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Reclaim Projects

Gosh, the last few weeks have been quite a whirlwind! I’ve got a few blog posts in the queue that I’m hoping to crank out over the next few days, time willing. Reclaim Hosting is juggling a handful of projects at the moment, and my position as Operations Manager as never felt more relevant. I’m incredibly thankful for the Reclaim Team- especially Meredith (and now Chris!)- for being so stellar on support. Their willingness to take on tickets as allowed me to be able to step back from the support roll slightly to focus more intently on managing the projects below.

Workshop of One’s Own

A large chunk of my time over the last months/weeks have been devoted to our second Workshop of One’s Own. This two-day event built for Domain of One’s Own administrators blends conceptual, technical training with strategies for promotion and community outreach. We’re even bringing in the great Alan Levine to work with participants on SPLOTs. The new outline has proven to be quite popular- we’ve more than doubled our attendee numbers from November! Our Workshop last fall had 6 participants, while 14 people will be joining us in Fredericksburg next week. Check out the list of schools below:

It’s going to be a great line up! I’m very much looking forward to meeting and/or reacquainting with these administrators & technologists in person. For anyone following along, feel free to check out our event itinerary here.

Reclaim Video

I gave an overview of Reclaim Video here, but we’ve come quite a long way since that post was published. Jim has done a great job of documenting our progress thus far, but I thought I’d jump into the conversation as well.  Where to begin! Over the last month and a half, we’ve stripped down the once-office space to the basics, created the logo and have painted the walls black and gray with RGB stripes along the ceiling border. During these renovations, I’ve made it my goal to get us prepared as possible to fill the space as soon as it’s ready. We’ve ordered a storefront sign, carpet, t-shirts & stickers, blank VHS tapes & their assorted labels, hard plastic VHS cases, movie posters, and have begun to build out shelves. The other day, Tim & I even drove to Winchester to pick up a display case & front desk that I found on Craigslist.

I know that I was dragging my feet at the thought of building a physical space for 80’s VHS, but I’ll be the first to admit: it has been a blast to create. I wasn’t even a mere thought in the 80’s, so I don’t personally connect with the ‘art exhibit’ factor that the space will bring (as fascinating as it will be). My personal motivation lies with the idea that we’re building a space dedicated to technology that is not new. VHS is not new. This rings true for Reclaim Hosting’s products as well. When I’ve spoken in person or on video chats with educational institutions, this theme is always brought to the surface. What we’re selling– web hosting– is not new. It’s actually very rudimentary. We offer the space and the building blocks to create and explore. So for me, coming to this discovery over the last few weeks has been very rewarding.

I’m excited to continue designing out the space and adding key elements that will make it feel authentic. (Does anyone have a Commodore 64, by chance?) We’re also asking anyone and everyone to donate their VHS tapes to the cause. So if you’ve got ’em, send ’em!

OER ’18 Conference

While this hasn’t taken precedence as much here recently, the Open Education Research conference is this coming April 18 – 19th. After Workshop of One’s Own has passed, we’ll be switching gears to prepare for our talks for the event. Between Tim, Jim, Meredith, and myself, the Reclaim Team has three conference sessions:

// Presentation – Ghost in a Shell: Moving Beyond LAMP Hosting for Open Source Applications: Read abstract here
// Presentation – Strategies for Supporting Your Community in the Open: Read abstract here
// Workshop – Digital Literacy: Reclaiming Your Space: Read abstract here

In addition to speaking, we’ll also be sponsoring the conference as Reclaim Video. (Reclaim Hosting who?) You can read our sponsorship add here.

RH Website Additions

I’ve also had the opportunity to make minor updates to the main website for Reclaim Hosting. Creating the WordPress Multisite Pricing Calculator was definitely a big one. I cleaned up our footer menu a bit, as well as updated this list. (Fun fact: that community list is my favorite page on the website.)

The Blog feed needed a little work as well. We were having to manually import featured images, which is way too much overhead and kind of defeated the purpose of a feed. So I changed the structure on the back end, tweaked a few theme settings, and voilà:

^We have images! I’d still like for the entries to show excerpts rather than the post, but that will come. Remember, this is a progress post, people!

