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@wikis.world. 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).

Fremantle History Society meeting, Deborah Hindley


Dr Deborah Hindley presented at the Fremantle History Society meeting last night on the topic of A Fremantle family: love, loss and locality, about her grandmother Maggie Hicks who ran the shop at the corner of Quarry and Barnett Streets (as well as other family members). Maggie Hicks was included in the 1978 compilation Reflections: Profiles of 150 Women who Helped Make Western Australia's History.

ToC of Reflections. Source.

The full list is:

  1. Ellen Stirling (née Mangles)
  2. Eleanor Edwards
  3. Georgiana Molloy
  4. Helen Scott
  5. Louisa Eliot
  6. Ann Carson
  7. Ellen Bussell
  8. Charlotte Muir
  9. Jane Adams
  10. Friederike Waldeck
  11. Emma Withnell
  12. Mary Cuper
  13. Eliza Cronin
  14. Martha Hillard
  15. Wilhelmina Sloss
  16. Margaret Forrest
  17. Fanny Hunt
  18. Clara Sunders
  19. Mildred Fairclough
  20. Alicia Pell
  21. Louisa Glasgow
  22. Evelyn Wells-Taylor
  23. Frederica Cooke
  24. Elizabeth Dodd
  25. Mary Nicolay
  26. Madeleine Onslow
  27. Polly Daw
  28. Maggie Hicks
  29. Roberta Jull
  30. Elizabeth Halford
  31. Winefrede Bellanger
  32. Blanche McCaffrey (mother of M. Joseph McCaffrey)
  33. Jean Beadle
  34. Mary Driver
  35. Katherine Clutterbuck (Sister Kate)
  36. Sorato Keegan
  37. Edith Dicksey Cowan
  38. Mary Jane Counsel
  39. Lily Hannah Brown
  40. Amelia Macdonald
  41. Frances Ruffy Hill
  42. Eva Edmeades
  43. Christina Sewell
  44. Alice Kinston
  45. Agnes Walsh
  46. Mabel Nicholas (Sister Rosalie)
  47. Isabella Johnston
  48. Helen Cole
  49. Eleanor Burbidge
  50. Beryl Mills
  51. Marjorie Burton
  52. Elizabeth Cunningham
  53. Edith Tonkin
  54. Olivia Walker
  55. Florence Cardell-Oliver
  56. Betsy Rice
  57. May Holman
  58. Mrs Chesters
  59. Mollie Skinner
  60. Susan Casson
  61. Margaret Graham
  62. Ellen Jones
  63. Margaret Wylie
  64. Daisy Bates
  65. Amy Pretoria Brown
  66. Mary Bennett
  67. Rosetta Kelly
  68. Elsie Curtin
  69. Jessie Grimshaw
  70. Katharine Susannah Prichard
  71. Agnes Robertson
  72. Mary McKinlay
  73. Bessie Rischbieth
  74. Frances Craig
  75. Ivy Kent
  76. Edna Brophy
  77. Ethel Scott
  78. Mary Addison Hamilton
  79. Lucy Davies
  80. Mabel O'Brien
  81. Dorothy Forsaith
  82. Gloria Butcher
  83. Mildred Walshaw
  84. Henrietta Drake-Brockman
  85. Florence Hummerston
  86. Esme Fletcher
  87. Ruth Wright
  88. Fannie Rose Rudeforth (Sister Alice)
  89. Margaret Edis
  90. Belle Gladstone
  91. Amy Crocker
  92. Edwyna Ross
  93. Lucie Howell
  94. Eleen Joyce
  95. Honoria Lyons
  96. Dorothy Genders (Sister Dorothy)
  97. Maud Foxton
  98. Pauline Riley
  99. Rita Barlett

Evening at Gage Roads


The rain came in on us, but the harbour view is always pretty great:

20230523 Redhead.jpg

Backing up Digital Ocean Spaces with rclone


I have a few wikis that use the AWS extension for storing their files. This means I can use Digital Ocean's Spaces object storage (which is S3 compatible). It's worked pretty well for a few years now.

I use Rclone to back up the Spaces buckets. Each wiki has a config section in ~/.config/rclone/rclone.conf, such as the following:

type = s3
provider = DigitalOcean-wikiname
env_auth = false
endpoint = sgp1.digitaloceanspaces.com
acl = private
secret_access_key = SECRETKEY
access_key_id = ACCESSKEY

This means that the backup script can use that config (and also avoid backing up the thumb/ directory, because that can be re-built for these wikis):

echo "Downloading wikiname"
rclone sync --progress digitalocean:wikiname \
    --s3-endpoint=sgp1.digitaloceanspaces.com \
    --exclude="/thumb/**" \

Spaces in rewritten URLs


· Cargo · MediaWiki · Apache · system administration ·

The WMAU calendar feed broke after a recent upgrade to Apache. It was returning a 403 Forbidden response, but it wasn't immediately clear why. The logs were showing e.g. "… [rewrite:error] … AH10411: Rewritten query string contains control characters or spaces" where there'd never been an issue before.

