Finding my footing in the Cloud

With the steady introduction and roll out of Reclaim Cloud, I’ve really just scraped the surface of the technical components and have spent more of my time focusing on how these new cloud offerings fit in with our existing suite of Reclaim Hosting products. There are quite a few differences between Reclaim Cloud and cPanel, but there are also some similarities, too. So while it may be helpful for some to ‘forget everything you thought you knew about hosting’ in order to get into this new Dockerized mindset, I find myself falling back on compare/contrast visuals and old gold hosting metaphors to make sense of it all. So for those of you who may be struggling to understand where Reclaim Cloud fits in, keep on reading!

Here’s a running list of the differences between cPanel and Jelastic PaaS (i.e. Reclaim Cloud) that have stuck out to me so far:

The other day the Sales team (i.e. Katie, Jim, and myself) had a brainstorming meeting discuss how we can talk about Reclaim Cloud has it relates to our other products. Aside from the obvious reasons it will be important to know the Cloud Hosting model inside and out, it will also be crucial to understand it in relation to what we currently offer and support. The fact that I can signup for a Shared Hosting cPanel account at Reclaim and install WordPress and Omeka, and then simultaneously head over to Reclaim Cloud and install the exact same applications will raise the question, “when would I use one over the other?” And by extension, “who is Reclaim Cloud for?”

I’m copying a piece of the Reclaim Cloud about page that has stuck with me:

The term “cloud” can get bandied about when it comes to the internet, but at its core Cloud Computing was inline with the vision that resources could scale seamlessly based on usage rather than some perceived notion of a high-water mark of usage. Like other utilities such as water, electricity, and gas, computing power would be a resource that you would pay for based on actual usage rather than projects. 

https://reclaim.cloud/about/

This got me thinking about the well-loved (or not-so-loved, lol) House metaphor. If we think of our web presence or website as our house, in which all rooms are a different page of your site, and your street address and directions to your house are essentially DNS records, the world of web hosting very quickly starts to take shape. For me, Reclaim Cloud now fits into this particular metaphor as a lightbulb, or more broadly, as my utilities. When I go to the store and buy a pack of lightbulbs, I do my research beforehand. I figure out which lightbulb is going to last the longest, which lightbulb is going to be the most energy-efficient, and which lightbulb is going to put out the best type of light based on my needs. I may even be willing to spend a little more money up front to make sure I check these boxes. Then when I come home, I don’t plan to install my lightbulbs, turn on all the lights, and then leave the house. I will turn these lights on and off as I walk into each room to conserve energy.

That is the main mindset shift between Reclaim Cloud and Shared cPanel Hosting. My current cPanel account has quite a few WP installs, some of which I use frequently and others I just spun up one day to test and then left there. In cPanel, there’s no additional cost to me to turn on all my lights and then leave the house. cPanel Shared Hosting is a fixed cost of 30 – 100 bucks a year, and I know that no matter what, that’s all I’ll owe at the end of the day. But if I’ve got a lot of big projects that require a lot of energy (i.e. resources), or if I want to play around with apps that aren’t compatible with cPanel’s infrastructure, I’ll begin to hit limits.

At Reclaim Cloud, I’m no longer confined to a single software stack. (In my last post I wrote in depth about creating new environments.) I can play around with almost any application out there, and I can temporarily turn them on and off as I see fit. Reclaim Cloud isn’t a fixed cost, but I’ll only pay for the exact resources that I use. This will keep me engaged with my web presence, constantly grooming it and evaluating what I’m using and what is a priority to me. And for big WordPress Multisite that’s sitting on a 32GB server simply due to the infrequent moments they have busy traffic day, Reclaim Cloud could be a cost saver since resources will automatically scale up and down with the traffic. This also means those pesky ‘Resource Limit Reached‘ errors in cPanel are no more!

I recently sat down with Tim and Jim to get their thoughts on all of this, and we ended up chatting for over an hour for Reclaim Today’s latest episode, 018: Cloud Q&A. Worth a listen if this conversation is of interest to you!

Q&A with Reclaim Hosting CoFounders

In the spirit of entering a hiring phase at Reclaim Hosting, I’ve been working closely with Judith to make sure our internal onboarding documentation is up to date. To help introduce the Reclaim CoFounders to new employees, especially our remote workers, we thought it would be fun to create a video in which I would interview Tim and Jim about the company history, their current roles, and where they think Reclaim is headed. You can view this video on our Podcast page, or by watching the embedded version below. This is one of my favorite episodes yet, so if you can spare the 45 min, I highly recommend!

