A Domain of pechaflickr’s Own


It’s about time it went out on its own.

Now serving random flickr images as pecha as it can — http://pechaflickr.net.

Have no fears, the old domain http://pechaflickr.cogdogblog.com/ should send you there too.

When You Set the Bar As High as “Easy”…

The other day a colleague asked my thoughts on a system (yes open source) that makes it “easy” for faculty to create profile pages. Scanning the examples, I found relatively clean pages driven by web forms, standard portrait photos. But it felt as lively as a rental neighborhood that looks like

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

And I cannot help but wonder what is the incentive for an individual to represent their own hard academic accomplishments in a institutionally owned site the individual must must revisit on a regular basis to tidy up the ornaments in the yard?

How do you really stack that up to something people maintain as their own spaces?


And here comes the Greek Chorus…

That’s too hard. Faculty can’t/won’t…

Really? People who have devoted large chunks of their lives and energy and hair in the pursuit of deep academic inquiry?

It has to be “easy”.

Let Todd Conaway explain the pitfalls of the “easy” button:

My question would be to anyone who prefers to underestimate the abilities of their colleagues (cause that is what you are doing) to think about the key findings in their academic discipline, the discoveries, the exploration of a new way of thinking… did any one do this by taking the easy button?

I’ve looked recently at an LMS based open course, its lists of modules and documents, all designed with the elegance and curiosity of a shopping list, all to be easy. I clicked away feeling… it has all the excitement and motivation of reading the back of a package of alkaline batteries.


A learning experience should never be designed to be easy. When we learn we should stretch, we should go beyond our bounds… One of my all time favorite quotes is from UMW History Prof Special Assistant to the Provost for Teaching, Technology, and Innovation Jeff McClurken in his philosophy:

I want my students to be uncomfortable, but not paralyzed

Not “I want my student’s learning in my class to be easy. I’d really prefer they do not try very hard.”

The opposite of easy is not impossible.

Set the dial as high as easy…

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by John’s Brain

…and enjoy your easy meal.

Newest Fancy Step in the YouTube Download Dance (why do we need this dance?)

image supposedly licensed for non-commercial use from SA Ballroom & Latin will

image supposedly licensed for non-commercial use from SA Ballroom & Latin will

In writing up the current ds106 lesson on telling stories, I provided some updates tips in how to download video form YouTube (and other services). In the past I have recommended KeepVid (requires Java, so its no go in Chrome). Since learning about it from Tim Owes, I switched to pwnyoutube, specifically the bookmarklet tool. I’ve seen it not work for periods, and lately Chrome has been tossing up a click through unsecure script warning. But last time I passed by pwnyoutube I noticed a new service– and it has smoother dance moves than the others.

SaveFrom.net not only can download video from YouTube URLs, but also another 40+ different audio/video sites. But the cool moves begin when you install the helper extension.add-on — it looks like it works for IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and more.

And this is what makes it best- in YouTube, vimeo, and more, it adds the download button right in the page. Toggle it open, and you get a few choices of formats


But wait, there’s more.

You get access to the same tools from an embedded video


I’m not done yet.

If you come across a hyperlink to a downloadable video, you get a little down arrow icon; click it once and you end up at the SaveFrom.net download page with the URL loaded for processing


For those three reasons, I am now using and primarily recommended SaveFrom.net for downloading web videos.

But these gyrations and moves should not even be necessary. YouTube has an option to put a Creative Commons By Attribution license on your videos (any clue why they only do one CC flavor?).
yt license

If I select this option, how is anyone going to get a copy to re-use? All YouTube provides for this license is

Creative Commons licenses provide a standard way for content creators to grant someone else permission to use their work. YouTube allows users to mark their videos with a Creative Commons CC BY license. These videos are then accessible to YouTube users for use, even commercially, in their own videos via the YouTube Video Editor.

The only thing YouTube lets you do with a video someone has released under Creative Commons is to use it in the YouTube Editor?

Awkward dance move, YouTube.


But here is the thing.

