Category Archives: geek:web

Not sure this has a better solution

So I’ve trying to step up my reccing game. It shouldn’t be hard since I’m almost starting from scratch; I didn’t manage to consistently update the blog I made for it, but it’s kind of more complex than I’d like.

The whole idea behind using for this was to automate as much as possible, as well as to get into using Markdown more.

First I used IFTTT to scrape a specific tag on my Pinboard account. but I ran then into the same issue I’m running into now: IFTTT can only append a .txt file on Dropbox. And wants .md files.

What I used to do was to try and once a week go and manually grab all the automatically scraped / formatted markdown from the .txt file that IFTTT had updated and Copy-paste this in an .md file that would recognize as a post. But it grew tedious; I forgot; it wasn’t the solution I wanted.

Right now I’m leaning towards using the ready-made HTML markup that AO3 generates with its Share button, and I was looking into finally learning how to use Quicksilver to append text to a file (say, a file to feed, but again I ran into that problem: an .md file IS a plain text file but Quicksilver only reads files with the extensions txt, .rtf, .rtfd, .doc and .TEXT

Siiiiigh. I’m now contemplating using Hazel to watch over a given .txt file and make a copy of it with the .md extension every time I update it; I think it would work, but how clumsy is that? Ugh.

Meanwhile, prodding at this issue also made me realize that another problem arising from the AO3 not having media-type differentiation (yet) and metadata-specificity is that the Share button for a podfic post doesn’t give any indication as to the author of the fic, which means I have to add it in myself even when trying to automate – it might not seem like a big deal but it can easily become a barrier to casual/rapid reccing, imo.

links/recs for audio & video grabbing

A discussion with Sophinisba on twitter reminded me that I meant to post about these little tech things in case they proved useful for others, so here we go! A post of tips / links.

  • To grab embedded video I use the plug-in called VideoDownloadHelper for Firefox. It doesn’t work for everything, bc of the escalating tech war between video embed provider and the so-called pirates, but it works on certain sites, not just YouTube, and allows me to collect my favorite actor interviews and the like better than I would without it, so.

  • To grab Youtube vids, if I’m not using my FF plugin, I use the standalone java program called JDownloader (I know it’s not the first time I mention it here, Toby turned me onto it a couple of years ago). What I love about it is that it gives me a choice of formats to download, and one of those is MP3. It means I can quickly, painlessly download the sound from a vid I like (again, good for interviews if I want them on my iPod; good for amazing mashups you don’t know how to find elsewhere, etc. I don’t use it for music much, personally.)

  • If I want to grab the sound from a thing, especially a short thing, to use it in my own editing / podfic / podcast work, I don’t usually do the “download mp3” route – sometimes I can’t, anyway, if it’s not on Youtube or whatever – then I use Soundflower, which is a free Mac service/thing that allows you to tell your computer “record the sound straight from the source” to keep the quality optimum. I use it in combination with [Sound Studio] because that’s what I use for recording and editing, but you can use it with any other software – all Soundflower does is telling the computer what to use for “sound in” and “sound out”.

I really recommend this tool. It’s a small free thing, easy to handle, and can be life-saving.

Soundflower has also been useful to me when making a podcast from a Skype convo. There are several ways to do that, but the one time I did it successfully was with Templemarker last year for our pod_aware conversation. (Part 1Part 2Part 3)

To make sure the sound quality would be okay, we each of us recorded our side of the conversation only. Then she sent me her files and I integrated them with mine. The way Soundflower helped me here is that when I recorded my side, I told Soundflower to grab the sound straight from my mic, so I wouldn’t have to remove templemarker’s voice from my track later on.

It didn’t work perfectly because I somehow had a very faint trace of her voice in my recording, but that proved a godsend, because it actually served to help me align both recordings exactly later on before merging, so, yay. I don’t know how she recorded her side, but there was no trace of my voice in hers. The whole process took some time but was a whole lot smoother than I had expected, and I think the resulting recording is very nice indeed, for a Skype conversation recorded by amateurs without lots of great hardware or specifically dedicated bandwidth.

