Well, I have been deep in my toy blogging and out to sea in many regards, I become a home owner tomorrow, and just got back from an exhilarating talk in West Virginia that has my spirits up about a way of thinking about some things. The Me/We web, from Muhammad Ali to Walt Whitman, the possibility and promise of framing a model that empowers faculty and students to own and manage their own digital spaces and feed them back together—a me/we proposition. And to see the work Alan and D’Arcy are doing with their experimentation with real time publishing, and just dreaming about capturing the work happening around UMW out in the open in real time. A visualization of learning. And then there are all the things that Google Analytics will tell us about who’s visiting what sites, with what search terms and how long will they stay and read. A look into how open education done through blogs and sites that are part of community will begin to echo out into the ecosystem of the web. Feeding it positively, and building networks effects beyond the school. It excites me!
And then to think that Novak Rogic and his award winning development team at UBC’s OLT is starting to openly blog the unbelievable work they’ve been doing of the last year and a half. For example, Novak will be talking about how they’re running a large WPMu install for a school with 30,000+ students! That is such an essential narrative, and it starts here. When I stop and think about it for a second, this group has fueled a steady flow of plugins that realized everything from the bliki to the syndication bus. This all was developed there and they are going to tell us all about it! “Rich as kings!”
And UMW Blogs has been back up and running smoothly after an emergency move to a new server to keep up with how hard it was being hit. And special thanks to my guru Zach Davis of Cast Iron Coding fame, who brought the whole thing over on a minute’s notice to a new server in less than two hours one late Tuesday night while he had a million other obligations. Both Zach and his partner Lucas have been such solids for us at DTLT over the last two years. I am constantly reminded, but most acutely in times of crisis, jut how much depends on the work of so many. And not only does Zach have to put up with my crap on a daily basis, but his imagination has helped fuel UMW’s innovation on levels we could only dream of without him—a vital piece to the puzzle.
I even have the specs for the new server Zach has UWM Blogs on, which is beautifully handling the syndication bus with 3,000+ users and almost 3,000 blogs, a so far not a hitch (I know so little about hardware that I’m not even sure I copied what’s below correctly):
ver CPU: Dual Intel Xeon-Harpertown 5420-Quadcore 2.5GHz
MOTHERBOARD: SuperMicro X7DBU Intel Xeon QuadCore DualProc Sata
# RAM: 4GB ECC FB-DIMM DDR2
DRIVES: 2 SATA 250GB Drives with hardware RAID 1 NETWORK: 100MBPS
The education community and sharing is solid, but recently a cloud has settled in over at wpmu.org, where James Farmer is bemoaning the “Discontinuation” of WPMu, a project Matt Mullenweg refers to as “a tragedy of the commons,” and notes the development and sharing between of WPMu is a small fraction of that for the core WP, quite possibly because a fraction of the people administer WPMu. But the larger points that the organization of the community is so deeply locked into the development at INCSUB that is increasingly locked behind a pay wall for plugins that aren’t always maintained (the first problem with our 2.7+ to 2.8+ upgrade in August related to multi-db). And I just don;t know why the pay wall development like the WPMu Global Tags plugin is just a pay version of Donncha’s Sitewide Tags Pages Plugin and Simple Tags—which together can do that and so much more. All of which makes Matt Mullenweg’s point that the development is now being duplicated—half of which is locked behind a pay wall, and the other half often languishing—that much more poignant. WPMUDev has almost doubled in price over the last year, and while they have developed some good stuff, fact is that the code of WPMuDev’s plugins is suffering from the pay model—and we here at UMW have not renewed. Quite frankly, I don’t disagree with Matt, and I am increasingly thinking the merging of WP and WPMu will hopefully make the whole process that much easier. But at the same time I wonder what features will disappear, will the possibilities be curtailed? But then I wonder if that specifically matters all that much, the community that is dedicated to thinking and experiment in teaching and learning must develop according to ideas and larger visions of sharing and collaborating between people openly and freely. A new possibility for education that makes institutions people.
I HEAR it was charged against me that I sought to destroy
But really I am neither for nor against institutions;
(What indeed have I in common with them?–Or what with the
destruction of them?)
Only I will establish in the Mannahatta, and in every city of These
States, inland and seaboard,
And in the fields and woods, and above every keel, little or large,
that dents the water,
Without edifices, or rules, or trustees, or any argument,
The institution of the dear love of comrades.