I'm mostly an open content geek: recording all that can be in the digital memex (i.e the Wikimedia universe); mapping and walking in Fremantle (for OpenStreetMap); striving for a bit of simplicity; and now and then building bits of wooden furniture by hand.
Everything else. ‘Apropos of nothing’, as they say.
This week is the first time for seven years that I’ve not had a job to go to (and not been on holiday). So of course I’m sitting at a computer working on some code, drinking a coffee. The location (Parlapa) is better than the office, and more importantly my mind is not full of thoughts of work-code; it’s time to focus on projects that make me feel good.
Which is a tricky proposition, of course, because there are so many that I’d like to put time into, and it’s hard to prioritise. This morning I’ve been attempting to figure out why a cronjob I’ve got running on Tool Labs isn’t sending me emails. Yesterday I was scanning a small stack of photos that my dad took in Spain in 1975. Next I shall continue with a little website I’ve been working on to make it easier to search and browse books on Wikisource (almost all of the data for which is coming from Wikidata). But then there’s this little tool that I wrote a while ago for producing HTML and LaTeX albums from Flickr groups; it needs expanding and improving. Not to mention my desire to explore AtoM some more, especially in relation to how we might be able to use it while working on the Maps for Lost TownsGeogeeks project.
See? Too many things. That’s why jobs are good: one need just turn up every morning and have a ready-made list of what’s-to-be-done.
What should one recommend to people for self-hosting a website? WordPress seems the standard option, which is pretty good in most respects. I think there are a few things that it doesn’t do well though.
One of those is structured data, and I’m attempting to solve that in one respect via Tabulate.
Another is the old photo collection problem: WordPress isn’t great for managing a ‘photo album’ type of thing, especially where one wants to assign different permissions to photos. I’m not really sure of the answer to this one. Perhaps something around better management of post passwords?
Some people say you should write 750 words every morning. So far, I’ve written fourteen. So that’s only another 736 to go—729 now, if I keep count. (WordPress keeps count for me, but I never remember to look.) The idea of 750 words to start the day does appeal to me, and I quite often reach the count in my private (offline) journal. Not online though, not here where there’s a whole world looking over my shoulder as I write, telling me that they’re not interested… ah, a flaw in the argument? If they’re not interested, they’re not looking, there’s no need for me to worry about spewing forth this ramble of thinkings. Does that mean I can stop worrying about what I’m writing and how the world will judge it? Perhaps so.
Rule one of blogging is to not write about blogging. Rules two through twelve are to do with SEO though, and so I disregard the whole lot of ’em. SEO is bollocks; Google is bollocks. I just want to blather away on my little self-hosted patch of the web, not worry about why and disregard wherefore. The rules of blogging should be more in line with the IINDM, especially with regard to the bathtubs on the lower level.
My conundrum today is to do with how to host (and print) digital photos en masse. WordPress doesn’t do this very well. Attachments to posts are all very well, and serve their purpose as far as illustrative prettiness goes—for describing and sorting and retrieving arbitrary photographs though, WordPress fails me.
Up to 263 words now. That’s not many. Haven’t really said anything yet though. Probably sha’n’t. Probably I’ll carry on with words, and counting of them, and then stop at some point short of the goal. My cup of coffee (ah, which could be a good subject of a post illustration, because it’s got my name on it and that’s the same name as this website), my cup of coffee is nearly finished and so maybe caffeine will help me along soon. You know, I think it actually is? What a thing!
I don’t use non-italic emphasis much, in computer text. Which I always think is a shame, because all the varieties of traditional emphasis are easy for us now; William Cobbett would be a happy blogger, I think. He was rarely content to let a sentence go by without italics, and just as often (or more often? I’m not sure what to do to find out; perhaps there’s some TEI-Sparql bridge someplace, where word formatting and frequency would be retrievable with a single query?) he would use small-caps, and underline even though he wasn’t attempting to imply a hyperlink. It’s better to use bold (only bold) on the web, they say. Sod bold. It’s good for the odd definition-list heading, but hardly seems polite to bung some emboldened bollocks in the middle of a paragraph; it’d stick out too much, when one’s not in the sentence. Not a good idea at all. Who thought of that.
Right then cobber, nearly time to get to work. Not quite though. More words to write. What’s the point though? No point. I’ll stop.
Every morning I’m in a wonderful mood, and I can’t possibly imagine how by the end of the day all code will seem miserable and confused. Everything’s clear and easy and sensible. Text and structure and organisation are a solid tripod on which to happily survey the world.
By nightfall the daemons set in, muddying the waters with angst-ridden doubting of everything. But not in the morning. The morning is good.
It’s 2016 and it seems like a good time to attempt some new type of explanation of things. Things in general, I mean, and things internety. Or, maybe not ‘explanation’ so much as formless rambling. That’s easier on the brain, given the amount of sleep I’ve been getting (i.e. sod all).
I’m four days in to the new working year, and some good bits of code are already shaping up (file attachment fields and schema-editing in Tabulate, hopefully both ready to roll before too much longer). Some odd bits of enterprise bureaucracy have nearly fallen on my head but for the most part missed me (whereon I’ve attempted the old I-didn’t-see-anything trick, and carried on regardless).
I had a couple of weeks off, and explored some great bits of the south west. So nice to be back at Wilyabrup (not climbing, just looking, and some mapping). And I didn’t even take my GPS to Walpole; good to be not attempting to Record Everything for a while.
Things for this year, perhaps: Wikisource proofreading; importing Nyunga words into Wiktionary; carry on with Tabulate; print CFB at long last; go to Wikimania; try to write every day; get MoonMoon working again properly for Planet Freo. But mostly: stop re-evaluating everything and just get on with what’s (reasonably and probably not perfectly) good enough and worthwhile. Code less! Work on content and data more; code only what’s required.
A terrific dinner last night at Villa Roma for the Fremantle History Society. Larry Foley spoke about his life growing up in Fremantle and working in the wool trade here and all over WA. The food was great, and it was nice to meet some new people and enjoy the general vibe of the Society.
Before the dinner, I popped in to the Workers’ Club garage sale. It was over, but Don was good enough to share a beer with me and indulge my wish to explore the cellar — which is where the portrait at left came from. It’s now got pride of place in my pile-of-things-to-be-hung-on-the-wall. Maybe.
These old clubs all used to have portraits of the Queen, it seems. The North Freo Bowls club’s is still hanging. Some Scout halls keep theirs on the wall too. Allegiance to Empire and all that bollocks, I guess; I’m not keeping this in adherance that same spirit, but just because it’s odd to remember that people used to think this sort of thing was important.