Reclaim Roadshow: This Time It’s Virtual!

Lee Skallerup Bessette reached out soon after OERxDomains21 to ask if we would be doing a workshop on Domains anytime soon given she would be taking a more active role in the project, and I imagine her recent promotion might be part of that—congrats!

So, we reached out to see if there was broader interest, and I am pretty stoked that we got such a resounding “yes.” It’s been a hard year on so many of us, but between the shot in the arm that was OERxDomains21 and the heartening realization so many good people are doubling-down on the open web. It gets me all fired up!

So, we will be running a two-day virtual workshop around Domain of One’s Own to train current administrators, give some insight to this whole Reclaim Cloud thing, talk SPLOTs, and most importantly connect folks at different schools to share the work happening across various campuses. We’ll be bringing in panelists and speakers, so you just might get the call in the coming week or two 🙂  The dates are June 22nd and 23rd, and the days will be from 11 AM – 4 PM Eastern. You can register here:


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A Domains21 Two for CUNY Tuesday: Manifold & OER as Open Infrastructure

This pairing is not only because I forgot to post an OERxDomains21 session yesterday, but also because I think Domains21 was secretly the CUNY IT conference I wanted to attend. I went back to the well of awesome that is CUNY’s instructional technology infrastructure more than a few times during the conference and the discussion of their work developing Manifold with Cast Iron Coding dovetails beautifully with the broader push for open infrastructure at the largest urban college system in the US. So, enjoy this double feature from Domains21 that highlights some of the most thoughtful, elegant, and politically charged edtech anywhere.

In this session Matthew K. Gold (CUNY Graduate Center) and Zach Davis (Cast Iron Coding) discuss the origins and various iterations of the next-generation, open source publishing tool Manifold ( Born out of an experiment with the University of Minnesota Press, the origins of Manifold as an elegant publishing solution for scholarly monographs morphed into a dynamic tool for reading collaboratively around a series of resources often centered, but not limited to, the text. The focus on design and the simplicity with which texts can be ingested highlights the importance user experience when developing edtech tools.

In fact, Manifold speaks to the larger movement at CUNY in which open source infrastructure has become the bedrock upon which their OER initiative is built. It is a longer history of ensuring the tools that undergird public discourse and teaching and learning are not ceded entirely to the market.

As the pandemic hit higher ed across the globe the responses were often were grounded in reaction and panic, but at the City University of New York a long tradition of investing in local talent building open source solutions for creating online communities highlights the power of an alternative vision of educational technology. Both New York State and New York City’s investment in open education has not revolved around textbooks and things at CUNY as much as it has around creating and maintaining localized educational platforms where teaching and learning can and should happen online.

This conversation explores the ways in which the City University of New York has built out an open source infrastructure using tools like WordPress and Manifold, underscoring the larger questions around “why open technologies?” this a razor sharp attention to the broader struggle in higher education around funding the mission while acknowledging the long legacy of economic austerity and students and staff alike.

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Moving Mac House: What Applications are Must-Install Furniture?

When writing about my video streaming setup a few posts back I mentioned I needed to remedy how my Intel-based Macbook Pro laptop fan goes into overdrive making all kinds of noise that kills the sound quality of a live stream. Granted it’s a beast of a machine spec-wise (32 Gb of RAM, 2.4 GHz 8-core i9), but it is hard to enjoy any major performance boost over my OG 15″ Macbook Pro circa 2015—best computer ever—when the fan sounds like a jet engine. Not sure what happened with the latest Macbook Pro design, but I must say it’s been a pretty awful experience from the beginning. And I have been feeling it doubly over the last year given how much video conferencing and recording we all have been doing this year.

More specifically on this computer, whenever two external USB-C monitors are running (even with the laptop lid closed) the computer starts heating up and the fan starts going crazy. If I add a video call, or god forbid streaming through OBS, to the mix I might as well be on the tarmac. I tried the application Turbo Boost Switcher to  disable the Intel Turbo Boost that is responsible for the overheating, and it works pretty well for everything save OBS streaming, which sucks for me.

