A Shiny New Edible Garden Project Site

From the Forgotten to Blog Department. And also filed in Last Site That Gets Updated is My Own division. About a year ago, Keira connected me with the folks at the Edible Garden Project (EGP) in Vancouver, who were looking to redo their web site. Check out the site at http://ediblegardenproject.com

In calendar time it took about a year to get from old to new, some of it my schedule getting in the and sometimes the EGP folks were busy, but the thing was, this bothered neither of us. It was great working with Emily and her team, they brought a lot to the table in terms of what they said they wanted in a new site. There were some logistical steps to jump through before we even got to the pretty stuff.

This is the original site, which is now residing at http://archive.ediblegardenproject.com/ (my web fetish, keep a history alive);
Continue reading →

Creative Commons Attributor: Now With License Link

I was roaming around my dashboard and found a 6 month old post lingering in the draft. I am not even sure why it was left in the draft drawer). Oh well.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by hawkexpress

I do not think I have ever finished a coding project. That does not bother me.

Thanks for the positive feedback on the new flickr creative commons attribution tool. I’ve been using it a lot myself, after all that is who I made this for.

Apparently someone else has a similar tool. They got boing-boing-ed. That’s cool.

And apparently flickr has made some changes already, going back to displaying the actual license with icons, and moving the info to a more primary area.

I did get a comment from Dr Klaus Graf suggesting that proper adherence to the license means providing a direct link to the license.

That is now available; I just changed the output slightly to the first part (that mentions the license) links to it and the second link (on flickr photo) links to the photo.

And guess what? Since all the work is done on an HTML file hosted on github, you do not need to change anything; the same bookmarklet generates the updated code. Gosh, I think I might be clever-ish.

So if you have a bookmarklet, just keep using it. And new attributions have the new format. If you have not tried it yet, just make your own tool at http://cogdog.github.io/flickr-cc-helper/

new helper

I am not quite sure if I should add the license link to the text attribution. I bet Dr Graf would say YES, it just seems to be a long chunk. I guess if the link is at the end, you could delete it. Or I could make it an option when you make a bookmark.

I can make these changes… cause its my code. And if you want it do something else/different- fork it baby.

Back to First Internet Friend Visit

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Last night, in 2014, Tim and I sat in his living room in Eugene reminiscing how we first connected. We both are fuzzy on the timing, but are pretty sure it was 1994.

And it was via the internet. No apps. mobile devices, social networks. It was via a listserv.

Alan and Tim conversation.

Around this time I was active doing multimedia in Macromedia Director, and where I hung out, learned, and shared was the Direct-L listserv. Tim was a counselor at Lane Community College, interested in creating some multimedia tutorials and also curious about this new “web” thing. I guess I might have answered some of his questions in Direct-L, but the part was I had a connection with a colleague at another community college (I was in my first years at the Maricopa Community Colleges).

It would have been around 1994, my second year on the job, that I was already bored of academic conferences. I proposed to my boss an idea to use my travel money instead to do some site visits with other community colleges, and so rigged a trip to the Northwest. I had lined up visits at Seattle Community College, Green River Community College, and Lane.

Note: The only records I might have would be an archive of my old Maricopa email or maybe the Direct-L Archives- the ones online only go back to July 1997, but at home on an old hard drive I think I have copies from when I ran Director Web

So here was the thing. Tim and I had set up my visit and made plans to meet in Eugene. It was not until I was shaking his hand that it struck me that we had never even talked on the phone; all of our communication had been online.

Of course in 2014, this is not remarkable. In 1994, where I relied on payphones and paper maps to travel… it was outlandish.

Tim and I became friends, when he attended the League for Innovation Conference in Phoenix in 1996, I planned a road trip and we visited Lees Ferry and Zion National Park together. My family at the time did a road trip in maybe 1995? to Washington and Oregon and visited Tim in Eugene. He came through Phoenix in 2005 and got to spend a night in Strawberry (when we had the place maybe just 3 years)- here he is standing on my favorite spot of the Mogollon Rim.

