News from November 2022
That's right, it's the Roundup! We're capping off November with a collection of announcements and general goodies from the past month. As term comes to a close soon, here's hoping it's a smooth and cheerful December.
Reclaim Open 2023: Call for Proposals!
For our 4th biennial conference, Reclaim Open 2023, Reclaim Hosting plans to not only celebrate the history of the open web, but take stock of the present moment while exploring the future of Open. We are excited to head back where it all began, and we look forward to welcoming web historians, creative tinkerers, digital humanists, instructional technologists, project administrators, and open source advocates to Fredericksburg, Virginia on June 5-7, 2023. Our Call for Proposals is open, so come and share – we want to hear about your work.
December/January Flex Course - Open Media Ecosystems (PeerTube, JitsiMeet, and More!)
We're ending 2022 and starting 2023 with our Open Media Ecosystems flex course! This free course will consist of five weekly sessions running from early December to mid-January and cover four open source tools – Azuracast, JitsiMeet, Owncast and Peertube. Come join us to learn not only how to set up and configure them, but how they can work together to create an open suite for online media. If you're interested in learning more, the details are on our events calendar here!
January Flex Course - Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)
And after our Open Media Ecosystems flex course, we'll be moving into OBS! OBS, or Open Broadcaster Software, is a great tool for customizing your video setup when streaming, recording, or just joining a video meeting. The back half of January will offer a free lightweight flex course aimed at beginners, so if you're curious about learning a little about how to spice up your setup, visit our events calendar for more details.
February Workshop - WordPress Multisite 201 with Tom Woodward
Building on the WPMS 101 workshop offered in Fall 2022, in February master admin Tom Woodward is going to be running a multi-part workshop tailored for experienced WordPress Multisite administrators. We'll cover how to both manage and fine-tune your installation, share ongoing successes and struggles, and pool resources on how to take your WordPress Multisite to the next level. For more information, check out the events calendar!
December Community Chat - Mastodon and the Fediverse
In the wake of Twitter's... well, everything this past month, Reclaim's been exploring what Mastodon might look like as an alternative (check the Blog Posts section for more thoughts from Jim!). As such, we thought our December Community Chat would be a great time to talk about Mastodon and the Fediverse, what they do well, and what to think about when hosting your own Mastodon instance. Come join us on Wednesday, December 14th at 12pm ET to share your experiences or learn some more about these tools – and (how'd you guess?) there are more details on our events calendar.
November Community Chat - Ghost!
Our November Community Chat covered all things Ghost – what it's useful for, how it focuses in on its offerings in order to make one sharp and specialized tool, and where it could fit in with your work on-campus. If you missed it, don't worry: we have it recorded, along with a playlist of all past Community Chats.
News from Infrastructure: PHP Changes
In case you missed the news, Reclaim is making some changes to the PHP versions available on our servers. As of October 01, 2022, PHP 8.0 is the default version of PHP on all our servers, meaning that any account or application set to use the server default version will be using PHP 8.0 from this point on. PHP 7.3 and PHP 7.4 will still be available for the time being after this change, so if an application or user is inheriting the server default and there are concerns about application compatibility, users will need to manually set which version to use.
And on January 01, 2023, we will remove PHP 7.2 from all servers; this means the lowest version available on our servers will be PHP 7.3 from this point on. Any installation or account still using PHP 7.2 at this point will be brought up to PHP 7.3. Users will need to address incompatibility of individual applications.
Just a few short days ago, on November 28th, PHP 7.4 reached the end of its developer support lifespan. Join us in saying goodbye.
More News from Infrastructure: Infinite WordPress for Domain of One's Own
This past November saw the beginning of monthly, scheduled updates to core files, themes and plugins for the main WordPress Homepage portal of Domain of One’s Own schools. Our Infrastructure team is using InfiniteWP to manage these regular updates. No additional steps are required of DoOO admins to be included in these updates. If you would like to opt-out, however, please contact us to let us know. Keep in mind, these scheduled updates only apply to Domain of One’s Own schools at the moment.
News from Sales: Domain of One's Own Pricing Changes
We announced it a couple months back, but in case you missed it, our Domain of One's Own pricing model will be changing in 2023. There are more details available here, but these prices will take effect for new schools starting January 1st 2023, and go into effect for our current DoOO schools for renewals starting on August 1st, 2023. Current schools are able to lock in pricing at the current model by renewing early and/or for multiple years (up to three). If you want to learn more, contact us – we're happy to answer any questions you have.
