Category Archives: Productivity

Automatic music video

Much to my surprise, I have come to realise that YouTube is used by many for music listening. That’s too bad, as I don’t know much about making videos.

For a few songs, i used iMovie to cut together some footage and text. See for example From the bottle below

But making these was a bit tedious, especially when it’s the music and not the video that interests me.

So, after some surfing, I ended up with this little script using ffmpeg

ffmpeg -i "The Stage (v1.01).mp3" -i ../cover.jpg -filter_complex "nullsrc=size=1280x768 [base]; [1:v] setpts=PTS-STARTPTS ,scale=768x768 [cover]; [0:a] showwaves=s=512x768:mode=cline [sw]; [base][sw]overlay=x=768 [tmp1]; [tmp1][cover]overlay=x=0 [out]" -map "[out]" -map a:0 -c:v libx264 -shortest -crf 18 -c:a copy "The Stage (v1.01).mkv"

That yields the following video


ffmpeg -i "Beneath the snow (v1.01).mp3" -i ../cover.jpg -filter_complex "nullsrc=size=1280x768 [base]; [1:v] setpts=PTS-STARTPTS ,scale=768x768 [cover]; [0:a]showspectrum=mode=combined:slide=scroll:color=intensity:scale=cbrt:s=512x768[sw]; [base][sw]overlay=x=768 [tmp1]; [tmp1][cover]overlay=x=0 [out]" -map "[out]" -map a:0 -c:v libx264 -shortest -crf 18 -c:a copy "Beneath the snow (v1.01).mkv"

that generated this one

There are more possibilities for using ffmpeg and generating music visualisation, but I found these two to be the simplest to use. This is perfect for us nerdy musicians that want to be able to script all boring stuff out of our lives 🙂

(note that the script does not transcode the music, it leaves it as is = good thing)

The wonderful, false, feeling of accomplishment

$ROPEVEJI bet you all know it. This feeling of having something done. Finished a task. Tied up the loose ends. It’s so gratifying that its almost addictive and I am enjoying it now. In fact, so much that I actually think I have time to write this post. In reality though, I don’t actually know if I have the time or if I should be doing something completely different.

It’s not like I have endless choices at the moment. Currently I am somewhere over Greenland trying to spot polar bears out the window (not much success I might add) on my way to a meeting in the U.S., and as I always do on these flight I clean up my inbox. And I am done!

There are only three emails left in the inbox, all of which are trivial and will be easily taken care of once I get my internet connection back. It will only take me minutes.  Life is good.

Or is it?

I use a GTD-kind of system that is constantly evolving to manage my tasks and what I’ve done now while passing half of the Atlantic, is to read these emails, answer the trivial ones and putting the bigger ones somewhere else with an action attached to them, in either my notebook or OneNote together with all the other actions I have piled up since earlier. So what have I accomplished really?

An empty inbox means that all correspondence is kept moving. I’m not stopping anything from happening, at least nothing I can trivially keep moving. This is a really good thing as being responsive is extremely important. I have accomplished an empty inbox so I should be happy with myself. It’s a good thing to do and I should do it more often. 

Am I done? 

Not even close.. What I have now is an un-prioritized list of actions in a couple of places (I want it like that.. more on that some other time). I don’t really know how big some of these actions are so I have no real clue of how much effort there is left.

But one thing I can do. I can check off my “empty the inbox” checkbox and feel secure that there is no major thing that I am not aware of waiting as an ugly surprise in there and that leaves me with a sense of control that feels really good. Now it’s just a matter of execution to do all the things I have lined up.. so I guess this post is over and I am going to jump into actually doing some more not-so-productive work, namely prioritize and continue my structured procrastination.

Sleepless in San Diego


It’s been a couple of days since I landed here in San Diego. It’s 8 hours time difference to Sweden, something that normally isn’t that big of a problem, but it’s now 3:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep.

The reason for not being able to sleep is of course to some extent the time difference, but also brain has gone hyperactive in work mode for some reason and is finding all the issues I have and somehow trying to solve them. Even if I don’t want to. And that means no sleep.

So what to do? 

I decided to stop trying to sleep and go to work. And not just go to work, but go where the brain wanted to go. I took the largest, unfinished project I am working on, the one that got stuck in my head and, without knowing at all where to go with it, just started working. I wrote emails, slides, drew up plans and just focused.

An couple of hours later I was done. There was nothing more to do. A final report had been drafted, work had been assigned to those I needed to assign it to and meetings booked. The brain was happy and I was happy and could finally go to sleep for a short while before it was time to get up and go to work.

The phenomena I experienced is probably the one of the brain not liking to have too many open loops at the same time, and the solution was simple. Just do the task instead of thinking about doing it. 

Now, why don’t I do that more often?