So, all that to say I had my eyes. on a Mac Mini M1 8 GB computer (so literally a quarter of the memory) after seeing it demoed and realized it will be able to handle my setup without any issue. So, I picked one up a couple of months ago before OERxDomains21 with the idea I would make the switch in time for the recordings and everything else, but time got away from me. It was not until this weekend that I finally sat down to build my streaming audio and video setup around the Mac Mini and use the laptop as the periphery computer I take on trips, trail around the house, work in the garden with, etc. The fact that the Macbook Pro is no longer my primary work machine says it all, what a bust. I’m hoping to find a way to integrate it into my setup more seamlessly, but for now it’s in a kind of limbo.

On the other hand after playing with the Mac Mini this weekend I am pretty blown away by how fast the new M1 chip is. I streamed to ds106radio with Audio Hijack and with OBS simultaneously and nary a sound. Amazing, and given how bad the latest Macbook Pro intel-based chip is, how did that ever get to market? Pretty scammy. So, I’m happy, and I wrote all that to say this: so when you are starting from scratch with a new computer what apps do you install?

I wanted to avoid doing a clean copy over given I will still be using the Macbook Pro, and I have most of my files and apps managed in the cloud anyway. So, what did I need to install, you ask? Well, I made a list of everything I installed below, and I think it is pretty telling of where I am heading:

  • 1Password: Useless without it, it’s by far the most important application for managing my day-to-day for both work and personal stuff
  • DropBox App: I am not a huge fan of Dropbox, and part of this is probably cause I don’t use it all that well, but I use it enough to make transferring a bunch of files between machines easy, so it was an immediate install
  • Slack Desktop App: Basically my remote office, it’s where I do all my Reclaim Hosting work, so a must
  • Discord: I am not a huge Discord person just yet, but I have had more than a few good experiences with it this year, so I downloaded it and got it up and running post haste.
  • Audio Hijack: ds106radio #4life – installing this app reminded me why I increasingly hate Apple’s attempt to control everything I do on the machine
  • Loopback: Virtual audio device is crucial for both ds106radio and OBS streaming
  • OBS: Like and subscribe! My favorite new software for streaming
  • VLC: some old gold open source media player action, still the best
  • Elgato Control Center: This is the application for controlling the desktop ring lights
  • Handbrake (not compatible): I tried installing this OG app too because I still regularly rip DVDs, but not compatible with the M1 chip just yet, so may need to explore the edge release on Github, che paura!
  • Transmit: Still do a lot of FTP work when playing with Reclaim Hosting and Reclaim Cloud, and I like transferring large files 🙂
  • BBEdit: this local text editor is pretty much where I keep all my notes
  • Elgato Video Capture: Software for digitalizing VHS tapes, need to test it and see how it works with the M1 chip
  • Stream Deck: Software to program my Stream Deck that allows me to pre-program OBS scenes and select them seamlessly using the small switcher box

So, those are my 14 “must-install” applications, and I feel like I won’t need too many more. I am pushing into the whole video/streaming arena which is a lot of fun for me, and I should be bringing some more equipment back from the US here soon, so that will be even more incentive to keep playing.

The other thing I needed to do to make this machine fully operational for work was setting up private keys and my .bash_profile so that I have shortcuts to all the various servers we manage when in terminal. The same was true of exporting and importing the various servers I have setup using Transmit. And with everything set on the Mac Mini I’ll be reporting for work tomorrow with my new rig.

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Scramble Project: Cut the base!

…or is it hold the bass?

Nothing is more horrific than some arcade cabinet water damage

One of the bummers of the much coveted Scramble cabinet I finally secured after searching for years, is that the bottom of the cabinet’s side panels are severely water damaged. That can be a deal breaker for many given the time and attention to detail it takes to get a cabinet back to its original glory.

