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David Richfield

I am David Richfield, a South African chemical engineer / biochemist living in Munich. I'm also a founder member and former director of Wikimedia South Africa, the South African Wikimedia Chapter.

My username comes from IRC: "/me" is a shortcut which inserts your username.

I enjoy learning languages, graphic design, 3D modeling with Blender, cartography on OpenStreetMap, computer programming, playing Go and promoting free software. In 2016, I started juggling.

Here's a Limerick:

Babel user information
en-N This user has a native understanding of English.
af-N Hierdie gebruiker het kennis van Afrikaans op moedertaalvlak.
de-3 Dieser Benutzer beherrscht Deutsch auf hohem Niveau.
nl-2 Deze gebruiker heeft basiskennis van het Nederlands.
ru-1 Этот участник владеет русским языком на начальном уровне.
fr-1 Cet utilisateur dispose de connaissances de base en français.
es-1 Este usuario tiene un conocimiento básico del español.
it-1 Questo utente può contribuire con un livello elementare in italiano.
xh-1 This user has basic knowledge of isiXhosa.
Users by language
Noia 64 apps karm.svg This user has been on Wikipedia for 12 years, 3 months and 25 days.
Editor - rhodium star I.jpg This editor is a Senior Editor
and is entitled to display this
Rhodium Editor Star.
Wikipedia Autopatrolled.svg This user has autopatrolled rights on the English Wikipedia. (verify)
Smile.svg This user is part of the Welcoming Committee.
Crystal Clear app gimp.png This user is a Wikigraphist from the Graphics Lab, where you can request image improvement.
Internet-group-chat.svg This user is signed up for the Feedback Request Service.
GIMP This user contributes using GIMP.

Inkscape Logo.svg This user contributes using Inkscape.
NewTux.svg This user contributes using Linux.
Openlogo-debianV2.svg This user contributes using Debian GNU/Linux.
Klickety Cuffs.png This user uses Microsoft Windows under duress.
elinks This user contributes using ELinks.
Crystal Clear app mozilla.png This user contributes using Mozilla.
LaTeX logo.svg-3 This user is an advanced LaTeX user.
Vimlogo.svg This user contributes using Vim.
Python-logo-notext.svg This user can program in Python.
Perl This user is just another Perl hacker.
BASIC This user can program in BASIC.
C This user can program in C.
pas This user can program in Pascal.
<html> This user can write HTML.
php This user can code PHP.
re This user writes regular expressions.
SQL This user can program in SQL.
awk This user can program in awk.
Go board part.jpg This user is a Go player.
gk This user is a geek.
BE This user has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in chemical engineering.
MSc This user has a Master of Science degree in biochemistry.
Plato-raphael.jpg This user has published peer-reviewed articles in academic journals.
This user shaves with Occam's razor.
This user thinks that if your grammar is incorrect, then you’re in need of help.
to¦go This user chooses to sometimes use split infinitives.
whom This user insists upon using whom wherever it is called for, and fixes the errors of whomever he sees.


Parliament diagram tool[edit]

You can make diagrams using this online tool!

I started work a while back on a tool to render svg diagrams for legislatures - I started out with a tool that spits out a rectangular diagram with a title and a legend. It is hosted at my Freeshell account, but it is now considered obsolete. In May 2010, I saw some very nice arch-shaped diagrams drawn with User:Habbit's ADSvote program requested for conversion to SVG on WP:GL/I. Instead of doing manual SVG conversion, I programmed a similar algorithm, which I now host on Wikimedia's Toolserver (link above). The source code is hosted at GitHub - Bug reports, feature requests and patches are welcome!

The arch tool is quite popular for election results on Wikipedia, but the Westminster-style tool is still under development: a standard style has not yet been clarified, so if you use it, expect criticism and/or correction. If the output is not as you expect, consider editing with Inkscape and saving the result as a "plain SVG".

Pages I started[edit]

Don't start what you can't finish.

Some pictures and animations I've contributed[edit]

Here are some selected files. For a more complete list, with many more pictures, see my Commons uploads (or if you have javascript enabled, you can see them in a gallery view)



I bought a Canon PowerShot A630 in April 2007, and have since started contributing photos to Wikipedia. In 2008, due to an insurance payout after a stupid accident involving seawater, it was upgraded to an A650IS, quite a nice camera, and it runs chdk quite nicely, thanks! That camera was eventually stolen in 2013, and I have replaced it with an SX270HS, which has the new Digic 6 processor. There is a development CHDK version for this model, but I have not tested it yet: it is still alpha software as of November 2014. I've also since bought a Canon EOS 600D. It's a very nice camera! Some day I will buy it some more lenses, but I have had good success with macro photography using extension tubes with the stock lens.


I bought a Genius easypen serial graphics tablet for R 200 in December 2007, and found it extremely useful for graphics editing. It works fine with X-windows on my Debian Linux system, thanks to Anders Melchiorsen. It's a tolerably good entry-level tablet, but it has no pressure-sensitivity, and only one button apart from the tip, which makes it less than ideal for X-windows. Also, releasing the pressure on the tablet comes with a clicky feel, so things never end up exactly where you dragged them to, which is a bind in inkscape. So I upgraded to a Genius G-pen 560, which works well with Jan Horak's Wizardpen Driver and the linux kernel aiptek driver. Update: I now have an oldish toshiba laptop, on which I installed Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex. The relevant links to make the tablet work are the Ubuntu community wizardpen setup page and some useful settings on the Penguin's Diary blog. Another update: On Ubuntu Lucid, it needs a udev rule to be added to work correctly, and there are some small tweaks needed for Maverick. More info on the Ubuntu Aiptek page. Update 2: it "Just Works™" on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.


I used to use Nokia phones, so I bought myself a Nokia LD-4W GPS unit which I use to log data for the OpenStreetMap project. Its price/performance ratio was so good that when it was lost or stolen (still not sure...) I bought another one. It works nicely with gpsd on my laptop, as long as you pass the -b option to keep it from getting confused when the system tries to probe it. Top tip: to reset it, don't hold in the power button, that just removes all bluetooth bindings. You hold down the off button while plugging in the power.


In a moment of stupidity, I bought a Proline W763S laptop. Quite cheap (just R4000 new), and it can come without a Windows license with Ubuntu linux installed, but unfortunately the graphics card is made by SIS, and it was running in VESA 800×600 mode as supplied. It was easy to get it to run at 1024×768 in VESA by writing an xorg.conf file, but SIS don't supply drivers without NDAs. Fortunately, a reverse-engineered 2D driver is available, written by Thomas Winischhofer, and the patch that Terry Purchase applied to make his Asus X5DC run at 1360×768 works for me. Update: Terry now has a version which works on Ubuntu 10.04 : Lucid Lynx.

Neotel modem[edit]

Neotel provide reasonably-priced wireless internet in South Africa, and supply a wireless modem made by ZTE Corp. to allow one to use the service. The modem acts as a flashdisk when first plugged in, and contains Windows drivers. These drivers then put it into modem-mode. I managed to get it working under Debian Linux using usb-modeswitch - instructions here.

Brilliant quotes that I can't find on the internet[edit]

Don't you see yon narrow, narrow road, so thick beset with thorns and briars?
That is the road to righteousness, though after it but few enquire
Don't you see yon broad, broad road that lies across the lily leav'n?
That is the road to wickedness, though some call it the road to heav'n
Don't you see yon bonny bonny road that lies across the ferny brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland, where you and I this night must go.
- From The Ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, as performed by Steeleye Span

External links[edit]

Go, Baduk, Weiqi[edit]

Latex, ps, pdf, vim, latex-suite, ChromQuest tips[edit]