Monday, August 28, 2023

Download the Things You Love

Matt Birchler:

Anyway, I linked to the show’s Wikipedia page because the original episodes are no longer available to download from the official source (here’s an archived version). Happily, a kind soul has recently uploaded many episodes to YouTube, but that’s just lucky, and those aren’t guaranteed to be eternal either.


This applies to other things as well. There are little internet videos from the pre-YouTube days that I think about and would love to see again, but can’t. There are versions of songs that you can’t get on streaming services. There are just some things I remember from years ago that I can’t see again, and that’s a shame.

Things on the internet can be forever, but you can’t assume someone else will keep them going[…]

I wrote an app for that, though the focus is more on saving Web pages, documents, and mail archives than media files. Now there’s lots of likely ephemeral audio and video available, and storage has advanced such that it actually is practical to store what you want to keep.

Glenn Fleishman:

Buying two 12TB drives (and configuring them as RAID1 mirrors) reminds me that I own nearly half a million times as much storage as I did in 1990.

I’ve been using Downcast to download local copies of podcasts. It still has problems, probably due to sandboxing, if I let it accumulate more than a few months of episodes. But I don’t want to store a lot on my Mac’s internal SSD, anyway, so I periodically rsync them to an EagleFiler library on an external drive and delete them from the app.

For videos and one-off audio downloads, I like Downie and the unofficial WWDC app.


Update (2023-08-30): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2023-09-01): Marc:

Many podcasts I recall from ~15 years are no longer available. So I wrote a tool to archive shows in a neat folder structure (using Visual Studio for Mac, ironically) and run it regularly for shows I think I might want to keep.


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To this end, I find yt-dlp invaluable.


Another Anonymous Scurvy Dog

Yarrr indeed, anon

I originally became a pirate in the 2000s because I was a broke college student, and a lot of the stuff I wanted to watch wasn't available any other way. (Especially international TV shows.) I also realized just how great it was that I could just browse through an organized list of all of my media and just watch it whenever I wanted. I used a modded Xbox to be able to watch my whole media library on my TV back in 2004, well before most anyone realized what the future was going to be. But I knew this was the future.

I figured when streaming services would finally land, it would deliver the experience I wanted and I wouldn't need to go through the hassle of being a pirate any longer. But alas, no.

Nowadays I'm a pirate because it's the only way to actually be in control of my media. You know, the stuff that comprises nearly all of the artistic and creative output of our whole culture -- for better or for worse.

With DVDs nearly dead and everything happening through streaming now, it means that media and tech companies get to control exactly what you're allowed to watch, where, and when. And they've already demonstrated that they will abuse this for their own purposes every step of the way.

It might be your favorite TV show suddenly getting yanked off one streaming platform in order to force you to subscribe to another.

It might be your favorite episode getting pulled because suddenly it's been deemed politically incorrect in a constantly shifting and moving landscape of what is considered permissible and what isn't.

It might be your favorite musician or podcast evaporating from your library because they negotiated a new contract.

It might be your favorite movie getting yanked completely, for no discernible reason at all, and now you can't watch it, period.

In any case, whatever it is, no one asked you if this is what you wanted. It's not up to you, or me, or any of the little people. The companies get to decide. They rule us.

Or... you can pirate everything so that you have your own digital hard copies of it. It's now yours forever. (Issues with failing hard disks aside.)

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