Just to remind you all, we're updating our process for maintaining custom installers. To ensure our custom application installers can have consistent maintenance by the experts, most custom installers will be taken over by their developers starting in 2023, or removed for those installers who can't be maintained in the same way.
Our announcement has more information, but the biggest things to be aware of are that pre-existing applications using these installers won't go away, you'll still be able to manually install these applications (only the Installatron 1-click installers are going away), and for schools making use of cPanel, you'll be still be able to create site templates (check out our Support Guides section for a couple of sweet docs). We're also inviting web developers who want to share their applications to work with us – if you want to make your application widely available to 200+ institutions, go here for more information on the submission process.
What's Happening in Discord
Our monthly announcements cover all our scheduled events, but sometimes we're feeling spontaneous! Occasionally we host impromptu streams and events in our Discord – feel free to come join us. But if you miss them, no worries, 'cause we record them all to share in the Roundup.
This month Taylor and Amanda took some time to experiment with setting up Pressbooks on Reclaim Cloud. We most often run Pressbooks as part of a larger Domain of One's Own server, but since it's WordPress-based, it can also run in its own container environment. If you're curious about setting up a Pressbooks instance of your own, check it out:
Meredith and Taylor also sat down, this time to talk about PHP troubleshooting. Reclaim recently updated its servers' default version of PHP from 7.4 to 8.0 in order to keep up with developer support, but that can cause issues when an application, plugin or theme hasn't been updated for PHP 8.0 compatibility. As a result, we've been getting a lot of experience troubleshooting PHP lately. If you've been having similar issues, this video is a great starting place.
Did you know we have a podcast? That's right, Reclaim Today is where we sit down to discuss new projects, plans, and anything else awesome. This month we have not one, but two new episodes for your enjoyment!
This month in "035: A Campus Divided," Jim had the honor of sitting down with professor Riv-Ellen Prell and artist Livia Foldes to discuss their project, A Campus Divided: Progressives, Anticommunists, Racism, and Antisemitism at the University of Minnesota, 1930-1942. Created alongside an immensely popular physical exhibit highlighting a history of surveillance and segregation at the university, A Campus Divided is a digital deep-dive into campus-specific racist, anti-semitic, and anticommunist rhetoric in the 1930s; the creation of both the exhibit and this digital archive coincided with the early days of the Trump presidency’s racist and anti-Semitic dog whistling, in particular the “Unite the Right” rally on the University of Virginia’s campus in August 2017.
Recently we've been thinking about Reclaim Cloud multiregion hosting for WordPress (you may remember a couple of blog posts on that topic from back in our October Roundup, in fact). In "034: Oh What Brave New Worlds of WordPress Multiregion Hosting!" Chris, Lauren and Jim talked about the process of moving Reclaim's main site onto multiregion using CloudFlare, and you can watch the whole thing below (Jim's also got a related blog post, "Talking WordPress Multiregion Hosting on Reclaim Today," right here).
Recent Blog Posts
It's been a big, big, big month for blogging! We've got a lot to share with you, so no time to waste – let's get into it.
For Jim, November was the Month of Mastodon. If you checked out the Announcements section above, you'll see that our December Community Chat is going to be all about Mastodon, and for good reason – Jim's been doing a lot of experimenting with, exploration of, and meditation on Mastodon recently.
The first step was to figure out installing. Mastodon can run well in Reclaim Cloud, but Taylor and Jim did a lot of experimentation to figure out setup. They actually streamed their first attempts, which Jim documented in "There’s a ds106 Social Going On in Mastodon!" (he also elaborates on other steps you may need to take from the command line). In "Preparing to Install Mastodon on Reclaim Cloud" and "Installing Mastodon on Reclaim Cloud" Jim also builds on that stream by sharing two more video guides, again with annotations and system tips.
After a few weeks' experimentation with Mastodon, Jim was ready to reflect on his experience, as well as how he was rethinking his relationship with Twitter. "Some Notes on Mastodon after Two Weeks" talks a bit about the excitement of a new, open community that recaptures the energy he missed from early Twitter; "Archiving Twitter" is a technical breakdown of how he exported his Twitter archive into Markdown and converted all media links to be relative, rather than pointing back to Twitter. While Twitter isn't necessarily going anywhere, it's always good to have an archive handy, and nobody likes linkrot.