My eyes!

Say it ain’t so!

But let’s face it, I’m so deep into this hobby that if I can’t do the job right, I’m gonna find someone who can—and boy did I ever. Alberto is the magician behind replacing the base of this cabinet, and I’m in awe. I reached out on the KLOV forums for some advice offering the above pictures for reference, and my assumption was confirmed: the only way forward is prosthetic surgery. Given the skillset required to do it right (the detailed, thoughtful response from another KLOV member scared me straight), I decided to bring in the professionals.

Scramble Cabinet Project: Cutting Out the Water Damage

Alberto has been sharing images of his progress, and I am getting increasingly excited with every new update. The first step was cutting out the damaged area, and as you can see from the image below, the cabinet is rock solid right above that 4″ or 5″ stain of water damage. It must have been sitting in the water for quite a while because as you can see in the images above the plywood was literally peeling like a banana. And as you may be able to decipher the sides of the cabinet are about 5″ off the ground, effectively protecting the power supply that is screwed to the elevated floor of the cabinet—just out of harm’s way.

Scramble Cabinet Project: Che Gamba!

I’m thrilled with the attention to detail paid in this project, right down to keeping the original contours of the cabinet, as well as routing a line for the T-molding. What’s more the legs are screwed into the 3/4″ plywood floor to ensure they can take the 200+ pounds load of a full cabinet.

Scramble Cabinet Project: Repair In Process

You can really see the progress in the next two shots wherein any signs of surgery are all but gone, and the following shot highlights the original angle at the back of the cabinet base which enables you to tilt it up and wheel it around. Also, you get a good look at how tight the seam will be.

Scramble Cabinet Project: It's All in the Angle

I think it’s safe to say “Operation Base Replacement” for the Scramble project is looking amazing. Near-on seamless, and we (royal we, given Alberto is the magician here) will be painting the repaired area black, and then priming the entire cabinet in preparation for a complete re-stenciling of this classic to its original design glory.

Scramble Cabinet Project: Like New!

I think the bavacade is off to an auspicious start. I figure you bring in the artisans and set the bar ridiculously high from the start and things can only get even better.

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Domains21: Using WordPress Multisite During a Pandemic

Keeping the OERxDomains21 post parade going, here is a good Friday panel on one of my favorite platforms, WordPress Multisite!

This discussion featuring Laurie Miles (UNC Asheville), Shanon Hauser (UMW) and Colin Madland (TWU) focuses on how various campuses experienced the impact of the pandemic through the various tools and platforms they supported on campus.  In particular, this panel starts by focusing on WordPress Multisite but gives way to be a compelling conversation about the challenges of shifting not only online, but from synchronous to asynchronous ways of imagining teaching and learning.

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Diabolik: a Cultural Revolution Comic on Film

I already blogged a bit about using OBS to produce and stream a class visit Paul Bond and I did for Antonio Vantaggiato‘s Italian Cinema course last week. I wanted to use this post to talk briefly about the clips I chose from Danger: Diabolik and why, as well as how I used my PeerTube instance to upload and share them post facto. In fact, I used my YouTube clone to create a playlist of clips I discussed in order to make re-using and discovering them simple, not to mention the ability to embed them here and strategically avoid any takedowns by hosting them on my own space.

Before class Antonio usually starts off with music from the film to set the mood and start the chat, a brilliant approach. So we played some songs from the brilliant Ennio Morricone film score for Danger: Diabolik, and Paul and I were heading bopping our way into the course.

After that Paul and I took a kind of “share a clip and chat about why we think it is important” approach to our reading of the film. A big part of the discussion was focused around demonstrating how Mario Bava’s visual and special effects acumen allowed him to great a truly unique film-rendering of the comic book genre, that was by extension an exploration of the contemporaneous cultural revolution happening in the late 1960s. And to make this point I started with a 40 second excerpt from the 20 minute documentary Diabolik: From Fumetti to Film wherein comic artist Stephen R. Bissette discusses the cultural context of the European super villains as heroic figures, a kind of anti-hero.

