Archiving YouTube

YouTube is one of the biggest video streaming sites on the Internet and you can find a video for basically everything on it. But in some cases, you can’t find a video anymore or it has been taken down or set to private for some reason. Having a local copy for personal or legal purposes can be useful, but by default YouTube only allows creators to export their content.

With the tool youtube-download, you can download the audio and/or video, and also subtitles in the languages you desire. The example below downloads the audio and video, and subtitles in English and Dutch. Also, it limits the frame size to 1920×1080 and stores everything in an MP4 container.

$ youtube-dl --embed-subs --embed-thumbnail \
    --add-metadata --write-info-json \
    --sub-lang en,nl --write-auto-sub \
    -o '%(title)s.%(ext)s' \
    -f 'bestvideo[ext=mp4,height<=1080]+bestaudio[ext=m4a]/bestvideo+bestaudio' \
    --merge-output-format mp4 \

More options are available, but this configuration seems to be correct for a lot of videos and can also be used to download everything in de playlist automatically. The later can be done by just feeding youtube-dl the URL of the playlist instead of the video and the tool will try to download every video in the playlist.

Keep in mind that this is only a short example and more options exist. Secondly, this should only be used for personal use only as these actions may violate terms of services and/or copyright law in your region.


Hello Internet, the first podcast on vinyl

Hello Internet: The Vinyl Episode

Podcasts are normally only available in digital format, but Hello Internet now has also an episode exclusively on vinyl. They’re most likely the first to produce a podcast on vinyl and the first batch sold out in hours. Hopefully, I receive my copy from the second batch and can hear what Brady Haran and C.G.P. Grey are talking about.


Hack your mailbox and start to declutter

Brievenbussen met een Nee-Nee-sticker
Dutch mailbox with a No-No-sticker – © Martin Abegglen

The Dutch postal services have gone from six to five delivery days since 2014 and to be honest without any notice on my side. This as most commercial mail is delivered on Tuesday and Thursday for years now and the streams of non-interesting commercial mail has dropped the last years to acceptable levels. To a level even where I barely have any paper waste.

The first step was to put a “No-No” sticker on my mailbox which made me opt-out of house to house advertorials and saved my from going through an inch of mail a week to make sure I got all my mail before dumping it in the wastebin. Sometimes I still get some advertorials, but it is limited. And all the advertorials I want/need to read are online available and are there when I make my weekly shopping list.

The second step was to start bouncing and complaining about all commercial mail I didn’t asked for and to register with Stichting Postfilter to get remove from a lot of mailinglists for a couple of years before you need to extend your registration. If companies keep sending you mail and don’t respond to complaints, then at least in The Netherlands you can complain at Stichting Reclame Code, but until now I didn’t have to do that.

The third step was to see which companies would offer a digital alternative to the paper mail they normally sended. And most companies now offer a digital notification and/or invoicing system. When set up correctly it can correctly make your workflow easier.

This all reduced my mailflow to a level where it is basically only the mail which is required by law to be sended to you by paper mail. Hopefully this will also change over time, but for now I only check my mailbox three times a week instead of six because of the low amount of mail. Another 15 a 20 minutes per week saved that I could spend on other things.


Google Reader, farewell

For years I have been using Google Reader to keep up to date with websites as I could read them when I had the time and I saw which sites where updated. Even if they were idle for months, so a dream for everyone who has a time management plan in place. Google Reader had a web interface, an API for third-party applications like Feedly and Liferea, but also an app for Android so you could check things when you were waiting somewhere. Until now as Google announced it will stop Google Reader in the summer of 2013. Some people try to revert this decision with a petition, but to be honest, I’m not going to wait and that may be sad as Google Reader was the reason I had a Google-account in the past.

That said, I already started to experiment with an alternative last summer and while it is still in development and misses some features the time has come to switch from Google Reader towards TT-RSS. As of today I imported all feeds into TT-RSS and removed also all feeds from Google Reader. The only feeds still in Google Reader are those for Google Listen and the time has come to start searching for an alternative. Google Listen is a podcast application, also discontinued, and will also stop working this summer. Maybe I’ll move all podcasts back to my desktop, but it was handy to have them on my phone so I could listen to them in the car.

For now, TT-RSS is a good self-hosted alternative with a web interface, applications for Android and Liferea has also an option to use your TT-RSS installation. Maybe I should spend some time soon to get OPML support just like in Liferea so that Planet-feeds aren’t needed anymore and will make message deduplication easier, but for now, it works and I can only say, Google thanks for all the fish. And to be honest I think my Google account will have the same destination as my Twitter account.