Pi Video Looper at OER19

Another thing worth mentioning about Reclaim’s sojourn to OER19 was our trial run of the Pi Video Looper setup that we’ll be rolling out for Ryan Seslow‘s artwork at Domains19. Luckily Meredith got a primer from Tim before making the trip to Galway because I was a bit rusty. The basic idea is you install the Pi Video Looper on a Raspberry Pi and the Pi boots up and automatically loops any video (or videos) loaded within a specific directory. So, you could have a video version of a GIF that loops eternally, which effectively gives you a hi-quality GIF looper, which is what we did for the Be Kind, Reclaim poster Meredith animated in anticipation of OER19. We also included an animation of VHS Tape art as well as a Ryan Seslow’s Vaporwave visual as a teaser. Here’s a look:

There are two tricks to Pi Video Looper after installing the software (see links below for more on this), one is actually finding the Raspberry Pi on the network, to accomplish this Adafruit’s Raspberry Pi Finder is crucial. You need to do this so you can eventually access the Pi via FTP and add files given there is no GUI for the PI when using Pi Video Looper software. The other trick is actually getting the Pi on the network, which gets doubly complicated when you are using a guest wifi network that requires additional steps. Luckily tethering to the iPhone worked cleanly, and to connect the Pi Video Looper with a specific network you need to add the wpa_supplicant-conf file and reboot so that the network settings are loaded.

Here is what my supplicant file looked like:


 ssid="my iPhone name"
 psk="my tethering password"

You can see the full installation for the Pi Video Looper here, here are the install commands, here is the latest release of the software on Github, and finally if you need to change read-only permissions of mount drive for Raspberry Pi. [Leaving these links here predominantly for my own future reference, but let me know if you need more explanation.] And, finally, special thanks to Kate Molloy for capturing Reclaim’s video looping presence in all its glory!


OER19 Therapy

You can also watch it on Podbeam here, I will switch to the Youtube link when it is uploaded there given their embed feature is cleaner.

As I mentioned in my last post, Lauren Brumfield, Meredith Fierro, and I sat down to reflect on the OER19 experience in Galway last week while things were still relatively fresh. We did this for the 14th episode of Reclaim Today, which we are trying to resuscitate, and given everything we’re doing with Reclaim Video, Reclaim Arcade, and Domains19 (not to mention Reclaim Hosting!) we certainly have the raw material these days. This video took some inspiration from Martin Hawksey’s video work at OER19, and Tim busted out the Open Broadcaster Software, which enabled us to include the intro, and we may even explore additional camera shots in the future. 

As an exercise to get us ready for the conversation, each of us blogged our thoughts to act as notes for the discussion, and you can read Meredith’s here, Lauren’s double-blog-dose here and here, and mine here for reference.  I won’t babble on too much in this post given the video has me doing more than enough of that, but I will say that OER19 was definitely occasion for all of us to not only connect in person with a community we care for, but it helped us reflect on our holistic growth as a team which enables us to put names and faces to ideas and futures for the field. In this regard the conference was amazing for both professional and personal development, and I think that is what came through most for me during this discussion, and that makes me very happy. #Reclaim4life!

Growth through OER19

It’s been a week since OER19 concluded and I’m a little late to the reflection game as I’m the last Reclaimer to post, but nonetheless, I’m writing! Jim, Lauren and I discussed all of our thoughts and reflections about our time at the conference as participants and a ‘vendor’ (said loosely) on Reclaim Today Episode 014: OER19 Therapy, but I thought I’d formalize my thoughts into a blog post as well. Stay tuned for the podcast link down at the bottom!

First, I just want to say a huge thanks to the wonderful folks at ALT, Maren Deepwell and Martin Hawksey, Catherine Cronin, and Laura Czerniewicz for organizing an engaging and thought-provoking conference! Just like OER18, I left the conference feeling excited to see what others were working on and to keep the conversations alive. I’m already getting pumped for OER20.

Also, Galway is a beautiful city! I loved walking through the city center, coffees from our fave coffee spot Urban Grind, dinner at Tribeton, and pizza from the Dough Bros. If I ever moved abroad, Galway is definitely on the list. Quick Pause for some photos ?

Ok now on to the meat of the post, the reflection! I attended so many great presentations! I’m going to go down the line here:

openETC— Holy cow (chicken) this was so cool to see! Brian Lamb, Grant Potter, and Tannis Morgan all discussed what it looks like to create a collaborative cooperative, all in open infrastructure based in BC Canada. What really struck me in this presentation is their use of Sandstorm and Mattermost and how different the presentation style was. They used a website to explain the project and at the end, there was an interactive piece where we exchanged feedback as a group instead of a traditional Q&A.

Ama-zine Workshop– Bryan Mathers and Amy Burvall designed a creative workshop where the attendees were tasked with creating their own short 8 page Zine. They gave us some creative “restrictions,” where we could do whatever wanted with some guidance from the resources provided by Amy and Bryan. Talk about a creative outlet in the midst of presentations! Each attendee each had their own ideas! Browse all the submissions on twitter! Here’s mine:

#femedtech— Wow! I’m so inspired by this group of women curating a network centered around incorporating equality, diversity, and inclusion. The work Lorna Campell and Frances Bell are doing is incredible. Their values became a reoccurring theme throughout the conference and made for some great conversations! Anyone can submit a piece of writing to their website where it’s moderated by a rotating group of curators.

Serfs of Open– This was a knockout! A completely anonymous presentation without any sounds that became really thought provoking. It started out with a call to action, where the “presenter” asked us to put our devices down for the duration of the presentation. It really made you think while watching the presentation.