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by keirstenmarie

Google seems to look the other way at all of these external services providing video download from YouTube (while at the same time allowing Record Companies and Movie Studios rampage users who remix Content Id matched stuff). In essence, Google says remixing YouTube videos is something they look away at although, as the kids say, “everyone else is doing it”.

Including Google.

I really thought when I pointed this out last month that someone might even notice, or more shockingly, leave a comment.

Essentially, Google has created an ad for themselves, a COMMERCIAL, using clips from YouTube users (legally they have a right to do so in their terms of service)

But did Google have to use goofy downloaders to get the video clips? No, cause they have the video files. Did Google provide credit or attribution to the owners of the clips? No, legally they do not have to.

Stop. In creating an ad, a COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENT, Google is condoning remixing of YouTube videos.

Public domain image, from Shmoop.

Public domain image, from Shmoop.

Why doesn’t Google stop the goofy dances we do, and just put the damn download button on the site? At least for people have have marked their videos for Creative Commons attribution.

It’s just un-necessary gyrations

Eleven in Blog Years

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

Yikes, I missed my own blog birthday yesterday. This pile of typos, rants, and code jabbering started on April 19, 2003 with I Blog, Therefor I Am. This first post, which also defines the source of the name of this space, was posted using MoveableType running on an XServe at the Maricopa Community Colleges.

All of those are gone, the blog migrated to WordPress 2 years later, the Xserve is offline and who knows where, and all of my Maricopa web sites have been pulled offline. Thank you WayBack Machine for the WayBack to the site the day I left.

If you want stats, that is 4,019 Posts- somehow that averages to 365.4 posts per year, which is crazy, as it suggests I have blogged every day for eleven years.

Well, I will have 2 today and it’s only noon.

What got my looking was not my own vanity check, but after marveling at a genuine comment from a non-bot human I was curious about my first comment.

I first scrolled back to the first page of 15,319 Comments, thinking that would get me to comment numero uno. Appropriately enough, that comment was associated with a post describing Brian Lamb’s visit to Maricopa — because it was Brian’s first Abject blog which was a key for inspiring me to start.

That first comment was a pingback to Bruce Landon’s Weblog For Students — April 6, 2005. That it still works is because of people who believe in keeping the web intact, thanks Dave Winer for keeping the lights on at Radio UserLand Community.

And even more fitting since I met Bruce on perhaps the first invited presentation in my career, a 1996 (?) trip to Douglas College in Vancouver. I wonder how Bruce is doing, again, he his set of web tracks are still there at http://bruce-landon.douglas.bc.ca/ (no tilde space, eh Jim Groom?).

But that was not the first comment (probably some aspect of having imported Moveable Type later? I don;t know). The first comment has ID 2 in the database (I wonder now about the first one, I bet it was the “This is a Comment” one that came with WordPress installs).

This comment came in at May 6, 2003 at 12:51 pm from, again appropriately, someone named M Ford but with a handle of “dog blogger”

Hello, cogdog

“As for the next part, there is nothing more reliable, loyal, and playful as a dog, and that is how the web should be (unfortuantely it seems full of dog crap….”

agreed… here’s my take on it:


thanks for the info on Stephen’s web… very useful

I like your good dog, bad dog categories…


dog blogger

M Ford

And again, the old link still lives on radioland– 101 Crazy things you can do with dog poop from February 11, 2003.

Lest you think this is overly self referential navel gazing… why yes it is. Hey, I even found some lint.

But because I have 11 years of narrating my work, ideas, I can tell you for almost any day. time in the last 11 years what I was working on, what I was thinking about, what was bugging me, who was influencing me.

I say good luck with getting that out of Facebook/twitter/Google+ in 2025, when I will be blogging the 22nd birthday of this blog.

Good luck, indeed.

creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by bradleygee

Remembering Sherman Lake

With what seems like 95% of the comments that squiggle through Akismet to the moderation queue still spammy, it seems almost like your first blog comment when a legitimate one comes through (as most online conversations slither down the vat of twitter/facebook/google+ spaces).

I got that today when Mark left a note of an experience he had similar to my own discovery of the cabin restoration project at Sherman Lake during my 2011 Road Odyssey.