Reclaim Today: Why Domains at Plymouth State

Reclaim Today’s latest episode can be found at today.reclaimhosting.com/11. You can also find it embedded below:

This morning Jim and I had the pleasure of continuing conversations from the first Reclaim Roadshow with Katie Martell, Instructional Technology Specialist and driving force for Domain of One’s Own at Plymouth State University. After hearing her present at the workshop, we knew that getting some of her strategies recorded for others was a no-brainer! I definitely recommend giving it a watch/listen when if can spare 25 min. 

As a quick background, Plymouth State University began DoOO in early 2017 and has since seen very steady growth in terms of users building and working within Plymouth Create. Roughly 1,000 users to be exact, with no plans of slowing anytime soon. You can find a brief Table of Contents below that provides a summary of what was covered during the 25-min interview:

Table of Contents

0:14 – Backstory
1:04 – How/Why did DoOO begin at Plymouth State?
3:46 – Key Advocates of Domains
5:40 – Sharing work by Cathie LeBlanc
7:15 – “Boots on the Ground”
8:13 – Strategies for Growth
10:05 – Supporting a DoOO Community
13:45 – Support Resources created by student workers
14:55 – Seeing the need for site templates 
17:49 – Additional documentation and examples of student work
20:26 – Migration Strategies & Data Ownership
23:16 – Examples of Student Portfolios
25:17 – Parting Words of Wisdom
27:40 – Start with the Why

Reclaim Today: Sparking Conversations

So, Reclaim Hosting has created a podcast called Reclaim Today! You’ll likely already know this unless you’ve been living under a rock, because I’ve been completely ‘out-blogged’ on this topic. (i.e. Tim’s post, Jim’s posts, Meredith’s post.) But whatever guys, I’m here now.

Reclaim Today has really taken off in just the last few weeks with already having 8 episodes. If you haven’t listened to any of them yet, I encourage you to listen/watch the first one, Hello World, which gives an overview of our goals for the new project.

Another favorite video of mine was Episode 003 with Jim, Tim, and Alan: Land of 1000 SPLOTs:

Meredith and I also just recently published an episode called Sparking Conversations, which dives into an overview of our new favorite email client, Spark.

I recently wrote a post on Spark (read that here) which talks about using signatures as a way to save templated responses. I think Spark’s team features have convinced Meredith and Tim to convert, so I’m hoping that this episode will finally get Jim on board as well. :)

Finally, check out the awesome podcast intro that Tim created!

Excited to add more expisodes to the bunch- if there’s something you want Reclaim Today to cover in a future episode, let us know!

Today

Today

I recently got back from a lovely weeklong vacation in Myrtle Beach where amongst all the relaxing I got nostalgic while showing some old DTLT Today videos to a friend. Right on the heels of that I read Jim's post about Reclaim's 5 year anniversary and while doing some digging in my Twitter archive (I'm no longer on Twitter but have a full archive of my stuff here) I found that Jim and I must have put out an episode the day we went public with the idea of Reclaim Hosting narrating our thoughts on the formation of it. Luckily Jim is the best kind of pack rat and had a copy since the original post I wrote had a broken embed from a media server that no longer exists at UMW and I was able to get it back online. Seriously, if you're a Reclaim fan and have some time to spare check this out:

It never ceases to amaze me when I go back to watch these videos how they become a time capsule of a particular moment. I cherish every one we did because just like blogging it helps me understand not just the relationships and the interactions I've been privileged to have in my career but also the political, commercial, and cultural changes that were influencing the work we were doing as a group. So needless to say the bug was starting to bite hard and I know better than to fight that feeling.

So yesterday after floating the idea to Jim and thinking it really could happen I rearranged some furniture in our back office and spent the evening developing an opening sequence (I'm such a god damn sucker for branding, I can't help it!). In an homage to DTLT Today we are calling it Reclaim Today and we recorded our first episode today in meta fashion talking about why we're doing this and what our goals are for the podcast.

As a geeky colophon to that I wanted to write a bit about the technical aspects of building both the opener and how we're currently managing the podcast as a distributed company with half of the team of 4 remote.

For the opener sequence like many video projects I started by checking out what was available on Videohive. I have an Adobe Suite license and I've played with After Effects with a few other projects so I find these templates a great way to get something professional up real quick. I also found a decent audio track on Audiojungle (same marketplace, part of the Envato network). So for ~$35 and a few hours time finding images and editing text I had the pieces I needed to build the video you see at the top of this post.

