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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 I just do — and also because then I can do some more interesting mapping on OpenStreetMap.

I'm currently reading the following: , and Fathers of Men (E. W. Hornung, 1912), and Perth (David Whish-Wilson, 2013), and The Railway Adventures (Geoff Marshall; Vicki Pipe, 2018).

To contact me, you can email me or find me on the Freenode IRC network (as 'samwilson'). 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).



It's very hard to focus sometimes. But then a bug report comes along, makes sense, and a path forward is clear. It's a nice feeling, especially on a Friday afternoon.



Heading to the airport soon, to fly to Sydney for the WMAU Community Conference. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, and finding out more about what's going on around the country. It's pretty rare that we all get together — it's never happened since I've been involved in Wikimedia stuff. Australia's a bit too big, really.

Categories: Wikimedia Australia · Wikimedia · travel ·

More Hall papers


Yesterday I received from my dad the following copies of transcripts:

Categories: archives · documents · Hall family · notes ·

Post-hackathon coding

Český Krumlov

I'm in Český Krumlov, south of Prague a few hours. I'm trying to add a new field type to the PageForms MediaWiki extension; never done that before. It's a reasonably easy-to-understand system I think, although I suspect I've done something wrong somewhere. I want to add better date- and date-time widgets, to not use jQuery UI and instead stick with the built-in OOUI widgets. I've got a first draft working (although it's currently turning OOUI on for all inputs, which is silly). I do wonder if it would be better to not add a new type, but just add a ooui=yes to the existing ones. Actually, that's much better. I'm about to get on a train though, so it'll have to wait.

Categories: PageForms · Czechia · Wikimedia Hackathon · MediaWiki ·

Testing this

Does this do what it should?

Upgrading my server


The last day or two I've been upgrading my VPS to Debian Stretch, which hopefully I can carry on using until June 2022. Mainly because, when I upgrade these things, I like to reconfigure how I do things and check into the latest ideas of how it should all be done. Of course, usually that means some sort of orchestration, but I'm doing things rather manually — still, there is plenty that I can do that is better than how I did it when I last set up this server (about three years ago).

I'm going to post a general how-to of what I do for this, but right now there's a few more bits and pieces that need to be taken care of. At least this website is functioning correctly now. I hope.

(Oh yes, and it's Star Wars day, so perhaps it's a good day for pretending to be a sysadmin?)

Categories: VPS · Digital Ocean · servers · system administration ·

Girrawheen library


I went to visit my brother at work at Girrawheen library, in the northern suburbs of Perth. It feels like quite a way from Fremantle, but it was easy enough to get there on public transport. On the way I grabbed a few missing photos for Wikidata items such as the Hamilton Street bridge (currently non-existant as a new one is being built) and Leederville railway station.

Suburban libraries are great. I wish I had more time to spend two hours commuting each way to get to all in the metro area, because there's something quiet and focused about these spaces.

Girrawheen library front garden 40735536043.jpg

Categories: libraries ·

Cat Whispurr


I'm having a look at the new cat café in Fremantle. The coffee's okay and there are cats for sure, behind a big glass wall at the end. There are even power points at every booth (with USB sockets). It all feels a bit new and unsure of itself, but that's okay. This stretch of shops is pretty wonky and Hampton Road outside is not very inviting, but in here feels pretty spacious and calm (although maybe too spacious in a way, or the walls are too white or something). Anyway, it's a nice place to sit. If I'd realised before I sat down, I would've sat at the table near the cat-wall.

I'm attempting to continue some work on the GraphViz extension: making it not upload generated graphs as wiki files. It's nearly there. I'm hoping some people will critique my patch though.

Categories: Fremantle · cafés · GraphViz · MediaWiki · cats ·

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