Lastly, I’ve created a hidden section called Institutional Documents. It’s nothing fancy at the moment, but it’s becoming a great resource for schools looking to work with Reclaim and maybe need to get a jumpstart on the paperwork. I’ve created a digital version of all contracts and questionnaires that we use, and give folks the option create a downloadable .PDF version at the bottom of each page. We’ll still obviously attach hard copy versions to our conversations, but in the spirit of keeping Reclaim open and accessible, I thought this was needed.

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Painting the office & Reclaim Video

This past weekend, the team came together to get some painting done in CoWork and Reclaim Video. (What is CoWork? // What is Reclaim Video?) We made a lot of progress, so I thought I’d share that through photos here!

^Color for two of the walls in Reclaim Video. This shade is inspired from VHS covers that we’ve found similar to this one.

^And the painting begins!!

^Progress…

^We also decided to give the bathrooms in CoWork a quick facelift by painting one of the walls our signature CoWork Orange.

^This made a huge difference. Now all we need is some art in that great big space!

^We made a ton of progress in Reclaim Video as well. Gray on two sides, black on the other. Just wait until you see what we have planned for the top strips. ;) But I’ll give you a hint…

reclaimvideo.com

 

P.s. if you’d like to see the progress happening in real time, I invite you to follow along on instagram: @coworkfxbg & @reclaimvideo.
P.p.s. if you want to see how Reclaim Video originally looked, click here.

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Reclaim Reflection

Last week provided a unique scenario for me. Jim was in Australia, Tim was in Germany, and Meredith was on vacation. As both of my bosses were asleep by early afternoon on the east coast, I had to step up my support game to say the least. I worked longer hours, faced the out-of-my-league support tickets head on, and learned an absolute mess of information. And to be honest, I feel rather proud of myself. It was probably the first time that I was on my own support-wise for longer than an afternoon. Additionally, it was also the first time that I felt like a truly capable “fixer”. Don’t get me wrong– I still had to be rescued every now and then, but overall I held my own and that’s something worth celebrating.

I suppose in any line of work, it can be very easy to compare your skill set to that of someone else’s. Especially in an “All Things Internet” career path, this feels so tempting. There’s always another language to learn, another problem to solve, another platform to develop. And on top of that, it’s ever-changing. Shortly after I was first hired at Reclaim, I dreamt of this scenario one day where I never had to ask support-related questions. Where I just always knew the answer. (Lol.) It sounds silly to even type now, but there were months on end where it felt like asking questions was all I did. Read more

CoWork Love

^View of the entrance to CoWork. Folks are greeted with bright plants, eclectic shelving & a Joke of the Day. We’ve started hanging posters & art on the metal wall that faces the main space. More recently, this has included pieces from our recent conference event.

FreeLance Star Article: CoWork FXBG

An article in the FreeLance Star was just published about our new CoWorking office space, CoWork Fredericksburg.

Give it a read

Article written by Lindley Estes; Photos taken by Suzanne Carr Rossi

Also, please enjoy the spelling of my name in the photo caption. ;)

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CoWork Fredericksburg


CoWork Fredericksburg is officially up and running now, and I even have a tweet to prove it!

This is a big day for us at Reclaim Hosting given two short years ago Tim Owens and I were working in UMW’s newly minted Convergence Center, doing Reclaim off the side of our desk, and dreaming one day of having a space of our own. Well, today that’s come to pass, and the CoWork Fredericksburg “Our Story” page says it all:

Founded in 2013, Reclaim Hosting provides web hosting support for individuals and institutions that want to build out spaces online for personal portfolios, digital projects, and more. In January 2016, we were invited to speak at an Open Coffee event held at The Foundry, a local coworking space in Fredericksburg, Va. The Foundry was created by a non-profit group called FredXchange, with a mission to build a startup culture that encouraged community and collaboration.

As Reclaim Hosting grew, the need for some kind of dedicated office environment was a growing concern. But we didn’t want just any office– we wanted a space where we could also work alongside the community, invite them in, and collaborate. Just like The Foundry. As months passed, we became increasingly aware that The Foundry would be a perfect home base. So in December of 2016, we decided to take the plunge and make The Foundry our new home.

