Sharing the Domains Documentation Love

I wanted to make sure Adam Croom gets the appropriate love for helping several schools get up and running with Domains documentation over the last several months. More than a few folks have inquired if we had any recommendations for solid documentation, and it is hard to compete with the new and improved OU Create docs.* Once upon a time, before the Smallest Federated Wiki whisked Mike Caulfield away, we had an idea for federated documentation using DokuWiki, but that never came to be. There was some early momentum to prevent folks from reproducing the documentation wheel—but time, energy, focus, and squirrels got in the way.  

More recently a few schools asked us if the could reproduce Oklahoma’s documentation and then customize it for their school, and it turned out that Adam had already done this for Middlebury’s Middcreate. So, he was kind enough to not only help out a few schools by porting over OU Create’s documentation site whole hog, but even wrote up a tutorial on how to do it

Re-visiting how we re-use and remix documentation resources across schools running Domain of One’s Own will most definitely be on the Domains 17 conference agenda.  I think this is something we need to revisit in order to make this much less arduous. Thanks again Adam, you rule.


David Morgen did some amazing work with Emory’s documentation early and that was the inspiration to try and figure out how to easily share work between schools that wanted to share and re-user Domains documentation.

It Came from the Domains Stacks!

Bryan Mathers is experimenting with animating his art—which is lucky for us—and he has taken the “Domains Death Star Eye in the Sky” poster he created for Domains 17 and gave it life:

But he even got crazier than that in the following video gem (be sure to make it full screen before viewing!):

How cool is that? Embedding that animated brilliance into a stack of records to help define and promote the insanity that will be Domains 17.  Are you ready? Are you animated? Are you registered? No? Let’s take care of that now.

We’re All Devo

The name Devo comes “from their concept of ‘de-evolution‘ — the idea that instead of continuing to evolve, mankind has actually begun to regress, as evidenced by the dysfunction and herd mentality of American society.”[9] Devo’s Wikipedia article

Devo’s theories of evolution have never seemed more relevant, so the latest Reclaim Hosting server is named in honor of the early 70s video/music pioneers who brought an entrenched, surreal social satire to their work. One of their unique contributions was their elaborate and trippy music videos with recurring characters such as Booji Boy and General Boy, music video narratives that prefigured MTV. Interestingly, Devo was formed in response to the Kent State shootings in 1970-where several of the band members went to school-and were conceptualized as a satirical attack on the militaristic, consumer-driven logic of contemporary U.S. culture. With their mainstream success with “Whip It” (1980), they also became representative of pop New Wave for a entire generation of kids heading into the 80s (myself included).

Yet, despite their early critiques of consumer culture, Devo was not beyond shilling for Pioneer’s Laserdisc technology in the early 80s. Their craziest work shows up in the 1984 video compilation We’re All Devo, featuring their music videos from 1976 – 1983, much of which is re-released ten years later in another compilation of their videos from 1976-1990: The Complete Truth about De-Evolution (1993). Both came out on VHS and Laserdisc, the latter work using their Pioneer promotional clips as an organizing principal. While effectively goofing on their own willingness to shill, the blurry line between a sustained critique on pop culture and indulging it always made their later work oddly uncomfortable.*

That said, Devo’s concept art-as-entertainment approach to their music and videos (I own the Laserdiscs and they are a prized possession) puts them in that interesting category of musicians who are just as much performance/concept artists. Sharing as much with bands like The Residents as  Flock of Seagulls 🙂 But unlike most of the New Wave decadents, the Akron, Ohio spud boys introduced a brave new philosophy of a changing world order premised on de-evolution. A theory we might do well to consider in some depth presently.


*I would be lying if I didn’t acknowledge it was hard to stomach the hypocrisy of a band constantly complaining about corporate music shilling for Disney during the mid oughts. But sadly it seems if just about any band stays around long enough they will eventually cannibalize their catalog for profit—it’s Devo in action 🙂

 

A Reclaimed Phone Booth

NY’s Old Penn Station Phone Booths

On Thursday Tim and I drove to a Vintage Furniture shop outside Baltimore to pickup an old phone booth we bought on Ebay for the office. We got really lucky because the booth was in mint condition, and according to the proprietor it was part of Baltimore’s Penn Station for decades. We were thrilled to have it, and it is absolutely gorgeous, as you can see below:

Vintage Phone Booth

Vintage Phone Booth

The plan is to hook up some power and USB chargers and do a little insulation so folks can use it for private calls in the co-working space. And even if that doesn’t happen, it is an amazing centerpiece for the office. After tweeting out images yesterday, Bryan Mathers came back with a next level booth concept:

To which Grant Potter noted was an image of Jack White‘s Voice-O-Graph which is where Neil Young recorded all of his 2014 album A Letter Home:

The tweet from Grant reminded me of his experimentation with an 800 number for ds106radio back in 2011, and I would love the idea of revisiting some of that insanity in an OG phone booth. All of which provided a brief reminder of what Twitter was like before it became a political garbage dump. We’re on the look out for a second booth of the same kind, but not so sure we can get anything nearly as nice. Having two of these side-by-side (like in the image of the top of this post) would be so awesome. The Reclaim offices are going to be amazing.