Tim on the Rim

In November 2009 I had an NMC meeting in Portland, and flew in early to drive down to Eugene and visit Tim. Not too many photos, some of a hike on Ridgeline Trail, but always liked this autumn shot framed from his guest room window (where I just stayed 2 nights ago)

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It was that first meeting experience that set in motion was is sort of my hobby, of getting a chance through my own or work related travel, to get to visit my colleagues in their homes. This was the premise of my 2011 Odyssey, I’ve stayed with folks all around the US, Canada, and in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

I maybe have stayed at 100 different homes.

The specialness of this experience leads me back to a visual from 2011, at the home of Cindy Jennings in South Carolina

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Our connection was through blogs and twitter and being mutual fans of Gardner Campbell, yet it was still a thing when someone with whom you’ve had only “met” online says yes when he says, “Can I visit and stay in your home?” (Hey Sandy, look at that, punctuation INSIDE the quotes!)

It was that moment sitting at Cindy’s dining room table, having met her husband, son, dog, eaten her food, that it struck me how much it elevated the connective experience, but also blurred that boundary of “online/f2f”. It was powerful to be someone’s home space, to see the things they surrounded themselves with, their gardens, their bookshelves, their bathrooms (!). They have extended their personal space to me. It amplifies the next connective encounters online.

Without really listing it, having these opportunities is one of my favorite things to do.

And it makes those dismissive attitude about online relationships that much weaker.

And so it was with great appreciation last night to return to the place and person it started with. Thanks Tim!

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It’s not all old stuff. I got to see the house Tim and his wife are having renovated. We figure that I might be the last guest in their house in the woods and if I return in March, might be the first in their new place.

Full circle and then some.

Gone Figuring

modified from Pixabay public domain image

modified from Pixabay public domain image

I’ve flip flopped countless times on whether to publish this, and you may never know if the coin toss lands the last time on “no”. In fact, I bailed on it last night, but the damned thing keeps gnawing at me.

I waver because it sounds a bit petty, defensive, and or combative. And it’s none of those (well petty is always a possibility). The point is not even the point described below, but for me, in thinking through this, I have a minuscule taste of the other side of the privilege that comes with being a white male (a state of matter I can’t change).

With my spate of travel I am mostly getting the outer swirls of #Gamergate from second hand comments and references. The outfall of this is beyond ugly, and when things go from rudeness to physical threats and abuse, things have crossed a line into evil territory. Trying to get to an understanding is hard, I gave Deadspin’s comprehensive The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate one read, and that leaves me still wondering if I “get it”.

This was triggered by a small, what I would guess is a throwaway, vented expression by Audrey Watters in her recent Hack Education Weekly News story Yes, #Gamergate is an Ed-Tech Issue.

I have no disagreement that we (the collective us) have not been paying nearly enough attention to the unfairness and abuse women and other non white non males face in the online spaces. We don’t usually see it, so many can dismiss it as non existent. Yet the more we hear, the more it seems there is more we do not hear. Even more than more.

So to say it is an Ed-Tech issues is a statement worth reverberating and the points raised are ones Ed-Tech practitioners need to chew on. As well the ones stated by John Spencer.

Yet the statement “is an issue” to me has some ambiguity… “is an issue” that Ed-Tech should be more vocal and acting on, hell yes, but to some “is an issue” to some means perhaps limited to or a direct effect of. #Gamergate is an issue way beyond Ed-tech, and even beyond tech; it is, as much as racial issues, much deeper set in our social fabric that we’d tend to believe.

So maybe I want to have a conversation about what it means to be an issue, not to discount that it’s an issue.

Yet this jumps out me, a parenthetical that I see as understandable as a lash out but really not necessary to Audrey’s point.

And I insist that this is an education technology issue. I received some pushback on Twitter last night (from men, go figure) when I made this assertion and asked why ed-tech publications have been so silent on the topic of this ongoing campaign of threats and harassment against women.

This means, if I felt like pushing back, well… go figure. I’m a man.

Got nothing to say. Go figure.

I had pondered recently some twitter discussions from (I think) Mariana Funes and Frances Bell about people feeling silenced online. I did not doubt it but struggled to connect to an experience I could relate.

Got one.

Actually two.

A while back, trying to again parse through a lot of things to get an understanding of #ferguson, I read a strongly expressed opinion I really had some disagreement with their argument. I wanted to engage perhaps in a disagreement or discussion, yet I stopped. How could I contradict, the author, self identified as African American, without being thought of as a white critic?

So I chose not to comment.

