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Sheep and Sisyphus – The Toils of a Data Wrangler

As we loaded the van in Bournemouth ready to head off to Chalke Valley, the guy behind the kit desk gave a knowing chuckle when I told him I was to be data wrangler at the festival this year. ‘It’s a fancy name for the poor sod who sits in a dark room transferring files’. Blinded by my hubris, I laughed him off, oblivious to the truth of his words.

It wasn’t entirely true of course, there was no dark room. Just a very hot tent. In a field. There were sheep.

The major challenge I faced was storing the footage in a way that allowed me to later find specific files which needed to be passed on to our editors. This was crucial because over the course of the week I ingested over 10,000 files into the system. The recipient of these files was a hulking external hard drive sat next to me, which I affectionately christened Tobias.

Tobias and the backup hard drive, his son Toby Jr.

Anyway, the system I developed revolved around the file names – I put enough information in the names of the files I was transferring that I could easily find them again. The format I used was day_project_equipment_name and it worked really well. Using equipment as a variable rather than merely camera/sound allowed for the fact that people would often use different cameras filming the same project. Adding their name at the end further helped avoid confusion as to who filmed what.

I set out a portion of the table where people could fill out the relevant information on sticky notes, which they could then attach to their SD Cards and leave for me to ingest. Another feature which saved my life was the ability to mass-rename files (Press F2 with the files selected), saving valuable time in the transfers.

If this is sounding a little boring to you, it’s because it was. Once I had the system figured out it was just a matter of clicking and dragging files across from one folder to another.

What made it interesting is that in amongst this constant stream of transfers, I also had to review all the footage coming in and cut the best of it together into daily roundups. Each day around 5pm the pressure set in to meet the 8 o’clock deadline and I would enter an almost zen-like focus, shaped by the stresses and pressure of the task at hand. Anyone foolish enough to disturb me was met with primeval grunts and a look I didn’t know my face was capable of making. If anyone from the team is reading this I can only apologise.

BUT, I got them done, in the later half of the week helped by the brilliant Naomi. Each day, when the dust had finally settled as I hit that export button, I would look over and see the pile of SD Cards waiting for me to ingest. My very own version of Sysiphus’s toil.

*sad violin music*


Adding Analytics to WordPress

This is somewhat for my own reference, but if anyone else on the course (or wider internet) wants to know how to manually add Google Analytics to your WordPress site. Now whilst there are widgets to do this, as our resident code guru Kyle says, it’s good to get an idea of how it all works (Shoutout to my main man Kyle, if you’re somehow reading this). So, this being my first tutorial on here, lets give it a go:

  • Read this sentence.
  • Sign up for Google Analytics, it should the give you a code which looks like this:

  • Download Filezilla – a program which links your computer to the virtual one your server is hosted on – think of it as a slightly more complicated flash drive. Open it up and you’ll want to focus on this top bar for the moment:

  • Here’s what you type in for each box –

Host: sftp://YOUR_WEBSITES_IP  (e.g., making sure you don’t include the http://)

Username: root

Password: (Your website’s password)

Port: 22 (I don’t know why, I’m just following orders)

  • If you successfully fill this in, your client should look something like this:

  • Now, you’ve got two sections – ‘Local site’ is your computer and ‘Remote site’ is your server’s virtual one. If you’ve got this far, you can now treat it like a normal flash drive – just drag and drop between them. Now it’s time to add the analytics code.
  • On the remote site, click the little minus next to the folder at the very top – this will bring you up and out of all the folders to the main one. From there you need to go through these folders:
  • var→www→html→wp-content→themes – once in the ‘themes’ folder, find the folder with the name for the theme you are currently using on WordPress and open it up.
  • Inside it there will be a file called ‘footer.php’ which you need to click and drag into you Local site (make sure you know where it will be saved there, by selecting a relevant folder in Local site).
  • Open this up (I use Brackets but you can use whatever coding software you like) and scroll to the bottom, where you’re gonna paste your analytics code (Above the </body> line). If you’ve done it correctly, it should look something like this:

  • Now save the file and click+drag it back into Remote Site – boom, you’ve got yourself some analytics.
  • Yes I did just use boom unironically.
  • And there you go, you should be able to now go on Google Analytics and see how/when people are using your site.

Side note:

If you want to change it so that you don’t affect the analytics when you visit to post stuff, you just need to add these lines of code above and below your analytics stuff:

Above – <?php if(!is_user_logged_in()): ?>

Below – <?php endif; ?>

Like so: