How to Format Video for Fast Playback on the Web
Nov 11, 2020
It’s a pain in the ass to get your video optimized for web. Not only do you have to work out codecs and their support across browsers, but even within codecs there are tricks to help it stream more easily. Here’s the short version.
In terms of format, there are some really great options if you only care about compatibility with the most popular browsers (ahem - chrome). webm/VP8 is the way to go here, or webm/VP9 if you really only care about chrome.
Chinese censorship, values decisions, and free software
Oct 08, 2019
Chinese censors are in the news this weekend: Blizzard banned a grandmaster Hearthstone player for supporting Hong Kong in an interview, South Park was added to the “banned” list for their critique of Chinese censorship in Hollywood, and an NBA franchise owner’s job was on the line for a pro-HK tweet. Increasingly, Western companies are finding themselves up against the wall to prioritize western liberal values against access to the enormous Chinese market.
An Open Letter to my MEPs about Article 17 (formerly article 13)
Mar 21, 2019
The proposal for a directive on copyright in the digital single market is disastrous for the EU economy, culture, and democracy in the digital world. It is particularly bad for my country of Germany, as a leading light in Europe in all three areas. I am writing all of my MEPs listed in support of this impossibly bad proposal.
The German and European economies would be terribly damaged by this article, which effectively rules out small and medium sized competition in favor of the largest incumbents.
BTRFS and free space - emergency response
Feb 11, 2019
I run BTRFS on my root filesystem (on Linux), mostly for the quick snapshot and restore functionality. Yesterday I ran into a common problem: my drive was suddenly full. I went from 4GB of free space on my system drive to 0 in an instant, causing all sorts of chaos on my system.
This problem happens to lots of people because BTRFS doesn’t have a linear relationship to “free space available”.
Serverless is the MS Access of the Future
Jan 24, 2019
Controversial opinion time: the usefulness of what we presently call “serverless” will always be limited to simple use cases. It is a great choice for glue code or simple projects, but it will never be the best choice for even medium complexity development problems. Containers and similar technologies will eat its lunch the same way RDBMSes ate MSAccess'.
The benefits of serverless are real. Don’t worry about infrastructure, don’t worry about scaling or availability.
Kubernetes for stateful applications: Scaling macroservices
Jan 07, 2019
I recently got to proctor an Openhack event on modern containerization. It ended up an excuse to dig deep on one of the corner cases that we all encounter, but no one likes to talk about.
Kubernetes is one of the greatest orchestration and scaling tools ever built, designed for modern decoupled, stateless architectures. Kubernetes tutorials abound to show you these strong use cases. But in the real world where you don’t get to build “green field” every time, there are a lot of applications that don’t fit that model.
Optimizing data transfer speeds
Dec 27, 2018
One of my holiday projects was to set up my home “data warehouse.” Ever since Dropbox killed modern Linux filesystem support I’ve been using (and loving) Nextcloud from my home. It backs up to an encrypted Duplicati store on Azure blob store, so that’s offsite backups taken care of. But it was time to knit all my various drives together into a single RAID data warehouse. The only problem: how to transfer my 2 terabytes (rounded to make the math in the post easier) of data, without nasty downtime during the holidays?
Drupal Does Face Recognition: Introducing Image Auto Tag module
Apr 19, 2018
Last week I wrote a Drupal module that uses face recognition to automatically tag images with the people in them. You can find it on Github, of course. With this module, you can add an image to a node, and automatically populate an entity_reference field with the names of the people in the image. This isn’t such a big deal for individual nodes of course; it’s really interesting for bulk use cases, like Digital Asset Management systems.