We’ve given the space a new name, a fresh coat of paint (to say the least), and a new website. After months of renovations and remodeling, we opened our doors as CoWork Fredericksburg in May 2017. We’re committed to building the community that FredXchange began, and we sure do hope that you’ll join us on this journey.

The space is pretty awesome if I must say so myself. A large, warehouse feel for the main working area with a class enclosed conference room, and a media/private office ticked away in the back. What’s cool is that we basically designed the whole thing on-the-fly, a telephone booth from Ebay here, shelving from Etsy there, farm table from local furniture store, etc. Tim and Lauren Brumfield did the lion’s share of the design and on-the-ground work, and I’m truly blown away by how good it looks from afar. I’ll be there in just over a week, and will be able to enjoy it IRL. 

The idea is to have a community of co-workers use the space, and given we have priced it pretty affordably ($20/day or $75/month) we are thinking there will be a fair amount of takers. The nice thing is that if it covers our overhead for the space we are already ahead of the game, and anything more than that is a bonus. So in this regard it’s not like we are depending on the space for ends meet. This frees us up to have some fun and experiment with the space, and not be solely driven by a bottom line, a laboratory of sorts.  

Now that the getting CoWork up and running is pretty much done, one of the ideas I’ve been playing with is converting the storefront portion of the other half of the space, which will soon be empty, into a video rental store. In my imagination at least, it will be a fully operational 1980s VHS video rental store that will rent VHS tapes and VCRs.  It will be called Reclaim Video, and I’ll run it remotely from Italy. I’ll have erratic store hours that I run on the web, some kind of Dr. Oblivion like telepresence, and everything will work of a kinda of barter system.  I like the idea of automating most everything, yet still being remotely present.  I’m imagining it as an installation along the lines of the UMW Console, and I love the idea of having a bizarre presence in the space from 5000 miles away. Anyway, it’s still just germinating as a kinda of crazy idea, but I do think it would be fairly simple to do on the cheap, and it might really be fun. So, if I can convince Tim and Lauren, you may be reading more about my new job as video store proprietor, a growth field for sure!

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We Like to Wear Hats: Overview of Projects

You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve given this site a little facelift! I’m hoping that it will give me the motivation to blog more often. ;)

I’ve been in a huge period of transition over the last month. Flying home from an 8-week stay in Madrid, pulling my stuff out of storage & moving it to Fredericksburg, unpacking & purging everything, attending multiple graduations & birthday celebrations for family and friends, and switching from a remote to office schedule. << I realize that’s a bit of a run-on sentence, but my entire life has felt like a run-on sentence! May and June are always crazy busy, am I right?

Having said that, I have never felt more connected to my job than I do now. I wear many hats, and my title as Operations Manager feels truer than ever.

As mentioned above, I moved back to Fredericksburg so I could be on the ground floor of something really cool called CoWork Fredericksburg. I’ve blogged a few times about this, but here’s the scoop: At the end of last year, Reclaim Hosting took over a seriously out of date coworking/office space. Over the last few months, we’ve broken down walls, ripped up floors & lifted ceilings. We’ve rebranded and are now opening the space back up to the public in a soft launch. My primary roles with this project have included helping with making a lot of the design decisions for the space, building out CoWorkFXBG.com, and working alongside Tim to set up furniture, chat with new members, and manage our social media accounts & membership software.

We’ve actually joked on several occasions while in the middle of ripping up carpet or moving a ridiculously heavy table by sarcastically saying the following phrase: ‘This will be a low-key computer job,’ they said.

I think I can speak for Jim & Tim here too when I say that it has been so fun to watch the space transform. We will have plans to add artwork, a completely renovated kitchenette, more lounge furniture, and another screen for larger presentations. We want to add lockers for members to store their belongings, and vintage p.o. boxes so we can receive mail for them as well. But for now, the important stuff is here and that feels good: countless desks, a large (gorgeous) custom farm table & laptop bar set from Frasier Wood Elements,  a vintage phone booth, the cutest little succulents, and plenty of snazzy tech gadgets. This is where I’ve started coming to work every day, and I count myself pretty lucky.