There were so many great moments outside of what I talk about that Jim and Lauren touched on so I highly recommend you all go check out their posts to get the full view.

Next, it’s time to chat about our Reclaim Hosting room! This all came together so well and we got to see all the iterations of Reclaim Hosting come together. First, we had the newly printed VHS t-shirts and stickers, but we also wanted to bring in an interactive piece to help tell the Reclaim story (like Lauren did in her presentation). Take a look:

Sick, right? We rented some monitors and brought Raspberry Pis with us and used the same video looper software used in Reclaim Video to loop three art pieces. From right to left in the video above:

  • OER19 Ad– This is the animated version of the ad we published in the conference program.
  • VaporWave– Created by the one and only Ryan Seslow as part of his domains19 artwork.
  • VHS Covers: This was a video Tim found. It’s on rotation in Reclaim Video and definitely on point for what we wanted to show on our booth.

These three videos came together so well, even in though it was unplanned. I couldn’t for the life of me get our original video to play on the landscape screen so, we had to improvise with the VaporWave. While getting the room set up I learned a few things about the internet:

  1. Google’s public DNS does not allow you to authenticate with public WiFi networks that require an additional login. I generally use Google’s DNS when working because I’ve found they load sites faster and the cache is shorter. But I learned the trade-off on the fly while trying to connect to the venue’s WiFi unsuccessfully.
  2. Raspberry Pi’s cannot authenticate with public WiFi networks with an additional login (just like Google’s DNS). There’s an additional configuration step needed to be able to authenticate, but I couldn’t quite figure that out. Thank goodness for Jimmy’s iPhone hotspot that we could use to FTP into the Raspberry Pis.

But with all of that said, our room looked fantastic. Each element came together in their own way, the stickers matched the t-shirts, which matched the ad, and the ad matched the other videos.

Ok, last section of the post, I know it’s a long one, but I’m going to talk about my personal reflections. For me, this conference was a statement of growth. At OER18, I was fresh out of my undergrad and super nervous for my presentation (still kicking myself that I didn’t blog about that). I was still so new into the Ed Tech community I found myself sitting on the sidelines, trying to process what was going on in the presentations. I was trying to remember names, affiliations, and job positions.

OER19 was a different story. I was invested in the presentations I went to. I understood what the speakers spoke about. I recognized participants, from OER18 or through Twitter. I contributed to more conversations. I was able to show my technical experience. I found myself stepping outside of my socially anxious, introverted self, and began to find where I fit into the Ed Tech community.

Overall, OER19 was incredibly successfully, not only personally but with Reclaim as a whole. I’ll stop rambling and let our discussion speak for itself! Check out the podcast down below. Here’s to OER20 and beyond!

Be Kind, Reclaim

Meredith, Lauren, and I are gearing up for the OER19 conference in Galway in a couple of weeks, a trip we are all looking very much forward to. In fact, I have a post due quite soon for the OER19 blog, which will hopefully explain why Reclaim feels such a strong sense of kinship with the folks that run the OER conference.*  Anyway, part of what we will be doing this year, unlike last, is actually sponsoring the conference as Reclaim Hosting as opposed to one of out satellite outfits like Reclaim Video or Reclaim Arcade. This is something I did not think we would ever do, but again that is fodder for the other posts I still need to write … dammit!

Anyway, the point of this post is to quickly highlight one of the several bits we will have on display at OER19 that highlights, at least for me, that so much of the work we have done over the years is cumulative. Both Lauren and Meredith are ds106 alumni (not to mention Internet Course survivors—remember TIC104?), so when we started planning the one-page we get for the OER19 program, we approached it as a group project. The idea was to transition from last year’s full blown Reclaim Video performance to a VHS-inspired theme for Reclaim Hosting. So we came up with the idea of using the VHS shelf theme to highlight ideas/themes somehow related to Reclaim Hosting, however loosely.

And while Meredith went through all this in her awesome post and project (more on that at the end of this post), I can’t resist repeating it all here cause I love it so much. It was a fairly simply decision given the organizing image for the conference was a play on E.T. So we used that as our  central VHS tape:

And then riffed on a whole bunch of ideas, such as Tim being inspired by the horror stories from schools supporting WordPress’s transition to Gutenberg :

And by quite basic Rorschachean take on SPLOTs:

At this point there always has to be a ds106 reference, so I just stole Martha Burtis‘s Time cover surrounding the Cult of #4life and turned it into a documentary ?

Lauren’s Domains19 VHS cover was on point highlight Ryan Seslow’s awesome artwork for the conference:

And then we simply took the cover of a VHS tape we own DEVO: the Men Who Make the Music to subtly point to our server naming conventions. 

And then we included Michael Branson Smith‘s original VHS cover for the Domains: Your Digital Identity video we premiered at OER18 last year:

And playing on our blank tape splash page for new accounts, we have a blank VHS tape cover with your very own domain name:

All of which is tied together by Reclaim’s newest slogan: Be Kind, Reclaim —can ya dig it? I knew that ya could!

Now, while we had the poster printed and ready to go for the OER19 program:

Meredith, pulling on her impressive ds106 chops, went the extra mile and as you can see in all the individual VHS tapes above systematically animated each and every one. So the final project that we will be looping on a monitor at the conference in Galway will look a bit like this:

Amazing, no? That is Reclaim Hosting at its very best: playful, creative, and going above and beyond. I could not be more thrilled with our marketing campaign for OER19 because like our Reclaim Hosting in general, we know who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. #4life

*But as things go, I need to first write another post to make that post make any sense in my mind. I wish blogging were simpler for me these day .