Known Issues with the Web Garden

I was looking through the UMW Living Room Console site while writing about the new posters for Reclaim Arcade. While doing so I came across a few broken links in the inventory, to my chagrin. Links such as this one  (which is not broken anymore) were pointing back to my Known instance that I ran for 4 years or so and then archived as HTML with site sucker.

Turns out all my images from Known were broken, and I think that has something to do with how Known writes those images (but will look into that in more detail this weekend). In the meantime I wanted to resurrect those images and luckily I kept an archive of my files and database, so I set that back up and everything was loading again. And that’s the story of how I temporarily fended off some link rot in my small corner of the web. Felt like the battle at Helm’s Deep.

The living room has loomed large in my mind these days with the opening of Reclaim Arcade, so making sure these images were available was important to me. But it was also interesting because while I was doing this Olia Lialina‘s article “From My to Me” has been resonating deeper and deeper. As Downes already notes, it is a great article and comes highly recommended, in fact my next post will be a deeper dive on the article given I even have a small cameo, but read it regardless of that oversight on her part 🙂 One thing she discusses is the harm the appification of the web has done to a broader sense of exploration, creativity, and wonder on the web, which is a sentiment I was discussing with Boone Gorges a couple of weeks ago when recording his session for Domains21. In fact, I am feeling a broader sense of ennui and general dissatisfaction with the mainstream web we have right now, it’s a real theme throughout the Domains21 recordings, which made me think Lialina’s article may be a kind of call to action:

Your resistance should not simply be a return to a Web 1.0 that never was in the spirit of “netstalgia,” but rather thinking creatively about what a return from me to my might look like when it comes to the spaces we inhabit on the web. For example, I would offer up Michael Branson Smith’s ridiculous beautiful HTML/CSS-based animated movie posters as a creative liberation of the form.

This in turn made me think about Lialina’s comment about WordPress being a horrible development for the state of the link on the web, which is something I have to follow-up on, but seeing that Known does not even link to image files which in turn broke the Living Room Console inventory gave me a sense of the legacy of broken links and dreams many of these apps hath wrought. I won’t go as far as to say it never should have happened, but with WordPress killing the classic editor by the end of this year I am looking to test my long-standing statement that the beautiful thing about my data in WordPress is it is portable, where can I put all the content in the should I finally decide to test out my own claim before year’s end?

New User Manager in cPanel

We get questions occasionally from Reclaim Hosting users that are interested in adding a sub-user to their cPanel account. Multi-user cPanel access would be awesome, but unfortunately that's something that we don't have yet. However, we now have reason to believe that it's on the way. :)

cPanel just released a new theme (for the first time since 2007) called Paper Lantern, and Reclaim Hosting has slowly begun rolling it out to users. One of Reclaim's favorite changes that comes with this new theme is the User Manager.

While the User Manager isn't exactly multi-user cPanel access, it lays the foundation for it. And as a bonus: it’s also a nice way to easily create a user with access to multiple items at once. Let's take a look-

You have two ways of getting to your User Manager within cPanel:

On your left hand side bar (quickest option):

Or by scrolling to the bottom of your cPanel and looking in the Preferences category:

Upon clicking User Manager, this is what you'll see:

New User Manager in cPanel

Note the settings wheels next to the search bar that allow you to refine your search, as well as the "Add User" button to the left.

Here you have access to an array of options from a single screen. On top of quickly creating and managing user accounts, you can now also create and maintain email, FTP and Web Disk accounts. 

New User Manager in cPanel

The User Manager also allows you to link separate user accounts (email, FTP, Web Disks) that share the same username, so users can make use of the new Unified login system. Basically, this just means that End users now have to remember one set of credentials as opposed to different sets for every account.

New User Manager in cPanel

And my personal favorite-- you can see which users have access to what with a quick glance to the right-hand side of the page.

Featured Applications | 03: Slack

If you've missed the previous featured apps that Reclaim Hosting uses,
you can find those here and here

Out of all featured applications I have or will be highlighting, Slack has got to be the one I'm most excited about. Reclaim Hosting is a huge Slack supporter, so writing about it will be a piece of cake. :)

On their landing page, it says that Slack is "a messaging app for teams that are changing the world." Rock on.

