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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 just do — and also because then I can do some more interesting mapping on OpenStreetMap. Sometimes I ride my bike to get there.

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

To contact me, you can email me, find me on Matrix as '@samwilson:matrix.org', or the fediverse as @samwilson@ausglam.space. 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).

Automattic is a great model


· Automattic · WordPress · hosting ·

Very interesting thread this morning from Chris Trottier about why Automattic (the company that makes WordPress) is such an interesting model to look at when thinking about financial sustainability of social media.

Most questions about the Fediverse's long term sustainability and survivability can be answered by looking at Automattic.

1. Does it scale? Yes. 2. Can it be extended and customized? Yes. 3. Can the non-technical average Joe be comfortable enough to self-host? Yes. 4. Can institutions embrace it? Yes. 5. Can an ecosystem be built around it? Yes.

The operating model has already been built and been proven long ago.

Read the rest of the thread…

Grave plots in Wikidata


· cemeteries · Wikidata ·

I've been looking at places of burial in Wikidata. It's easy to look at a single cemetery, and who's buried there and whether there's a photo of the grave and details of its location and plot-reference. It's not so useful though, because there isn't enough data yet (at least for Western Australian cemeteries).

The results look like this, for Fremantle Cemetery: https://w.wiki/5oQu

The Black Swan, July 1969


· scanning ·

I've just uploaded a 1969 edition of The Black Swan, the Swan Brewery's magazine. The main reason is that it has an article about Cossack. It also has this article about Anzac Day in Bermuda, showing off the terrific knees that come with a case of Swan Larger.

Black Swan July1969 0014 cheers.png

Ninthfloor is closing


The shared hosting service NinthFloor is closing at the end of the year:

We have been considering Ninthfloor somewhat in deep maintenance mode, but the reality is that the project is unmantained and it has been for a long time.

Thirteen years is a long time and what Ninthfloor offers was way more useful, interesting and challenging back then: there were no cheap VPSs, no Letsencrypt, GitHub was one(!) year old. As of today there are better and more reliable ways to do basically everything Ninthfloor provides.

I first noticed it in 2012, but never actually signed up in the end.

Wikidata's tenth birthday


· Wikimedia Commons · Wikidata · birthdays ·

A nice little gathering this morning in Freo, for Wikidata's 10th birthday. We had cake, a fascinating presentation from Margaret about how to sort out taxa authors in Wikidata, and even people dialling in from interstate. I didn't get many photos, but I think a few others did and hopefully they'll all end up together in the category on Commons.

2022 archive

This page is part of the archives of my blog. Lua error: bad argument #2 to 'formatDate' (not a valid timestamp).

Being a lone volunteer sysadmin


· mastodon · fediverse · system administration ·

mastodon.technology is shutting down:

I am exhausted.

This made me realize how little joy I’ve been getting from being an admin. How I’ve come to resent the work I have volunteered to do. I’ve donated countless hours to running the instance, solving both technical and moderation problems, and I’ve always put the instance above my own needs. But I can’t put the instance above the needs of my family.

The server has also gotten too large and too complex for me to administer. I’ve always been keen to learn the next new skill I need to be an effective admin. But I just don’t have it in me anymore. The monitoring that I have in place is insufficient to solve the current problems and I have zero bandwidth to invest in learning the skills to diagnose and fix the issue.

This is why I only host things for myself and friends and family! Anything that's depended upon by a wider group needs to have a bigger group running it, I think. It's one of the strange things about open source software — it is easy to get things running, and so easy to end up running things in all too fragile a way.

2022 archive

This page is part of the archives of my blog. Lua error: bad argument #2 to 'formatDate' (not a valid timestamp).
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