That experimentation period also meant an opportunity to revisit the Mastodon setup process and optimize a given instance's resource usage, storage and security, which Jim broke down in "Some Initial Mastodon Instance Tweaking". And we say "a given instance" rather than "the ds106 instance" because there's now a Mastodon server for Reclaim as well – surprise! In "Reclaim.Rocks Mastodon", Jim covers his setup stream for the new Reclaim space. Check it out, and if you're looking to dip your toes into the Mastodon sphere, why not come join us at reclaim.rocks?
Of course, it wasn't all Mastodon this month. Recently Lauren's been thinking about community. Specifically, the Reclaim Community! In her blog post, "Reclaim Community", she talks about the work she's been doing recently to redesign our community landing page: not only taking stock of where and how we engage with people, but what those spaces mean for us and what we want to achieve through them. How can we best help people in those spaces, and how can we create an overarching page that unites them all easily?
For Amanda, November was a time to reminisce. Early in the month, SUNY hosted their Digital Learning Conference, and in "SUNY Digital Learning Conference 2022: Looking through the glass", Amanda recaps her time at SUNY DLC 2022 and its highlights - getting to travel and see people in person, the excitement of watching a project she was working on while at SUNY come to fruition and revisiting old colleagues, and just generally enjoying a great conference.
This past month we had two different flex courses running: Hacks for Hybrid Working, and Ghost. Jim's posts "Haunting the Ghost Flex Course" and "Hacks for Hybrid Working Flexing on Reclaim Edtech" recap his thoughts on and during both of these great courses and where they fit into Reclaim EdTech. And if you missed the Ghost course, check out, "November’s Ghost Redux" where Jim compiles all three sessions for your convenience.
Finally, we're kicking off December with an EdTech book club, hosted by Amanda, and Pilot started getting ready for the first session in "Reconnecting with Zotero and Finding The Truth." There they reminisce on their previous digital scholarship work and the central tool they used, Zotero, as well as muse about how to build on that work in the present.
New Support Guides
What a month! We've got a lot of new documentation for you – here you go:
We mentioned this in the Announcements, but if you didn't see it, Reclaim's adjusting our process surrounding custom installers and SPLOTs. See the announcement for the full details, but we did want to offer three related docs: "Installatron Applications", "Custom Applications and SPLOTs", and "Creating a WordPress Template." These will serve as a little extra context for what we're talking about, as well as offer some options for creating your own SPLOTS and quick templates.
As the term comes to a close, some schools may be thinking about deprovisioning accounts in their Domain of One's Own instance. Amanda and Lauren have worked to update our "Account Cleanup Process" guide, which will talk you through potential exit policies, resources for account cleanup, language for communicating with users, what users' options are if they want to migrate their account to a new hosting provider, and just what the process looks like generally.
Domain of One's Own admins may also be interested in "Editing the DoOO Homepage in the LayerSlider," from Pilot. If you've ever been curious about the featured images that sit front and center on your DoOO homepage, or wondered how to modify them, this doc serves as a beginner's guide to the LayerSlider, the tool that makes it run.
From Gordon comes "Working with WordPress in Reclaim Cloud," a guide to some of the tools available for managing your Reclaim Cloud WordPress install. Building on our previous guides "Migrating a WordPress Site from cPanel to Reclaim Cloud" from Gordon and "Understanding File Systems: Reclaim Cloud vs cPanel" from Meredith, this new doc goes into how to find and use management tools like PhpMyAdmin, which you may recognize from cPanel but not be sure how to access in Reclaim Cloud.
"What is a Wildcard Subdomain?" is another offering from Gordon, this time going into, well, Wildcard Subdomains! This guide not only goes into the ideas behind wildcard subdomains and why you might use one, but also talks about how to set one up using cPanel.
And building on both the theme of subdomains and our October focus on WordPress Multisite, Meredith's bringing you, "Installing WordPress Multisite on a Subdomain." WPMS can be configured in a number of ways when it comes to structuring URLs, and while subfolders are the most common, subdomains are both possible and valid as a choice. If you want to know more about how to set that up, this is the guide for you!
Let's close out the Roundup with some staff picks. Take a look!
Taylor wants to be sure you've all heard about Decker, a browser-based multimedia platform in the vein of HyperCard, meant for creating and sharing interactive documents and projects. If you're curious about how it works, they have a guided tour available for newcomers.
Meanwhile, Meredith and Chris are sharing their .htaccess go-tos. From Meredith, check out the .htaccess Cheat Sheet, a single-page site with references for any rule you might want to add to your .htaccess file. And once you've made those modifications, test them out with the .htaccess Tester, recommended by Chris – always check your work!