Silenced. Go figure.

But the thing is, no one told be to be silent, and my reactions are purely imagined. I have doubt Audrey would call me a misogynist (a word I cannot even pronounce or spell without copying from elsewhere) nor do I really know the author of the #ferguson piece reject my disagreement based on my race.

It’s in my head.

As they say on some social media platform, it’s complicated. It’s f*****ing complicated.

I’m not looking for Audrey to defend the “go figure” statement, it was in the moment. I am actually appreciative to try on this overly tiny feeling of not having a voice. It dwarfs in comparison to what many others deal with.

And before any of this gets better, if it does, it likely needs to get uglier and more truthful.

I have heard more stories from colleagues who have dealt with ugly attacks I have never been “privileged” with. It’s pretty damned rampant. I’ve accepted it happens, but am feeling like I have completely underestimated the size and reach of the hydra.

It should not, and maybe now will start to… cannot be ignored.

Let’s go figure…

Whatever Happened to Whatever Happened to Instructional Technology?

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC ) flickr photo shared by QuestionMark

Has anyone jumped any chasms lately? Once again, the associative trails in my cerebral memex fired off this morning. Via a tweet from Karen Fasimpaur, I watched Wes Fryer’s metaphor rich keynote Igniting Innovation in Teaching and Learning

At 2:41 Wes introduced the Technology Adoption Curve, the notion based on Everett Rodgers Diffusion of Innovation work that there are different groups of people in terms of the way they adopt new technologies.

It got me thinking about a writer in the early or mid 1990s, I was pretty sure he worked with or was affiliated with IBM, and maybe his name was William, who had written a lot about how this was applied to instructional technology, but what he spoke of, and missing from the image that Wes showed, was what missing was the “chasm” between the innovators/early adopters and the larger number of people in the Early Majority

From 7 Storytelling Reasons Why Innovation Fails; Google search says it's licensed from reuse, I cant find license.

From 7 Storytelling Reasons Why Innovation Fails; Google search says it’s licensed from reuse, I cant find license.

My first searches failed

crossing the chasm rogers innovation "William"

crossing the chasm rogers innovation "education"

Then I went into Google Scholar seeking the reference to Roger’s work as a citation:

"citations" "Diffusion of innovations"

And got it when I limited the scope of search between 1993 and 1998. Bingo! Here is the winner:

Geoghegan, Willian (1994) Whatever Happened to Instructional Technology? Paper presented at the 22nd Annual Conference of the International Business Schools Computing Association

The paper is still available as a Word doc download from University of Southamption ePrints Soton.

And hah, they have a typo in his name, it’s William H. Geoghegan from IBM Academic Consulting. I actually remember co=-presenting with him at a conference in maybe Vancouver in the late 1990s.

This paper is from 1994 and quite revealing and relevant (in some ways sadly) 20 freaking years later). The abstract:

During the last decade and a half, American higher education has invested about 70 Billion Dollars in information technology goods and services, as much as 20 Billion Dollars of which has gone to the support of teaching and learning. But despite the size of this investment in instructional technology, numerous examples of innovative and successful instructional applications, and a growing comfort level with technology among both faculty and students, instructional technology has not been widely adopted by faculty, nor has it become deeply integrated into the curriculum. By some estimates, no more than five percent of faculty utilize information technology in their teaching as anything more than a “high tech” substitute for blackboard and chalk, overhead projectors, and photocopied handouts. Promising innovations rarely propagate beyond the innovators themselves. This paper examines the broad range of factors that underlie the failure of instructional technology to penetrate the curriculum more widely than it has. Particular attention is paid to the social barriers that impede the diffusion and adoption of promising innovations in instructional technology, and to the unintended manner in which well-meaning efforts to support the development and diffusion of instructional technology by IT support organizations and technology vendors have frequently undermined adoption by mainstream faculty.

The numbers and technologies have changed, but I’m seeing the same issues Geoghegan described in 1994 as not changing much in 2014. It fits what Brian Lamb and Jim Groom pitched in their Reclaiming Innovation Educause Review article as what has been missed in all of the money spent on vendor products and systems — investing in people.

At this point I am pretty much going to grab quotes from the 1994 article add my sarcastic comments. It’s illuminating and eerie.