This set the stage to discuss specific scenes for their formal elements, such as the comic imagery of the opening shot that has a band of motorcycle police dressed in black leather (reminiscent of European fascism) against the backdrop of the national bank with the imposing “Hall of Justice”-like edifice:

From there Paul talks about the power of Bava’s re-rendering the pan shot to take on the formal qualities of a wide panel in a comic that slows down both the action and time. Paul’s deep knowledge of comic books made this introductory doubly fun because he is a wealth of insight into the numerous levels Bava operates on:

From there we both shared comments on the music, and the way Morricone/Bava use distortion to introduce the “hero” rather than some anthemic pronouncement. It’s almost like Neil Young was taking a page from Ennio Morricone’s score when doing the Soundtrack for Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man (1995).

And then we both talked about the magic of Mario Bava’s special effects, and the way his visual mastery translates quite well to the comic genre. In this movie it’s literally all smoke and mirrors, and the quality of Bava’s effects still hold up, and he did the film on about 20% of the $3 million dollar budget he had: fast, cheap, and out of control!

Paul also talked about masks and the expressiveness of the eyes, not to mention super hero’s masks usually hide the eyes but let you see the face, whereas Diabolik is the opposite:

And from there we talked about the amazing set design and fashion that this film highlights, really identifying the film working on numerous levels across various domains: architecture/design, fashion, and music, and the shot of Diabolik and Eva entering the underground lair and highlighting how impressive the work Bava creates is on a shoe-strong budget was a regular refrain:

The question of the influence of the film between the Bond franchise of the early 60s and the Batman Movie from 1966 came up for discussion, and the press conference scene wherein Diabolik uses the well-labeled “Exhilaration Gas”  not only suggests a link to the contemporaneous camp of the Batman series, but also departs from that series by challenging the law and order dictates of the commissioner, something Batman would never do:

And from there we started thinking through the visual effects alongside Bava’s visualization and interpretation of the hippie/youth movement of the 1960s, stereotyped by drugs, flower children, and an impressive colorized light show providing a psychedelic romp through a fantastical Italian night club.

One of the most beautiful sequences of the film featuring the Identikit is a direct homage to the Pop Art movement, and quotes figures like Barbarella and European fashion models such as Twiggy. It really associates the film with a broader cultural revolution in aesthetic values and tastes, in many ways framing the comic at the forefront of high art—and the ways in which the characters are framed by the empty book shelves in these scenes makes the “bookcase” better than anything else in that regard. Bava is recognizing the impact of the revolution at the heart of the art world with figures like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

And the next clips highlights the shift in the means of this revolution, returning to the broader theme of the anti-hero as terrorist, which is hard to argue when we learn Diabolik has blown up the financial administration buildings of the Italian government as punishment for their putting a million dollar bounty on his head. It’s hard not to see more contemporary links to 9/11 for most Americans, but I also wonder if the political unrest and violent terrorism of the 1970s in Italy might be a more direct link to the other side of the anti-hero fantasy.

There was another clip wherein Paul discussed the formal elements of comics and the sense of panels and framing when we learn Diabolik has comes back from the dead:

There was another piece before we started the film wherein Paul went through a series of screenshots highlights the various comic book elements of shots, and it was a machine gun presentation that really brought the point home.

And after that we took questions, of which there were quite a few, and then played the entire film through Zoom in HD thanks to OBS. A pretty seamless ordeal:

One of the things this got me thinking about was not only the value of something like PeerTube to share the stream post facto, but also to share all the individual clips that were discussed during the stream for folks to re-watch, study, etc. One of the questions it inevitably leads me to is how are schools managing all the various videos and video clips they both create, share, and contextualize for their community, and how are schools framing this experience? I mean an open source application like PeerTube goes a long way towards approximating the YouTube elements without all the stringent algorithmic pre-emptive takedowns, which would be anathema to the idea of fair use for educational purposes, no? And beyond copyright, where and how are all the recorded videos worth sharing presented for the broader campus community?

