What LGA is it in?

I’ve been updating Wikidata items that are located in the administrative territorial entity of Fremantle (Q606212) because that isn’t actually an administrative territorial entity. Those items are actually in City of Fremantle (Q1455046), which is an LGA.

On which topic, I’ve also been trying to add LGA boundaries to OSM for Fremantle (relation 8617839), but haven’t finished yet.

Tabulate 1.0.0

I’ve just realeased version 1.0.0 of Tabulate, a WordPress plugin for working with data in a site’s MySQL database. I’ve been using it for a few months in production, and the shift from 0.* to 1.0 was fairly arbitrary — it just seemed stable enough now. The new feature that got included in this release is the ability to export to OpenStreetMap XML (not a great leap ahead of the KML export that was already done).

Any problems with Tabulate can be lodged on the issue tracker at Github, or on the normal WordPress support forum.

Here’s a suburb’s worth of power pole locations, exported from Tabulate and opened in JOSM:

Poles in Hamilton Hill


Loading spatial data into MySQL with LOAD DATA INFILE

Just a note for my future reference: importing an Excel CSV into MySQL. The WKT column has been constructed by hand to be POINT(lng lat) and the CSV contains headers.

LOAD DATA INFILE '/full_path/to/file-on-server.csv'
INTO TABLE the_table
SET geographic_location = GeomFromText(@geographic_location)

Backing up thunderbird email

When backing up Thunderbird, the only files I worry about are the actual mbox files that store the ‘Local Folders’ (archived) email, and the *.mab addresbook files. Everything else is operational cruft. This might seem a bit extreme—after all, why not backup the account configurations and user preferences etc.—but I jump from machine to machine often enough, and reinstall things so regularly, that setting up a few email accounts now and then is too easy, and I prefer the minimalism. This way, I know exactly what I’m backing up and where my emails are, and I’m only backing up what’s essential. I’ve tested restoring to other email clients too (like sylpheed), and all is seamless and heartening.

This minimal backup works too because I use the ‘archive’ function of Thunderbird, which is just a simple “copy to date-based (i.e. year-based) folder hierarchy in Local Folders” function, activated by pressing a. Hence, I don’t bother filing emails by topic, and I store all sent items in the same folders are those received (yeah, I’m not suggesting that anyone else is ever going to find my system at all sensible). So the files backed up are small in number and never disappear (new ones are added, is all). I don’t back up what’s still up in the IMAP server, but then there’s not much of that at any given time.

The last part of my backup is to include all the files, both mbox and mab, in a version control system (in this case, Subversion). This way, I can roll back any file to any previous revision, easily. They’re all text, so the revision space-usage is efficient and of no worry; I’m only talking about half a gig per year anyway.

The script that does all this for me is simple:



MBOXEN=$(dirname $0)"/mboxen"
ABOOKS=$(dirname $0)"/abooks"

echo "Copying addressbooks to $ABOOKS..."
cp -v "$TB_PROFILE"*.mab "$ABOOKS/."

echo "Copying mail files to $MBOXEN..."
rsync -rv --exclude=*.msf "$TB_PROFILE/Mail/Local Folders/Archives.sbd/" $MBOXEN

# ...Followed by a svn commit

mbox is a pretty ridiculous format, really. It’s based on the idea that it can determine the beginning of each email by the fact that the word ‘From’ starts a line and is followed by a space. That’s it! Daft. Thunderbird supposedly has some greater means of delimiting messages, but still I’ve on a number of occasions had email corrupted due to this silliness. Not hard to recover from, usually.

Jeffersonian Yeoman bloggers

Great post yesterday from The Blasphemous Bicycler about people not controlling their own data:

The reasons for this are fairly easy to deduce. We were all swept away by “social media.” To send a tweet, update your Facebook status, or post a picture of your victuals on Intagram is a trivial task. Composing a blog entry requires a modicum of thought, and at least several minutes of your attention. So, in abject laziness, we abandoned our duties as Jeffersonian Yeoman bloggers, and became digital sharecroppers, churning out content for Mark Zuckerberg and his Hamiltonian ilk.

I’ve recently been twittering a bit, just to see what the Guardian’s on about in their four daily articles about how brilliant Twitter is, and I think I’ve firgured it out: it’s actually complete rubbish. It’s a cross between an IM system and a never-ending “quote of the day” competition, and the former of those is the one we need — and it’s perfectly well fulfilled by Jabber etc.

The big advantage, of course, of the big social media sites is that everyone’s there. But there is another funky-groovy technology that is massively widespread, easy to use, and also permits you to own your own data: it’s called the internet.

What I Did/Read/Thought Today

Hurrying off to uni after remembering the chai & cake stall, I forgot my lunch and the honey (not sweet mate), but managed to prove to myself the wisdom in having a slow bike. [Oh how I wish I could get my digital camera to work with these uni computers!] I got the chai on, retired to the Greens office to help with some ICT stuff and to do a bit of reading (more Bachelard), and headed to Civic Square for a Save The Ridge rally. I would post shots of that too, if only…

Reading. I pay close attention to my body when reading — how I’m sitting, where the pressure is, the weight of the book in my hands, my hands on my arms, where the forces are going. The intellectual exercise of entertaining the author[‘s ideas] is balanced (of course only partially — one still needs to swing from the trees shouting) by the awareness of my physical body.

The first graduate seminar that I’ve been to for weeks. Lenticulars are those pictures that move! Ooh err! (So I didn’t take many notes — eh!) The second talk set me thinking about media-independent replication of art; we’ve been doing it with text for ever, and that’s one of the aspects that draws me to the web-based data-gathering/page layout/hand-binding process: anyone anywhere could be doing similar things in totally different ways, but the ideas captured within the text would remain totally intact (much of why we marvel at digital storage). M. spoke about seating and stools and inspired me about sit/standing postures; I should like that for computeranating…

Enough for tonight!!!