The advent of digital computers on college campuses more than three decades ago brought with it a growing belief that this new technology would soon produce fundamental changes in the practice, if not the very nature, of teaching and learning in American higher education. It would foster a revolution where learning would be paced to a student’s needs and abilities, where faculty would act as mentors rather than “talking heads” at the front of an auditorium, where learning would take place through exploration and discovery, and where universal educational access, transcending barriers of time and space, would become the norm. This vision of a pedagogical utopia has been in circulation for at least three decades, enjoying a sort of perpetual imminence that renews itself with each passing generation of technology.

And then there were MOOCs. And promise of “pedagogical utopia”.

But there’s a problem. Despite massive technology expenditures over the last decade or so, the widespread availability of substantial computing power at increasingly reasonable prices, and a growing “comfort level” with this technology among college and university faculty, information technology is not being integrated into the teaching and learning process nearly as much as people have regularly predicted since it arrived on the educational scene three or four decades ago. There are many isolated pockets of successful technology implementations. But it is an unfortunate fact that these individual successes, as important and as encouraging as they might be, have been slow to propagate beyond their initiators; and they have by no means brought about the technologically inspired revolution in teaching and learning so long anticipated by instructional technology advocates.

Like the people who describe the LMS as being helpful for faculty to whom the open web is “too complicated” (a future post brewing there, because that is a crap filled point of view).

Geoghegan cites data way back in 1994 showing that faculty access to technology even than was not a problem, and scuttles the notion that it’s a fear issue (my emphasis added)

The instructional technology problem, in other words, is not simply a matter of technology being unavailable to faculty. It is not attributable to faculty discomfort with the technology itself, nor to faculty disenchantment with the potential benefits of information technology to instruction. In fact, the best evidence we have available today suggests that desktop computing is being widely used by faculty and, more importantly, that it is being used in support of teaching. The problem is that this support is for the most part logistical in nature: preparation of lecture notes, handouts, overhead transparencies, and other types of printed and display material that substitute for the products of yesterday’s blackboard and typewriter technologies. Such usage may enhance faculty productivity, and it may even help student learning (by substituting neatly printed transparencies for blackboard scribbles, if nothing else); but it does little or nothing to exploit the real value of the technology as an aid to illustration and explanation, as a tool that can assist in analysis and synthesis of information, as an aid to visualization, as a means of access to sources of information that might otherwise be unavailable, and as a vehicle to enable and encourage active, exploratory learning on the part of the student. The technology is being used logistically, in other words, but it is only occasionally being utilized as a medium of delivery, and to even a lesser extent do we find it deeply woven into the actual fabric of instruction.

Technology is used mainly as a logistical tool (cough LMS). Same as it every was.

And after dismissing the possible reasons for the lack of deeper adoption of technology -equipment and facilities, institutional support, and unrealistic expectations, he brings it home to a human factor:

I would argue nevertheless that one of the most basic reasons underlying the limited use of instructional technology is our failure to recognize and deal with the social and psychological dimensions of technological innovation and diffusion: the constellations of academic and professional goals, interests, and needs, technology interests, patterns of work, sources of support, social networks, etc., that play a determining role in faculty willingness to adopt and utilize technology in the classroom. The model that we have most commonly used for supporting the development of instructional technology – with its focus on technical support for technically “literate” faculty who often have strong track records of success in this area – may be well suited to the characteristics and needs of technologists, of technically inclined faculty innovators, and even technology vendors. But it is ill- adapted to the interests and needs of mainstream instructional faculty, whose concerns lie more with the teaching, research, and administrative tasks they have to address than with technologies that, at best, may assist in addressing them. The mismatch, in fact, may be so great in many circumstances as to alienate mainstream faculty from the more technically inclined early adopters, opening a gap between the two so great as to reduce or eliminate the likelihood of mainstream faculty actually adopting instructional technology for their own classroom use.

And this was the main part of the paper I remembered -most of the support approaches are focused on the Rogers groups of innovators and early adopters, rather than a multi-pronged strategy for the other groups on the other side of the chasm. And there fore the adoption never diffuses much beyond the leading edge 15%:

The differences between the two groups are extensive, and their importance is magnified in the context of changes that have the potential to make radical alterations in the teaching and learning process. The appeal of instructional technology to the early adopter will be very different from its appeal to a member of the early majority, despite the fact that both may recognize its potential benefits to teaching and learning; and the two are likely to have very different criteria for deciding whether or not to adopt a technology based innovation when it becomes feasible to do so.

