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Highly-condensed time-lapse footage with Frigate

Frigate's 0.13.0 release included a feature near and dear to my heart: easy exporting of timelapses, straight from the Frigate UI.

I'm a little bit nutty about timelapses, and have made them with dashcams, GoPros, full DSLRs, webcams, and even Raspberry Pi.

But one thing I haven't done (until now) is make easy timelapses from IP cameras like the Annke 4K PoE cameras I use for security around my house.

Eventually I'm planning on automating things further, but for now, here's my process for building up a timelapse that's relatively small in file size, preserving only frames where there's motion from frame to frame.

For something like clouds/sky, or natural environments, it's better to do a straight timelapse export and maybe recompress it if you want, but for indoor or outdoor security footage, it's nice to condense it down.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell: Halt and Catch Fire

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro burnt wires

This SimpliSafe doorbell burned up less than a week after I installed it. I never would've thought a doorbell would be the most dangerous thing I set up at my studio!

I learned a LOT about powering 'smart' doorbells, and talked directly to SimpliSafe about it. They did sent a replacement, but it has it's own problems.

I'm still happy with SimpliSafe overall, but I don't like how I've spent about 8 hours troubleshooting a 'smart' doorbell. The only thing that's been 100% reliable on this thing is the basic ding dong I could've gotten with a five dollar dumb doorbell!

This blog post is based off my latest moving vlog, episode 12, where I talk about my SimpliSafe doorbell problems, the new 10G and 25G networking gear I'm testing, and a new 'retro corner' in my office. Check it out below:

Raspberry Pi IPO: Selling out?

Raspberry Pi 5 blended into 100 dollar bill USD

Raspberry Pi is looking into an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

But wait, Raspberry Pi's a non-profit! They can't do that? And who would want stock in Raspberry Pi anyway? Their core market hates them—they abandoned hobbyists and makers years ago!

And there are like tons of clones and competitors, nobody even needs Raspberry Pi? Plus, aren't they crazy-expensive? It's like a hundred bucks now, and that's if you can even find one to buy!

Well, hold on a second... there are a lotta misconceptions out there. In this post, I'll walk through what's actually happening, and also through things I see online.

This blog post is a lightly-edited transcript of a video on my YouTube channel, which you can watch below:

Resizing macOS app windows for 16:9 screen capture

I frequently need to capture a window of some Mac app for a recording (usually for my YouTube channel), and I've used a little AppleScript I wrote years ago for the purpose.

Somehow, that script (which I saved as a 'one shot' App (.app extension) that just runs then quits) got deleted off my Script Editor folder in my iCloud Drive, so I had to re-create it.

Luckily, the syntax for this operation is dead simple:

tell application "Safari"
    set bounds of front window to {0, 50, 1280, 770}
end tell

You can adjust the {X, Y, width, height} parameters accordingly—note that the width and height seem to be additive to the X/Y. So I use 770 instead of 720 for the height (720 + 50).

In Script Editor, save the file as a .app, with the option to keep it running unchecked. Now, whenever you want a window sized perfectly for capture, just press Command + Spacebar, then type in the name of the Script/App you saved, and hit enter. The top-most window in Safari will scale to exactly 720p resolution.

Mounting an ext4 linux USB drive on macOS in 2024

I recently pulled a SATA hard drive out of a Linux box that I wanted to grab some files off of. I only had my Mac on hand, and I had a USB 3.0 to SATA hard drive adapter at the ready.

But when I plugged in the hard drive, macOS said it couldn't recognize the disk.

Disk unreadable by macOS

Makes sense, because macOS includes support for Apple's filesystems, not Linux (or even NTFS, Windows' preferred filesystem). There are commercial solutions you can buy, like Paragon Software's extFS for Mac, but that costs $39, and I don't want to deal with the licensing issues that may exist there if I just want to grab a few files off one hard drive.

Luckily, there are some open source libraries that allow at least read only access to ext4-formatted disks on macOS. Let's install them and use them to mount the drive:

First, install macfuse, using homebrew:

When did Raspberry Pi get so expensive?

Raspberry Pi 5 and N100 GMKtec Nucbox G3

I just bought this N100-based Intel x86 mini PC (brand new), and it was cheaper than an almost equivalent—but slower—Raspberry Pi 5.

This GMKtec mini PC is called the Nucbox G3, and it comes with an Intel Alder Lake N100 4-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256 GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and Windows 11 Pro—and mine cost just $131, after a couple coupons.

That's... a lot of computer for a very good price. But the Raspberry Pi—the famous "$35 computer", should be well below that... right?

Well, I bought all the parts required to build a Pi 5 to the same spec—including the adapters and parts to assemble it into one small unit—and it turns out... the Pi is more expensive. And slower.

The Pi 4 still starts at $35 (for a 1 GB model), but the Pi 5 starts at $60 (for 4 GB) and climbs to $80 for the maximum 8 GB model.