New: Video Theatre

The Ratburger Video Theatre is now open!  You can find direct links to the Theatre page from the Activity tab in the main menu at the top of the page or from the “Meta” widget in the sidebar at the right (or bottom of the page for narrow-screen devices such as mobile phones and tablets).  The Video Theatre page provides directly-embedded videos from an eclectic collection of YouTube channels which are frequently updated, so you’ll usually see something new every day.  The initial set of channels were selected from those to which I subscribe and reflect my own interests.  Please suggest worthy channels in the comments and I’ll add them.  Channels which are only infrequently updated aren’t suitable for the Video Theatre format, nor those with material unkeeping with the tone of the site (for example, those laced with obscenities).  At present, due to how the Theatre is implemented, only videos on YouTube can be shown; I have no way to determine the most recent video for channels hosted on other sites.

The Video Theatre is updated with the latest videos from the channels listed twice a day, at 08:00 and 20:00 UTC—the date and time of the last update is shown at the bottom right of the embedded page.  I may make the updates more frequent once I’m confident I’ve navigated around the submerged crags of YouTube’s data query API quota system, which is bewilderingly opaque.

Getting a link to the most recent video posted on a YouTube channel is remarkably difficult.  Older channels have a “user name” which permits retrieving the latest video with a simple URL request, but most channels now have just a “Channel ID” which looks something like “UCYeF244yNGuFefuFKqxIAXw”.  To get a link to the latest video you have to create a Google Account, open an API Project, add the YouTube Data API, generate an access credential (API Key or [shudder] OAuth 2.0 key pair), compose a query to the site with all of this information, send it via HTTP, wait for the reply which is encoded in JSON format, parse the JSON into a data structure, and finally dig the nuggets of information you need to link to the actual video from the structure.  And then you have to worry about exceeding your quota for API requests, which is imposed both upon the number of requests per day and the request rate per second.  For the hideously gnarly details, see the Updates group post for 2019-03-09.


Author: John Walker

Founder of, Autodesk, Inc., and Marinchip Systems. Author of The Hacker's Diet. Creator of

One thought on “New: Video Theatre”

Leave a Reply