And likely the current approach of appeal is still the leading edge —

This gap is so significant in the case of instructional technology that it has so far stymied almost all efforts to bridge it. It has left us in a situation in which the early market seems to have approached saturation in its use of instructional technology; but in which mainstream adoptions are relatively few and far between. This failure to penetrate the mainstream did not happen in regard to technology use in general; the use of personal computers and workstations for personal productivity (especially word processing) is becoming almost universal in higher education. But despite the longer history of instructional technology, it seems to have stalled in its progress where other applications of similar technology have not. What is it about instructional technology as an innovation, or about the way it has been supported and “marketed” by its proponents, that has prevented its bridging the gap?

He cites four reasons why the diffusion of educational technology has not jumped much beyond the gap. Note that it’s not just the presence of technology for a wide group of people- their offices, classrooms, pockets are full of technology. The missing diffusion is into the pedagogy.

The first is “Ignorance of the gap”:

We seem to have assumed a sort homogeneity (in quality if not degree) of faculty willingness to experiment with and use instructional technology, thereby ruling out the possibility of recognizing qualitatively distinct subgroups with different attitudes toward technology and its use in instruction. From this perspective, some faculty simply have a higher degree of resistance to instructional technology than others; and stronger arguments, or greater incentives, or more support, is all that is needed to bring them around (as opposed to different arguments, or different incentives, or different modes of support).

Second is the “Technologists Alliance”

The last decade has seen the formation of an alliance between “technologist” populations concerned with instructional computing. Those involved include faculty innovators and early adopters, campus IT support organizations, and information technology vendors with products for the instructional market. Ironically, while this alliance has fostered development of many instructional applications that clearly illustrate the benefits that technology can bring to teaching and learning, it has also unknowingly worked to prevent the dissemination of these benefits into the much larger mainstream population.

This leads to the third, “Alienation of the Mainstream”

Moore also points out that the “overall disruptiveness” of early adopter visionaries can alienate and anger the mainstream Moore (1991:59). The early adopters’ high visibility projects can soak up instructional improvement funds, leaving little or nothing for those with more modest technology-based improvements to propose; and their willingness to work in a support vacuum ignores the needs of mainstream faculty who may find themselves left with responsibility for the former’s projects after the developer has moved on to other things. And, finally, the type of discontinuous change favored by the early adopter has a tendency to product disruptive side-effects that magnify the overall cost of adoption.

Ahem. Disruption. Totally appealing to 15%.

And finally “Lack of a Compelling Reason to Adopt”

in order to bridge the gap, one must first establish a beachhead on the further side, best done by defining an application of the technology that is of absolutely compelling value in pragmatic, mainstream terms. This is not the so-called “killer app” of high tech legend, but rather an application of instructional technology that offers value substantially in excess of the costs of adoption. The application will be one that performs an existing important task, or solves an existing problem in a markedly better way; or it will be one that enables something new to be done in a way that contributes significantly to instructional effectiveness.

And in 2014, we all know a compelling reason is 100,000 students or harnessing big data.


And in the closing, where we still stand today:

Along the same lines, let me suggest that the technologically driven revolution in teaching and learning that we have sought for so long is probably nothing more than a chimera. Revolutions in teaching, or in anything else for that matter, are created by revolutionaries, not by their hardware; though good hardware properly employed can certainly help them succeed. But no revolution, no matter how well financed and equipped, and no matter how good the motivating ideas, will be successful if the revolutionaries and their supporters fail to convince a significant proportion of the general populace to follow them past the barricades. Absent that, we have nothing but a failed revolution: some interesting ideas, perhaps, and some quaint examples of what might have been, but no revolution.

Long live the revolutionaries where ever they be lurking. Viva the — whatever.

Grab a copy of the paper and tell me how far we have come on this since 1994.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by Symic

Packed! This Hound is Kamloops Bound

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by alee_04

The suitcases are packed with winter clothes and secured. Computer gear? Check. Camera Stuff? Ditto. Guitar? Got it. Medical supplies (well what my lame oh insurance will provide)? Yep. iPod? Loaded.