Just for the record, another way to do a podcast from a Skype convo on a Mac is to use Piezo – which I have indeed used for recording conversations but haven’t used to produce podcasts yet. 

I’m sure there are plenty other ways (tell me if you know them!) but that’s what I can talk about today. :D

fic reading workflow problems :(

So I am still completely struggling with my tablet fanfic workflow.

Here’s what I do, mostly on the computer but not only, that gathers links to fic I want to read:

  • open tabs in Firefox that will need “dealing with” later
  • grab links from Twitter either through favoring or opening tabs in Firefox

Eventually this results in:

  • if it’s on AO3, mark the fic for later, knowing I can find it again on its own page.
  • if it’s not on AO3, bookmark it to read on Pinboard

Here’s what I do on a computer with fic I just read – this is stuff I want to Continue To Do when switching to reading on the tablet.

  • if it’s on AO3, kudos or comment
  • if it’s on AO3, bookmark the fic right there
  • in every case, bookmark the fic on pinboard (which might cascade into other stuff from IFTTT actions)

This, obviously, doesn’t save the fic for offline reading (sadly), and doesn’t build up my local fic library, which is something I want to create a workflow for but have failed to do so far.

Here’s what I do when I grab fic to read on the tablet:

  • open fic in a browser from my twitter faves links, or from Pinboard to read (rarely), or, most likely, from the for later list in my AO3
  • download the EPUB file
  • import the file into Aldiko for reading

Later, I end up with the same file in two places in the tablet: in the Download folder and in the Ebooks folder where Aldiko copied it upon import… (sidenote, I have issues with Aldiko not really responding to touches on the screen – I find it hard to turn pages and nearly impossible to control the brightness with the downward or upward slide, ugh. Very annoying, and I can’t tell for sure if it’s Aldiko itself or the tablet, but I think it’s the soft. grr.)

Then I read fic, and I end up with fic that I want to

  • leave a comment or kudos for
  • bookmark on AO3
  • remove from my AO3 later list
  • bookmark with tags on Pinboard
  • eventually someday conserve for later in a fic library
  • but, at present, remove from Aldiko where it’s creating a file management nightmare

My lack of process is dumb and inefficient to the max, isn’t it? But I’m so far entirely unable to build a better, more efficient workflow, and I’m just stumbling around failing to make things better.

So I thought I’d describe this whole mess to you and ask if you have any ideas at all for how I could simplify things.

If it’s useful to know, let me note that my computer is a Mac laptop running Lion for now; the tablet is a Nexus 7 w/ Android Jelly Bean; I use Pinboard, IFTTT, Dropbox, Firefox on the mac (with plug-ins, willing to add more if necessary); I made a bookmarklet for myself; I’m not against using Instapaper; I can/could use the Kindle app for reading and have a send to Kindle email address, etc.

What I mean is, if you think of solutions, don’t hesitate to throw them at me even if they mean installing a new thing, you know? I’m willing to try. I just want things to be less fussy and convoluted than they are at the moment, because OOOOF.


So earlier today I was reading about Dropbox’s decision to retire the Public folder for all accounts created after July 31st, pursuant to their new Sharing Ways that allow any file anywhere to become “public”, and the apparition of fucking landing pages where a direct link used to be (I am pissed off, if that wasn’t showing).

From there I was reminded of the existence of, a thingum wot allows you to create a hosted blog by simply writing posts in Markdown that you push to a specific folder in your Dropbox.

Remembering that IFTTT now has the ability to create text files in Dropbox and, more importantly, *append* text to text files in Dropbox, I suddenly imagined that I would be able to publish a recs page / blog-y thing by having every new Pinboard bookmark with a certain tag to be appended to a .md text file in the relevant Scriptogram folder of my Dropbox.

3 hours later, and I have discovered

* that it seems a secret Pinboard tag (with a dot as first character) somehow fails to trigger this action (though I know for a fact that a friend uses a secret tag as trigger in a task of hers, wtf)
* that IFTTT doesn’t think case is relevant in filenames (???)
* that IFTTT doesn’t recognize a text file if it’s not sporting a .txt extension
* subsequently, that my plan cannot work

I think it’s time I went to bed.