May 2022 Summary

HIGHLIGHTS:

This became another month of IT work. Mostly I did migrations of data to the new website.

I’ve also continued to grow my network on Mastodon, as well as establishing new Fediverse accounts for Lunatics Project.

SALES

I sold 3 sets of my “Portrait of the Solar System” poster this month, thanks to posting on Mastodon!

IT

Decided to add an extra installation Playbook for “crawlers”. Ostensibly, this is to set up the data synchronization crawler cron jobs, such as the StaticSync job for ResourceSpace, but there are a number of things it will be useful to do after manual YunoHost work has been done.

Finished the active deployment, moved DNS over to the new server, and now have it in production use.

Decommissioned and destroyed the old server, but I saved a snapshot of it, just in case. That does cost me some every month, and Digital Ocean does not provide a means to download it (grumble).

Successfully set up & migrated data to:

  • Lunatics Release Site
  • Anansi Spaceworks Static Sites
  • Other Static Websites
  • Misskey Fediverse Instance / “LunaticsTV@m.filmfreedom.net”
  • WordPress “Production Log” site.
  • PeerTube (now contains all 116 videos from YouTube & Vimeo)

Successfully set up, but still working on data migration:

  • Gitea (LunaticsLibrary and several small repos uploaded)
  • ResourceSpace (mostly empty, and field/collection schemas not set)

Other facilities are pretty much idle (at end of May):

  • LibreERP  (a.k.a. “Odoo”, “Open ERP” — a platform for business web applications).
  • Vikunja (a planning and management tool).
  • Nextcloud/Collabora  (a document-sharing system and online office suite).
  • Galene (a video-conferencing tool).
  • Mumble (audio-only teleconferencing tool).
  • ArchiveBox (website archiving tool).
  • LSTU (a URL shortening system).

May 2 at 4:01 PM

ResourceSpace DOES do A/V Previews

Hiromi strapping Georgiana into her seat on Soyuz in a video playing inside ResourceSpace
ResourceSpace does have a video/audio playback system.

Ever have that awkward feeling when you were so disappointed with the software you thought did a thing, because it DIDN’T do the thing, that you bitched to the whole world that it DOESN’T DO THE THING, but then you change something you THOUGHT was completely unrelated, and suddenly, it’s DOING THE THING, NOW…

I am so sorry!

But it turns out that ResourceSpace absolutely DOES have audio/video preview/playback as I thought I remembered, and I just had managed to break it with my past installation test.

It was a problem with the S3 storage backend, I now suspect. I had tried to use the “native S3 object storage” plugin with it, and it didn’t work.

Might be the same sort of problem I had with PeerTube (which is the CORS settings. But there’s actually several things it could be).

Illustrates the dangers of changing too many variables at once!

The biggest problem I ran into is that I forget to tell StaticSync not to index the “.git” directory, and it apparently found many things to index! I’m going to have to fix that!

Testing File Format Support in ResourceSpace

I created my TestRepo not only to test how Gitea handled the files, but also how ResourceSpace would work with them, using StaticSync. This turned out to work better than I expected, after my previous disappointment.

It’s not all working yet.

It doesn’t generate previews for GIMP (XCF), Krita (KRA), or Inkscape (SVG) files, but I know methods to convert those on the command line, so I should be able to add those without too much difficulty.

It’s unlikely that I’ll set up previews for Audacity, Ardour, or Kdenlive project files.

I did find a tool for batch converting the old-style Audacity (AUP) files, which looks interesting:

https://github.com/davidavdav/audacity.py

There are some complications, since I store AUP files as compressed “.aupz” files, alongside their data directories. That was my solution for the problem of Audacity lacking a unitary save format (and thus playing merry hell with version control systems).

The new Audacity 3 does have a unitary save format, “AUP3”, but it seems likely the program above won’t be compatible with it.

Ardour and Kdenlive files present similar (though not identical) challenges.

Even if those just show up as icons, this will be a pretty workable system.


May 9 at 2:00 PM

Lunatics Project on the Fediverse

Lunatics account on MIsskey (Fediverse)
Lunatics account on MIsskey (Fediverse)

I have set up a “Lunatics!” project account on a self-hosted Misskey server, which can be followed from any federated social media account (e.g. Mastodon, Pleroma, Friendica, Hubzilla, Epycion):

https://m.filmfreedom.net/@LunaticsTV

Or search from your own fediverse account for:

@LunaticsTV@m.filmfreedom.net

I plan to post more frequently there than I have on Twitter, but as on Twitter, it will be a project account: professional, no partisan politics, with a focus on the “Lunatics Project”, free film, film making, free-culture news, and free-software tools and techniques.

Of course, it’s brand new, with only a few posts, so far.

You can also find me personally on the Fediverse:

@TerryHancock@mastodon.art

If you like. I’ve been there for over six-months now, and I’ll think I’ll be staying there for the present (though I’m also told that changing to a new server is pretty easy, so even if I do relocate you should get forwarded from there) That is a personal account, where I feel free to air personal struggles, personal political opinions,  unrelated art, and so on.

I’m not planning to shut down my Twitter or Facebook accounts, as yet, but I have been gradually using them less and spending more time on the Fediverse with my Mastodon account.

The rest of the project site is coming along, but isn’t really ‘ready for company’ yet — I still have a lot of data to migrate.

Sadly Diaspora can’t access either of those. 🙁 I tried running a Hubzilla server but gave up. I still plan to try setting up Friendica at some point.


