11 year old tutorial FTW!

I have a few collections of PDF files that need to be put on microfilm for long-term preservation. For the microfilm to be useable, the documents would need to be in chronological order. That’s a bit of a problem because the files aren’t named in a way that they can be sorted by date. I do have a spreadsheet that has both filename and date info though. I googled for a way to batch rename files with Excel, and found a few options. Some involved downloading Excel plugins or VBS script, which I can’t do on my office computer. But the tutorial Rename Multiple Files using Excel in Windows gave me a command-line option.

The first step is to get a list of the filenames. Open a command prompt, cd to the desired directory, and type
dir /b > _list.txt
to create a text file (_list.txt) of all the filenames in the directory. Then you can open the text file and paste the names in an Excel column. I actually didn’t need to do this because I already had the inventory.

In Excel, I made a new column before the filename column. I wanted to use it to number everything sequentially. I put 101 in the first cell and used a formula to add 1 to it in the next cell, and copied that formula down the column. That gave me the numbers. Then I made a new column after the filename column, and used a CONCAT(A1,B1) formula to join the two cells creating the new filename. Easy enough so far.

Then I had to use Excel to make the rename command. That meant making another column after the new name column, and using this formula
=CONCAT(“ren “””,B1,””””,” “,””””,C1,””””)
There’s an explanation for why you need all those quote marks. I’m not quite sure I understand it, but I took their word for it.
What the formula does is compose a list of commands which rename each file. I copied all those new cells as one block, and pasted it in the terminal after the command prompt. It ran each command one by one and renamed all the files in a matter of seconds.

I’m not sure if I’ll need this again, but I’ve got it here just in case.


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I went looking for stills from Bava’s Kill Baby Kill as part of a different mission and came across a full cut on Youtube with English subtitles. This looks like a job for videogrep! Eventually I got something out of it, but I found out a few things along the way, to go with what I picked up earlier.

The subtitles Youtube shows are not the same as the subtitle file that yt-dlp picks up. The transcript in Youtube was in English, and the captions on the video matched. But I opened the .vtt file and it appeared to be in Afrikaans for some reason. The language in the video is Italian though. Loco! So here’s a cut of the word gaan (go):

I also did one of die, which I think is the, but that was too long to bother with. This film has a character with my name, so naturally:

But the star of the show is Melissa Graps:

I had to exit Terminal after each cut. I don’t know why, but it lost the command prompt. It would be cool if I could find a way to make a supercut of the giggling, but I don’t see it in the .vtt file so I doubt that it’s within my powers.

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Back in the day, friend of ds106 John Johnston made some awesome supercuts using Videogrep:

I always wanted to try it, but I could never get it to work. I have a hard time finding appropriate directions for doing any kind of command-line work. They all seem to assume that I know more than I do – that I don’t need everything spelled out to the character. So when ds106 master Alan pointed out this Videogrep Tutorial, I was intrigued…

And then I was frustrated. Failure from the first step. “pip3 install yt-dlp” seemed simple enough. Maybe it even installed. But what happened when I tried to run it?

zsh: command not found: yt-dlp

I didn’t know what to do with that, so I googled it. If I interpreted the various results correctly, it means that the command is not installed in a directory that Terminal pulls commands from. Further googling uncovered a variety of cryptic directions on how to fix it. None of them work of course. I don’t know where the command got installed, so I can’t add that directory to PATH.

I went back to the tutorial a couple days later and noticed a spot where yt-dlp was underlined. That link took me to the GitHub page, which gave some other installation options. The “brew install yt-dlp/taps/yt-dlp” command seemed to want to work, except it said my command-line tools were out of date. The error message listed several potential fixes. I had to type an intimidating rm command and reinstall CommandLineTools, which initially said it would take 198 hours and some minutes, but ended up being a bit quicker.

So I was able to install yt-dlp with brew. I tried the same process to install videogrep, but it didn’t work. The pip3 install command worked eventually. Maybe reinstalling the CommandLineTools did the trick there too. Anyway, it took a few days, but I got the commands installed. Now to use them.

