Some people think this is the model how information on the internet works

cc licensed image from

cc licensed image from

This is how we get things like walled LMS’s and rigid online HR applications that enforce ambiguous deadlines of “due at midnight” (oops that is my own beef, quick question is midnight at the end if the day or the beginning?). Everything is known in advance, all paths are carefully laid out (oh yes, on the HR site, the web browser back button destroys your path, nice)

This is how the internet works in my experience

image from claimed to be labeled for reuse

image from claimed to be labeled for reuse

Below I outline an example of an unintended path of creativity, of course wrapped in the unboxable container of ds106. And like it has happened before, something in a ds106 activity motivates John Johnston to create a nifty new creative tool.

Last week, we published a ds106 Daily Create assignment to “Create an outograph- an image where the subject has been cut out”. This had been submitted to the Daily Create site (which ahem, all of you who tweet “this would be a cool ds106 assignment” can do) by Mariana Funes.

When I process these and put them in the queue, I look to add anything that would be helpful, and found a short explanation of the Outagraph on an interesting Wikipedia page that listed various types of Surrealist Techniques.

As I scanned them, they spoke to me as possibilities for future daily creates (see this path is falling off the flow chart already). I liked the one for Cubomania and turned it into the Daily Create for yesterday “Create a Self Portrait Cubomania Style”.


I aim for this in a Daily Create, take something that is somewhat defined, a surrealistic style, and aim it generally at a creative goal (a selfie). But it is an open enough challenge to go off the chart.

before the day was done, John had created a web tool to help generate these images his Cubomatic can take an uploaded image, run it through some unix gd commands, and turn back a surrealistic image


(as a side branch of this flow chart, someone named “Holden” used a java program to generate his image)

And so others were already using John’s tool that day to create their own submissions to the daily create.

I love this web. We could not have planned this in advance.

We need places that can stimulate and enable this kind of unexpected discovery, connection, and riffing in ideas. It is the potential energy of creativity.

And that happens best, IMHO, in the open web.

So you can have a web that works like this

By Ilkant (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ilkant (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

or like this

how to fix a lamp

I know what I like.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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