Having been home a whole five days after two weeks in New Zealand, I’m off again. This time? a ROAD TRIP! Tomorrow I start on a 1900 mile journey to Kamloops British Columbia. With assistance from Brian Lamb, I have been granted a four month fellowship as an Open Learning Scholar at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

What am I doing? From the letter of acceptance, the goal of the research award is

(1) to bring research expertise to TRU to support the reinvigoration of research and scholarly work into open, distance, and online learning at TRU-OL.

(2) to further enhance the vibrancy and diversity of the research community at TRU-OL and TRU generally

Got it? Stay tuned. I’ll be working with Brian on a bunch of web site projects, probably some wiki ones, doing some PD in storytelling and connected/open courses… and whatever else we cook up.

I found Brian sitting on a strong limb of the organizational chart tree:

org chart

atop a box of innovation.

I’m coming show what “BC” stands for

Seriously, I am really honored by this opportunity and eager to work at one place rather than juggling 5 disparate projects, and have funding for 4 solid months. I’ll also get some opportunities to visit a few other BC institutions, and to hang out in the Vancouver area over the holidays. I’m also slated to be on a panel presentation at the January 2015 MLA conference in Vancouver.

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by Vicki & Chuck Rogers

Of course, I am following convention by leaving Arizona in the winter to go to Canada. Oh well, there will be beaches after.

I’m taking a week to drive up there, it’s along trip, but I am hoping to not have too many madcap driving marathon days and to enjoy parts along the way.

strawberry to kamloops

I’ve got plans lined up to visit friends / colleagues along the way (a.k.a freeloading) not unlike my previous travels. It’s a bit sad to leave my cozy home in Strawberry, AZ, but as Arnold says, I’l be baaaaaaaaaaaaack (in the Spriiiiiiiiiiiiing).

Red Dog is ready to roll! Let’s go!

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

How Does It Feel to Be 107, Grandma?


My grandmother was born today, in 1907. Or sometime around this date. One of her stories is that she never had a birth certificate. Born into a large family, and with her Mom passing away when grandma was a child, there was no official birth record. At some time later, she was able to prove her approximate birth according to notes in the Census taker. She so more or less picked October 15 to be her birthday.

That is just like her.

I teased her that I wanted her to live at least until 100. She came close, 96.

That photo above was on a visit to Baltimore in 1994, when I recorded an hour of her telling me stories of her life, recorded on a micro-cassette. I later digitized it, and made a short video from the first segment.

I always remember her telling me a story about learning to drive a Model A Ford. In this clip, she talks about how they got the car (it had to be the late 1920s if my Dad was a baby), Essentially, she and her husband won all the money in a poker game, $25. On their way home, they saw a car on the street with a “For Sale, $25″ sign, and they bought it.

Grandma and Her Cars

Serendipity happens.

A lot of my family stories are about how stubborn she was, and she did seem to be at the center of family tension. I never saw any of this, she totally treated me like a prince. I remember her taking me to see a Baltimore Colts game in the early 1970s. I remember going for rides in her red Rambler. I remember her swimming out far from the beach with me in Ocean City, to float the waves. I remember her arguing with her sister about Scrabble.


There really was no one like her. And I know at 107, she would have a sing song laugh about life. I can hear that laugh.

Happy birthday, granny.

On Those Old Webs

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I’m reading with warm nostalgia Andy Carvin’s celebrating 20 years ago today, I published my first website. But the real epiphany came afterwards.

Andy did this as a post-grad internship, studying telecommunications policy and finding his way into the early Cambrian era of the web:

On October 14, 1994, I felt EdWeb was ready-ish for prime time. So I posted a note to a number of education-related email lists inviting people to check it out. I didn’t get a huge number of responses, but the ones I did were both supportive and intimidating. Supportive in the sense that they appreciated my efforts and were curious to see how it would develop. And intimidating in the sense that the people wanting to talk to me knew a hell of a lot more than I did on the topic. Here I was, a glorified intern who slapped together some persona ramblings about education and technology?—?and now I was getting questions from actual educators and technologists. The cold hard reality was that their questions were often so advanced, I had no idea what to say to them.

So then I had an idea?—?why not admit the fact that I don’t fully know what I’m talking about, then encourage everyone to join a conversation so they could help answer each others’ questions?

