2016 begins

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.

Wikisource category browser now has other languages

I’ve updated the Wikisource validated works’ category browser tool to include other languages. So far it’s just Italian, and to some perhaps-incorrect extent French (there’s only four? that’s not right).

I just need more Wikisources to tell me the names of their validated works and root categories, and it’ll just be a matter of adding these to the config to get them running.

The category list is updated weekly.

Wikisource needs your input « Wikimedia blog

A new Wikisource survey is being conducted!

During the survey, you will be asked questions regarding your personal involvement with the Wikisource project, your preferences regarding governance and technology, and your opinion on how a Wikisource Conference should be shaped. With the support of Wikimedia Österreich and Wikimedia Italia, a Project and Event Grant proposal is to be presented for such a conference. We would like to involve Wikisourcers in a joint venture both to spread knowledge about the project and to strengthen community bonds. This,

Read more: Wikisource needs your input « Wikimedia blog

I now use curly quotation marks when proofreading

There are currently two things that are annoying me about Wikisource books. These are: the inclusion of hyperlinks (to be all 1990s about it, with using that word); and the usage of straight quotation marks.

Links I can forgive, or even actively enjoy, in non-fiction; but in fiction, they have no place. (So think I, anyway.) Especially when they link to a sodding dictionary term! I know how to look up a word I don’t know. Sigh.

The curly-vs-straight argument is an odd one. We only have straight ones thanks to typewriters (or their manufacturers, I guess) not wanting to have two sorts for each type of quotation mark. So why we persist I cannot say! No, I can say… it’s mostly to do with ease of typing, on common systems, I think. It’s annoying to type the opening and the closing glyphs, when there’s only one button on the keyboard. But really! That might hold sway where there’s no automatic system for handling these things, but we have those systems and they work admirably. And certainly, when it comes to typesetting books that are going to be read by (we hope) very many people, it’s worth putting a bit more effort in to make them look nice.

Because that’s what it’s about, ultimately: making the text beautiful! For how many hundreds of years have people been taking terrific care over making books look nice?! Let’s not give up on that.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this, today. (Probably due to the glass of White Rabbit I’ve just here.) It’s that I’m firing with the zeal of the converted! I am, you see. I used to not care about quotes, and think they should be left straight — now, I stand on speakers’ corner and holler to confused passersby!

So, would that ye enjoy yr ebooks?! Then set them with loveliness!

Right… where’s that beer…

Melbourne and Mars, by Joseph Fraser

Some notes from Melbourne and Mars, by Joseph Fraser:

  1. You cannot go twenty miles in any direction without finding an electric fountain, free to the public, from which the accumulators of any travelling machine can be instantly recharged.

  2. …indeed, we have no wilful lawbreakers anywhere.

  3. We have no hunting of wild beasts; they have all been exterminated long ago. This extermination has extended to vermin and insect plagues, and even to some kinds of animalculæ. There is nothing that can bite, sting, or injure us in any way.

What goes Where on the Web

Every now and then I recap on where and what I store online. Today I do so again, while I’m rather feeling that there should be discrete and specific tools for each of the things.

Firstly there are the self-hosted items:

  1. WordPress for blogging (where photo and file attachments should be customized to the exact use in question, not linked from external sites). Is also my OpenID provider.
  2. Piwigo as the primary location for all photographs.
  3. MoonMoon for feed reading (and, hopefully one day, archiving).
  4. MediaWiki for family history sites that are closed-access.
  5. My personal DokuWiki for things that need to be collaboratively edited.

Then the third-party hosts:

  1. OpenStreetMap for map data (GPX traces) and blogging about map-making.
  2. Wikimedia Commons for media of general interest.
  3. The NLA’s Trove for correcting newspaper texts.
  4. Wikisource as a library.
  5. Twitter (although I’m not really sure why I list this here at all).

Finally, I’m still trying to figure out the best system for:

  1. Public family history research. There’s some discussion about this on Meta.

History of West Australia (proofread)

Title page of the book. From https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:History_of_West_Australia.djvu/7I have finished proofreading Mister Kimberly’s 1897 History of West Australia, or at least the first twenty-one main chapters. I fixed up a couple of hundred typographical errors in the Wikisource text.

There really wasn’t much wrong, just small stuff. I was repeatedly amazed at the high quality of the proofreading and typesetting of Hesperian and Moondyne — and dozens of others, as well, of course! (I don’t know how to find out the contributor statistics of a whole swath of pages at once.)

History of West Australia by W. B. Kimberly

How thoughtful of Nature to not be disturbed by people.

It was near to the ship, and there Mr. Broadhurst found the traces of two distinct camps, which nearly a century and a half had not obliterated. Indentations were still apparent in the ground made by the feet of the company while moving, in the form of a half circle, round the camps. Captain Stokes saw the bones of seals which had evidently been killed for subsistence, and these Mr. Broadhurst also found. Nature, in thoughtfulness, had not rudely obliterated these traces of such remarkable occurrences, and in the neighbourhood, amid sad memories, Mr. Broadhurst’s quest disclosed a varied selection of articles.

History of West Australia, by Warren Bert Kimberly, 1897. Wikisource edition.