Like last year, the impending FUN of tax season reminds me to start organizing my records (meaning another fake vow to do better record keeping during the year) and to write up some summary for this Company of 1.

This year marks 7.5 years since I last drew a regular paycheck. There are times I wonder how viable this is, and while there have been a few leaner months that I’d prefer in 2018, as usual my network and connections and a little bit of luck have kept things afloat.

There has been quite a bit of change, the “company” has moved to Canada (because of love), and am awaiting a few more things to settle here on my status (but oh the weirdness of seeing America from here- clue, very few people here can make sense of what is south of this border). This meant some limbo, but things are in good progress to be permanent, but hanging on to US insurance until I can qualify here.

Since the first year of self-employment I have tracked my income into a few general categories to give some sense year by year how the work shifts; these charts reflect those amounts as percentages of total. I have no idea if it means anything, but #becausePieCharts…

The way the CogDog It Company work changes year to year…

New this year, I thought it might be worth it to explain the categories with examples of the work that falls under there.


This included teaching two classes last Spring (remotely) at Kean University (January-May), the Networked Narratives class and the Writing Studies MS seminar.

Web Weaving

It’s a bit tricky to seperate my project work below, but these are the ones that are more on the side of pure web site design and construction (and fixing) many of small businesses, non-profits, and friends. These include:

  • THAT Brewery – front and back updates, podcast production, writing news stories for a microbrewery in Arizona
  • SPLOTbox – I got a little bit of incentive from the University of Saskatchewan (thanks JR!) to publish the first version of this SPLOT theme.
  • The Demo @ 50 and Tribute to Doug – one new and one updated sites for the Doug Engelbart Institute, all are wrestling within the limits of hosted WordPress (with access to custom CSS).
  • Developing the Constellection prototype site for a project at JIBC, some crazy interplay of dynamic d3js and WordPress (blogged in grand detail)
  • Helping Mariana Funes update, reorganize, consolidate a fleet of WordPress sites in her multisite setup
  • PS Trails a long work in progress (a.k.a. not yet finished) a site for maps and information on a hiking/biking trail system in Arizona.

Speaking (little)

This was such a big piece of the pie in my first year and happily shrunk; I am quite fine to not be doing the travel jigs anymore, and only had a single one, being a workshop at Coventry University in April.

It’s not like I don’t get to present. There were other talks as part of other projects, one for the Mural UDG project in March, a SPLOT talk at the Reclaim Workshop, another SPLOT one for the twitter-based PressEdConf, and a beam in remotely one at the Fall ETUG meeting for the portfolio project at TWU.

I’m definitely post-peak keynote material, and no tears on that.

Fellowship (of the SPLOT)

This is the maybe the tastiest slice of the pay; I was very fortunate to have been given a small one year fellowship by Reclaim Hosting to pretty much work on things I wanted to, so it gave a little extra time to work on SPLOT features and the WordPress calling card themes.

This was aptly named/blogged by Jim Groom as Fellowship of the SPLOT (with meme). I worked with Tim Owens to five of the installers up in their cpanel one click installer tools.

Besides their awesome support/service (I can only dimly remember all the rant posts about my previous web host providers), and their ethos of fun (see the Domains 19 conference plus they run a real video store), but the Reclaim Hosting commitment to support independents like me is unique (and appreciated).

Thanks Reclaim!

The Projects

The biggest chunk of work are the ones that involve web development, but also project design, facilitation, implementation, and maybe washing dishes. Well maybe.

For 2018, these projects include:

  • Mural UDG – a return in March to the University of Guadalajara as a followup to the UDG Agora project, this time working with another perfect team lead by Tannis Morgan (JIBC) and my friend/colleagues Brian Lamb and Grant Potter. This project included pretty rapid fleshing out of a project web site, with added components of (yes more SPLOTs) of Accumulador (a TRU Collector SPLOT beefed up to be a team reporting space), a line up of special guests beamed in a Daily Open Challenge, and a recrafting of a WordPress P2 child theme as Contestar to be a place for responses to key questions. Like a discussion forum without all the cruft of forums. I was also deep in the planning and carrying out of the week worth of activities in Guadalajara (with the best tacos anywhere).
  • TWU Portfolios – This was some pretty rapid development of 4 new themes for Trinity Western University’s program to give all new students WordPress portfolios on their multisite. This including creation of child themes with a custom plugin for creating a TWU Portfolio content type, pre-populating with their taxonomy, adding shortcodes for displaying artifacts, integrating with the new account signup.
  • Ontario Extend – I have been very fortunate to have an ongoing set of contracts with eCampus Ontario with this great effort to network and provide professional learning to educators across that big province. I did a sweep of improvements and feature bumps to the three main WordPress sites I set up for them before- the Domains of Our Own syndication hub, populating the Daily Extend (adding a great new feature that notifies a site owner when the supply is dwindling), and adding new things to do in the Activity Bank. Over the summer I filled in for Terry Greene to facilitate and support participants, running activities like a 31 Day Extend Challenge, Domain Camp, and offering drop in Extend Lunch hours in Zoom. And at the end of the year I started working with them on planning the current version of the program as a medium sized Open Online Course hosted in edX. Irony noted.
  • Frameworks in Concept Space – I started a project (just underway now) with Gardner Campbell Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework revolving around collaborative web annotation of Doug Engelbart’s 1962 paper. This meant starting the web site, integrating it in with the previous Thought Vectors site on the domain, and planning out how we would structure this project. Oh, and for fun, creating a twitter bot.


With some bemused weirdness, this year I followed a suggestion from someone I now forget to set up a tin cup at patreon. I’ve not really fiddled with creating any kind of reward levels, I’d rather be out here making stuff. I have started writing quick monthly updates on things I’ve made on the site of the other stuff listed above. This generally sounds like SPLOT, SPLOT, SPLOT

It’s rewarding to see people chip in. It’s far from a living, it might pay for a week of groceries (still greatly appreciated). One can dream of bigger coin drops. I’ve also had a handful of one time donations via PayPal.

There were never high hopes for patreon as a reliable stream, so every little bit is a positive.

A Wee Bit of Old Fashioned Consulting

This may not be the exact word, but I’ve had two people this year ask for some semi regular phone/video meetings where they are willing to pay a wee bit as I give feedback. One is particularly enjoyable as it is just offering tech suggestions without having to actually do them.

Media $

Consider this one a fluke. Through an accident where the batch conversion of my 50,000 flickr photos from CC-BY to CC0 failed, I had a media company request for use of CC-BY one in a use where they could not do attribution, so they paid me a little bit of money for use without attribution. Hey, it was offered!

Other Stuff

Stuff I do because I can/care beyond the 164 posts published here include:

Into 2019

The current work consists of a few carried over from 2018, still on the order of less than a month to maybe 3 months work at a time. There are 2 possibilities hanging for some longer term projects, but the ink is not even on the paper. I had a handful of possible projects in the second half of last year which did not pan out. It happens.

So yes, I’d love any small support via the begging buttons below, but more, if there is project work or something else you think I can help with, I’m 100% ears.

I will keep doing stuff on my own and of course blogging the bleep out of it.

Featured Image: Pixabay image by moonzigg shared under a Pixabay License (why why can’t they just go with CC0?)

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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

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