Sam Wilson's Website

October 2021

  1. So often I find myself replying to a bug report or discussion about some piece of software, and I just feel so worried that the people I’m writing to will think I’m completely clueless. Mostly, I write a reply, and then delete it unsent. I’ve no idea how people manage to write so much, day after day, and not just dissolve in a pile of anxiety. I used to assume that it’d get easier with experience and repetition and when working with kind people, but it really doesn’t seem to.

  2. There’s a discussion on hacker news about how to make a website live for a very long time:

    It’s an interesting idea. I’m not sure about 500 years, but I do think it’s worth figuring out for about 30 or 40 years. Maybe 50. I base that on the fact that I seem to often come across things that people wrote in the 1970s and 1980s that reference other things from that time that are now very hard to find (or even really determine if they’re at all findable).

    It’s basically the timeframe between when someone is old and produces a work, and when their grandchildren’s generation is old enough to appreciate that work. Their children’s generation often don’t care enough or see it as too recently made and so not worth looking after.

    My approach is still to make printable versions of things (on archival paper with pigment-based inks, stored in polypropylene folders). The hosting is fragile and shouldn’t be expected to last more than one’s own life, mostly for bureaucratic reasons rather than technical.

  3. I’m never quite sure how to manage posting in different places. I sort of know the theory of posting here and then putting the same content elsewhere along with a backlink (or Posse, as it’s called), but so far it’s not feeling very natural. I think it might just be that I’ve not yet got a good design worked out for Twyne, but there’s definitely also a bit of fomo and wanting to be where other people are.

    Anyway, here’s a new post I made on my OSM user diary:


  4. I’ve been reading a bit today about the new Flickr Foundation, and it does seem interesting. Ultimately, I think I’m still happier hosting my own stuff and copying when appropriate to Wikimedia Commons or the Internet Archive. Sometimes also to Flickr, but not with a sense that the photos will be safe there permanently. Self hosting means not only that I have control and can modify the software as required, but also that I can archive in the ways I see fit (e.g. some stuff is optimised for printing to paper, annually).

  5. If nobody is able to chat with Flickr members who show interest in Commons collections, you will see comments like “Great shot.” If staff are showing consistent, friendly interest in Flickr members contributing, you will see comments like “Yes, that record is for Mary’s in the city. Priest was a John Doody, about the same age as Richard, recorded in 1901 as a Professor of Classics at Kieran’s. In 1911, he is Priest and President of College. Wikipedia says he was President from 1903–11, so at the time of the wedding.”