Domains Venue

Missed yesterday’s OKC post? Read it here.

This morning Adam and I had a chance to sit down with Haley, our contact at 21c, to talk through event logistics over breakfast. Afterward, we were able to tour the venue. Have a look below:

^entrance to circular, main gallery (on right). the purple curtain can be pulled around to enclose the space.

^another penguin. notice the floor: open open open!

^turning completely around now, this is a view in the opposite direction. so much flexibility and potential.

^one of the galleries to be used to for break-off sessions.

^same gallery, other side.

^larger gallery for break-out sessions.

^walking out of the break-out gallery spaces, this is what you see-

^we’ve got some awesome ideas for this area- can’t wait to share.

^and lastly, here are a few room setups to look forward to. love the gorgeous windows!

^some rooms are literally set in an art installation.

^not too shabby, huh? folks from UMW might recognize the chair on the right. ;)

I might also note that by the time the conference comes in June, 21c will have a completely new art exhibit. So exciting!

Being here has made me that much more pumped for #Domains17. Adam and I sat down this afternoon and took the time to draft out an itinerary- the hardest part was trying to fit in all the awesome stuff that we want to do! Definitely continue to check the event website over the next few weeks as we begin to add more details.

As a quick reminder: Call for Proposals closes on February 1. If you’re interested in speaking but aren’t entirely sure about your presentation topic, no worries! Shoot us a message & we’ll help you work out the kinks. We’d love to hear your ideas even if they’re not complete.

OKC

Hello from Oklahoma City! I flew in from Virginia this morning and am loving the vibe here so far. I came to check out the event location and surrounding area for the Domains17 conference in June. We felt it was important to get a sense ahead of time of what it was like to stay in the hotel, tour the venue, experience the transportation & walking around, the potential nightlife scenes, etc. to make sure it will fit the vision we’re going for. I believe the sign of a successful event is one where the itinerary is seamless and flows naturally; so much so that it disappears into the background & the attendees feel like they’re the ones making the call. So that’s the goal of this trip- to make sure that the itinerary is feasible, seamless, and f*cking awesome.

We’ll be adding more details to the Domains website once plans are a little more solidified, but you can catch a sneak peek of some of the scenes to look forward to.

^stepping out of the elevator at the 21c Museum Hotel.

^walking to your hotel room.

^a rooftop bar for a jam session or two.

^the womb.

^purple penguins.

^…everywhere.

I was easily able to grab a taxi from the airport to 21c Museum Hotel- the venue AND hotel for Domains. It was about a 15-minute ride. 21c is on the outskirts of downtown OKC. I was a little hesitant upon arrival that there wasn’t much to do around the hotel, but man was I wrong. Adam was kind enough to show me around for a couple of hours- we spent the afternoon scoping out potential hotspots including but not limited to: Flashback Retro Pub (thanks for the idea, @DrGarcia!), Cultivar (hidden gem in the back: Ms. Pac-Man) & PLENTY Mercantile (a shop by day, rooftop bar by night!)

Excited to share more about the actual venue tomorrow- stay tuned!

Are We Not Reclaim?

I’ve been back in the US for the last week working on the Reclaim offices, and it’s been a lot of fun. The last two days the whole crew has been working together in the new diggs, and the vision of the office, co-working space, maker space, and 1980s video rental store is coming together nicely.

Tim and I did some work installing ceiling tiles, hooking up recessed lighting, painting paneling, and laying carpet tiles in a small back office while the major construction work continues in the main area. Considering we’re two web hosting sysadmins, it went pretty well and relatively fast. In fact, the room is almost done. I’ll save the before and after images for later this week when all the furniture is in and the final ceiling tiles are done. But in the meantime I wanted to share a quick action photo. 

The above shot was taken after painting, and the suit was a necessity given I didn’t have any throwaway painting clothes. It was also an homage to the Reclaim Hosting migration page art (which is an homage to Repo Man):

I also started calling the suit I was wearing a Devo Suit to pay respect to the awesome style sense to America’s greatest New Wave band from Akron, Ohio. I even put a Reclaim Hosting sticker on my heart in order to seize the marketing opportunity. After Tweeting the image, it came back to me as the best album cover I have seen in a very, very long time! Paul Bond is no joke, and he was even attentive enough to incorporate Booji Boy, a character created by the band and the name of their early independent label.

I never tire of the remix engine that is my Twitter community. Solid gold!

Domains 2017 will be Intergalactic

One of the joys of being on the East Coast of the U.S. right now is waking up to gems like the above video from Bryan Mathers. I already blogged about Bryan’s poster for the Domains 2017 conference, so seeing this 15 second spot Bryan created was heavenly. Between the Beastie Boys “Intergalactic” background music, the roving, pulsating bubble and the rising mechanical hand (reminiscent of the monster on the Queen’s News of the World album cover) I was in heaven. I’ve been criticized for my focus on marketing and promotion, but it’s hard to argue with when it looks this good! Domains 2017 is going to be intergalactic, indeed.

Domains 2017: The Poster

The Buffana has swept away the festivities here in Italy, so I guess it’s time to shake off the holiday sleep and get back in the swing of things on the bava. I’m heading back to America for the next few weeks, so that should wake me up a bit. It’s been a fairly busy break between setting up servers and entertaining my awesome nephew Liam from California. A kid who is full of pleasant surprises and happens to be a spitting image of his father.

It’s kind of surreal to spend time with your nephew and constantly see your older brother’s visage straight out of your childhood. It’s difficult because you realize how much of his life you missed, while at the same time there is a comforting sense of continuity and familiarity. I can faintly see my own childhood through him, as well as what which will come after for mine. And while nothing is clearer to me than it was 27 years ago when I was Liam’s age, it is nice to see it is all still there.

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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

privacy-policy-1024x270

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:  Read more

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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