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 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 wrote me an email with a message about the unwieldy length of that URL, and that he was willing to buy me the 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.

  • 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.
  • bought to be a portfolio kind of site.
  • 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
  • bought for use in two presentations. It was really to make a separate identity for something I though might be bigger (alas)
  • a photography portfolio site, yes it could have easily been a subdomain, but I like the name
  • a web service for rendering RSS as Javascript, my first big kind of open web thing from maybe 2002– and the thing still works today. Hmmm.
  • my mashup for improv with random photos from flickr done pecha kucha style.
  • 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
  • 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 for some political awareness about US Healthcare issues, later archived it to

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

And I started doing some early work on my first domain, 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 — 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! has become a bit of a sprawling dog house with a lot of odd hallways, secret chambers. As much as possible:

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 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?


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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. From that first post: “CogDogBlog. It does not even rhyme, unless you affect a bad Boston accent.”


    I speak perfectly normal English, and these three things rhyme perfectly. As do log, bog, fog, hog, and jog. All the same. All rhyming with cog, dog and blog.

    So – how do *you* think they’re pronounced.

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