The email from Maha Bali came the night before I left for my trip to Puerto Rico, a red-eye flickt on February 1. She was asking people to join the Virtually Connecting event planned for the EDUCAUSE ELI meeting:

Rebecca’s bday is Feb 2nd and we were hoping to surprise her during a Virtually Connecting session during #ELI16. Not sure exactly what, but singing happy birthday i think?

Part of it can be off the record if some ppl prefer (and i think those who wanna be off the record can leave and others can join in for a recorded part). The folks onsite already know and are in on it.

This was on my first day here in Puerto Rico, and I was unable to attend, but I wondered if I could do something quickly for Rebecca. And thinking about the story of her and Maha co-creating Virtually Connecting made my mind jump to the Beatles’ With a Little Help From My Friends. Maybe because I had been playing it lately on my guitar, and experimenting with adding some harmonica. The A harp (usually for playing key of E blues) seemed to work ok.

So I dashed out a re-write of the lyrics and did a recording; this was maybe the second take. There’s a funny part I left in the middle where my brain mis-fired and I hit the wrong chord, and just laughed.

Yes, my harmonica playing is still on the bleating learning curve; it’s really hard to get the feel for playing something on it other than the rhythm of the guitar.

It might read like it’s equally Maha’s song the way the words go, but I really had in mind the generosity and care Rebecca showed in their first rounds of Vconnecting.

I totally forgot to post it, and its as much to keep in the collection of other edtech covers.

I think the lyrics are my favorite part! “Do you need anybody?” “I need somebody to care.” “Could it be anybody?” “Yes if you’re virtually there.” not to mention the re-dooing of “Billy Shears” as “Virtually There”

Top / Featured Image: That’s a photo of Rebecca, Maha, and Hoda at the ALT-C conference, where the two virtual friends met in person. The photo is from Rebecca’s blog post.

I inserted it into a photo of my own of my laptop, I think that might be in a train? Sorry, I covered you up, Howard! That flickr photo is shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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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.


  1. Fun and so sweet. Plus – it just seems to ooze out of you doesn’t it? Very clever.
    So where’s the Sound Cloud?

  2. This should be like the VC theme song or something! We should totally play it at conferences when we present 🙂
    I also love the one you did for my birthday. How the heck does something you’ve been doing for less than a year become such a big part of your identity?

  3. P.S. Photo choice is beautiful 🙂
    And also I just re-listened to my own birthday song and realized these two are twin songs, kinda like Rebecca and me 😉

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