Saturday, January 9 2021

streaming, shrieking, hash, and cribbage

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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everyone. Hope you had a wonderful weekend so far. This evening I'm posted up with my laptop at the couch. The Super Nintendo controllers are sloppily coiled up in front of the TV from when Rodney and I were playing each other in Street Fighter. Naturally, he calls it Beat the Crap. Street Fighter, or Beat the Crap, is a great game to play with a four year old boy because there's no wrong way to play it, so long as you are wildly mashing buttons.

Sip. How has the weekend been? We've kept things pretty low key. I was supposed to make a pizza last night, but I ended up working a little late. How could I possibly do that on a Friday? Well, it started innocently enough. I was looking into an issue with our infrastructure vault in the staging environment, which led me to experimenting with it, which inevitably caused me to break it. And I couldn't just leave it broken over the weekend. By the time I slithered out of my dark office, it was already 5:30. The pizza dough wouldn't have been done with its bulk rise by 7:00, and we wouldn't be cutting into an actual meal until well past 8.

"Papa John's?" suggested Marissa from a reclined position on the couch.

"Works for me," I laughed. Rodney and I filled the time with a few rounds of Street Fighter.

This morning after throwing together some breakfast, I excused myself upstairs for my very first programming live stream. Although I was certain almost nobody would watch, the though of sending audio and video straight to the internet with no editing made me a little nervous.

I adjusted my webcam. I checked my audio. I opened up my code. A few curious acquaintances from Facebook trickled in. I thought I was clear for take off until Marissa called up from the living room - "something's messed up."

Defeated, I terminated the stream and played back the footage. From the get-go it was a humbling dumpster fire. My recorded voice sounded like a squirrel trapped in a metal garbage can. Two smaller versions of my head, superimposed, floated ominously over a pixelated view of my desktop. I aspired to be the Bob Ross of writing code, but the first iteration was the exact opposite - hellish and unnerving.

I did some quick research and figured out how to continue the stream using Zoom. It wasn't the cozy and crisp experience I had imagined, but it was good enough to get on with writing code. After about a half hour in, I found my rhythm and stopped thinking about the fact that I was being recorded.

Technical difficulties aside, I had such a good time. I came down the stairs feeling energized and inspired to figure out how to make the time more entertaining for people. I've also earned a new respect for streaming. Going into this I thought streaming would just be something I started doing, not something I'd need to learn how to do well. Resolution, bitrate, desktop sharing, and on top of it all making sure that the stream gets published to the right channels at the same time - it's an interesting challenge.