Thus I found myself digging the Storybox out of the box in a closet (sigh) because on it was stored some video and a 9 minute audio conversation I recorded with the Forest Service Archeologist / Project Manager / Nice guy named “Steve”. Apparently Mark had a parallel Steve experience.

Thus I found myself editing together the video above.


Because I re-read my post. Remembered the words of a volunteer named Beverly:

I love the outdoors and meeting people, and not to lose the belief in human nature.

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

And my own reflection on the experience, which is now a faint call to try and get back on the road, and maybe maybe maybe maybe this summer, I might get to check in on Sherman Lake and find other gems

Every house I zoom by, every person I never talk to, every road I don’t take — likely reveals gems like this stop today. A lake that is gone, a spirit that lives on.

When Worlds Collide (2014)

Click image for full size glorious detials

Click image for full size glorious detials

See the movie synopsis in the article in FakiPedia

when worlds collide

When Worlds Collide is a 2014 OER14 presentation based on the Fall 2014 headless ds106, co-presented by Rochelle Lockridge, Mariana Funes, and Alan Levine. The presentation was created in Keynote, and the animated GIFs tricked out by Rochelle and perhaps the paper may be published in some nefarious journal.[3]

DS106 Founder Jim Groom considered trying to teach ds106 again in a version based on1980s music, but the hew and cry from the classic rock fans of ds106 Radio made it impossible.

3M Research Strategist Rochelle Lockridge is allowed to bring inside the firewall top-secret web pages from ds106 and run a “Salon” style version for the 3M Tech Forum. Lockridge, with the assistance of her online colleague Mariana Funes confirms their wildest dreams— Lockridge has discovered an open course named ds106 that is on a collision course with 3M.

You can catch the quirky style of this short lived genre (corporate-open education mashup) in the presentation trailer

I am the New Flickr. I am an Ass.

modidied from creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by El Bibliomata

The new flickr is an ass.

I got over its ass way of “””supporting””” with creative commons (triple scare quotes, flickr’s implementation is anything but an implementation).

But this dog can find the ways around asses.

I am not all that offended nor up in arms over the new layout. It was ripe for a change. It seems off that you can find so many parts of the old interface in so many places (any of the settings, the view all sizes), the old interface peeks through like a pair of old underwear riding up and out of the old jeans.

What kind of ass interface design is done such haphazardly?

But that does not bother me.

What does bother me is the ass approach of removing previous functionality.

Flickr notes, the ability to annotate an image with commentary, callouts, is dead. It was to me, one of the sleeper gems of flickr. Before the “””new””” [ass] design, one could annotate images as a learning tool, one of my long lived examples was a Volcanic Types diagram.

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

Each part was including a pop up note with a link to references for each type of Volcano. This image was created October 2004 and has had 40,000 views. Now it is totally useless since the hypertext feature has been neutered.

This image has the most views of any on my account. It is not because it is an interesting photo

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

but because it was, at one time, full of notes, some I added, but many others added as they discovered this feature. I used this as part of “I Didn’t Know You Could Do That with Free Web Tools”, a presentation for the 2006 K-12 Online Conference. It is from October 2006, and has over 67,000 views.

You can actually find shreds of the notes, buried under the 3rd icon tab, the one for tags.

That makes sense.

If you are an ass designer.

So they are listed there, and you can delete them, but you cannot add new ones.

flickr noteless

Why even bother? That is an ass move to tease me with functionality removed

Ass. Flickr.

Now I know what you will say.

“Yahoo sucks. That’s why I moved to ____________ [fill in name of alt service]”

I don’t want to move my photos. I have almost 37,000 of them uploaded since 2004. I use them in hundreds maybe more, blog posts. Running away does not address the actions of an ass. You have to call an ass an ass.

I’m talking to you flickr.

The rationale is something like Google used to kill Reader “blah blah blah it’s been a feature for a long time blah blah blah blah but not widely used by enough people to justify blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”

That’s ass talk. I have over 100,000 views on just two photos that used this feature.

Like they used to remove the functionality to post to a blog via flickr; technically you can post to one blog platform, tumblr… a (ahem) Yahoo product.

