The web as whatever we thought we knew it is all going to poop, eh? I don’t disagree about the large parts of it most see on an every day basis. I do wonder though how much we can make these grand assumptions when so many un-explored bits and crevices exist out there that are not covered by the same media stories we repost.

I have started tagging in my old school one person social bookmarking space the small glints of light as smallweb which I have duct taped flowing into the fediverse.

The web is out there. You just need to look in the corners, scrape through the goo.

Anyhow, wading into the waters possible labeled NOSTALGIA AHEAD, it is not for the looking back to the web past, but seeing it in the now.

This week I dropped in to listen to a futures session from the University of Regina’s Open Education Bootcamp, pretty much as this was a gathering organized by folks I have known long, hosted by Alec Couros and featuring Stephen Downes, Valerie Irvine, Brian Lamb, and David Wiley. The gang!

In passing, Brian flattered me with his story while teaching in Mexico of learning HTML from a free web tutorial… that I had made, this was long before we knew each other and collaborated so much, we found my work through the web. This was maybe the first public web thing I ever made, the Writing HTML tutorial I created as a young instructional technologist at the Maricopa Community Colleges (backstory blogged somewhere).

It’s long disappeared from the original web server, but when I left my job there I took all my web assets on a hard drive, and so the old thing lives on my own domain at – while it bears a Creative Commons License now, those did not exist in 1994. The power I saw in HTML was you could pack up any web page and move it somewhere else, or share from an old floppy disk. The web was portable.

I made this for a workshop I did at Maricopa, but it made sense to me then to put the entire thing on the web, and in that way, anyone could use it. There was a feel free to make a copy but please attribute statement on it – and that on its own spawned people to make translations into Spanish, Italian, French, and even Icelandic.

Enough about that.

The thing was Brian just mentioned this, I added to the chat simply “and its still on the web”: but did not drop the URL. But Shauna the host went and found one maybe from a university in Minnesota. I thought about piping in with my “official” link, but why? I did not need to.

Later out of curiosity, I dumped into the search box (maybe the last waning days of relying on Google search before it all goes to AI goo) “Writing HTML” “maricopa” and its rather startling, humbling to see how many places around the world, left ignored, unvisited on so many web servers, is my little piece of web work.

This is not to brag, I do that enough here, well hack, maybe I am. But its more this clanging siren that by the simple act of just giving away this chunk of content for free, it has lodged into so many corners of the web, like wild flowers. Even if my web site crumbles and the internet archive’s lights go out, it just will live on.

Smoking Dandelion
Smoking Dandelion flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

I cannot extrapolate my premise experience to everything, but I have found in so many times, if you make something reusable (ideally useful too), package it so its self contained, and give it away, you do not have to worry about it disappearing from the web. The web is archiving my stuff in an organic way.

It’s like enabling little seeds of the small web that carried in the wind.

Sure you can hoard and protect your stuff. In one fragile place. I’d rather let my stuff go.

Featured Image: From a photo I took yesterday for a free local newspaper box and in the background screenshot of the Writing HTML tutorial found all over the dusty web.

Sign with text inside a sunburst shape "Free! Please take one!" superimposed in the background is a screenshot of the WritingHTML tutorial from 1994
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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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