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Automated Work Recordings with OBS Studio and TaskWarrior and TimeWarrior (cristian.io)
82 points by knur on June 3, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

Here's an article that outlines how recording yourself write code can help with improving productivity: https://malisper.me/how-to-improve-your-productivity-as-a-wo....

> Watching Myself Code

> One incredibly useful exercise I’ve found is to watch myself program. Throughout the week, I have a program running in the background that records my screen. At the end of the week, I’ll watch a few segments from the previous week. Usually I will watch the times that felt like it took a lot longer to complete some task than it should have. While watching them, I’ll pay attention to specifically where the time went and figure out what I could have done better. When I first did this, I was really surprised at where all of my time was going.

> For example, previously when writing code, I would write all my code for a new feature up front and then test all of the code collectively. When testing code this way, I would have to isolate which function the bug was in and then debug that individual function. After watching a recording of myself writing code, I realized I was spending about a quarter of the total time implementing the feature tracking down which functions the bugs were in! This was completely non-obvious to me and I wouldn’t have found it out without recording myself. Now that I’m aware that I spent so much time isolating which function a bugs are in, I now test each function as I write it to make sure they work. This allows me to write code a lot faster as it dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes to debug my code.

The main benefit comes from review. If you review the slow parts then you notice the patterns that slowed you down.

I would be very concerned with the "upload to YouTube" part.

Even private videos on YouTube can still be accessed by their engineers and might get exposed to the public in case of a bug.

Especially as a developer you most likely have access to confidential things, whether it's code (that could reveal internals of the business you're working for, or a very efficient algorithm that can be considered a trade secret and the company would want to protect it) or secrets (API keys, etc) that might be temporarily displayed on the screen while you're copy/pasting them around.

Okay, then just don't configure it. It's not like it's going to go there in one click from a clean install.

Nice for self development, but in the wrong hands this looks like a Taylorist micromanager's wet dream.

I believe stuff like this already exists on some of those freelancing platforms

Many devs on Upwork report having to install either a Chrome plugin that tracks all browsing activity or a full-on desktop monitoring suite that tracks everything they do while they are "on the clock". It's Orwellian.

I never used the service, but I guess this is to avoid extreme cases. I guess the record are used in case of litigation, not to meet a fixed level of performance (aren't Upwork workers independent contractors, anyway?) .

Also, saving the work methods of people certainly has value for later analysis, but I'm not sure how much it breaks workers' intellectual properties.

One thing I've been looking into is automated time dilation. I get that part of the thing with these sorts of screencasts is waiting for the host to think; but a lot of the time things are resolved with documentation instead. If you spend ten minutes waiting for the host to find the right documentation, it may not be the greatest.

Right. I've been thinking about how to solve that. One possibility, although it's very manual, is to mark those idle times and then tell my processing program to either chop those bits or making them run faster.

Another option is to just detect when I'm not speaking, or typing.

> I find it funny that all of the videos have Copyright complaints, because I listen to a lot of music while coding.

Pretty ridiculous especially with private videos. I would definitely shop the upload to YouTube part if I tried this.

Nah, perfectly reasonable. “Private” doesn’t mean that copyright ceases to apply; you’re still distributing a work.

I love this. Thanks for sharing. I've been streaming myself and recording myself doing something always makes me narrate it through, when you are alone without a camera this feeling of having to "talk yourself through" is not there. This can of course easily be abused by a micro manager but uploading it as a private YT video, never thought of that.

Thanks for sharing, this is the stuff I browse HN for.

This is interesting. Have you noticed any practical effects on your workflow or productivity?

Yeah... basically it forces you to be "more serious". Those moments when I want to check Mastodon, or my personal email, or my RSS feed, I just stop and think: what if I need to share this with a fellow coworker (unlikely, but the thought is there).

It also forces me to think out loud which I found it useful because it helps me improve the way I would communicate my thought process to someone else.

I would also like to know if this can improve productivity. Watching me coding is the most boring thing I can think of so I doubt I would actually ever go back to those videos - I guess it’s more of a physiological trick

Taskwarrior sounds really interesting. I built my own pomodoro timer which has similar functionality, but it is browser-based and sometimes gets in the way.

If you would just like to track how you spend your time, ManicTime is a good, off-line first solution.

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