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cleverdevil

cleverdevil

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cleverdevil

cleverdevil

cleverdevil

www.npmjs.com/~cleverdevil

cleverca.st

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All of the posts on my website going forward will now contain a snapshot of the current weather at my location. Hidden in the raw metadata, I’ll include detailed weather and location info.

 

Tracking My Movie, TV, and Podcast Activity

6 min read

As part of my continuing efforts to preserve and capture my memories, I’ve been spending some energy adding more capabilities to my website. I already capture photos, recipes, blog posts, status updates, and other more traditional types of content. In addition, I’ve been privately tracking my own location continuously for months now, including the ability to see some current details about my location and status. I also use the excellent OwnYourSwarm service from Aaron Parecki to record check-ins at specific locations on my site.

Last week, I realized that I was missing some data on my website that would add additional context when exploring my memories: my TV and movie watching history, and a record of what podcasts I listen to. As of today, I am now automatically tracking all of this data, and I’m happy to share a bit about how I made it happen.

Movies and TV

Let’s start with how I am tracking what movies and TV shows I watch. As it turns out, there is already a wonderful service out there for tracking this data called Trakt, which is a startup based out of San Diego. Trakt has done the hard part for me, with an extensive and complete database of movies and TV shows for me to pull from, and a host of great apps that use its powerful API to help users put data into their Trakt account. I am personally using the Watcht app for iOS to manually ad TV episodes and movies to my watch history on Trakt, and to show me a calendar of upcoming TV episodes for my favorite shows.

Trakt Logo

But, being an IndieWeb community member, I want to make sure that my memories don’t get lost in the event that Trakt goes away one day. In addition, I want to be able to see my TV and movie history in the context of the rest of my website’s content. So, I needed to find a way to automatically sync that data to my website.

At first, I thought about using the extremely capable Trakt API to periodically sync to my website, but then I noticed that Trakt Pro members get access to an Atom feed of their watch history. Working with a custom REST API takes a lot of effort, while integrating with a standard feed format is extremely easy. So, I happily paid for a Trakt Pro subscription!

I created a Python script which periodically parses my Trakt feed and then creates entries on my website for each movie and TV episode I watch. It only took me about an hour to put the whole thing together.

Sidebar: Automatic Tracking from Plex

Plex Logo

As you may already know, I have a great collection of digital movies and TV shows. I use the outstanding Plex Media Server to enable me to stream and sync content to all my devices. As Eddie, my co-host from Two Dads Talking, recently mused, tracking activity automatically is much more reliable than remembering to manually track activity. Trakt provides a Plex plugin that automatically syncs your Plex history to Trakt, and once I had that installed, a significant chunk of my activity is now automatically synced!

I still have to manually track content watched outside of Plex, like live TV from Hulu, and content consumed on Netflix, but it’s a good start.

Podcasts

I’m not only a podcaster with a microcast and a podcast, I’m also an avid podcast listener. I listen to podcasts on my daily commute, to relax after work, and to kill time on airplanes. Wouldn’t it be great to have that history tracked on my website as well? As I mentioned above, tracking that history automatically is greatly preferable to manually having to log every episode I listen to. With that in mind, I set out to see if I could capture my activity.

Overcast Logo

I use the wonderful Overcast podcast app for iOS. Overcast is created by Marco Arment, who is also a prolific podcaster. It’s a fantastic and pleasant app to use, and is perhaps my favorite iOS app ever. Overcast has a sync service and web frontend available for users at overcast.fm. Not only can you listen to podcasts in your web browser on overcast.fm, you can also export an extended OPML file that contains all details about your account, including a listing of all podcast episodes you’ve ever listened to. Bingo!

I whipped up a script that logs into my account at Overcast.fm, then downloads a copy of this OPML file, and uses it to sync my history to my website. It works a treat, but I will caution that Marco seems to be rate limiting that OPML export pretty aggressively. For the time being, I’ve limited my sync to once daily, and I’ve also contacted Marco to get his input on how I am using his service. In an ideal world, I’d love to see Marco add a standard RSS, Atom, or JSON Feed for Overcast paid subscribers similar to what Trakt has done for Trakt Pro users. In the meantime, I’ll be conservative about how often I sync and await a reply from Marco.

Why Track Activity?

You may be wondering why I want to track all of this information. Eddie and I briefly touched on the topic in the last episode of Two Dads Talking, but it really comes down to the fact that our memories are precious, and the more context I have when looking back on my life, the richer my appreciation will be for the life I’ve been blessed to live.

During the process of adding these new types of memories to my website, I also have added a monthly “recap” feature which has been one of my all time favorite enhancements. I like them so much, I’ve added links to the last twelve monthly summaries to my home page to surface them. My favorite examples of monthly summaries so far:

  • January 2018, which marked my departure from DreamHost, the beginning of a new chapter in my career, and my second viewing of my favorite musical of all time.
  • July 2018, which includes travel all over the globe, some progress on my Indiepaper project, and outdoor movies in my front yard with my kids.
  • November 2017, which includes a trip to Australia, the acquisition of the best car I’ve ever owned, and my son’s first ever NFL football game.

I’m delighted to continue enriching my database of memories, and really happy with the way my movie, TV, and podcast tracking is shaping up so far.