Ironically I see this happen all the time, people express fear about even adding comments to a perceived expert’s blog, imagining some sort of tiered level of internet that does not exist.

There are no velvet ropes on the internet, just the ones we imagine.

What’s really cool in my book is that Andy’s 20 year old EdWeb site is still there!


I am pretty sure I remember the pencil graphic topic links, each one leading to an area that offered more branches to explore, e.g. The Role of the Web in Education offers four paths, one is a short article The Role of the Web in Curricular Reform itself with four more paths such as The Web as a Tutor.

Unlike Andy, all of my early web stuff has been decommissioned but its all mostly there on the Internet Archive. I kept a running history from Dec 1993 til 2006 the year left, even with “hit counts” (when those mattered as much as follower counts).

I know I was handed a disc with Mosaic on it in October 1993, and found my way to the NCSA HTML Tutorial, and eventually got a hold of a MacHTTP server running on a Mac/SE 30.

This was how the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction’s web site (the first web server in the system, yo) looked in January 1994


Grey background, mostly text and links. That logo was something I generated in Strata3D. And there we are under January 16, 1994 on the NCSA What’s New page in a time when just having a new web site was a big deal. You could pretty much know what was on the web by checking this page on a regular basis.

By August of 1994 our Labyrinth newsletter was devoted to “Mosaic of the Internet” besides including links and resources, we had perspectives from a faculty member and a student on using Mosaic (I chuckle in reading my writing where Mosaic is a short hand for the web; there was only one graphic browser then).

Andy Carvin’s message about his 20 year old web experience is as relevant as ever today (my emphasis):

As my career developed, I continued to embrace that simple idea: that it’s okay to be transparent about what you don’t know, especially if you’re in a position to mobilize others to help you and each other…

Some things haven’t changed much since I rolled out EdWeb 20 years ago. My HTML isn’t much better than it was back then, and I’m completely lost when it comes to more advanced website design. But that simple website I created 20 years ago?—?and the email list that followed it?—?led to something much more important. It showed me how a little openness, a little humility and a willingness to listen to other people’s ideas made me a more-informed person, while informing the rest of the community in the process. So to everyone who’s ever answered a question of mine via email, an @ reply, a bulletin board, a subreddit— I thank you. I literally couldn’t have done any of this without you.

There’s still time, create something, be open, humble, transparent, and keep those web pages alive. I hope to blog about this again in 2034.

Is The Internet Party Over?

Wikimedia Public Domain image by Dvernon

Wikimedia Public Domain image by Dvernon

In my recent, somewhat nostalgic, presentations I show an image of a street party, people blowing bubbles. That’s how I felt about the internet when I first stumbled onto it. The web too. It was all discovery.

In the early 1990s I put my name and email address on thousands of web pages. There were no spam email harvesters. There was no Google incentivizing the abuse by making it worth nanocents. I create interactive web pages with worm holed perl scripts that wrote to text files with world write permissions.

About the worse abuse I saw were rude people on email listservs. Sure there were shady newsgroups. Never went there.

Heck I just did a talk about wondering what happened to a sense of wonder — and I am wondering.


I like to think of myself as a Churchillian optimist.

I talk about for all the goodness of on open, sharing connected networked space, there has to be an allowance for the opposite.

I am wondering.

I don’t have to list the depressing stories of harassment, trolling, violence, a tip of a victim iceberg. I’ve marveled how Kathy Sierra bounced back once, and watching her go back climb out of the snake pit. Given how most twitter accounts seem to be fakes follower fill, I am guessing the bulk of the rest are abusive nutjobs that twitter seems to care little about stopping.

And then there is this.

I’ve had Librarian in Black’s post open in a tab for days, trying to figure out what to say, do. I at least made a small donation to Team Harpy something I don’t do lightly given a lack of a regular income stream.

I read Mariana Funes My Stalker, My Friend moved by the Troll Poem

Of course there are no actual trolls, but a lot of troll-like behaviors. I can guess at some time I’ve been obnoxious enough to be close to that, but the stuff we are reading about these days is a whole new level.

Obviously there are these people out there hurting from their own pain and abuse or whatever psychosis you want to pick that only can relieve it by making others feel worse, what kind of logic is that? Is that what it does? The payoff cannot be huge, and certainly does not make the darkness abate.