May 11 at 4:00 PM

The Production Log is Back

Columns of articles in WordPress for new Production Log
The Lunatics Production log is back up with a new theme.

The Production Log is back online, after a hiatus of a month or so. I don’t remember the exact timing, but I damaged the old site somehow during the migration process, so it hasn’t been easy to access most of the articles, which is a little embarrassing. I’m very happy to have that cleaned up, now.

I’ve used a new theme, with minor customizations, which I think is more readable and more appropriate to the site’s new, more pure role, as a log. The new site puts the emphasis more squarely on the articles.

Other changes:

  • HTTPS works now.
  • Mini-Portal icon navbar to connect to other services.
  • New separate domain for the project: lunaticsproject.org (used to be wp.lunatics.tv).
  • Mnemonic permalinks are configured correctly.

I’ve also published the Summary for January 2022, which is mostly about taxes and creating an annual report.

https://lunaticsproject.org/2022/02/01/january-2022-summary/

The summaries for February, March, and April will mostly be about the technical development of the new project site (which you’ve already read about here if you keep up with the Patreon blog).

With this, I have removed the last piece of project infrastructure relying on the old server, and I’ve “powered down” that VPS.

I plan to continue tweaking the site layout: there are a number things that aren’t ideal, including the site navigation tabs. But I can do those in small steps, without needing to take anything offline.

The release page is mostly unchanged, except for supporting HTTPS, and it now links to the new project site. I do have some improvements in mind for it, but they can wait.

Next Steps:

  • Migrate project production source tree to Gitea (Target: 2022-05-11)
  • Migrate software project sources to Gitea (Target: 2022-05-12)
  • Create asset schemas and collections on ResourceSpace (Target: 2022-05-13)
  • Setup StaticSync mirroring of asset libraries to ResourceSpace (Target: 2022-05-16)
  • Create PeerTube channels: Film Freedom, Lunatics, Lunatics Extras, etc. (Target: 2022-05-17)
  • Test video & audio teleconferencing tools (Target: 2022-05-21)
  • Write and publish “New Contributor Guides” (Target: 2022-05-21)
  • Migrate video archives from YouTube & Vimeo to PeerTube (On-going)
  • Update the Lunatics Releases page (Target: prior to episode release)

By this plan, I’ll officially start back on series production work by Monday, 2022-05-23. Much more time spent on the upgrade than I had originally hoped, but with so much improved!

The primary goal of the upgrade is to make the project site effective for collaborative production on a faster production schedule. I’m committed to finishing Episode 1 essentially on my own at this point, but I want to immediately open up to more contributors for Episode 2 and beyond (I’m hoping that the release of Episode 1 will help to drive interest, and I don’t want to spoil that with technical hurdles).


May 21 at 3:32 PM

Source Uploads Still Going On

Screen capture of Gitea site with some Lunatics libraries uploaded.
Some Lunatics production libraries on our Gitea server.

I knew I shouldn’t have included target dates.

It’s taking me a little longer than originally planned to move the source files. I have created the “Lunatics Project” organization and stub repositories, though, as well as uploaded some of the smaller ones.

The larger repositories are many gigabytes of data, and my current solution for that is to drive up to my parents’ house in the city with a USB stick and use my son’s laptop and their 100-mbit fiber connection to check-in the data. Which still takes awhile!

However, I’ve successfully checked in the “LunaticsLibrary”, which is the largest of the repositories.

Weirdly, Gitea has decided these are “Python” projects, presumably because they do include some Python scripts. The bulk of them are authoring files for Blender, Inkscape, GIMP, Krita, Audacity, and Ardour, of course.

Some assets in our Lunatics Library as seen in Gitea
Some assets in our Lunatics Library as seen in Gitea

 

You should be able to browse what’s already uploaded already, though, at:

https://src.filmfreedom.net/LunaticsProject


May 31 at 4:01 PM

Videos Migrated to PeerTube

Screen capture of listings of videos on the new Film Freedom PeerTube site
The new Film Freedom PeerTube site

I have now migrated all of my YouTube videos and most of my Vimeo videos to our Film Freedom PeerTube Server.  Although I will undoubtedly retain the YouTube and Vimeo accounts for some time to come, I intend to start using the PeerTube server as the primary publication, particularly for routine updates.

There are many benefits to the PeerTube site, including the essentially unlimited availability of channels and playlists for organizing our content.

Playlists of videos on the Lunatics Channel on our PeerTube server
Lunatics Channel (PeerTube)

For now, we have a channel for “Lunatics Project” and a channel for “Film Freedom Project”, which accumulates most of our work that is not directly related to “Lunatics!” The playlists have also provided a simple way to organize major categories of content, such as the “Two Minute Tutorials” and “Trailers”.

I still have some doubts about the relative performance, which is why I will likely retain the ability to stream episode releases on Vimeo, at least for the time being.

This was one of the main benefits to be gained by migrating to the YunoHost app-based server solution, and it seems to be paying off.

I have not quite caught up with all of the remaining videos I have to upload, but I’m getting pretty close!


 

Photos from May

Elastic bands for mounting a microphone, and a 3-digit counter rubber stamp
The bands on the left are replacements for the worn-out shock mounts for our studio voice microphone. The counter stamp on the right is for numbering “limited edition” prints of our episode cover art.
Four large cardboard tubes with plastic end caps.
“Portrait of the Solar System” Poster Sets Ready to Ship