How Reclaim Hosting Uses Slack

Reclaim has very specific uses for all apps & tools that we bring into play. While Asana is our list maker and Evernote is our how-to file cabinet, Slack is our message center. Since our company is ran entirely online, we don't have a normal "clock in" system with punch cards and assigned ID's. Messaging each other on the Slack is our version of checking in. This is also where we ask for help, suggest ideas, share shortcuts & even play around with GIFs. 

Efficient Messaging

Our messages and conversations are separated into categories to minimize confusion and for easy reference in the future. As I mentioned before, we have a Check In channel for Reclaim business- this is where we tell the team where we are/what we're working on, and any 'heads up' moments that everyone needs to be aware of. 

Other channels that are used frequently are Help (holds all team questions), Tools (explains any shortcuts recently learned), Ideas (suggestions for improvement) and Watercooler (GIFs, because why not).

I especially love Slack for how out in the open everything is. For instance, if person A asks person B a question and they brainstorm it out until they have a final answer, persons C & D will see the whole process when they log on. Everyone can benefit, and no one is repeating themselves. It's awesome.

That being said, there's also a privacy element that's very clear in Slack: Private groups and direct messaging. Reclaim Hosting utilizes the direct messaging channels for moments that don't necessarily relate to the entire RH team.

The SLICK-Slack-Search Feature


The Slack search bar is a life saver. It allows us to reference old convos in no time flat. Search any key word, for example, and slack not only picks up every time the word was used, but then separates them into file types, recent vs. relevancy, etc. Tip: if you type in: before the key word, you can easily clarify a specific location to search through. 

This is especially helpful for the Reclaim Hosting team in our Support channel. We've chosen to syndicate all of our support tickets from Intercom (an app for another day) into Slack. The search feature on Intercom isn't that great, so referencing older support tickets can be a pain if attempted outside of Slack. So, by going to our Support channel and typing in a name, key word, date or anything else really, old conversations with customers can easily be found. 

Slash Commands

Slash commands are one of the most useful and entertaining features of the app. Instead of listing them all, here's a list of the built in commands that slack accepts.

A few of my favorites:


(Slack chooses a random GIF.)

/giphy #weather [zip code]

(Randomized GIF with custom temp.)

you. are. welcome.

Easy Fixes for your Reclaim Hosting account

Long time no post! It's been a crazy last few weeks, and I've got a lot to talk about. 

Wanted to start today with something Reclaim Hosting related: Easy troubleshooting fixes for your website.

I've been working primarily in support since starting at Reclaim, and to be honest, most of the problems that users find themselves reaching out for end up having a very simple solution. I've developed a bit of a mental checklist that I run through when brainstorming with users, and thought it might be worth mentioning. And since Jim Groom has pronounced this month as 'Documentation December,' all the more reason. ;)

I'm sure that as much as you just LOVE talking to our awesome Support staff (*wink*), there are a few techniques that you're welcome to try on your own to save you a little time. 


1. Login Credentials

Reclaim Hosting has tried to eliminate the complications of having multiple passwords by having one for your Client Area. Once you're in the Client Area, you're golden. You can access your cPanel, dashboards, emails, account info, you name it. 

However, a lot of users want to log straight into their WordPress dashboard, for example, which is fine, but occasionally different passwords get lost in the mix. They will have bookmarked a wp-admin link, attempted to enter their site multiple times, and then before they know it, our firewall will have detected too many failed logins and the user will be locked out. (Just so you know, 5 attempts within 3 minutes will result in a temporary block for 30 minutes.)

So before locking yourself out of your website, here's a quick little reminder on how to reset your WordPress (or any other web install) password right within your cPanel:

First, go to your Client Area Homepage>cPanel and click on the web install that you're trying to access.

Now obviously, if you're not locked out, you can click on the wp-admin link (next to the first red dot) and that should push you through to your dashboard. To change your login password however, type it in next to the second red dot. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save All.