When I’m not taking care of my Reclaim or CoWork to-do lists, I’ve been spending a large chunk of my time planning for the Domains 17 Conference that’s taking place at the beginning of June. All the behind the scenes details like catering, liability insurance, furniture setups, security regulations, t-shirts, website & twitter management, travel & room reservations– I’m your gal.

I’ve planned for conferences & events in the past, but nothing of this magnitude. We’ll have roughly 80 attendees when its all said and done, and I can’t wait! It has been a brilliant challenge so far, and I owe a great deal of my organizing to Asana. I honestly feel like my master to-do list in my Asana project is my most prized possession at the moment. Haha!

The other big project that Reclaim Hosting has taken on in the last couple months is our new sister hosting company, Rockaway Hosting. Since both CoWork and Domains17 come with a “here and now” mentality while Rockaway sort of runs itself, it has been put on the backburner in a lot of ways. But that doesn’t make it any less important or awesome! While Reclaim Hosting tailors to the needs of educational institutions, faculty & students, Rockaway was born out of meeting the needs of the non-educational folks. We kept large businesses and organizations in mind when creating the hosting plans. Rockaway offers SLA agreements, phone support, and video training. While the infrastructure remains entirely the same on our end, Rockaway is priced per month instead of Reclaim’s annual renewals to accommodate for the ebb & flow of a business.

I was able to build out the Rockaway site with the incredible help of Bryan Mathers‘ artwork. (His art is actually on the sites for Domains 17 & Reclaim Hosting as well. If you can’t tell, we love him.)

In what free time I do have, Tim has been teaching me different SSH commands. You have to remember that I’m an English major turned full geek, and all geekdom has been brought on my own personal doing or Reclaim’s doing. I currently know just enough about SSH that I know how much I don’t know. Does that make sense? I find logging into the servers via SSH on the terminal so completely fascinating. I’ve been introduced to a new world– a new challenge to conquer! Tim works at lightspeed using SSH, so that’s where I’m setting the bar. (#LOL)

I suppose the last (but definitely not least) item worth mentioning is that Reclaim Hosting is soon to be bringing on a new member to the team! Meredith Fierro just graduated from the University of Mary Washington this past weekend and spent the last semester of her senior year interning with us. She blogged about her experiences here! Meredith will be joining us in OKC for the Domains conference, and then begin her position at Reclaim in mid-June.

Good stuff all around, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

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CoWork Conference Room

I realize I’m a bit overdue on an office update post (read: life update post) so I thought I would start back today with a few photos of our gorgeous new conference room. I stopped by the office on Monday and Tuesday this past week. Tim and I went to Ikea of Monday for some last-minute pieces, and then we spent most of Tuesday putting everything together. I’ve got a bruised foot from running an Ikea cart over it and a sore back from hanging curtains, but #itwasworthit. “This is a web hosting job,” they said.

There’s some great before photos of the office space that I posted back in November, so I’ve gone ahead and included a few below so you can see the transformation:

BEFORE

^right side of coworking space

^hallway of coworking space + entrance to the conference room

^inside the conference room

AFTER

^The whole *new* right side of the office space. We took out multiple walls, removed the ceiling, stripped the floors & put a fresh coat of paint on everything.

^We put in glass walls to border the new conference room, and then added curtains that you can close for meeting privacy as needed. That awesome wood-paneled wall on the right is Tim’s handy work from this past weekend!

^Inside the conference room with with curtains partly closed. You can also see the entrance to our newly renovated private office on the left!

^We got a new media cabinet that will house all the fun conference room gadgets. Aside from pinning back those wires & adding baseboards, we’re set.

^The top half of this wall is now an acting whiteboard!

^View with the curtains open.

^From the inside looking out.

More updates to follow soon regarding the rest of the space, so stay tuned! I’m moving to Fredericksburg officially this weekend, and will be starting to work in the office full time as of Monday. Can’t wait for this new adventure!

P.s. If you have Instagram, you can follow us at @CoWorkFXBG for more updates!

P.p.s. Interested in working from the space? Find more info here.