For the actual recording we leaned towards Google Hangouts on Air, which you can setup to livestream but also record straight to YouTube. Hangouts are awesome in that it's dead simple to act as a standalone switcher between folks, people can share their screens, and no one has to "control the feed" as it were. Hangouts suck in that sometimes you might want that control. Great example was that I had to download the YouTube video, insert our intro video and outro, and reupload as a new video because apparently you can't play videos within a Hangout. The quality also leaves a bit to be desired. So we'll see if we stay with that or move towards something like Wirecast which we used extensively at UMW for a variety of projects including DTLT Today and it was very powerful but a complex and expensive piece of software (and we talk a bit about this conundrum on the first episode).

Another nice piece of the setup I got working was that we had a mobile TV cart on one end of the room with a long HDMI cable to a standalone mac mini that was driving the hangout. The mini had a Yeti mic and Logitech HD webcam connected to it and we ran a long audio cable from the Yeti behind the couch with a splitter so Meredith and I could both hear everything without any echo. It ended up being a pretty nice solution allowing us to look right into the camera while interacting directly with the screen behind it and managing audio in a way that allowed for now echoing. I do want to start breaking out the audio in a separate recording so we're not left with the compressed stuff Hangouts gives us for the final recording (thinking about Audio Hijack Pro for that).

So anyways, we're having a blast and we've launched this thing. As the kids say these days, like and subscribe for more!

Today

Today

I recently got back from a lovely weeklong vacation in Myrtle Beach where amongst all the relaxing I got nostalgic while showing some old DTLT Today videos to a friend. Right on the heels of that I read Jim's post about Reclaim's 5 year anniversary and while doing some digging in my Twitter archive (I'm no longer on Twitter but have a full archive of my stuff here) I found that Jim and I must have put out an episode the day we went public with the idea of Reclaim Hosting narrating our thoughts on the formation of it. Luckily Jim is the best kind of pack rat and had a copy since the original post I wrote had a broken embed from a media server that no longer exists at UMW and I was able to get it back online. Seriously, if you're a Reclaim fan and have some time to spare check this out:

It never ceases to amaze me when I go back to watch these videos how they become a time capsule of a particular moment. I cherish every one we did because just like blogging it helps me understand not just the relationships and the interactions I've been privileged to have in my career but also the political, commercial, and cultural changes that were influencing the work we were doing as a group. So needless to say the bug was starting to bite hard and I know better than to fight that feeling.

So yesterday after floating the idea to Jim and thinking it really could happen I rearranged some furniture in our back office and spent the evening developing an opening sequence (I'm such a god damn sucker for branding, I can't help it!). In an homage to DTLT Today we are calling it Reclaim Today and we recorded our first episode today in meta fashion talking about why we're doing this and what our goals are for the podcast.

As a geeky colophon to that I wanted to write a bit about the technical aspects of building both the opener and how we're currently managing the podcast as a distributed company with half of the team of 4 remote.

For the opener sequence like many video projects I started by checking out what was available on Videohive. I have an Adobe Suite license and I've played with After Effects with a few other projects so I find these templates a great way to get something professional up real quick. I also found a decent audio track on Audiojungle (same marketplace, part of the Envato network). So for ~$35 and a few hours time finding images and editing text I had the pieces I needed to build the video you see at the top of this post.

For the actual recording we leaned towards Google Hangouts on Air, which you can setup to livestream but also record straight to YouTube. Hangouts are awesome in that it's dead simple to act as a standalone switcher between folks, people can share their screens, and no one has to "control the feed" as it were. Hangouts suck in that sometimes you might want that control. Great example was that I had to download the YouTube video, insert our intro video and outro, and reupload as a new video because apparently you can't play videos within a Hangout. The quality also leaves a bit to be desired. So we'll see if we stay with that or move towards something like Wirecast which we used extensively at UMW for a variety of projects including DTLT Today and it was very powerful but a complex and expensive piece of software (and we talk a bit about this conundrum on the first episode).

