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Local Videos

If you are in a hurry: this is about a quick way to organize the thousands of recent videos about manifestations, occupations, forced evictions and police brutality in indexes like this:

Primeiras manifestações
=======================
(YT) Material Bruto Sem Cortes RIO ALERJ
(YT) Zerovinte
(YT) "Aqui vocês não são Advogados"
[] [] []

Note that some of the links point to local copies of the videos - which can be accessed very quickly and without the need of an internet connection when all things are copied to an HD or pen drive.



Introduction

Most of our acquaintances and relatives are still getting their news almost exclusively from the mainstream media, and what they hear being repeated there all the time becomes their notion of truth. Most activists are living in practically the opposite world, in terms of what news they get. Even Google and Youtube adapt their results according to our search history - so, if we don't mind watching things that are little more than raw footage and we have lots of left-wing friends and grassroots groups among our Facebook contacts, we may think that the knowledge about certain facts is widespread - while it is not.

Quantity

Show a video of police attacking peaceful protesters to your aunt. Despite her polite and genuinely horrified reaction, she will unconsciouly believe that that is an exception rather than the rule. Send her a handful of links to videos by mail - same thing.

Bandwidth

We tend to forget that for most people accessing a video on the internet is a time-consuming task. It can take a minute or more to make it start playing, then a lot more if we want to seek to the middle. If our interlocutor has a short attention span - as everybody does - then bad luck.

The streets

Spending more time at occupations means spending more time at places with bad or no internet. Here in Rio showing a video to a newcomer in a casual street chat is practically impossible. The people who are spending most of their time at occupations are relying on volunteers to print stuff from the internet and bring to them. Enough said.

Local videos, or: a solution (for this problem)

To explain how the system works, both technically and socially, I will have paint a Big-ish Picture. In it the world has these four categories of (relevant) people:

  1. people like my aunt, who watch TV and don't know how to use the internet very well,
  2. web people,
  3. activists,
  4. "prog people", who know how to use the software that generates the HTML, downloads the missing files, and creates archives in pen drives (plus torrents etc).
The activists create, and send to the prog people, archives in plain
text formatted like this:

[BYT'
Primeiras manifestações
=======================
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pap4N7G2rPM Material Bruto Sem Cortes RIO ALERJ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBu09di_XHE Zerovinte
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMAxjha82U "Aqui vocês não são Advogados"
]

which the prog people convert, automagically, into this format (which
we will call the "pen drive format"),

[BYT'
Primeiras manifestações
=======================
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pap4N7G2rPM Material Bruto Sem Cortes RIO ALERJ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBu09di_XHE Zerovinte
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMAxjha82U "Aqui vocês não são Advogados"
]

and also this other format, which we will call the "web format":

[BYT'
Primeiras manifestações
=======================
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pap4N7G2rPM Material Bruto Sem Cortes RIO ALERJ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBu09di_XHE Zerovinte
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lMAxjha82U "Aqui vocês não são Advogados"
]

These are the important points:
  1. some lines of the input consist of a youtube URL followed by the title of the video; these lines are changed in the conversion process, the other lines are kept unchanged,
  2. the youtube URLs are shortened to "(YT)" links in the converted versions,
  3. in the "pen drive format" the title becomes a link to a _local copy_ of the video in MP4 format, downloaded from youtube,
  4. the prog people keep in their machines local copies of all the videos mentioned in the input, and they can use that to prepare pen drives with HTMLs and MP4s,
  5. we can lend pen drives with all that stuff to people like my aunt to let them browse many, many hours of videos without the delays of their slow internet connections,
  6. web people and activists can browse the web version, where only the "(YT)" links - which point to Youtube - work,
  7. "advanced" web people and activists can download some snapshot of the full archive - which, remember, can be used offline - using torrents,
  8. prog people can update their versions of the full archive to the very latest version very quickly using Git,
  9. sometimes activists will send to prog people new, updated "inputs", which will usually contain mentions to new videos; the prog people are then able to detect automagically which are the "new" videos, i.e., the ones for which they don't have local copies in their hard drives yet, and then download local copies only for these new videos - this makes updating the local archive a very quick operation for prog people -
  10. a future version of this - coming soon! - will also put a series of thumbnails below each block of links; but this will be discussed later.
The multiplication of the prog people
=====================================
The conversion from the input format to the web format is very
trivial; the conversion to the pen drive format is less so, because we
need to scan the directories of local copies of videos to discover
that, e.g., 

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOHFJDTO2VE Gás lacrimogênio dentro do metro

corresponds to this local file:

  Gs_lacrimognio_dentro_do_metro-WOHFJDTO2VE.mp4

the trick is that the identifier - "WOHFJDTO2VE" in this case - must
match, but the rest of the file name doesn't matter much. When we
don't have a local copy of a video, the conversor puts lines like
these into a download script:

  # Gás lacrimogênio dentro do metro:
  ~/usrc/youtube-dl/youtube-dl -t -f 18 \
    --write-thumbnail --restrict-filenames \
    'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOHFJDTO2VE'

By running that script we can download exactly the files for which we
don't have local copies yet.

The current version of the program is written in Lua and is very
short. If we keep the design simple then soon we will have
implementations in several different programming languages - all
different, but all doing essentially the same things.

I also expect web designers to join at some point. My HTML skills are
quite primitive - my specialty is to create things that are
technically very simple and that do work, but usually they are
visually weird and offend the tastes of Web 2.0 people.



Source code
===========
The source code will be packed into an easy-to-install form soon.



Sample outputs
==============
Take a look:
  http://angg.twu.net/videos-locais.html