Automate the Tedious Stuff

One of my responsibilities at my day job is maintaining this page.

It goes back through 2014

You might think it’s ugly now but it used to be like the rest of our site — an infinite bulleted list of text links.

This responsibility includes running the 1-2 GB raw video through Premiere and uploading a more reasonably sized WMV to the server. While I’m in Premiere, I find a nice frame to use as a thumbnail. Then, I cut the third cell from each row, pasting it in the next row because they want them descending order. Often enough, this tedious task includes rework because I paste the cells incorrectly so a row has too few or too many. Every month, there are, of course, additional rows. Adding those “year banners” helped but I only just thought of that, like, a few weeks ago.

After two years, I decided I’d had enough and wrote the script below. First thing I had to do, however, was win an ongoing battle to convince The Powers That Be the videos did not need to be embedded in a Storyline course to be tracked in our “LMS” so we’d know how many people were watching them and if it was worth our time and effort. That process didn’t work for two reasons:

  • The videos are too big for Storyline, our crap “LMS” or both
  • So we started creating the course in the “LMS” increasing the already unreasonably high number of clicks required
  • Multiple clicks just to watch a video followed by multiple clicks to complete a single-question assessment serving as an Acknowledgement (which they never actually do) is far too cumbersome for the user. The process to create that single-question assessment in our “LMS” is the most cumbersome part of dev and maintenance.
  • There’s Google Analytics for tracking

Once the videos were freed from having to be an “e-learning” course and were now available on-demand, I changed all of their names from things like “Patricia_Carroll_PHS_guidelineForAndSoOn_July17_2015.wmv” to “071715” and stored them in a single directory so I could do this …



Now every month all I have to do is add the date to the array on line 5. Once a year I’ll add the year to the array on line 3. This script saves me a ridiculous amount of time.

This also means users click just once, not nine (yes nine) times to watch a video.


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