Today is a painful day. No more than yesterday, and enough to be annoying. It's the typing that does it! Of course. So I'm typing this... hmm. I guess I don't learn.

Well, anyway: mostly I'm excited about EMWCon in April (there's lots of discussion about it going on in the #emwcon:matrix.org room. And also general wiki stuff, like getting on top of a few sysadmin tasks on my own server and that of WMAU. Good to feel like things are organised; that's the fundamental idea of wikis I think. Not that blathering on a blog is much 'organisation'. Someone was asking on Reddit the other day about using MediaWiki for blogs, and it got me thinking again about what's missing here.

The biggest thing is commenting, of course, but I don't know if that really matters... I never get any comments anyway (I mean I didn't when I used WordPress and had them enabled). I think mostly I'd like a webmention system that could list at the bottom of a wiki page all incoming links from out on the wide web. Surely that's possible? When I've sorted out the twenty things on my todo list I might look into that...

Reducing a Digital Ocean volume in size


For my own future reference:

  1. Create new volume.
  2. Mount it:
    sudo mount -o discard,defaults,noatime /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_data2 /mnt/data2
  3. Stop Apache:
    sudo apache2ctl stop
  4. Copy everything from old to new with rsync (note trailing slashes):
    rsync -av /mnt/data/ /mnt/data2/
  5. Unmount the old volume:
    sudo umount /mnt/data
  6. Mount new to old place:
    sudo mount -o discard,defaults,noatime /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_data2 /mnt/data
  7. Restart Apache:
    sudo apache2ctl start
  8. Edit the entry in fstab to use the new volume ID:
    /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-0DO_Volume_data2 /mnt/data2 ext4 defaults,nofail,discard 0 0
  9. Remove the temporary mount point:
    sudo rmdir data2/
  10. Restart to make sure everything comes back up as it should (this isn't really a good way to do this, but I'm lazy and not many people use this server).
    sudo shutdown -r now

Keywords: system administration,Digital Ocean,volumes ·



So like you said, commenting is pretty much just editing the post, right? Or did I misunderstand how to leave a comment? Definitely want to do some digging and see if there's a way for someone to leave a comment on an entry without having access to edit my entry. Hrm... Shawndouglas (talk) 01:00, 7 February 2020 (UTC)
@Shawndouglas: Not quite: the {{blog post comments}} template is just editing the talk page, which is then transcluded to the bottom of the main page. I'm not convinced it's the best way to do it thought! Sam (talk) 01:39, 7 February 2020 (UTC)


Perth Airport

It's a sunny cool Sunday morning at Perth airport. I'm trying to make a MediaWiki extension work for MediaWiki 1.31. I got thinking about it because of the recent email about 1.32 being EOL (while 1.31 is LTS and will be around till June 2021). I usually try to support all current versions, even LTS ones. Mostly it's easy enough to do, although I also combine it with only supporting active versions of PHP, so I get to ignore some of the things that only apply to PHP 5.6 (which ended a year ago).

Keywords: MediaWiki · airports · versions ·


It's a morning in South Fremantle. Just a morning. I was going to write 'lovely' or 'rubble' or 'viewish', but actually I'm too tired for adjectives. The main thing I noticed is that walking down Martha Street is nicer than walking down Lefroy Road, although both give views to the ocean. Crossing Hampton Road is harder there though.

I have never yet gotten tired of walking over the brow of the hill (is this whole limestone ridge called Booyeembara?) and seeing the sea.

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