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that video streaming and their subsequent value as course/institutional resources has arrived, and I am wondering how folks are managing these resources so that they can be  more seamlessly shared not only within an institution, but ideally beyond.

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Domains21: Hope on the Airwaves – the #ds106radio Sunday Special

More OERxDomains21 goodness, and this time with an extra shot of ds106radio awesome.

To quote a blog post titled “Hope on the Airwaves:#ds106radio Sunday Special” by Maren Deepwell from more than a year ago at the height of the pandemic:

Like many others, I have been enjoying tuning in to the online radio ’emergency broadcast’ listening to familiar voices and some that are quickly becoming familiar, sharing stories of coping under lock down, facing uncertainty, sharing loneliness and lack of freedoms.

I love the broadcasts, partly because they remind me every day that there is nothing ‘business as usual’ about this time. That it’s completely OK not to function or cope or be able to even get up in the morning.

The radio also reminds me of how resilient human beings are. It gives me a sense of how hard everyone is working, fighting, trying. There’s hope on the airwaves.

In this session Brian Lamb talks to Anne Marie Scott, Tannis Morgan, and Maren Deepwell about their weekly web radio show, which provided a much needed space for coping with a global pandemic by forging community, building friendships, and baking in a whole lotta fun—all of which are essential elements to how we can remain sane while we live and learn on the web.

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Vinylcast #48: IDLES’s Ultra Mono

Inspired by an epic show by Brian Lamb I jumped on the #ds106radio for an impromptu #vinylcast of an album that arrived that very morning, a fortuitous occasion indeed.

Or even #ds106radio

I was lucky enough to pickup a few listeners from Brian’s tour de force, and I used the occasion to do a bit of an unboxing of what turned out to be an absolutely beautiful album, complete with a museum-esque booklet.

All-in-all the IDLES absolutely rocked, and I was glad to share it on the mighty #ds106radio. I did notice there is a bit of a high-tone pitch running underneath the album as it broadcasts on the radio, so I am gonna need to hunt that down and resolve it. You can only hear it between the breaks, but it is annoying enough to that it needs to go. And with that, here is the audio for your listening pleasure!

IDLES Ultra Mono on #vinylcast on #ds106radio
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Scramble Project: Stripped Down to the Cabinet

Below is a visual tour of my stripped Scramble cabinet. This is the first cabinet I have taken down to the bones, and I will be cutting the sides down and replacing and seaming them to get rid of the water damage. I also ordered a stencil set and when I get back from the US in late May I will be re-painting and adding the original cabinet art design:

So to that end I took the leap and removed everything from the cabinet. I had already taken out and disassembled the monitor in preparation for a cap kit, you can see the damage on that here, so this will be a visual record of everything else I took out—if for nothing else to remember to put it all back:

First I took off the very evocative bezel, which may be one of the most beautiful retro scifi designs from any arcade game of the era.

Scramble Project

Then the monitor shroud:

Scramble Project

After that the I moved up to the marquee (as you might have guessed, I was avoiding the hard stuff):

Scramble Project

Once I got my confidence up I took out the power supply at the bottom of the cabinet:

Scramble Project

Scramble also has an additional power PCB board that sits at the bottom of the cabinet alongside the power supply, so that came out as well:

Scramble Project

This freed me up to remove the circuit board and ROMs (PCB) from the side of the cabinet:

Scramble Project

And then I was getting into entirely new territory removing the wiring harness that goes from the PCB to the coin door:

Scramble Project

And yes, it was tested:

Scramble Project

And it has been played over 18,331 times we know of!

