Hosting VCU’s Ram Pages

Reclaim Hosting has been hosting VCU’s Ram Pages as of the beginning of the Spring semester. It reinforces for me there is nothing Tim Owens can’t do, another yet another example of the powerful ripple effects of #ds106 on edtech. We’ve been loath to proclaim victory too soon given what a beast Ram Pages is. And I thought we had a blogging revolution at UMW! In two short years Ram Pages has been home to over 16,000 blogs for 15,500 users. That’s nothing short of mind boggling. Tom Woodward—in his quiet, self-defacing way—has built and managed a blog empire at VCU’s ALT Lab, and over the last 6-8 months Tim and I have been trying to figure out how the hell we would migrate it cleanly given it can grow at intervals of 1000 users any given week.

Hosting VCU’s Ram Pages

We (royal for Tim) moved it over Christmas vacation on to a beefy Linode instance running Ubuntu, Varnish, and Nginx after sharding the database to 256. Yesterday we finally got the second backup solution working, which in addition to nightly snapshots we now have file-level, off-site backups through R1Soft Licenses (more on that in another post). This may be one of the largest, most active academic blogging systems in higher ed, and it is a real source of pride that we’re hosting it. And I saying this knowing full-well it is a total jinx [crosses fingers]….it’s been rock solid so far. Don’t ever question the power of Reclaiming!

Updates to Scalar

Today we are pushing out a new release of Scalar, the born-digital publishing platform developed by The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture at USC. The latest version of Scalar offers some really exciting enhancement’s to the interface including a completely overhauled new theme for published work that is mobile-ready and a variety of new page layouts. You can read all about this update at http://scalar.usc.edu/scalar-2-is-here/. New installs will default to the new theme automatically and existing installs that are updated through our automated installer can selectively choose to use it on new and existing work.

I’d like to take a quick moment to send a huge shoutout to Craig Dietrich who has been instrumental in partnering with Reclaim Hosting to make sure our automated installation of Scalar provides a seamless experience for our customers hosting it on their own domain. Much of this work would not have been possible without his guidance and willingness to help iron out bugs and make this installer what it is. Thanks Craig!

CPanel’s Transfer Tool

Recently I was moving a shared hosting client from one of our older servers to a newer one because of some performance issues she was having given the resource needs of her site. I used CPanel’s Transfer Tool for this, and I wanted to quickly note how powerful it is. The Transfer Tool enables you to move an entire cPanel account from one server to another with a few clicks. When migrating accounts from other hosting companies that use CPanel, we often use cPanel’s Restore a Full Backup tool (another clutch feature) because it allows us to move all the files, test to make sure everything works, and then point the DNS. But when moving an account from one Reclaim Hosting server to another, we usually use the Transfer Tool. It’s simpler because both sites are within the same DNS Zone and we know our servers won’t block the request, which is not the case when pulling accounts from other hosting services. Finally, it is dead simple.

As an example, I decided to move the venerable ds106 from the Minutemen server to the Unwound server for the sake of getting screenshots and narrating this post.
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Mukurtu joins the growing list of open source applications on Reclaim Hosting

We are pleased to announce the official release of our newest installation package on Reclaim Hosting, the Mukurtu CMS. Mukurtu is a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways. In addition to a compelling platform, Mukurtu also offers open office hours and workshops and a demo site to take a test drive. You can also check out some wonderful examples of the software in use at their showcase. Huge thanks goes to Kim Christen Withey and Alex Merrill for their support and guidance to make this installer a reality. Mukurtu joins a growing list of custom open source applications at Reclaim Hosting focusing on education and digital humanities. We are committed to making a growing body of software available to an extensive audience of educators and practitioners through our platform and we are happy to welcome Mukurtu!

Inside Reclaim Records

inside the store

Reclaim Records is starting to get further fleshed out thanks to the latest installment from the great Bryan Mathers. I really love the colors in this one, not to mention the synchronization of all the details we’ve been working on from album covers, to the #ds106 coffee mug, to the awesome EDUPUNK poster (a work of art within the work of art), the smack-talking on Canada, and the figure behind the counter. The idea will be to switch the face of Reclaim—this one presumably me given the hairline and glasses—with caricatures of Tim and Lauren. Each of us behind the counter server up the goods. What this image makes me want more than anything else is a Reclaim storefront.
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It’s OK, We’re Only Human

Last week I worked on migrating a number of sites from the Digital Media Lab at the Bard Graduate Center over to Reclaim Hosting.  One of the things I enjoy about doing migrations for folks is a get to see what they are working on. I fell down the rabbit hole of the history of computer user interface design with the brilliant Interface Experience exhibit that was produced for the 2015 exhibit The Interface Experience: 40 Years of Personal Computing. The exhibit was curated by Kimon Keramidas, then Assistant Professor and Director of the Digital Media Lab—now a professor at NYU.
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