open source

Shaving Hours off my Workflow - Trimming silence with FCPX and AppleScript

Final Cut Pro X - Automatically trimmed silence cuts

For the past few years, my workflow for editing videos for my YouTube channel was the following:

  1. Write and record narration / 'A-roll' using a teleprompter
  2. Import recording into timeline, and chop out silent portions manually using the blade and/or range tools
  3. Work on the rest of the edit (adding 'B-roll' and inserts).

Step 3 is where the vast majority of editing time is spent, especially when I need to add in charts, motion graphics, etc.

Crohn's Disease takes its toll - back in 2023!

After battling IBD complications through the summer and fall, I've come to a point where surgery is necessary. You can learn more about my health issues in my lighthearted book about Crohn's Disease, You Only Have Crohn's Once!.

The surgery (an ostomy revision) will take place tomorrow, December 2, and it'll be a pretty rough recovery, so I'm not planning on doing any substantial work until at least 2023.

It's ironic I had just given a presentation titled Just Say No: Staying sane while you maintain weeks before learning the surgery was necessary. I was planning a video on the topic (burnout, protecting your time, and open source maintainership) this year, but I guess the blog post will have to do.

I have plenty of fun tech and software I want to highlight here and on YouTube (some of it detailed in my video embedded below), but for now it's all on the shelf waiting until my strength returns:

Just Say No

Saying yes is easy—at first.

It makes you feel better. And it makes you feel like you can do anything! And the person you're saying yes to also gets a happy feeling because you're going to do something for them.

No No No

Saying no is hard. It's an admission you can't do something. And worse still, you're disappointing someone else who wants you to say yes.

But here's the thing: none of us is a god. We're people. We have a certain amount of mental resources.

Some people are kind of crazy and can do a lot more than you or I can, but nobody can do it all. And sometimes you can burn the midnight candle for a little while, but you're just building up debt. Every 'Yes' is a loan you have to pay off.

Why I use Jellyfin for my home media library

The blog post Streaming services lost the plot detailed how streaming services have become the thing they were made to destroy.

Like cable networks and satellite companies before, they're raising rates (at a rate higher than inflation), stuffing their content libraries with filler that's not even worth the bandwidth to stream it, and shoving ads in paying users' faces.

And in my first video of this two-part series, I showed how I rip Blu-Rays and DVDs into my computer.

Jellyfin - Collections listing with many movies

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ

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

Installing the Asahi Linux Alpha on my M1 Mac mini

After upgrading my main workstation to a Mac Studio, I decided to break tradition.

Usually, I sell off my old workstation to offset the cost of the new one. But just last week, Asahi Linux announced their first alpha release.

Asahi Linux MacBook Pro

If you haven't heard of Asahi, it's a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux that aims to bring a polished Linux experience on Apple Silicon Macs (all the current M1 Macs, and any new Apple Silicon Macs that come in the future).

The burden of an Open Source maintainer

Or: Why can't you just merge my ten-line PR already?

I maintain over 200 open source projects. Apparently (this is news to me) I am ranked in the top 200 GitHub users by followers, and there are 18,000 forks and 42,000 stars across my repos.

On an average day, I see between 50-100 emails across my repositories for issues and pull requests, and I filter those down to about 5-10 that I deem worthy of a personal follow-up.

I merge between 5-10 Pull Requests per month, and commit new code or fixes around 166 times per month.

I'm one maintainer, in a tiny corner of the Internet, maintaining a small but broad set of projects from Ansible roles for infrastructure automation to a few small but still-used PHP and Node.js libraries.

Dealing with burnout

There have been a few times I've burned out. That's typical for many maintainers. You either learn coping strategies or burn out completely, and in the best case end up a woodworker or farmer. At least that's what I see most of the time.

My Backup Plan

I've had a number of people ask about my backup strategy—how I ensure the 6 TB of video project files and a few TB of other files stays intact over time.

3-2-1 backup plan

Over the past year, since I got more serious about my growing YouTube channel's success, I decided to document and automate as much of my backups as possible, following a 3-2-1 backup plan:

  • 3 Copies of all my data
  • 2 Copies on different storage media
  • 1 Offsite copy

The culmination of that work is this GitHub repository: my-backup-plan.

The first thing I needed to do was take a data inventory—all the files important enough for me to worry about fell into six main categories:

6 backup categories

2021 Open Source Pay-it-Forward Pi Giveaway

This year, I wanted to solve two problems:

  1. Open source projects and maintainers often get no reward (even a simple word of thanks!) for their efforts maintaining the tools we rely on every day.
  2. I have a box full of really awesome Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 boards and products like the CutiePi, a PiBox mini 2, and a MirkoPC!

To solve both problems, I'm doing a giveaway—to enter to win one of any of the pictured items below (and maybe a few others I can find lurking in my office), just donate or say thank you to any open source project or maintainer, then submit your entry.

OSSThanks Giveaway items

The drawing will be at random and should be held next Friday, so please make sure to fill out the entry form by then!