But here’s the thing. I have no data, only a hunch, but I am pretty sure the number of people out there with good intentions, virtue, positive values have to seriously outnumber the number of troll-like scum. By a huge amount. How do so few exert so much power? I am pretty sure trolls do not get anything out of trolling other trolls.

It’s certainly not the first time in history a small number of demented evil people manipulated a large innocent population.

The problem is we are not organized. We don’t have the kinds of munition and weapons the trolls use. We too do not hide. Can a lot of light shine on trolls? Too much Kum-Bah-Yah?

I still am largely an optimist. I think the mechanics of this open networked world are ones that can be put to use.

This feeling might pass, but it does seem the party is over. That does not mean one cannot have party-like behavior, it just won’t be so innocent (and hopefully not naive).

creative commons licensed ( BY-ND ) flickr photo shared by SrLigYnnek

The question no one can answer until hindsight kicks in is, what comes next?

I wonder.

Peeking Inside the New Storybox


Here I thought I caught up on my back blogging from the trip to New Zealand, but I have yet to talk about the digital time capsule that appeared at every stop. In this post, I’ll give a bit of review about what happened, what was collected, in a subsequent long scrolling gibberish one I will go over the modifications I made to the interface.

The new web site for the Storybox has this new interface; the only things you cannot do there are (a) upload media (b) See the media that was collected on this trip (a much smaller set I assembled prior to the trip is online) (c) Access the services like the image board and the wiki.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

That’s the idea, to create an internet that is ephemeral, the PirateBox technology creates a local wireless network, where all efforts to connect to the web are redirected to the web server on the box. To me, it plays a bit with the problem of information on the web that is everywhere, in this case it is hyperlocal.

Among my workshops and presentations on the Shar-E-Fest tour (September 29-Oct 10, 2014), I asked to do a Storybox session at every stop. So there were seven of these. For the most part, I had an hour or less (maybe 30 minutes), so most of what I could do was to present the idea, and send people on a little “hunt” to acquire media, and add back to the box.


As was pointed out by WG in the session at Waikato, just having these prompts pretty much made a limited frame on the media collected, so it’s not truly representative as I suggested that the idea is to capture a sense of “now” in this place. Because all the places where institutions of higher education.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

But the purpose really was to try and get a pool of media and then ponder what might be done with it.

I did let people know that because there is no information stored in the image besides its file name (usually cryptic if it came off of a mobile device) (and thus some metadata might be in the images if the mobile device adds it)– that they were more or less granting me permission to use their image w/o any kind of attribution.

When you look at the media, they are pretty much quick throwaways- like snapshots. I’d estimate upwards of 90% were acquired at the sessions.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

For some summary, the Box now includes 390 pieces of media – this was the breakdown per session:

Sept 30, 2014 at Shar-e-fest (84)
6 audio/video files
78 photos

Oct 1, 2014 at Open Polytechnic (38)
3 audio files
32 photos

Oct 2, University of Victoria Wellington (101)
97 photos
2 videos
2 sounds files

Oct 3 University of Waikato (32)
25 photos
4 audio files
3 videos

Oct 6 The University of Auckland (26)
22 photos
4 videos

Oct 7 Northtec (59)
51 photos
7 videos
1 audio

Oct 8 AUT (44)
41 photos
2 videos
1 audio

Or by types of media:

  • Images (316)
  • Audio (30)
  • Video (28)
  • Documents (12)
  • Remixes (4)

I was responsible for most of the audio (you can only upload photos and videos with an iOS device) and a baseline of what’s listed was what I seeded the directories with.

The thing I was most pleased with was the infinite wall media browser I was able to build as a StoryBox Explorer – this is running in just Javascript. I created a series of scripts that generated the thumbnails and created the HTML to supply the media viewer (more on this in the techie post).

To show how it works, I created a screen cast of the way the Explorer works:

There was never time to do the next level activities I hope for, to create new content from the Storybox media. I had just started getting a wiki running on it that is a viable platform for creating new content from the media; it needs a bit more work on the content side. More on that sometime in the future.

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

People was naturally taken by the Brownie Box camera enclosure, and learning about the parts that are inside. Like me, I sense many see some sort of potential here, but just are not quite sure what to do with it (?)

creative commons licensed ( BY-SA ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog