Keep the internet weird and un-expected, not managed by machine languages and corporatized algorithms, but by the small human acts of sharing. Ok?

This has happened to me countless times yet never gets old. So via Mastodon, all the way from New Zealand, my colleague Stephen Harlow thinks to share this:

Indeed, in a YouTube video of The Buggles, all grey haired played a live set in Dallas, TX, on. April 30, 2023, playing their notable hit Video Killed the Radio Star on that stage in front of graphic display that included effects projected through an old TV set that has a DS106 logo on it.

The Buggles are singing in front of screens using a graphic I made in 2013.

Of all the old TV images in all the sites in all the web, the Buggles sang in front of mine…

UPDATE: The original video Stephen shared has been removed (one suspects takedown), but a search locates a few more.

Turn the Dial Back to 2013

When I saw Stephen’s post I recognized the image as something created for DS106, that dirty font logo has been there since maybe 2011. Luckily for me, I have this thing called a “blog” where I can search for and find details of things I did, made, and though about (it’s quite handy!). The image was part of a bunch of a wacky retro a keynote I did for the 2013 TCC World Online Conference with a TVish theme based on the movie Network.

it was the parallels I thought I saw in the plot of the 1976 movie Network where the sacred history of TV news was undermined by corporate interests with today’s “higher education is broken” mantra, where the sacred history of education might be undermined by corporate interests.

And in that blog post’s post presentation wrap up, I included the usual DS106 write-ups of the “making” of a media piece. I wrote about the slides done in keynote using an old TV set as a frame, where screen shots, and other silly green screen images of me with a talk show style city background.

The background transparent PNG image I made as a mask for my presentation slides in 2013. Somehow the Buggles stage show people found it to use as a backdrop for their 2023 concert.
One slide where I tried to make myself into a TV talk show host. Hah.

But where did I find the TV image? My blogging was not complete. A reverse image search hit my own posts (and weirdly a spotify track that used the image). I do keep all source images I download for projects like this, and sure enough, in my presentation folder for this talk I found an image named OLD SCHOOL TV.jpg (my habit is to save source media in its original file names).

info on source file OLD SCHOOL TV.JPG – Creation date is the date I downloaded and saved the file. It indicates a source of “Picassa” the predecessor to Google Images.

There’s more metadata in the file info, in fact a URL for the image source.

Metadat from the OLD SCHOOLYV.jpg image indicates a source

This at least indicates I found the image in a site published before April 10, 2013, the image is still there at I had some vain hopes there was some method to deconstruct this URL into something that might include at least a reference to the blog name, but that rabbit hole dead-ended.

I did some reverse image searches on that original OLD SCHOOL TV.jpg image and found it om a kazillion web sites, included as licen$ed sources like iStock Photo and supposedly free on numerous pinterest accounts. The point is, images on the web can be impossible to unravel as a definitive source.

The most curious result was an After Effects subreddit where I found the TV posed with a question that gets no real answers, but just shows that I was in good company in picking this image.

So What?

I have no idea why I have chased this old TV image around except the weird thrill of seeing a DS106 version behind the concert performance of a late 1970s band singing a song of some significance. If you are not aware of this bit of history, the Buggles’ song performed in front of a DS106 retro TV was in fact the very first music played on the launch of MTV August 1, 1981. If you want to relive this moment, I found a video of the Apollo Moon Landing opening and this first music video:

I can remember this early 1980s excitement as an 11 grade high school student, we had just gotten cable TV. I do not think I saw this opening, but remember being mesmerized by what felt like a fresh music experience, and many were bands I had never heard of.

Anyhow, the memory is part of this magic, and I am by no means trying to brag (much) about this graphic I made for a whacky online presentation ending up on a concert screen in Dallas. But also the magic is that I would never have known this had not Stephen Harlow, way over on another side of the globe, knew that I had a connection to that image behind the Buggles, and that he wanted to share this. That’s the way the internet really works (for me), a place of potential serendipity that happens not because of algorithms or large language models, but because of people.

And yes Clint, I wondered too about making a new tale to drop into True Stories of Open Sharing which if you bother to peek, is possibly due for a November revival.

Go Buggles, now we know you are #4life:

They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine on new technology
And now I understand the problems you can see


I was pretty sure Jim Groom had done some riffs or remix of the Buggles tuned, or maybe used he song as an internet metaphor (it was a reference to a unit of DS106 in one round). John Johnston faithfully took my bait and inserted dancing Jim GIF onto this new iteration of the song.

Featured Image: Screen shot of The Buggles, Live at The Music Hall, Dallas, TX, April 30, 2023 YouTube video at the 28:51 point.

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An early 90s builder of the web 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)


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