Reclaiming the Back Office

I am wrapping up my trip to the States tomorrow, it has been most productive. I’ve basically done two things: worked and watched movies. I’ll have another post about the movies, but this one is about some of the work. Tim and I had plans to renovate one of the spaces in our new office, and we took care of that in no time. All while migrating servers, starting a new semester, and building momentum for our Domains 17 conference. It’s been busy, but I think doing some physical work broke things up a bit which was nice.

Back Office before it was Reclaimed

^Office space before renovation

As you can tell from the image above, the space we were working on was pretty hideous. I think anything we did to it would have been an improvement. We replaced the carpet, ceiling tiles, florescent lights, and painted the paneling. Fairly simple.

Foundry back office ceiling tile

Installing ceiling tiles and LED recessed lighting

Foundry back office priming

^First coat of primer

Foundry back office under construction

^Second coat of primer

Lauren picked the paint color for the wall (Behr’s Script White). Tim picked the light gray carpet tiles and clean, elegant ceiling tiles. At the end of a week, we had a pretty awesome looking back office for folks to use at the Foundry. I think it came out pretty well.

Foundry Back Office

^View from the Conference Room

Alternative view of Foundry Back Office

^View from the back of the office to Conference room door

This was a very fun, manageable project. You can see the ceiling is fairly low and the space in relatively small, but the make over really cleaned it up, and it feels like a spacious, comfortable room. Lauren picked out the furniture, and I think it works beautifully.  The last touch will be a few pieces of colorful art, after that we’ve  reclaimed a pretty bitchin office space—and it is just a small taste of what is in store with the other 3000 square feet!

Domains as Art

I just got another delivery of Domains 2017 art. Damn this conference has the coolest aesthetic ever. Bryan Mathers rules, and he has taken the Sci-fi 70s idea I recently blogged about and is running with it. The examples below are so colorful and gorgeous, and get at the whole play on an early attempt we made at UMW to frame Domain of One’s Own as Cloud City (which none of the students really got, which was bizarre to me). The Domains conference promises to be something totally different, and you can get a sense of that from Lauren‘s recent posts about both OKC and the venue where Domains17 will be. If you are looking for reasons to come, let the focus on space and art be amongst them!

Also, have I mentioned Bryan Mathers rules?

We’re Just a Minor Threat

The semester is well under way now, and the deluge of support over the last two days has been ample evidence of that. But we added a bit to our plates this months when we decided to decommission two shared hosting servers, namely Ramones (which has been going strong for over 3 years!) and Saints. We’ve been slowly migrating our infrastructure from Reliable Site over to Digital Ocean, and this month saw our first two shared hosting servers on Digital Ocean.* Once they were up and running smoothly, we decided to migrate all remaining accounts on Ramones and Saints over. That’s now done, and while these moves always require some clean-up post facto, everything’s over cleanly and all of our servers are now less than 3 years old.

The two new shared hosting servers we’re running on Digital Ocean have been named in honor of two ground breaking punk bands from the 80s: Minor Threat and L7. We were a bit hesitant to name a web server “minorthreat” given it might be immediately flagged as….well, a threat, so we opted to name it after their groundbreaking 1983 Straight Edge hardcore album Out of Step. This server is also dedicated to Peter Rowan who has been regularly hounding Reclaim about out glaring oversight of memorializing Minor Threat’s contributions to hardcore punk in the form of a shared hosting server. I couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, Ian MacKaye’s career between Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Dischord Records may be the most impressive of just about any punk rock figure. And all the while he embodied a vocal insistence on DIY, affordable shows, all ages access, experimentation, and a socially responsible ethos. He has walked the walk his entire career, and this short-lived band galvanized an entire sub-genre of punk that I grew up with in NYC. Straight Edge hardcore bands like Youth of Today, Judge, Uniform Choice, Gorilla Biscuits, Slapshot and many more all owe some debt to Minor Threat. And while MacKaye has always been ambivalent about the idea of straight edge as a doctrine or a movement, there is no question Minor Threat articulated the vision quite early with songs like “Out of Step,” “Straight Edge,” and “Bottled Violence.”  So, if you find yourself on the Outofstep server, draw a big black X on your hand and refrain from all sex, drugs, and rock and roll 🙂

Image Credit: Click link for Sober Revolution article where this image was found

The second new shared hosting server is another ground breaking 80s punk band L7. Their in-your-face punk rock coupled with an aggressive attack on patriarchy made them a pre-cursor and influence for riot grrrl bands like Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and Huggy Bear to name a few. L7 songs like Shitlist, Shove, Wargasm, and Andres epitomize their hard, grinding style that helped define grunge rock in the early 90s. At the same time their songs were irreverent and their shows often filled with controversial surprises. The band formed Rock for Choice in 1991 to help support the Pro-Choice movement. Their songs are as fun and raucous as they are serious and political, a hard balance to master. That said, L7 is not for squares…get it? L7, squares….

So, that’s our two latest servers, and they are filling up fast, so we have a third in the works. It’s good to be a Reclaimer, just don’t make our shit list!


*We have finally been able to setup shared hosting on Digital Ocean thanks to the relatively recent addition of block storage.

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!