I tried one small act. I went to the image I used for the “new flickr ass” image at the top of the post, a creative commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by El Bibliomata. Where there might have been notes, I saw Add a Person to this Image.

This image is of an ass, and that is flickr. So I went to add flickr.

add flickr


no flickr

“this person ass cannot be tagged”

I just call ‘em like I see ‘em.

But have no fear, you can vote to bring back notes. It is number 26.

Like that ass flickr is going to listen.



Enquire Within Upon Everything: True Stories of the Wondrous Web

The old Victorian book with a bit of modern web markup ;-)

The old Victorian book with a bit of modern web markup ;-)

Yesterday I had fun with a keynote presentation for the eLearning Consortium of Colorado 2014 Conference. This was the 25th annual conference for this rather impressive, under-the-radar collaborative organization, that has been networking and sharing for 25 years.

You can find all the presentation resources at http://cogdog.wikispaces.com/Enquire+Within+eLCC+2014

and my own audio recording (thanks Audacity!)

When asked to speak by colleague Alice Bedard-Vorhees my first neural association was that this organizations first conference was held a month after Tim Berners Lee submitted a proposal to CERN to develop was we call “da web”.

I began with the throwback to 1989, starting with of course myself, a mop-headed geology graduate student at Arizona State University who had no clue about instructional technology, or really the internet.

That is not quite true. I had used some email on a mainframe in my days as an un-inspired computer science major at the University of Delaware. And as a grad student at ASU, I had a BITNET email address AGAHL@ASU. Some of my colleagues did research for NASA, and they were on a different network. I remember the fascination of doing my work on Landsat satellite data on a VAX terminal in the basement of F-Wing, and being able to converse with my pal David on the 6th floor, who was on the NASA network. And for a while I helped professor Jon Fink as admin to a listserv for Volcano researchers. The commands for LISTSERV then have not changed at all.

US and Russia,s tills eeking that elusive peace

US and Russia,s tills eeking that elusive peace

I alluded to other events, had some fun with the Dec 1989 Malta Summit between Bush Sr and Gorbachev, and them declaration that the Cold War was over. Yeah, here we are in 2014 with peace brewing between the US and Russia. Other references included the Bay Area Loma Prieta Earthquake, and in sports that the Forty Niners won the Super Bowl (I accidentally said Giants and got properly corrected), and the Giants made it to the World Series, losing to Oakland. There was mention of pop culture- the publication of Joy Luck Club, Don’t Worry be Happy as the Grammy award winning song, and Rain Man taking the Oscar.

Then it was on to the fragments I could find on the web (that is important, that I can find them now) for the original organization called TELECOOP, including a blog for their 2005 conference started not by the conference organizers, but an attendee on known as Kathy. This to is significant that an individual did something to leave tracks in the web, and as it turns out, Kathy was in the front row. I shook her hand.

I harkened back to story I have used before, lifted from Steven L Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, was how a bow growing up in England, the child of academics, was fascinated by a Victorian era book of factual information, Enquire Within Upon Everything, described as a “magic portal to the world of information”

I noted the structure of every paragraph having a unique identifier (In Enquire it was a number) that you found in the index — so it was an 19th century version of hypertext. And then there was some fun scanning the entries in the D section for Apparent, from Drink, Treatment for:

1336. Apparent Death from Drunkenness
Raise the head, loosen the clothes, maintain warmth of surface, and give a mustard emetic as soon as the person can swallow.

and how the adjacency of other entries might lead one to explore 1335. Death from Hanging (which involved leeches) or 1337. Apoplexy and Fits Generally.

The index of possible topics reminded me a bit of what we can find now in YouTube


“Whether You Wish to Model a Flower in Wax;
to Study the Rules of Etiquette;
to Serve a Relish for Breakfast or Supper;
to Plan a Dinner for a Large Party or a Small One;
to Cure a Headache;
to Make a Will;
to Get Married;
to Bury a Relative;
Whatever You May Wish to Do, Make, or to Enjoy,
Provided Your Desire has Relation to the Necessities of Domestic Life,
I Hope You will not Fail to ‘Enquire Within.’”—Editor.

