One great thing about computers is that they can be programmed to do things that are repetitive and boring. I try to look around in my life to see what things I can get a computer to do for me, so that I don’t have to do it myself.
Today’s case is scheduling weekly YouTube live streams for my church. Every week someone’s got to schedule the live streams for the upcoming weekend. They look like this:
So you might be thinking, this seems pretty trivial, like it’s just a few clicks to schedule this in YouTube. It can’t take more than 10 minutes. And that’s true, but it’s still straightforward and repetitive. Having to figure out which Sunday is coming up, copying and pasting and ensuring the correct dates and times are replaced in the live stream text, and making sure the scheduled dates and times are correct can become tedious work. And it’s the same procedure week after week: the type of processing that computers love to do.
Sure there are other ways to optimize this process, like batching it to create maybe two or more weeks at a time. However, from a viewer’s perspective it can also be confusing when there are a bunch of upcoming live streams that need to be scrolled through. For the purposes of this project, the optimal frequency is to have one set of upcoming live streams visible at any time, and that means having the computer schedule the next set of live streams once every week.
So let’s get the computer to do this. I’m going to split up this blog post into two parts:
I haven’t had time to work on many side projects lately. I think I generally am most effective at programming when I have a long stretch of uninterrupted time (on the order of a few hours or more at a time), and I have found the same at work. These long stretches of time are difficult to find these days.
However this was one opportunity that came up this week. Many of my side projects are born from automating repetitive manual tasks, and this was one of those.