Another nice piece of the setup I got working was that we had a mobile TV cart on one end of the room with a long HDMI cable to a standalone mac mini that was driving the hangout. The mini had a Yeti mic and Logitech HD webcam connected to it and we ran a long audio cable from the Yeti behind the couch with a splitter so Meredith and I could both hear everything without any echo. It ended up being a pretty nice solution allowing us to look right into the camera while interacting directly with the screen behind it and managing audio in a way that allowed for now echoing. I do want to start breaking out the audio in a separate recording so we're not left with the compressed stuff Hangouts gives us for the final recording (thinking about Audio Hijack Pro for that).

So anyways, we're having a blast and we've launched this thing. As the kids say these days, like and subscribe for more!

Today

Today

I recently got back from a lovely weeklong vacation in Myrtle Beach where amongst all the relaxing I got nostalgic while showing some old DTLT Today videos to a friend. Right on the heels of that I read Jim's post about Reclaim's 5 year anniversary and while doing some digging in my Twitter archive (I'm no longer on Twitter but have a full archive of my stuff here) I found that Jim and I must have put out an episode the day we went public with the idea of Reclaim Hosting narrating our thoughts on the formation of it. Luckily Jim is the best kind of pack rat and had a copy since the original post I wrote had a broken embed from a media server that no longer exists at UMW and I was able to get it back online. Seriously, if you're a Reclaim fan and have some time to spare check this out:

It never ceases to amaze me when I go back to watch these videos how they become a time capsule of a particular moment. I cherish every one we did because just like blogging it helps me understand not just the relationships and the interactions I've been privileged to have in my career but also the political, commercial, and cultural changes that were influencing the work we were doing as a group. So needless to say the bug was starting to bite hard and I know better than to fight that feeling.

So yesterday after floating the idea to Jim and thinking it really could happen I rearranged some furniture in our back office and spent the evening developing an opening sequence (I'm such a god damn sucker for branding, I can't help it!). In an homage to DTLT Today we are calling it Reclaim Today and we recorded our first episode today in meta fashion talking about why we're doing this and what our goals are for the podcast.

As a geeky colophon to that I wanted to write a bit about the technical aspects of building both the opener and how we're currently managing the podcast as a distributed company with half of the team of 4 remote.

For the opener sequence like many video projects I started by checking out what was available on Videohive. I have an Adobe Suite license and I've played with After Effects with a few other projects so I find these templates a great way to get something professional up real quick. I also found a decent audio track on Audiojungle (same marketplace, part of the Envato network). So for ~$35 and a few hours time finding images and editing text I had the pieces I needed to build the video you see at the top of this post.

For the actual recording we leaned towards Google Hangouts on Air, which you can setup to livestream but also record straight to YouTube. Hangouts are awesome in that it's dead simple to act as a standalone switcher between folks, people can share their screens, and no one has to "control the feed" as it were. Hangouts suck in that sometimes you might want that control. Great example was that I had to download the YouTube video, insert our intro video and outro, and reupload as a new video because apparently you can't play videos within a Hangout. The quality also leaves a bit to be desired. So we'll see if we stay with that or move towards something like Wirecast which we used extensively at UMW for a variety of projects including DTLT Today and it was very powerful but a complex and expensive piece of software (and we talk a bit about this conundrum on the first episode).

Another nice piece of the setup I got working was that we had a mobile TV cart on one end of the room with a long HDMI cable to a standalone mac mini that was driving the hangout. The mini had a Yeti mic and Logitech HD webcam connected to it and we ran a long audio cable from the Yeti behind the couch with a splitter so Meredith and I could both hear everything without any echo. It ended up being a pretty nice solution allowing us to look right into the camera while interacting directly with the screen behind it and managing audio in a way that allowed for now echoing. I do want to start breaking out the audio in a separate recording so we're not left with the compressed stuff Hangouts gives us for the final recording (thinking about Audio Hijack Pro for that).

So anyways, we're having a blast and we've launched this thing. As the kids say these days, like and subscribe for more!

Domains 17 Interview with Martha Burtis: “Web literacy is cultural literacy”

Last Friday the Domains 17 organizing committee got to sit down and chat with Martha Burtis, keynote for the Domains 17 conference, to get a preview of what she’ll be presenting in June. There’s a lot to process in this 50 minute gem, a conversation that ranges from everything to how domains got started to the posts tagline “web literacy as cultural literacy” (one of the many gems from the conversation) to the ongoing work of making digital fluency a foundation of higher ed. It’s a great look at what’s in store, and listening to Martha riff on this stuff really made me miss the 10 years we worked together on all these issues and more.  Few people frame it better, and this conversation underscores the fact that NOBODY thinks domains like the Burtis!

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