 

🎉 Huzzah! I now have my Trakt watch history publishing automatically to my website. I can mark an episode of a TV show or a movie as watched in Trakt, and a record will be created on my website! See – https://cleverdevil.io/2019/spider-man-into-the-spider-verse-2018

 
 

It’s increasingly clear that WordPress (steered by Automattic) isn’t particularly interested in blogging anymore. I agree that a solid, open source, turnkey solution for IndieWeb compatible personal websites is important. I also think Eddie is right that having several would be even better.

We have a great start in Known, which is what I use on my website, but we badly need more contributors. If you’re looking for a place to dive in and help solve this problem, I would highly encourage you to take a look at Known!

 

New Podcast: Two Dads Talking

2 min read

I am not ashamed to admit that I love podcasts. In the early 2000s, blogs were the hot thing: an open publishing medium that allowed people to exchange ideas, converse, and share. Since then, blogs have faded, as increasingly toxic social media walled gardens have moved people off the open web. It’s a shame, really. I’m hopeful that blogs will rise again, but it’s going to take time.

Podcasts, on the other hand, have only grown in popularity, and are still blissfully free of central control from creepy ad-driven social media giants. We are in the golden age of podcasting!

I’ve had a personal microcast for a while now, and I’ve been pretty undisciplined about publishing it. Still, it has been a fun exercise, and I plan to keep at it for years to come.

Today, however, I’m excited to announce a new podcast project: Two Dads Talking. TDT is a longer form podcast featuring myself and my co-host Eddie Hinkle. Eddie and I have known each other for a few years now through the IndieWeb community, and we’ve found that we both have a lot in common, but also a significant amount of differences. This podcast is an opportunity for us to get to know each other better, and for our listeners to join us in that discovery.

Eddie and I are both parents, though at very different life stages, and both are people of faith, and technologists. I’m really looking forward to getting to know Eddie better, and I hope you’ll all join us in our journey of Two Dads Talking.

To subscribe, visit the Two Dads Talking website, follow us on Micro.blog, or subscribe in your favorite podcast client.

 

For those of you that have been asking, for iOS is on the way, thanks to @EddieHinkle. Soon, you’ll be able to save content for later using natively on iOS. We are just waiting on Apple!

 

Replied to a post on seblog.nl :

Awesome post! I'd love to see some of your suggestions implemented within Together, specifically on the graph-based side. I continue to believe that the most critical problem to solve to drive Indieweb adoption is a unified experience for reading, interacting, and publishing. Pull requests are welcome! We definitely need more smart people working on Together :)

 

It really is pretty sad and shameful. Such a missed opportunity, too. I must say, I've been so impressed with how the Indieweb community has been explaining the need for CoCs on the wiki, including responses for common objections, questions, and more. https://indieweb.org/code-of-conduct-why

 

A huge congratulations to @GetSource, who I had the absolute pleasure of working with for 6+ years. Great hire for @GoDaddy. I hope you get a chance to work on features for @WordPress! Best of luck. I'm sure you'll knock it out of the park. 😀

https://twitter.com/GetSource/status/1047223678218383362

 

Thanks to @CultOfMac for their article on using Indiepaper with Micro.blog!

https://twitter.com/cultofmac/status/1031994389915152384

 

I have started to think of Micro.blog as a wonderful discovery and aggregation service for the IndieWeb. It fits neatly into my Microsub reader, enables me to find new people to follow and interact with, and integrates perfectly with my website through Webmentions. 👏🏻

 

That said, there has never been a better time to join the and Micro.blog has made it easier than ever before. I can’t recommend it enough.

 

My goal? Get people off of Facebook completely, and back onto the open web, where they're in control. I highly recommend Micro.blog as a great place to land! Using https://github.com/cleverdevil/ditchbook, you can even move your data 😀

 

Listened to Episode 335: Kind Of A Challenge For Newcomers

Daniel and Manton catch up after traveling to Portland and Chicago, respectively. Manton reflects on the IndieWeb Summit and the inspiration he took away from that event. They talk about learning to balance “business emergencies” with other obligations, and other indie business skills. Finally, they respond to Apple’s new Maps announcements, and whether Apple’s stance on privacy is an excuse for poor user experiences.

By Core Intuition

 

Indiepaper for macOS

1 min read

Indiepaper LogoIndieWeb Summit 2018 took place a few weeks ago in Portland, OR, and my project on day two was to create a service called Indiepaper, which is a "read it later" service for the IndieWeb. Indiepaper makes use of Mercury by Postlight Labs under the hood to extract article content and then publish it to a Micropub destination for later reading. Indiepaper is open source and is deployed on AWS Lambda using the Zappa framework. The Indiepaper website includes a tool to create a Bookmarklet for your web browser, and a Workflow for iOS that adds system-wide support for sending links to Indiepaper.

In order to make Indiepaper even easier to use, I created Indiepaper for macOS, which adds system-wide sharing support for Indiepaper to macOS. Here is a quick video demo of Indiepaper for macOS in action. Indiepaper for macOS is also open source, so feel free to poke around in the source code, and submit pull requests if you have improvements!

 
 

I whipped up a quick plugin for @WithKnown to publish GitHub issues and comments on your own site, with automatic syndication to GitHub via Bridgy – https://github.com/cleverdevil/Known-GitHub