Alright, this is probably a tad hyperbolic. Fine. Very hyperbolic.
I’m just saying the site has been upgraded. It was running on a bespoke (as close that as possible) server VM that I hand-crafted and artisanally put into service with love. That’s all been chucked out with yesterdays hummus. It’s the 90s, nobody has time for that anymore!
Now it’s running all in containers. Containers are all the rage these days (2014). The advantage of this is that it runs independent of the operating system, in it’s own mini-OS (over simplifying, but that’s the gist). That means I can tear this hunk-a-junk down and rebuild it super easily with minimal configuration. It also means when a new version of any of the things that run this thing get upgraded, I can easily just upgrade the container, and BA-ZAM the site is using the latest and greatest.
Now migrating everything took a while, and I wrote some helpful bash scripts to help me along, but I am pleased with how this all turned out. This also should allow me to upload test code projects in their own container without having to worry about too much cross talk and breaking stuff. I’m excited about it.
Now that I feel comfortable writing in this again, maybe I’ll actually update more frequently. (HAHAHAHAHAH)
In news of things I’ve been up to. I organized the Virtual Town Hall GLI put on for the IN-4 candidates.
This was me trying to further extend my video and live streaming skills to produce something I thought looked professional for no additional dollars.
This was my first foray into using After Effects to create motion graphics, and I did like how those turned out. I used Zoom as the video call platform and captured the display to put into OBS. I routed the audio all internally using software, and had volunteers timekeeping and gathering questions from Facebook to put into a live Google Doc. I also had fun with my green screen, though I am patiently waiting for my new lights to come in so I can get better contrast between me and the background so I can get the chroma key to work better.
I think it went pretty smoothly! There is of course things I’d like to improve upon. One, the creating of everything was extremely time intensive. All the OBS layouts and motion graphics take a lot of time to render out and assemble. I’d like to automate some of this if possible so I’m looking into setting up with NodeCG. It is going to be a lot of work up front, but should allow for much greater flexibility and automation in the long run. Long term goals here.
What with the state of everything and danger around every corner, I’m here to answer the question that has been on everyone’s mind:
What have I been up to?
Well, let me tell you. Quite a lot.
It turns out my specific skill-set is in high demand at the moment. With everyone now living in the computer as I have *bane voice. born into it. blah blah.* people are now wanting to do a whole lot more, and I’m endeavoring to make that work.
I know I’ve said this to many, but I’m busier now than I was before the Covid-19 non-sense. Part of it is people want/need me to do stuff, part of it is because I want to help people in the ways that I can in this socially isolating time.
Enough with the preamble, the U.S. constitution (got ’em)! What have you been doing?
Thing the first:
Because being physically in a place is hard, and people have questions myself representing Indivisible, and the others from the Working Hoosiers Vote Coalition worked to put on an online workshop. It is now online, and I think it worked well. How to organize people, answer questions, and generally keep people invested and informed. This is a model I’ll be using for other events I am helping to shape and plan. I also played around with how to use a real green screen, background replacement, and different audio feeds to pipe into Zoom.This was a huge effort by those involved and I want to thank everyone who contributed to making this happen.
Thing the second:
Tim and Matt play is often a testing ground for me, as it’s fairly low-stakes if things go awry. This particular set up I’m pretty proud of though. When Tim and I stream we usually are in the same place (my house) so making this work would be a change. In this particular game, it is not made to be played online, meaning to play two player you are usually required to play on the same device, with two controllers. I found out Steam has this really neat feature called Steam Remote Play Together, and basically it takes the host computer (mine) and streams the video to another person as a video feed, then takes their controller inputs and pipes them to my computer. The game thinks there is just another person physically there, and not across town. In addition to doing that, I was chatting with Tim over Discord, and routing the audio specifically to get all the levels correct using a third party program. This on top of streaming at 1080p60 at the highest available bit-rate to Twitch. In a totally cool, and nonchalant way, THIS IS REALLY NEAT. I hope to expand some of this to even more cool things, like net playing old games via emulator over the internet. Sega tapes, online, when they were never meant to be. FUTURE.
Thing the third:
I’ve meant to do this for a while, but I finally started doing some solo-streaming. I love Tim and Matt play, but I also want to play some games outside there, and streaming is a good way to connect to people. It’s more social and interactive than people (who don’t watch streams) think in my opinion. This is me trying my hand at it, and if you look, I’m changing my setup from stream to stream. I think I will continue to play with it as I go. I like having a camera there, too, which won’t ever happen in Tim and Matt Play, so that’s a new touch. Come hang out live sometime. My twitch username is goo3r, like everything else.
Thing the fourth:
In addition, I’ve been trying to bring friends together. We’ve done a couple virtual game nights, and I’ve hosted some virtual cocktail hours for Indivisible. It’s just nice to talk to talk to people sometime, commiserate, and let off some steam. Since I’m figuring out ways to pipe games through webcam settings and stuff, we’ve tried Jackbox, and we’ve done some online board games with some success. Still working out the kinks, but I think it’s been fun and good, and I’m always thinking of fun ways to combine all this tech.
I am getting more ridiculous with my stream setups, and I see no way this is going to slow down, so I am excited for what kind of crazy nonsense I come up with next on a budget of effectively zero.
I hope everyone is staying safe and staying home if they are able. I hope this helps everyone realize how vital all those “low-skill” workers are to our everyday existence and starts to treat them with the respect they all deserve. Sincerely, thanks to everyone out there helping out. Find a mutual aid network, call a friend, tip a food service worker or bartender’s Venmo even if they can’t give you your normal white claw or cold brew.