2. Find Your IP Address

If resetting your WP password doesn't work, chances are that you've been blocked by our firewall. If this is the case, we'll need to whitelist your IP address so we can prevent this from happening in the future. 

To find the IPv4 version of your IP address, go to the following link:

Send a support ticket letting us know that you think you've been locked out. And if you send your IP address along with it, gold star for you. ?

We like to know your IP address for other issues as well, so this is something really handy to know how to find!

3. Clearing your Browser Cache

Another great trick to keep in your back pocket is knowing how to clear your browser cache. May sound simple, but many times it does the trick. 

For example, sometimes users will sign up for a Reclaim Hosting account, install WordPress, and then see the generic Reclaim welcome page instead of their website. We drop a few default files into every hosting account when they sign up. These files are in a folder called "default.html" within your file manager; these get overridden by Wordpress upon installation, but occasionally browsers will cache the welcome page. 

To clear your browser cache, we generally send users here since it has different step-by-step instructions for each browser. (Clearing your browser cache can also be helpful to erase faulty login credentials as well!)

Featured Applications | 02: Evernote

Don't forget to read about the first featured application if you missed out!

For me, Evernote has been that one application that keeps creeping back into my daily life without me ever making a deliberate decision to properly use it. Until (very) recently, this had been my relationship with Evernote since freshman year of college. 

At first I tried to take notes on it for classes, but there was always that one class every semester that had a totally backwards, wonky way of doing things that threw the entire system off. For example- 4 out of 5 professors (based on my experience) will allow you to bring your laptop to class for note-taking purposes. That fifth professor however, will stubbornly insist that you handwrite your notes on recycled paper while using pen ink that can only be found from the highest mountain top in Argentina. Or something to that extent. 

Granted, you can take pictures of or scan handwritten notes and place each page individually into your Evernote class notebook, but that means an extra step. And when you're a busy student that's constantly applying the most productive and efficient methods to do anything and everything, "extra steps" are a death sentence. 

I had always liked the idea of using Evernote & was determined to find a use for it. The interface was (and is) beautiful, and has only gotten better with each update. It appealed to the part of me that got overly excited when purchasing school supplies. It was an infinite supply of fresh, perfect notebooks. 

I tried to use it to organize my ideas for this website, for example. Post ideas, inspiration for design, business goals-- you name it. But after the Pinterest boom & handy, dandy "save as a draft" button, that didn't keep either. 

All of this is to say that through my years of playing around with it, Evernote is great if you have an actual purpose for it. If not, it will more than likely be an extra step. I guess this is technically true of all web applications, but I've just felt it more with this one. 


Using Evernote for Reclaim

Moving forward, I've found a use for Evernote & am super excited to talk about it today. As Reclaim Hosting's first hire, I didn't exactly have the normal training that a typical 'new hire' might receive when entering a new company. I was more or less thrown into everything with Jim & Tim as my safety net. I learned the rules of the Reclaim Road by asking a LOT of questions and by doing a LOT of research. During my first two months, I'd stumble through the work day, and then would give myself homework during the evening to better understand the concepts that I had been exposed to. 

I'm not stumbling as much anymore; I'd like to think I'm somewhere around a brisk walk. Tim & Jim, well, they're both sprinting. I'll catch up with them one day. ;) But since I've had a little more headspace here recently for analyzing methods instead of simply understanding them, I'd thought I'd make life easier for myself and possibly for the next hire that comes to Reclaim.

This is where Evernote comes into play. Right now I work primarily in support. Support is about fixing what's broken. In order to fix it, you have to know exactly what originally broke, how to fix it, how to prevent it from happening again, and then remembering it five weeks down the road when a separate individual has a similar problem. Sometimes this can be as simple as remembering a series of clicks to get from Point A to point K, other times it may be more complicated like looking at the different variables that may be causing an error. 

When I learn how to solve a problem, whether on my own or by studying previous conversations that my bosses have had with customers, I take screenshots of how to fix the issue at hand. Each solved problem then becomes a new "note" in my Reclaim Hosting Evernote notebook. I'll make my own comments on the screenshots, provide relevant links and tag the note for easy access in the future. The idea is that I can reference these notes on an as needed basis, or perhaps a future hire can use them as a starting point for their training period.



