It was like a brand new day. Officially, the first day of work on my new project with Creative Commons, which is to help them design a curriculum (of sorts) and a system to provide certifications in the understanding and application of CC.

It will be openly licensed (of course), and have an ability to be tailored for needs in different sectors (e.g. for higher education, library, government orgs) as well as localized for international usage.

More on the details soon. Because the project leader, Paul Stacey, happens to be in Africa my first two weeks, we Skyoed last week about some starting stuff.

To try something different for organizing my work, I am trying (at least for now) to organize my project stuff in Evernote. I’ve had an account for years and a loose collection of un-organized notes. I use an iOS app (Piikki) to scan receipts that are stored in Evernote. I have a random set of notes like Frequent Flyer numbers and prescription codes.

I have been clipping (with the Chrome Extension) some relevant readings, and also fiddled today with a way to IFTTT stuff I bookmark in Pinboard into Evernote.

Keeping organized notes is a whole new realm for me. But I can try. I made one with the notes from the call with Paul (he gave me 4 things to start looking into, so each becomes a note). I also started a weekly summary just to remember key things, conversations (like I chatted on Skype today with David Kernohan, and I have much more clarity from him on the fuzz of blockchains).

One of the things on my list is to think about the “public facing” part of the project- Paul is committed to doing this in the great wide open– so of course eventually there will be some kind of project blog– but until then I am doing my own tracking here. Parts of the project will be on github, and we had some discussion about using that as a a workspace too for the team he is assembling. I also have some thinking to do how we can grow a community (eventually) around the project.

The part I spent most of today was looking into collaborative workspaces. Basecamp seems a bit yesterday, and of course I thought of Slack, which is Hot Now (and I have used for about 6 projects this year). But that’s not a given- some of the issues one might face there is the 10,000 message limit but more that it’s a proprietary platform.

There’s a whole corner of Google for Alternatives to Slack, I spent some time poking through the ones described at Most seem corporate based, and thus they are stacked (get it) to nudge you into paying for the service. Glip seemed to have the best free offering– but your stuff is still sitting in someone else’s house.

I then looked at some of the Open Source Options, one list from and another list from Venturebeat.

The two that stood out (and this was a quick scan) were Rocket.Chat (they have a demo version you can explore) and Mattermost billed as “Slack Compatible” meaning an existing Slack could be migrated, and it offers the integrations available on Slack.

A number of the open source ones have installations via docker– but when it mentioned that some could be installed via Sandstorm I remembered that Grant Potter gave me an account to the Sandstorm environment he is running with Brian Lamb and other BC folks.

It took like one minute to install Rocket.Chat in Sandstorm, and it sure feels like it has most of what I have been using in Slack:

What I want to do more with is explore the integration options.

Then I got a bit sidetracked in Sandstorm, and installed Tiny Tiny RSS Reader, and imported my subscriptions from Digg Reader (via an OPML export).

And this has me thinking/wondering if the project might make use of the Sandstorm environment.

Because I am tagging and also made a blog category here, I was thinking what to call this project for short (and that’s something for others to have a say in), but I could not help but free associate with CC Certification as CCC which led to the Civil Conservation Corps which led me to remixing the poster from 1935 (which is in public domain, and funny that I found it also on some other site that had slapped a copyright in the corner, sigh).

It’s totally not the right metaphor, but playing around with metaphors is what gets the other gears in my head moving…

remixed from public domain Wikimedia Commons image

remixed from public domain Wikimedia Commons image

It’s just the first day, and this project is a year and half.

And I have yet to mention the B-word.

Top / Featured Image: My own staged photo. At 9:00am today, I busted out a blank sheet of paper, write a title, and laid the pen down (most of my note writing today was in Evernote). The photo is my flickr shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of web stuff 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. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. I found myself in the same situation this week of finding a web based collaboration solution. I have landed on a site called Samepage that shows promise but I have not found many reviews from others using the site.

  2. If/when you get tired of Evernote’s limitations on how they store and organize stuff, take a look at DEVONThink. I’ve been using it to store thousands of notes and info. and it’s a far more robust system. Runs even when you are offline with no Internet service, a thing that is very common in rural areas. Sync to iOS devices can be quirky and buggy but the package is far better than Evernote ever was. So much so I never use Evernote now at all.

    1. Thanks for the reminder, Oogie. I had a colleague a few years back that showed me his DEVONThink strategy and he considered it a secret weapon in terms of its organization.

      I am by no means saying Evernote is the best. From what I have been reading, Evernote works better not in a notebook/folder/directory style organization. We’ll see.

      1. Yep, Evernote doesn’t do as well in notebooks/file folders. If you think that way then it will be painful to use. I do so for me it was fighting the tool rather than using the tool.

  3. Congrats on the new gig !
    I am also looking through productivity / community collaboration on curriculum and had looked at all but rocket chat. Thanks for sharing your research here.
    Also interested in where and how you’ll build curriculum, and track progress as we’re also researching tools to help less-technical collaborators engage more quickly – like gitter and which integrate with github, and in zube’s case with slack.
    Anyway – also in research stage, will follow your progress!

    1. Wow, thanks Emma. You are way ahead of me. Expect a request to talk some time about what you’ve found with collaboration tools! The project is just at the very first steps, and nothing is quite on or off the table.

  4. Alan,
    What a wonderful job. my congratulations to the Creative Commons folk.
    The understanding of cc is lacking in many educational (and I dare say other) environments. I can’t wait to see what you do with this.

      1. Sorry typed in haste, it enhances p2 I believe, I think I’ve got an install somewhere. I think it was sort of released when Automattic changed course?
        Just though the WordPress if familiar ground and might be worth considering…

  5. The B-word is bad-ass, right? Or Bad Dog? Either way, I’m thrilled to see what happens with your new gig. I love the remixing of that poster, and seeing the Pulaski makes think you’re onto something. Ed Pulaski got sick of carrying two tools, so he welded them together for a genius idea for fighting fires. Why carry two tools when you create one? Trail crews everywhere love the Pulaski. You’re bound remix the idea of the B-word, and I look forward to all of the bad metaphors along way. Bark on.

    1. I dig that you know the name of the tool! Then you know McCloud too? I’ve got that from the trail work crew I work with. I might have done more with the poster to add a different tool, but if there is a metaphor there… fusing two into one is one I can dig.

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