Scramble Project

This led me to the other side of the cabinet, and pushed me to remove the control panel, another beautiful element of what has to be my favorite cabinet of all time:

Scramble Project: Control Panel

And then I returned to the back of the cabinet again to take out the wiring harness that connects to the power switch, interlock switch on the door, the marquee light and the speaker. So a lot going on with this one, and it does look like a bit of a rat’s nest presently:

Scramble Project

And with that I took out all the pieces, zip locked the various bolts and screws, and now have an entirely empty Scramble cabinet that will soon be like new!

Here’s a full frontal!

Scramble Project

And that’s a nice backside….

Scramble Project

Oh yeah, there is also the coin box, but that is pretty basic and just sits on the shelf in front of the coin door, even I could but that back together 🙂

Scramble Project

Very excited to move this project along, and the things I have to attend to are the following:

  1. Get the cap kit done and test the chassis
  2. Get the PCB looked at and make sure there are no issues
  3. refinish the bottom of the cabinet and cut out water damage

And with that it will be near on perfect, and it will then be my favorite cabinet of all time (although Pac-man is still my favorite game 🙂 ).

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Domains21: Outside Their Domain

And let’s not forget the subtitle “Introducing German Higher Ed to Domain of One’s Own.” YEAH!  In their OERxDomains21 presentation Christian Friedrich and Katharina Schulz discussed their work to introduce the idea of a “Domain of One’s Own” to faculty and staff around Germany. They discuss the groundwork for getting academics to consider the possible benefits of exploring spaces on the web that provide a deeper sense of literacy, control, and application relevance. It’s a far-ranging discussion that looks at the real challenges of buy-in for a Domains project, which is nicely balanced with recalling that providing web space to academics and students has a long, rich global history that in many ways is the root of networked open education

The concepts and ideas around a Domain of One’s Own (DoOO) are not yet widely known or implemented in Germany. While there is a fairly strong ethos of independence in parts of Germany’s OER and ed-tech communities, DoOO has not gained traction.

In this session, we will present a project that started in February 2020. The project’s aim is to provide easily accessible information about DoOO as well as ready-made materials for those who would like to implement DoOO in their teaching. After basic research, we started by recording podcast conversations that explore DoOO from different angles, covering a student’s perspective as well as technical, didactical and strategic aspects. Based on these conversations, our own experiences with DoOO and available materials, we are developing guidelines and checklists for different stakeholders. The project Domain of One’s Own is funded by the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW HH) as part of the Hamburg Open Online University (HOOU), a cooperation of several institutions of higher education in Hamburg.

One of the impulses for our project was EDUCAUSE’s “7 Things You Should Know About a Domain of One’s Own”, which prompted the idea of producing similar materials tailored for the German Higher Ed landscape, while seminal projects at the University of Mary Washington and at Coventry University serve as important reference points. For the German discourse, discussions around digital literacies can provide a basis for starting the conversation about Domains.

In our pre-recorded conversation with Jim Groom, we share an insight into our experiences so far and talk about the challenges connected with advocating for a concept largely based on shifting control from teacher to student in a rather traditional higher education landscape like Germany. During the live session, we look forward to engaging with the communities around OER and DoOO by taking up questions and comments from the chat. With this session, we also hope to spark conversations around how to tackle more conservative spheres of higher education. Some of the questions that could be addressed are:

  • What can a conservative and largely publicly funded Higher Ed landscape gain from DoOO?
  • What kinds of reward structures, staffing structures, technological infrastructure and incentives are ideal for DoOO?
  • What kinds of success stories or good practices can you share about introducing DoOO?


EDUCAUSE (2019). 7 Things You Should Know About a Domain of One’s Own. [PDF] Available at: [Accessed 09 April 2021].

Coventry University Group (n.d.). Coventry Domains. [online] Available at: [Accessed 09 April 2021].

University of Mary Washington (n.d.). Domain of One’s Own. [online] Available at: [Accessed 09 April 2021].

Friedrich, C. (2019). Digital Literacies und Offenheit: Was wir tun, damit Menschen das Freie Netz formen können. [online] Available at: [Accessed 09 April 2021].

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