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Live video streaming with free tools (A Gruesome Orgy Of Yak Shaving!)

Friday 26 January 2018, 17:07

I recently set up my own server for streaming live video over the Web. That was complicated and difficult, and although I found some useful resources on the Web, none of them were complete and many of them were out of date. So here are my notes on what worked, both for my own reference and in the hope they may be useful to others.

Technologies covered here, more or less in order of signal flow from the origin of the video content to the viewer's screen: OBS Studio for generating the video signal; FFmpeg for encoding it; OpenSsh for securely transmitting the signal to the "repeater" machine that serves it to the users; HLS stream formatting; the Apache Web server; and the VideoJS HLS Javascript-based video player for displaying the stream in the viewer's browser.

These notes are current as of late January 2018. Pay attention to the date on these notes or any other information sources about this topic, because the relevant technologies change over time and there's a lot of outdated information out there.

Installing Slackware on a Dell Inspiron i3162-2040

Wednesday 15 November 2017, 12:52

My venerable Asus eeePC netbook finally gave up the ghost, and I replaced it with a Dell Inspiron i3162-2040. Here are some notes on what I had to do to get it up and running with Slackware Linux, both for my own future reference if I ever have to reinstall from scratch, and to help others who may be facing a similar adventure.

Removing things from Firefox's location bar NO REALLY

Sunday 21 July 2013, 06:40

The Firefox GUI becomes more annoying with each "upgrade." I don't know if they're taking bribes from Chrome, or if they took advice from the same "professional" UI designer who broke GIMP, or what, but it's really become a problem. For those who haven't given up on Firefox yet, however, and for my own future reference, here's something useful I managed to figure out after a lot of hair-tearing.

You start typing a partial URL into the location bar, and the drop-down list of suggestions appears. But there's a URL on that list that should not be there. Maybe it's something embarassing you don't want other users of your browser to see; maybe it's merely a site other than the one you want to be the match for the few characters you typed, and yet for some reason it keeps coming up as the preferred suggestion.

Disabling Ctrl-Shift-Underscore font resize in Konsole

Saturday 23 October 2010, 10:16

Why is it that all my KDE-related postings seem to be about disabling annoying user interface misfeatures?

Today's has to do with the Ctrl-Shift-Underscore (Ctrl-Shift-_) key combination. This is used for "undo" in EMACS-derived text editors, including JOE. In recent KDE versions, Konsole has started trapping this key combination for "reduce font size." So you're merrily editing away, you try to use the undo command, and suddenly your font has become smaller. To make matters worse, it is a known bug that the key combination Ctrl-Shift-+, which is supposed to be "enlarge font size," doesn't work. So not only can you not undo editing changes anymore, but you can't undo the font size change either. Solution below.

Fixing the JED dealbreakers

Saturday 4 September 2010, 18:45

There are many things I like about the JED text editor, and for a number of years it has been my preferred editor for working on C code. However, it has a number of misfeatures that make it unacceptable for other tasks for which I need a text editor, so I have generally been using JED only for C code, and JOE for most other things (including, notably, English-language writing of both fiction and nonfiction in LaTeX and flat text). Just recently I had occasion to try to edit some C code on my laptop, which had a fresh default installation of JED, and it was a horrible experience, and I realized that I had, years ago, made a number of customizations to JED that I'd long since forgotten about.

For my own future reference, and anyone who might be facing a similar situation, here are some notes on changes I made. I decided while I was at it to try to not only bring the laptop's installation up to the desktop's standard so I could use it for C, but also fix as many as possible of the issues keeping me from using JED for other things on both installations, so that I could at least consider adopting it as my general editor instead of mostly using JOE. It remains to be seen whether JED will be able to serve as my all-purpose editor, but so far I've been liking it once I sorted out these issues.

The whiteboard salesman

Monday 5 November 2001, 18:57

I do not fully understand how the whiteboard salesman became what he was. It's one of those jobs, like laboratory technician or the actuarial profession, that little kids never want to be when they grow up. I don't mean that it's low status, because kids don't care about that. Who of us doesn't remember a kindly garbage collector from our formative years, which of us never wanted to do that? But the whiteboard salesman's job was just not visibly important. If he ever told anyone why he chose the career he did, then that person never told me.

How much does a sheet of paper weigh?

Monday 29 March 2010, 15:25

A standard sheet of laser-printer paper of the usual thickness, either US "letter" size or international "A4" size, weighs 4.5 grams. That means 100 sheets weighs almost exactly one pound.

Letter names

Wednesday 31 March 2010, 15:20

(First posted in January 2003) From time to time I want spellings for the names of the letters in the Latin alphabet. Some, like "aitch" are fairly well known; others aren't. These are not standardized, and if you look around the Web you can find multiple choices for some of them. Often, the spellings people list aren't really suitable because, for instance, they may consist of just using the letter itself (no good if the point is to disambiguate between letters that look similar). Here's a list I've compiled from several sources that meets my needs and might be helpful to you, too.