(the only thing I had trouble finding videos for was How to Bury a Relative)

Lee’s first effort to organize what was a disparate, unconnected realm of information at the research lab CERN led him to build a system in the 1980s he did call “Enquire” — this quote from The Design Museum

He set about developing a software programme to address this by enabling computers to make – and to store – random associations between disparate pieces of information. Berners-Lee wrote the first such programme, Enquire – full name Enquire-Within-Upon-Everything – in 1980 while working at CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Geneva. Intended only for his private use, he never published Enquire, but continued to develop similar programmes throughout the 1980s.

After returning to CERN in 1984, Berners-Lee was encouraged to continue his experiments by his manager Mike Sendall, who ordered the software and hardware he needed to do so. CERN was then the largest internet node in Europe, and Berners-Lee worked on ways of combining the internet and hypertext. In 1989 he published a paper entitled Information Management: A Proposal and started work on the development of the first web browser and editor. Named the WorlDwidEweb, the result of his research was a global hypertext project designed to enable people to work together by exchanging and combining knowledge in a web of hypertext documents.

There is a huge bit of significance in that at the copy of this proposal you can still find online (Ahem, this is important), the scanned copy of the original paper with the commentary of Berners-Lee’s boss:

Note the comment from Berners-Lee's boss, Mike Sendall "Vague, but Exciting"

Note the comment from Berners-Lee’s boss, Mike Sendall “Vague, but Exciting”

Can you imagine a world where the review was “Vague and not worth pursuing”?? The internet left to the realm of AOL and CompuServe?

The idea for the web was:

The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information

A “space in which we communicate by sharing information” is core to me. That is foreshadowing of what I get to later.

The important ideas the Berners-Lee frames as part of his original vision of the web (written in 1998) were also worth highlighting (emphasis mine).

Its universality is essential: the fact that a hypertext link can point to anything, be it personal, local or global, be it draft or highly polished.

That is all links are created equal (Network Neutrality aside). More than that, web links could be just connect our own information internally, or from someones else we worked/studied with, but also a stranger from around the world.

This is huge. It still is. This might have not happened.

But also important is that information on the web could be “draft or highly polished” — this gets to what I also cite as important that in many fields, especially education, we put so much emphasis on the final highly polished product and not the draft, or the ideas that came first.

The next part of Berners-Lee’s vision I would argue is mostly true now (access to the web aside)

There was a second part of the dream, too, dependent on the Web being so generally used that it became a realistic mirror (or in fact the primary embodiment) of the ways in which we work and play and socialize.

A “realistic” mirror is not an exact one, not a perfect one. But that the web might be more than a way to connect scientific information, and all the ways we use the web know he may have never foreseen, was truly a vision.

And finally, this is the question of when or if we will every get to:

That was that once the state of our interactions was on line, we could then use computers to help us analyse it, make sense of what we are doing, where we individually fit in, and how we can better work together.

Having this sharing of information online could be used to make sense of what we are doing (oh THATS what the NSA is doing, snicker) but also see how the vision is based on the role of individuals, and a very Engelbartian goal of “how we can better work together.”

Just to use one of many examples, I pulled one I got from Alec Couros Reddit makes a picture for Dexter.

Then was a shift to talking about my early days at Maricopa, using resources like the Info-Mac, starting to share resources within Maricopa via the local Apple file server, extending to using Gopher for PCs, and the sky opening moment of discovering Mosaic


I then told three of my own Stories of Open Sharing- I wont detail them again, but there are some key things I noted at the end:

The web can be ephemeral, if you leave it others to manage for you.

I then did snippets of four Stories of Open Sharing:

And the seed sharing story from Jason was the setup- I offered a packet of seeds to anyone who would stand up and tell a story.

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

I did get some new stories (not added yet) and just gave the rest away.

This audience was super participatory! And people came up all afternoon, telling me even more stories.