Getting started with Evernote is very self-explanatory. The Evernote team has also provided a great Getting Started Guide to walk you through the process. 

This is how a blank slate looks on the application:

click on the image for a larger version.

An archive of your notebooks, tags, recent notes & shortcuts can be found in the left column. In the middle column you can scroll through the current notebook's list of notes. The right side is for creating/editing notes and tagging & sharing them. 


Searching in Evernote

The search bar on the top right-hand corner allows you to easily search any tag, word, note-- anything, really. Check out an awesome example of this below:

First, take a look at the top right- I searched "password". Doing that led me to a note on resetting someone's password for them. Not only did the finder pull me to this note, but it then highlighted password in my comments AND in a screenshot. The area in the above photo with the blue box around it? Yeah, that's a JPEG file. How cool is that?!


Sharing is caring

The last awesome thing that I wanted to talk about is sharing from Evernote. It's super easy both for you and the person that you're sharing with, regardless if they have signed up with the app. 

Featured Applications | 02: Evernote

Sharing a note can be as simple as clicking "share" in the top right hand corner & sending it out to whoever you'd like. 

Featured Applications | 02: Evernote

However, you can also make a public link for anyone and everyone to view. ;)

How I joined the #4life club

Hi everyone- in honor of writing my first Reclaim-related post, I'd like to officially introduce myself. Not as the sister to four younger brothers that originally acted as my online "hook" some eight years ago; not as the aspiring National Geographic photographer that took over my dreams from ages 15-19; not as the Creative Writing major that filled her purse with books instead of cosmetics; but as the Operations Manager for Reclaim Hosting. 

It's been quite the journey getting to this point as Reclaim's first hire, and it's one I'd like to share with you folks. Rewinding a few years back, I randomly (sorry, Jim & Paul) signed up for The Internet Course during my third year of college. I was needing credits after studying abroad, and decided that a course on the Internet would be interesting. What I did know about the Internet was fascinating, so I went for it. The discussion-based class was separated into many units that dove into the past & origin of the World Wide Web, moved to how the Internet is used today, and finally, explored the possibilities of the future. Our class conversation topics spanned from Tim Berners Lee to Bitcoin. I had my first experience using cPanel. I created my own domain & subdomains. It felt good. I had already joined the #4life club without even knowing it. 

Towards the end of the course, Jim asked if anyone was interested in working as a student aide at the University of Mary Washington's Division of Learning and Teaching Technologies (DTLT) office. I was always shy as a student, but remember surprising myself that day when I looked up and saw that my own hand was raised in response to the question. Thereafter, I began working closely with the lovely and very knowledgeable DTLT staff, and the other student aide, Patrick. Even in the midst of transitioning to a new building, there wasn't a day that I wasn't learning something new. Patrick and I did everything from recording serial numbers of old laptops, to using FTP to transfer data, to writing for Domain of One's Own wikispaces. I recall a point where I was even reading a four-inch book on C++... for fun. 

After an informative summer and a move to UMW's brand new Convergence Center, my position with DTLT changed to Student Aide Supervisor. On top of my current responsibilities of helping out in the DTLT office, I was also in charge of brainstorming & promoting for building events and managing the student aides at the info desk. This position brought me even closer to the DTLT staff; their passion for what they were doing was (and is) contagious. By mid-year, I had come to terms with the fact that I had officially caught the #4life bug.

Over the span of my last year in college, I had followed pretty closely with the great things that Tim & Jim were doing over at Reclaim Hosting. Constantly building, constantly growing, constantly brainstorming. They were pushing boundaries and accepting challenges. It was everything that I loved about the concept of "being online". They had combined professionalism with creative chaos. Open source platform with personal, one-on-one support. Others were seeing that too, and Reclaim Hosting continued to grow.

I stayed in contact with Tim & Jim after graduation, and accepted a part-time position with them a few months later. Even though my UMW journey has come to a close, my Reclaim Hosting journey has just begun. I'm being challenged and pushed every day, learning always. We've got big plans for Reclaim Hosting, and I'm excited to see where it leads us all.