The /events.ics URL is a rewrite to a CargoExport URL: RewriteRule ^events.ics$ "/w/index.php?title=Special:CargoExport&tables=events&fields=_pageID,_pageName,start_date=start,end_date=end,location,CONCAT('More information: https://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/Special:Redirect/page/',_pageID)=description&where=DATE(end_date)>=DATE_SUB(CURRENT_DATE, INTERVAL 3 MONTH)&format=icalendar&icalendar name=WMAU&icalendar description=Wikimedia Australia coming events&filename=events.ics" [L]

Turns out it's because of fixing CVE-2023-25690, and the fix here was to use + for spaces (and not %20 as I first tried):

RewriteRule ^events.ics$ "/w/index.php?title=Special:CargoExport&tables=events&fields=_pageID,_pageName,start_date=start,end_date=end,location,CONCAT('More+information:+https://wikimedia.org.au/wiki/Special:Redirect/page/',_pageID)=description&where=DATE(end_date)>=DATE_SUB(CURRENT_DATE,+INTERVAL+3+MONTH)&format=icalendar&icalendar+name=WMAU&icalendar+description=Wikimedia+Australia+coming+events&filename=events.ics" [L]

Just a minute, they're out of order


It's nice that they've added a whole new series of Just a Minute, but why are they out of order?

Screenshot 2023-04-04 at 10-36-01 BBC Sounds - My Sounds - Latest.png

Dowelling jig


· woodworking ·

I bought a dowelling jig the other day, and made the frame of a box with it on the weekend. It went incredibly well, considering the lack of care I took over accuracy. I just bunged the thing on the corners of the boards and drilled away merrily — no clamping, not even a depth-stop on the drill bit, let alone a ruler or square within sight. But because the jig sets the first hole centred on whatever the thickness is, and then subsequent holes in reference to that, there's not much that can go wrong. I was pretty impressed.

It was also a nice exercise for me in realising that not all boxen need dovetails. This box is for my new angle grinder, so I wanted joints that would reflect the precision and beauty of that machine.

First chain re-waxing


· cycling ·

I rewaxed my bicycle chain this morning, for the first time since I switched to wax a bit over a month ago. It was so much easier than the first time! I was less involved than making a cup of coffee. In fact, I made coffee while I was waxing the chain! I had the moka pot and the waxy double-boiler on the stove at the same time.

Taking the chain off was simple, thanks to the new Wippermann Connex quick link. Then I wiped down the chain with a clean rag (there was not very much grime come off), and bundled the chain into the pyrex dish that I used last time, laying it on top of the solid wax in the bottom of the dish. Then that went into a saucepan and onto the stove, and within five minutes it'd all melted and the chain was immersed. I jiggled it around a bit with a wire, and the wax got a little bit grubbier when I did that. Then out to the shed, where I hoisted it out of the dish and hung it on a hook I put in the ceiling, dripping down into the dish.

The most time consuming part of the process was probably waiting for it to cool enough to handle. (Although I did idle over my coffee a bit I guess.) And then getting it back on to the bike is certainly the fiddliest part. That was helped by the hooks of the wear gauge.

All up, I'm still super glad to have switched to waxing. It does feel like cycling on butter!



· clothes · newspaper clippings ·

I shouldn't admit to it, I'm sure, but David Mitchell's recent column on not sticking out is somewhat relatable:

My mistake had been to confuse my liking for old-fashioned conventions of dress with liking old-fashioned items of clothing. The former provided a virtual uniform for almost all circumstances from work to weddings to funerals to parties to meeting royalty, while the latter involves wearing weird moth-eaten items that make people think you’re a dick.

In light of this, I was puzzled by last week’s comments by the TV journalist Michael Crick about the demise of tie-wearing in workplaces. He described this as “sad” because “in many fields ties are still the only chance men have to play with colour and express themselves”. I’m also a fan of ties and wouldn’t mind wearing one every day, but for precisely the opposite reason. Wearing a jacket and tie absolves men of having to express themselves or show any judgment at all. It provides the perfect neutral look – bland but not noticeably so. Even those with as stunted aesthetic senses as mine find that hard to screw up.

Conversely, in the post-tie chaos that’s been my experience of the workplace, there is a bewildering maelstrom of opportunities to express and thereby betray yourself. Literally any item of your clothing can be any shape or colour, not merely the strip of cloth dangling from your chin. What on earth was Crick talking about?

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