I’m just emerging out of the internet hole. Stand back, this is Yet Another Post Laden With Nostalgia and a rally for self documentation. Feel free to go back to stroking through social media.

It started with a silly tweet. Meaningless. Just word play.

Good friends like Dave Cormier and George Siemens pounced right in. Just like old times. Bit ti was Ronald who opened the door to the internet hole (unintentionally, of course)

The neurons in my head, fired up by association, jumped to maybe one of my favorite moments in a favorite (old) Star Trek Episode (“I, Mudd”). The crew of the Enterprise, and the buffoon Harry Mudd have to outsmart a planet of robots who have trapped them (how prescient). They destriy the robots with a stream of illogic:

After tweeting it back to Ronald, the neurons kept lighting up, back to 2005 when I did a keynote for the TCC Online Conference… and I managed to use Harcourt Fenton Mudd as my metaphor. The title was “Harry Mudd, Small Pieces, and that Not Widely Distributed Future”.

Thus I started digging through my archives, old blogs, my web history of my years at the Maricopa Community College stored on a 40Gb Firewire drive, the Wayback Machine. The conference was run by Jonathan Finkelstein and crew at Learning Times, done likely n the original Elluminate platform. That archive is long gone.

But I did blog it, April 21, 2005. On my blog. That URL won’t break, as long as I am breathing.

What I found on my hard drive was:

I also had an email from conference organizer Bert Kimura (who is still running the same conference, check it out in April 2017), where he edited my description:

“Harry Mudd, Small Pieces, and that Not Widely Distributed Future”
~ Where it (or IT) is for Educators ~

Predictions of the future are easily analyzed in hindsight and ought to be skeptically questioned — you will have to tune into this session to see the connection with an old Star Trek episode. However, author William Gibson’s insightful quote, “The future is here. It is just not widely distributed yet” is the framework I use to peek at the future. For the use of technology in teaching and learning, where is this “not widely distributed future?” I am not sure, but in this session, we will take some guesses at places you may find the future.

The present form of the web was visible, but not widely distributed in 1992. Is there something of this scale already here? Will text messaging displace email as a communication mode? We will look at the drivers of consumer used technologies that become disruptive? For example, digital cameras have taken the lead in the consumer photo market and MP3 players are re-shaping the music industry. And how about those multitude of technology gadget web sites? Are small pieces of “loosely” joined technologies (often open source) displacing large comprehensive commercial tools?

The future is here and it (or IT) is not. Explore hands-on some of the interesting “social” and connection technologies such as “tags”, RSS, wikis, podcasts, and perhaps whatever else pops up between now and the conference.

Harry Mudd was just the prop, the framework I used for the topics was the “Wired, Tired, Expired” thing that Wired magazine did (maybe they still do, its been years since I read an issue).

I would have an example for a future-important technology, starting with the old (“expired”), the waning (“tired”), and a blank for “wired”– so I could ask the audience for guesses.

Here’s a few, take some guesses?

What is wired?

What is wired?




I have to say, 11 years later, that I was darn clever.

So this afternoon I said to myself, “Self… I bet you could pop open iMovie and sync those slides to the audio in a snap”

Watch that “Self” dude. It took maybe two hours. I made it worse because there were spots in the talk where I did live demos of flickr (it was only a year old but I was crazy abut it) and Google Maps (also relatively new), so I did some quick photoshop work to reconstruct old screens.

But now… Harry Mudd lives! The whole talk, lovingly assembled from my own archival bits and bobs.

The audio quality is a bit topped out, and oh, do I say “um” alot. But it was fun trip. The answer to “LP” — “CD” is… iPod, fist generation. And I include an example from this “professor” I heard about from Penn State named Cole Camplese who was doing student assessments on an iPod. And who did I learn about this guy from? Someone from SUNY named Michael Feldstein.

Podcasts will be HUGE!

Podcasts will be HUGE!

I’m pretty excited about RSS and wikis, and I give credit for being informed to “this guy in Canada named Stephen Downes”.

How were my guesses into the future? Totally near hot and mostly miss. I talked about the iPod device, speculated about a video one, but never got close to mobile phones. I mentioned Skype for audio calls across the internet, but never mentioned video (despite the fact I had played with this thing called CU-See-Me). I was favorable of RSS Readers, which made me on target for maybe 8 years. Bloglines! I saw the “wired” thing after learning management systems as the wiki. Hah.

Loving my feeds in NetNewsWire, and a credit to Will Richardson

Loving my feeds in NetNewsWire, and a credit to Will Richardson

And I see a lot of image attribution, good dog.

But it’s not about being right, its about what you can fathom and share at the time. I’m pretty proud of my thinking 11 years ago, and smiled at some promising technologies that are now dim memories (Ourmedia?)

Watch out for the Harry Mudd (aka me). Everything he says is a lie.


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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com 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 @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. Not sure I appreciate being lumped in with all your other Little Friends “swiping through social media,” and snarking your reader on the opening line has dubious appeal; however, when one enters The Doghouse, one has to expect some growling. However, I enjoy your trips down memory lane and all the fun you have remembering and sorting and piecing the Lego blocks of history together into a slightly tighter fit.

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