And yet, there is a reluctance, and it is one I remembered capturing from the time I did this talk for ETMOOC, and I asked people to put on the screen the barriers


It is the shut down of sharing language of “I am not worthy” that keeps people from doing this. And thus keeps us from

a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information

Look! Alan and Darren Are Talking About 50 Ways Gone Mobile

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by Krister462

Off and on since the start of the year, Darren Kuropatwa and I have been meeting via video chat (we love appear.in) as we work on an expansion of the original 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story to include mobile story creation apps. I’ve written up already what we’ve done and the idea.

It’s still formulating… err percolating… err fermenting… errr processing. But we’ve had in mind to run some online open happenings (probably as Google Hangouts). While we thought we might have something more formal to organize, we thought, “What the sheep” why not just extend the conversations we have been doing to a larger group?

So you are welcome to join us April 22, 6PM PST / 9PM EST (check your local time) to see where this project should go. My own ideas:

  • We definitely need to ramp up the collection for more Android apps
  • What is the affordance gain by creating stories on a mobile platform? Does it really produce something that leverages what the mobile offers? Heck, is this worth the effort?
  • In our project so far, there has been an interesting impact for Darren as he has been telling my Dominoe story as the standard example. The approach of “re-telling” interests me as the aim is not to do a carbon copy, but explore and find your voice within someone else’s story.
  • We’d like to get more people trying out the ones we have and adding examples to the new designed submission form (currently on the mobile tools only)
  • I honestly have some question about the focus on the list of apps/tools. There are more than enough “TOP XX APPS FOR ZZZZZZ” floating out there. In my last workshop at Skidmore College, we spent the whole time on the story development, and I saw no disappointment that we did not get to the tools.
  • That said, my position on the web tools has always been, “These are interesting to experiment, but there are very few I might reach for to produce something I need to have done. But I am seeing now a few apps Storehouse, TouchCast that are ones I would use for something more than “experimenting”

Our idea was to have it as an open conversation. So we are. It will be in Google Hangout, and there will be info posted to the 50 Ways Google Community.

What happens when we try to balance the mobile platform?

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-SA ) flickr photo shared by nao-cha

Stick a Fork in It Or Just Fork It: DS106 Assignment Bank Theme

creative commons licensed ( BY-NC-ND ) flickr photo shared by mariateresa toledo

When I started last August to develop a WordPress Theme that would provide the functionality of the ds106 Assignment Bank, I told Jim Groom that I thought I could get it ready in a month. By December, I thought I could wrap it up first week of January. So here I am in April…

It’s not done, software is never done… but I wanted for so long to make it ready for others to try. So here it is. To make a site like


you can download all you need from


It’s time to stop tinkering and let some people try it out. At this point, I am so close to it, I wonder if it makes sense to others, or if it will come across as something too complex to set up.

The whole goal was to make it something that could be configured from a theme options interface


Essentially, you define what it is inside the bank. In DS106 it was assignments, but you get to name it. I call ‘em Things. And for your Things you define what Types of Things there in (in DS106 there were Design Assignments, Visual Assignments etc. So the main index shown above is an interface to the Types of Things. Inside each Type of Thing.. you find the Things!


And each Thing has the features of a DS106 Assignment (and more).


People who do a Thing can have their example syndicated in if you set up Feed WordPress (and it can be set to use an aggregator in the Bank itself, or from an external one, like DS106). Or not at all

Syndication Options

Syndication Options

You can also have a form for people to add examples


If you allow people to submit things, you have options to define a Creative Commons license for all Things, or to let the individual select (or not even have Creative Commons be part of the scene)


One of the bigger technical hurdles was figuring out how to implement the WordPress media uploaded to allow one to add images for the icons of the types of things. Boom!


And the last chunk was filling out what is a pretty long scrolling summary of the theme options

Documentation for and inside the theme options

Documentation for and inside the theme options

and the additional information in the Readme.

The docs are pretty much a first draft and very likely rife with typos. Before I go back into it, I want to float what I have now and see if people can set it up. I probably will record a screen cast of a total set up from scratch… but you know how I am with the timelines.

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

Anyhow, the Assignment Bank Theme is open, wide open https://github.com/cogdog/ds106bank