I thought I’d try to make a happy supercut of our friend Bob. If I wanted to use the Bob Ross – Deep Forest Falls (Season 28 Episode 8) video, the download command would be:

yt-dlp “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urHQRbRNuYI” -o bobross1.mp4

This downloaded the video and renamed it bobross1.mp4. I’d also need the subtitles. The command for that is:

yt-dlp “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urHQRbRNuYI” –write-auto-sub

That downloads a .vtt file that I manually renamed to bobross1.vtt

The first time I tried the download command, it put the files in a strange spot. I think they landed in the /Users directory. I dragged them to the Desktop directory, where I could see them more easily (if I keep my desktop clean-ish).

Then I tried the videogrep command

videogrep –input bobross1.mp4 –search “happy”

And it said file not found, or something to that effect. I found that the command should have the full path to the file:

videogrep –input “/Users/paulbond/Desktop/bobross1.mp4” –search “happy” 

I don’t know if the path needed quote marks but I did it anyway. And it worked! It gave me a file called supercut.mp4. I played with some other switches. The command

videogrep –input “/Users/paulbond/Desktop/bobross1.mp4” –search “happy” –output happybob1.mp4

let me determine the output name. I did a few episodes and combined them in iMovie to make this video.

It’s not much, but at least I got it to work.

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The oddest thing I found in a 7-11 store was a job. I worked the 11-7 shift in the summer when I was in college. What was odd, to me, was the way I got the job.

A friend came back from a cigarette run and said the manager at 7-11 was looking for help. It was shortly after dawn. A group of us had been partying since sometime the previous afternoon. The party was breaking up, so I stopped in the store on my way home. I was wearing whatever cut-off and ripped-up clothing I wore in the summer heat back then, and no doubt looked and smelled like I had been drinking for fourteen hours. I got hired on the spot. I guess the manager figured I wouldn’t have a problem with the overnight shift.

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“You tried to walk on the trail we were carving”

I managed to do a couple of shows on ds106 radio over the holiday weekend. Even more surprising was that they had semi-coherent themes, as opposed to my usual random shuffling. Alan had an impressive rant on Edtech Who the &*#% are you? which suggested to me a number of songs, starting off with The End. There were themes of struggle and selling out, so I thought of Chumbawumba and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Selling out can be a Faustian bargain, which Alan framed in terms of 70s devil movies with a trio of inspired poster remixes. This brought to mind Alice Donut’s ode to Linda Blair and the exorcism from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. He closes out with a play on Who Are You, but I thought I’d throw it back further in the name of rebellion and “cultural revulsion” with The Punk and the Godfather. In how many ways can Townsend’s lyrics be read to apply to our moment?

But if I go trying to be thoughtful and insightful I’ll probably only embarrass myself. The invention that really impressed me the other week was David Kernohan’s guitar effect in a chicken tin.

That immediately made me think of The Meter’s Chicken Strut and I had to wonder how many other chicken-based songs I had. Quite a few, as it turned out.

a dancing chicken

And the show went over well with the global audience:

I was also pleased to see that one of our ds106radio DJs thought the blog post soundtrack concept was a worthy idea:

I wonder if we could make it a thing.

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brought to you by the Groom of the Stool

Today’s Daily Create asks us to make an antipodal tale – a story about side of the world.

Nine-year-old Prince Augustus in 1782, painted by Thomas Gainsborough

Nine-year-old Prince Augustus in 1782, painted by Thomas Gainsborough

a 17th century chamber pot

William III’s close-stool (the royal potty). Hampton Court collection

The opposite end of the planet from me is more or less Augusta, Western Australia. Its namesake is Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, who is notable because one of the people who stood for his baptism was the Groom of the Stool. I’m not sure if I want to wade into this story any further, for fear that I might start dropping crappy jokes.

I did find Augusta’s radio station, 2 Oceans FM, online, and was pleased to see that they have a form where you can submit your music to the station, reminiscent of the days when you could upload tracks to ds106 radio.

