Homelab Pi Rack upgrade, just in time for AnsibleFest 2022

AnsibleFest is fast approaching, and this year it'll finally be back in person, in Chicago. Since that's a short jaunt from St. Louis, I'll be headed up to talk about my Homelab this year!

More specifically, I'll be giving a talk titled Ansible for the Homelab, and I'll walk through how I have at least part of my sprawling homelab environment automated using Ansible.

Raspberry Pi Rack Pro by UCTRONICS

BliKVM PCIe puts a computer in your computer

BliKVM PCIe with Raspberry Pi CM4 running PiKVM

This is the BliKVM PCIe, a full computer on a PCI Express card. This is an IP KVM (Internet Protocol Keyboard-Video-Mouse) that can be put inside another computer or server.

Most server motherboards already have remote 'lights-out' management functionality built in. Most frequently this is referred to as IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface, but Dell calls it iDRAC, and HPE calls it ILO.

Short is good

I watched TheOdd1sOut's How to Find Inspiration1 and remembered the most important lesson I learned from my high school English teacher:

Short is good. Short is hard.

The teacher2 didn't exactly put it like that. But he harped on something nobody else did: writing concisely.

Every week we would read a work of American literature. And every Friday we'd turn in a one-pager encapsulating our knowledge of the book. I was an odd duck for how much I enjoyed the game: no playing with margins or font sizes. I had to cram an entire book into one page, double-spaced, with 1" margins, a title line, and a byline.

I remember spending Thursday nights honing my text, usually down to around 500 words. We would get a slight bonus for conveying more with fewer words.

That's surprisingly difficult for teenagers conditioned to churn out a specific word count. TheOdd1sOut commiserates:

How to download an MP4 from YouTube, every time

I use yt-dlp to download videos off YouTube quite frequently. I'll use the videos as reference, and I often use it to grab the VOD for one of my livestreams, since there's no simpler way (I'm not going to dig through the bowel's of YouTube's UI to try to download one of my own videos...).

But I also can't handle the default .webm videos in all my video editing tools natively, and transcoding is annoying. So I've settled on the following yt-dlp command to first try to pull a native MP4 version off YouTube, and failing that, transcode to MP4 immediately after downloading:

yt-dlp -S res,ext:mp4:m4a --recode mp4

And if you weren't aware, yt-dlp does an excellent job pulling video files from other sites as well, should the need arise.