Reclaiming the bava

Been away, but now I’m back.

I’m finally starting to feel the transition away from UMW to Reclaim take hold. I’ve been traveling pretty non-stop since the beginning of June, and the last week back in Fredericksburg has been equal parts catching up on UMW work and ramping up my Reclaim duties. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy. Tim has officially taken his first real vacation in about 4 years from both UMW (he’s officially done as a UMW employee as of last week) and Reclaim Hosting. As for me “I’m the midnight to 8 man, I’m the commandant.” I’ll be relieving Tim over the next two weeks. Luckily, I’ll have some help given Reclaim has made its first official hire: the great Lauren Brumfield. She starts Monday, and I imagine she is still trying to wrap her head around the fact this may be the most anarchic, no frills experience in her fledgling professional career. Reclaim is punk rock: no titles, no bosses, just fast, cheap, and out of control edtech-inspired web hosting #4life.

Reclaim continues to pickup awesome folks who are working with us because they both understand and believe in our mission. I hear that in email after email, and I have to say it is really cool and gratifying. I find myself doing edtech for folks as well as helping them get stuff working, and not only are all the institutions who worked with us last year signing up again, but we have as many as 15 more schools running a Domains package this coming fall. We have been rather fortunate, seems like the work we (royal for Tim) have been doing is resonating, and folks are increasingly more interested. At the same time, the growth is still manageable. It’s wild, I am almost starting to feel like this whole thing is real.

As for UMW’s DTLT, there’s three job searches going at once this summer and I think things are starting to settle in after what was a trying year for everyone on campus. I finished by year-end report, my personnel evaluations, and I’m wrapping up a couple of letters of recommendation for faculty and students. I’m starting to feel a bit lighter. I’m serving on none of the search committees, and I pretty much have two responsibilities from here until the end of September: mind the UMW Domains infrastructure and work with faculty to get them up and running for fall. I feel like I’m going to be enjoying my life as an instructional technologist for at least a couple of months. All my director responsibilities are minimal given I’m now officially a short-timer and the group needs to figure out next steps. It’s a bit scary, but damn it is starting to feel really, really good.

Another little bit is that I’m actually going to be the “official” sysadmin for UMW Domains and UMW Blogs for the next month or so until Tim comes back to work with DTLT as a consultant. This means I’ll be minding the server store. I spent much of last week working with Tim on issues, dealing with hacked files, spam being sent, moving sites to new accounts, etc. It was kinda fun, and I’m really started to acquire a passable understanding of WHM and WHMCS. I still have to work on my command line kung-fu, but the web wasn’t built in a day.

I think the realities of my new professional life are starting to hit me. I can actually decide a fair amount of things I want to focus on, learn a lot of stuff I just didn’t have time to previously, and begin thinking long and hard about the conversations and ideas undergirding the future of digital learning environment infrastructure and how thinking through and trying to create personal APIs and social software systems might actually be my job now. I’m thrilled by the idea, and I have some work to do between here and there, but I travel along the stone path made up of the posts on this blog. Bava….the freedom edition!

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6 Responses to Reclaiming the bava

  1. Paul says:

    Thumbs up on the new hire! That’s what I call #4life.

  2. Maha Bali says:

    #4life? What bothers me about self-hosting is that i have to renew every year and then i die or go broke and it’s all lost 4ever. Tips?

    Gosh i think you are great Jim but now i am really worried that Tim isn’t around for a while. No offense to u, just a show of faith in Tim 🙂

    And re new univs joining Reclaim – why wouldn’t they? It’s the best ;k

    • Reverend says:

      @Maha,

      That’s a good point, and I think a full backup of a cPanel will last a while as a backup until you can scrounge the money. I’ve done that a few times. Also, as long as Reclaim Hosting is thriving, you will never, ever have that issue, but I the bigger issue pushes towards hosting your applications long term, and that means well beyond our time here. In fact, the idea of managing various digital resources like images, text, video, etc. beyond any one space. I have ideas on that, but I have to think the only one’s who are going to archive our stuff is us, and whether we want to is a deeply personal question. I know I do, but I am a horder 🙂 How we do that affordably, easily, and with some kind of equity is a very important question.

  3. Kin Lane says:

    Actually the web was built in a day. It was just shit, and we had to start again the next day. 😉 Happy for you finding your way.

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