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Works in progress

I’ve been working on one or two new paintings this week – as in, it may or may not be a diptych. I’ve also been photographing them as they evolve, which gives me the opportunity to play with GIMP and GIFs. I’m not sure if this will show me anything about my decision making process. It may be better to look at the static images.
animation of abstract painting development
My thought at one point was to have one panel more vibrant and the other more muted. I’m not sure that the images want to cooperate though.

Maybe it would work better as a slide show than a pair of GIFs. There seems to be less color-level distortion here. Looking at it on this scale – the panels are 32′ x 48′ – makes it easier to see the full image, so I can think about what’s working and what’s not. I almost feel like leaving well enough alone, but I’m also wondering about introducing fine detail work. What those details might be is up in the air.

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Take that, Travolta

I had fun playing with Michael Branson Smith’s latest invention. I’m sure there are serious ways to use it, but I’ll leave that to serious people. I looked up Jason vs. Freddy instead:

but none of those are the real Jason or Freddy. What if we looked at punk vs. disco?

While Saturday Night Fever may be the quintessential disco movie, Son of Flubber tops this chart. Take that, Travolta! “Punk” peaks in Bad News Bears (way to go, Clarice). Surprisingly, Saturday Night Fever was the most punk movie of 1977. Who knew?

One of my day job projects has been getting some of the college archives digitized. We’ve discovered that this has some potential for teaching and learning, in that we can search the full text of the collection to see what the publications had to say about important issues of the day. With that in mind, I thought I’d look up some major presidents over the years.

It’s no surprise that Kennedy peaks with JFK, although I didn’t expect Gone With The Wind. All The President’s Men scored a double with Kennedy and Nixon, as did Good Morning Vietnam with Roosevelt and Nixon. Reagan wasn’t exactly box-office gold though.

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GIFvasion of the Body Snatchers

The 33 1/3 book on Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables referenced a Rebecca Solnit essay, Rattlesnake in Mailbox: Cults, Creeps, California in the 1970s, which declared Invasion of the Body Snatchers to be “1978’s definitive film.” This meant I needed to watch it, which in turn inspired another GIF-fest. The crazy-eye trick scene was just begging for it:

And this had a Monster Chiller Horror Theatre effect:

There were a number of eye shots:

But I didn’t want to do all eyes. Garbage trucks play a prominent role:
Note to self: GIFfing in GIMP is a pain, especially if you want to freeze part of an image. Better to keep it as short as possible:
I thought this would make a nice loop, but it was cut a little too close:
Most of these aren’t as smooth as I’d like because they didn’t use a fixed camera for much of it. Even this scene bounces slightly:
This is almost right. I should have cropped closer to her head and not included her hands:
The closing credits had a familiar name and a fairly obvious pseudonym:

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Info Lit 106

Last week I saw a call for chapter proposals for a book in the Innovations in Information Literacy series on digital storytelling. I’ve been interested in the outside-the-box connections among information literacy and digital storytelling since I first became involved in ds106, so this seemed right up my alley. I thought I would reach out to the ds106 masterminds to get their views on information literacy and how it connects to ds106 specifically. Jim generously gave an hour and a half of his time:

One of the nice things about getting this on Youtube is that it generates a transcription, which saves me a lot of typing. And Jim had a lot to say. This is especially valuable because he comes at it from a different perspective:

…my interest in information literacy is digging into a process, or a kind of domain if you will, and understanding how elements of it work. And most of my work has been around web sites, web hosting, building out personal identity and I think part of that literacy is understanding how do people find your work? How do search engines work? How do you think about what you link to and what that tells people about you? I think all of these are fundamental elements of a kind of next generation information literacy.

The ACRL sees info lit from the perspective of college and research librarians, like me, and for the purpose of college library research. That makes sense given where we are and what we do, but if we truly think of info lit as a life skill, as the cornerstone of lifelong learning, then we have to consider people’s lives outside academia, and the media and tools and systems they work with and within. Jim’s background in literature and educational technology gives him insights into info lit that I might not have as a librarian. I will be picking apart this conversation further.

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