That thing about eating your own dogfood? It’s really quite good stuff.
Last week I posted some questions for people to answer about the story of their own domains. This was aimed at helping our Ontario Extend project participants answer that Why Should I Bother With My Own Domain question (they may not even have that question).
It’s fitting that I do what I ask students to do a assignment, a teaching lesson I learned long ago from my mentor and friend, Barbara Ganley.
What is your domain name and what is the story, meaning behind your choice of that as a name?
I honestly have a fleer of them, but the main one
cogdogblog.com where this blog sits I registered in 2005. The reason for naming it was spelled out in the first blog post, April 19, 2003.
After tossing and turning names related to technology, getting frustrated because They All Sucked, the idea came to me while bicycle commuting. The things I enjoyed were Bicycling (the cog), dogs (the dog), and this new blog, so it just popped into me head. Since then the name got shortened to be my online handle @cogdog.
What is left out of the why behind the name, is the impetus. I had a “home page” of raw, now ugly 1990s HTML but was inspired by colleagues like Brian Lamb, D’Arcy Norman, to hoist a blog platform. I ran it on a server in my office at the Maricopa Community Colleges (in the days where I could plug a computer into the ethernet port, and run it as a server. Hah). My URL from 2003-2006 was a long one
A colleague named Steve Dembo (who has and still is at http://www.teach42.com wrote me an email with a message about the unwieldy length of that URL, and that he was willing to buy me the codogblog.com one and make it redirect to mine.
I thanked him and declined, but went and got it myself. A colleague named Audrey Thurman hosted it for me a few years.
The timing was fortunate, as a year later that Steve wrote me, I left my position at the Maricopa Community Colleges, and was appreciative I had “claimed” my domain.
I did what I urge others not do, I put my blog at the top of my domain. But since then I have picked up a wack sock of others, all with some justification.
- dommy.com was my first domain purchased when I started doing some consulting outside of my job. It’s been pretty dormant since. I kept it for nostalgia sakes.
- cogdog.info bought to be a portfolio kind of site.
- cog.dog for total vanity sake, it’s my “calling card” site, and thanks to Tim Owens ar Reclaim Hosting for alerting and setting things up for me to get the dream domain when *.dog became availble
- secretrevolution.us bought for use in two presentations. It was really to make a separate identity for something I though might be bigger (alas)
- barkingdog.me a photography portfolio site, yes it could have easily been a subdomain, but I like the name
- pechaflickr.net my mashup for improv with random photos from flickr done pecha kucha style.
- cogdog.casa I may forget the real reason for getting this, mainly to have another site for doing some experiments. Got some presentations and splots hanging there, and a new podcast project
- arganee.world for hosting the Networked Narratives course co taught the last two years with Mia Zamora.
I might have a problem of domain hoarding.
I also had for a while
30millionlike.me for some political awareness about US Healthcare issues, later archived it to http://bones.cogdogblog.com/30million/.
What was your understanding, experience with domains before you got one? Where were you publishing online before having one of your own?
I was well aware of domains, having been doing internet and web building since 1992. I had been managing a number of web servers in my work at the Maricopa Community Colleges, and did a heap of HTML building by hand and trying to teach others how to do it since 1993 (see http://mcli.cogdogblog.com/tut).
And I started doing some early work on my first domain, dommy.com and some outside consulting. But I had really limited knowledge of managing domains, the early web hosting I had offered nothing like cpanel. Things like DNS set up and configuration still are close to black magic.
What was a compelling feature, reason, motivation for you to get and use a domain? When you started what did you think you would put there?
The story above tells that, how Steve told me my URL was too long to remember. I was already blogging in MovableType then WordPress, so really what I did for the first 10 years was just hosting my blog at cogdogblog.com — I used almost none of the affordances of a domain of my own.
What kinds of sites have you set up one your domain since then? How are you using them? Please share URLs!
Cogdogblog.com has become a bit of a sprawling dog house with a lot of odd hallways, secret chambers. As much as possible:
- Blog http://cogdogblog.com blog since 2003, about 2 years as MoveableType, and WordPress ever since (details at http://cogdogblog.com/bits/)
- True Stories of Open Sharing http://stories.cogdogblog.com/ WordPress site for collecting sharing stories of amazing things that happen because of being open, goes back to a 2009 Open Education Conference presentation.
- Twitter Archive http://tweets.cogdogblog.com redirects to a github site where I use a genius script by Martin Hawksey for generating a dynamic twitter archive of my own tweets. I use it sometimes to search my tweets (see blog post)
- Resume http://resume.cogdogblog.com at one time I had a WordPress powered resume theme, now I just redirect this URL to my portfolio site at http://cogdog.info/
- Make a MOOC http://mooc.cogdogblog.com a silly fun site created with some PHP/HTML to randomly generate names for made of MOOCs.
- MCLI Archive http://mcli.cogdogblog.com/ an archive of many sites I built 1993-2006 at the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction, all of which were later decommissioned, many for good reason, in the old days I had perl scripts writing to openly editable web server text files, a terrible security problem now!
- Laboratory http://lab.cogdogblog.com There is just a place holder splash screen at this subdomain (it uses jQuery Backstretch to resize the background picture to any screen size). >I use this domain to put a lot of other sites, a mixture of WordPress and standalone web sites including:
- WordPress demo sites: WP Big Picture http://lab.cogdogblog.com/bigpicture/ and WP Highlights http://lab.cogdogblog.com/highlights/.
- Soundslots http://lab.cogdogblog.com/soundslots/ – HTML and jquery experiment with picking random free sounds from Freesound.org
- Random Experiments for Mozilla projects- flickr search via JSON http://lab.cogdogblog.com/moz/fjson.html
- RSS Magic Box – http://lab.cogdogblog.com/magicbox/ tool to find RSS feeds for blogs
- Interactive Documentaries: Making Stories That Matter http://lab.cogdogblog.com/i-docs/ standa long web site as resource for an invited presentation at Skidmore College
- Parody Web Site CVI http://lab.cogdogblog.com/cvi/ – used as a fake business site for a DS106 class taught in 2012 (at one time it had its own domain, some are not worth hanging onto
- DS106 GIF TV http://lab.cogdogblog.com/106giftv/ an experiment in a small HTML site to make it look like GIFs are playing on an old TV set (click the GIF to change the channel)
There’s a lot more there, I found these from looking at my subdomains and some directory scouring on my server. There are many more things lurking in the corners, stuff I have forgotten myself.
What helped you or would have helped you more when you started using your domain? What do you still struggle with?
It seems silly to just credit the internet for help, but everything I have learned about tech I have learned from the stuff that other people shared.
But I had no concept at the start of running multiple sites via subdomains, everything when I began was moving files to a server via ftp- blogging and wiki platforms were the first ones I dabbled with the presented interfaces for creating web-based content systems.
If anything I struggle to remember where everything is!
What kind of future plans to you have for your domain?
I’m trying to refrain from buying any more domains, I have plenty! I do have long running plans to update my own portfolio site, it’s way out of date http://cogdog.info as well as creating some kind of collection site for my presentations. I used a Wikispaces site as a catalog, and need to reclaim that for my own.
What would you say to other educators about the value, reason why to have a domain of your own? What will it take them to get going with their own domain?
I can’t think of much more important than having control over where your stuff is published. I see a lot of tendencies for people to go with what is more convenient, in terms of time and ease. We only realize how that falls short when a company like Storify or Wikispaces (or these others) pull the free rug from under our feet
Of anything, be ready to know that it takes time and effort to run our own domain, as much as it takes to be responsible for your own home, food preparation, or automobile care. But the satisfaction, knowledge of being in charge?