Code4lib 2019: Thoughts and appreciation post

I just got back from my fourth Code4lib (in five years), and it continues to be a really wonderful conference where I get to see some of my favorite people (and I was shocked that some of my fav people who were there this year were there for the first time!). I liked the initial MC and longstanding volunteer Dre’s description of Code4lib, which was that it isn’t an organized body, more of a collective....
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Code4lib 2019 lightning talk: The Real World of Technology (transcript)

Below is a tidied-up transcript (a transcript++?) of a lightning talk I gave about “a great book I’ve recently re-read.” This is perhaps understating the weight and impact this book has had on me and how I try to work over the past several years, but nevertheless, here it is. Ursula Franklin was a Canadian feminist philosopher and she performed these utterly massive series of lectures for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, called The Real World...
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Twenty Eighteen Annual Report and Twenty Nineteen goals

Welcome (yet again) to the Ashley Blewer annual report. Here is last year’s. These go all the way back to 2014! This year, I did something different and broke my goals down into quarters instead of trying to tackle an entire year. There’s a self-help book about this if you want to read a couple hundred pages on that concept as told through a business viewpoint. But whatever, for me it seemed useful to create...
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Installing CollectiveAccess on a cloud server

I’ve worked with CollectiveAccess (an open source collections management system for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, see website here) on-and-off for around four years. I helped with the creation of digital backups and frontend design and development for the LaMaMa Digital Archives, a Dance Heritage Coalition project, and I have been working this year on the development of an archive (physical and digital, with me working on the digital preservation and access components) for the...
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Compressing and uncompressing a preservation master video file

The other day, a friend of mine asked me… “so let’s say to save space i want to take all my 10-Bit Uncompressed masters and encode them as FFV1 to save space but then, for whatever reason, i want to get them back as 10-Bit files can i just like, run them back through ffmpeg and tell it to make uncompressed files?” And I am here to tell you all: Yes, you can! And here...
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NTTW3 and making conferences more accessible

No Time To Wait 3: We just got finished with a truly inspiring conference, as always, and as always I’m filled with ideas about both how to do audiovisual digital preservation better. But also I’m filled with ideas on how to do conferences better. Like mentioned at the end, this conference could not be done without everyone who volunteers their time: organizers, hosts, sponsors (along with $$$, time too), our program designer, our many volunteers...
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Weeks 9, 10, 11 at Recurse Center

Where did I go? As mentioned in the last post, I definitely started to fall off the blogging wagon in this last quarter of Recurse Center, which (after a lot of reflection have concluded) is for a few reasons, and here they are: (As I mentioned last time) my brain feels very very full. I am still lamenting this a lot; I began to have a lot of fatigue from the constant learning and pushing...
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Weeks 7 and 8 at Recurse Center

Well, did I fall off the blogging wagon? Two weeks ago was Never Graduate Week at Recurse Center, which means alums get to return to the space and there’s a lot of activity, a LOT more people, and just a lot of everything more. I feel like I spent around half of this time rolling around in this “a lot-ness” (!!Con was also this week) and half of it quietly resting. And last week, we...
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Week 6 at Recurse Center: Halfway point!

“Stay true to your course, despite the visible obstacles ahead.” Started this week struggling to understand where I belong, in physical space and in my personal and professional lives (which, as every practicing archivist knows, are often very closely intertwined in a way that isn’t healthy). I feel like I fit into this space that I’m in now, which is rare, but where do I fit, long-term, after this? I’m at a juncture where I...
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Mapping the planets with Rust+WebAssembly+JavaScript+Canvas

I wanted to think of a small-ish project I could work on that uses Rust, WebAssembly, and JavaScript. One of the projects I thought would be fun to make while here at RC is something that gives the ability for people to map out where all the planets were in relation to Our Spaceship Earth on the day they were born. (This is like, an astrology thing, which I don’t really throw down with, but...
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Week 5 at Recurse Center

Started off this week feeling not-so-good about myself, like I was just running waist-deep in mud, just trying to move forward but feeling so stuck. On Tuesday I made the very-good decision to break from my overarching goal (which had led me into video decoders and web assembly) and make a PBCore2.1 validator, which took only a small amount of time to produce good and useful results. I moved on from there into doing a...
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The Story of Goldilocks and the Three WebAssembly Libraries

💁 🐻 🍨 🐻 🍨 🐻 🍨 🙆 I’ve had some starts-and-stops trying to learn Rust and also learn WebAssembly and work with chaos-language JavaScript. Everything’s quite new, so I have been trying to find something that is not out of date, but also not too new that the features aren’t quite where I need them to be yet, which is stable enough to perform basic operations and be sure that the problem is not...
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Week 4 of 12 at Recurse Center

Feelings! Feelings! Feelings! Now that I’m (woefully) 1/3th of my way through this experience, I am trying to reflect on the choices that I make each day and how they contribute (or don’t contribute) to my overall goals as a person. I don’t want to spend all my time thinking “Does this help me?” but I am trying to choose tutorials or projects that will help benefit me long-term. This is useful all the time,...
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Rust Study Group Notes

Editors note: Something I love so much about Recurse Center is the amazing, interesting, knowledgeable people in this space. I initiated a study group to learn more about Rust and here are the notes from the first gathering. Meta-note, this is more for our benefit than for yours, the general public, but I hope it may be useful for casual browsers, potentially, so I am posting a modified version here instead of purely in a...
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What does audiovisual compression look like?

This week, I’m thinking about this question: What does audiovisual compression look like? Can it be visualized? Turns out the answer is (update: meehhhhh?), and it’s pretty easy to do, and it’s actually not all that interesting. Y’know, “It is different now exactly in places you expect.” But I wanted to stick with it and try to make it interesting anyway, so here is what I did. TOP POST: I stick this down at the...
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