Reclaim the Office

Lindley Estes caught up with Tim Owens yesterday to talk about the new Reclaim Hosting offices in Fredericksburg. Tim and Lauren have already written about the space, and just today Lauren posted an update with pictures of the demo work going on as well as some insights to our thinking about the redesign.

On top of that, Lindley published an article for the Freelance Star today based on her conversation with Tim. What was cool about the article is how she connected the new offices with our earlier collaborations at UMW. Tim’s first day on the job at UMW in 2011 was being thrown into a nutty office space with a makeshift TV studio and a missing Dr. Oblivion, as well as hysterical teaching assistant-once-removed Martha Burtis. The fabled Summer of Oblivion!

When Tim and I were still at UMW one of the things we talked about was having a space like the DTLT offices for Reclaim. Three years later that is becoming a reality, and that’s truly awesome. As noted in the article and Lauren’s post, we’re opening the space up, exposing the ceilings. adding a glass-enclosed conference room, laptop bar, collaborative table, private desks, booths, as well as a recording studio, green screen, and 3D printing. We even have awesome sonic professionals folks like Mark Snyder who have already offered to help out.

That said, I’ve seen enough to know posh offices don’t necessarily make the magic, that’s about the people, the vibe, and the freedom. And after our trip to Portland, it was clear we have those three right now—in fact it was being together for that week that made us think about doing this. We are all locked-in, and very much taking care of business as I suggested in a recent braggy post about just this topic. In fact, Brian Lamb commented on that post asking how we managed our distributed workflow, which brought me to the post I wrote over a year ago about settling into distributed work from Italy. All of which seems ironic given I am writing a post about our new collaborative office space in Fredericksburg, right?

Maybe, but it all seems related to me. We know we can effectively run Reclaim Hosting in a distributed manner around the globe—and I’ll remain distributed for the foreseeable future. But the idea of creating a dynamic space that can become a headquarters for Reclaim as well as a communal hub for distributed workers in and around Fredericksburg is a new challenge. And if it has any of the energy and goodness of ds106, as Lindley suggested in her Tweet above, then I can’t help but think it will be a most fun and creative one at that.

An Office Update

Though I’m currently living about two hours from Fredericksburg, I’ve been making the trip up here every couple weeks or so– can’t stay away! I’m so amazed with how quickly the office space is already transforming. Demolition started yesterday, and already we have three walls knocked down and most of the ceiling tiles removed. Jim, Tim, and I are having weekly meetings to discuss new changes and ideas for the space: including but not limited to a 1950’s wooden phone booth, 3-D Printing station, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and a 10-foot farm table. (Check out Tim’s post to read more about our vision.) I’m thrilled.

Last week I was able to pick out a chair, rug, and two coffee tables from a local furniture store in Waynesboro- made it all the more real, let me tell you. 🙂 We’re going to be pulling in a lot of industrial gray tones with wooden & steel accents. The area itself will be very simplistic & open. An open ceiling concept with a poured concrete floor. The stuff inside the space– that’s where the magic happens. An orange couch, colorful art, and a little bit of greenery to liven the place up.

I made a quick mood board that embodies (at least for me) the vibe of the space. I want the darks and lights to compliment each other, and I want every color in the space to feel genuine and intentional. Can colors be genuine? Well, they are now.

In case you missed it, take a look at my previous post for an idea of how the space looked like before we began. Now take a look at its current state:

I spy tall ceilings & a massive coworking space!! What about you?

Reclaiming Domain Privacy

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One of the issues that’s gotten increasingly troublesome recently has been the increasingly more aggressive domain registration spam and scams. As I wrote earlier this year, it’s gotten to the point where companies are calling our clients soon after sign-up pretending to work for Reclaim and asking for credit card information. This is unconscionable, and we knew then and there we could no longer make identity protection for domains optional. So, as of January 1, 2017 we will be including ID protect for all new domains, whether registered individually or as part of a hosting account.

There is a cost involved in doing this, so we will be increasing the price of domains to $15 /year, and Student and Faculty shared hosting accounts will be raised to $30 and $50 /year respectively. We understand increasing prices may not be ideal for many, but being able to guarantee Reclaimers’ online identity helps justify the costs while reinforcing an ethos of openness and vigilance when it comes to one’s digital lifebits.

Let us know in the comments below if you have questions or concerns.

Nota bene: Any existing coupon codes that entail bulk account purchases will be honored at previous pricing structure.

Reclaim in One Word: Support

Much of my time since being on the road for much of October has been locked into Reclaim Hosting support (oh yeah, there’s also been conference planning and a new office as well). It’s been a fairly intense Fall, and Lauren, Tim and I are not letting up as the next few months will surely attest to. That said, it’s worth taking a moment to point out the reason we have been fairly successful thus far: stellar support.

Reclaimers ratings of their support over last 30 days

I like to remind myself of this because it’s grounding. From the very beginning Reclaim Hosting benefitted greatly from the work we did at UMW, an awesome community (hi ds106!), and a broader need in higher ed for web hosting. But at the end of the day, no matter how much people want to help—and believe me they do—when you’re hosting their personal, course, or institutional sites they just want them online. They also appreciate a heads up when they’re not, because at some point they won’t be. But more than anything they want someone to finally say yes and offer to help them when they’re trying to teach online. I think this last part is where Reclaim has nailed it. While we’re only 3 full-time employees (smaller than most ed-tech groups), I would be so bold to suggest we provide better support than hosts with 10x as many people working for them. The proof is in the pudding, check out the stats from the last 30 days in Zendesk:  Continue reading “Reclaim in One Word: Support”

Announcing Domains 2017

Well, it’s official, Reclaim Hosting is partnering with University of Oklahoma to host Domains 2017.

What is Domains 2017 all about? Well, read Adam Croom‘s Letter of Welcome for more details, but in short it’s modeled on the idea of a two-day Record Fair where folks come together to share the work they are doing around domains projects. This is by no means limited to schools running Domain of One’s Own projects—though they are certainly one focus—but to showcase a wide array of approaches to everything from free web-based tools to SPLOTS to Personal APIs to teaching on the open web to Digital Identity to critical approaches to Digital Literacies and more. It’s a communal, fair-like event where pedagogy and ed-tech meets technical architecture so that we can begin to think through them together.

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Get SiteSucker, Sucker

I had followed with great interest the discussion on the Reclaim Hosting Community site about archiving a dynamic, database driven site as static HTML files.  I share Alan Levine’s passion for trying to archive as much of the work I’ve done online as possible, I’m just not nearly as good at it. That said, today I had an occasion to use the Mac tool SiteSucker Tim Owens has been raving about for a while. The app costs $4.99 and takes any URL and packages up the entire site (including images and media) into local static HTML files.

Continue reading “Get SiteSucker, Sucker”