So with all of the weirdness that is going on in the Ed Tech world recently and the general world today, I needed something to take my mind off of things. I wanted to add a quick update about my Never-Ending Reclaim Project at the end of that post… but it ended up being too long! So, in the interest of archiving the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I am finding out there (not all of it is being kept even if I am reclaiming access)…. here are some interesting (to me, at least) updates of where things are.
First of all, its pretty weird trying to make sure you have ownership of every account you have created. Random things in life suddenly remind you of things you had totally forgotten. Walking by a store one day reminds you “oh, hey – RedBox still exists and I think I had an online account there as well.” Or a random link reminds you that you also had a Reddit account at one time. All reclaimed!
I finally came to a place of acceptance with the not-quite-perfect html exports of WordPress sites. It seems that everything from site suckers to WP plugins just don’t get what relative truly means. Or maybe I just don’t get the settings correct? Anyways – it seems they always add a slash at the beginning of base level files like this: “/images/picture.jpg” or “/css/style.css” or whatever. That forces my computer and the websites where I deposit them to look in the base directory for everything – but I am trying to get them to go in a sub-folder of an “archive” folder. So the browser just sits there forever trying to figure out what is going on. For less complex websites, its easy enough to remove that slash quickly (“images/picture.jpg” or “css/style.css” or whatever) – and boom! instant relative website that can work online or offline where ever I put it. When archiving WordPress sites with complicated folder structures, it takes a bit of thinking to know how many “../” or “../../” etc to replace those “/” with – and time consuming if you have to think through all “/” in your document.
There is one workaround to make it a bit easier. I have found exporting from within WordPress to be a bit better than external site suckers, because WordPress will still get you all of your orphaned files and pages. This means that bad link you didn’t realized was there can be fixed with one edit, rather than jumping into archive.org to hope and pray that the file is there (only about 50/50 record of that so far for me, unfortunately). Plus, you can hard code a long link with your website address in there – making finding and replacing absolute links with relative “../../” links very, very quick and easy per page. Which I wrote about before – but it’s the best option I have found so far.
The reason this is important is because the old LINK website has bit the dust for now it seems. This was apparently a problem with Google and not the people running the site. They tried everything they could to renew the website registration – but it was originally registered through Google. Let me warn you: don’t do that. It starts easy enough to register… but renewals get harder and more complicated each time. I experienced this a couple of years myself – and it just got worse after that.
Anyways, I was able to get html archives of all LINK lab sites just in case something went wrong (again, it just seemed inevitable the way Google was going). So I have html back-ups of DALMOOC, Pivot to Online Learning MOOC, Open Ed MOOC, etc. Most of these are hard coded to work on my personal website – but I have been able to get DALMOOC converted over to true relative html. I can easily move that folder where ever I want – or send the files to whatever archive site the good folks still bearing the LINK torch set up for LINK Lab. I will work on the other courses as I get time as well.
The other weird thing that happened is that I actually got control of my MySpace account back! The form that I linked to in the last post… actually worked? I mean, it took over a month to hear anything, but I am back in. And it is a sad wasteland in there. Almost all real data is gone – and only a few pictures remain of the many I uploaded. But I now control my corner of the wasteland at least.
I also was able to somewhat re-create the custom profile I made back in the day. The html template I found on GitHub was cool, but also several years beyond the last version I had used. My resurrected custom code didn’t work. But I poked around in archive.org and found a save of Tom’s profile from the date that I saved my custom code. I put the two together, and BAM! I had my profile back in html! Well, it was Tom’s profile styled like mine. So I started replacing Tom’s information with mine as best as I could remember it (or using Latin sample text where I couldn’t). I also found a way to make an image of the profile music player that plays the sample of music that I had on there if you click it.
Now… before I share the link, please keep in mind that I realize this profile has some cultural appropriation. At the time, I was married to someone that traced their heritage back to India, so I was trying to mix her heritage and mine (Irish) on my MySpace page. But anyways – today I would replace the Hindi and sitar (yes I did actually learn to play a few songs on it, even though I have forgotten how) with something from my cultural background. But this is what it was back in the day.
Now, if only I could get the the Foursquare/Swarm people to be as…. umm… “responsive” as the MySpace team…
I also seem to have found some of the limitations of Ruffle – you can’t really import external files (images, other SWF files, etc), which I did a lot in tthe E-SPY X-500. So I just had to link to an external list of the lessons that I wanted to import into the game. I set it up that way because we wanted to be able to upgrade the lessons as needed without re-doing the entire game. For example, the Tobacco Lesson 11 lets the student build a simple Tobacco awareness website – it was pretty basic, but we had bigger plans to make it more robust. But at least it works as originally designed now. Oh, and you have to use the back button to get back to the list.
I also found that many ActionScript functions don’t work in Ruffle, like the code that makes text scroll within small boxes. Oh, well. Maybe there has been an update that I need to look into.
After doing some poking around on Digg and Delicious, it seems that my original Digg account is gone forever (unless someone knows of a way to log in with email?), but Delicious is still around. Kind of. I was able to log in and export my posts from there. It seems like it is just a data repository of your old stuff (can’t add new stuff), but that is a start. You can export to JSON and HTML formats – if you can remember your password (it seems like the password reset function is not implemented yet). The html format also doesn’t look that great, and it saved the tags and dates even though they aren’t displayed. So I decided to grab the html and CSS from their site to make my archive look a lot cleaner. I also decided to go for 60 resultsw per page rather than 20, because mine were all short “Ed Tech new updates” type things anyways.
Anyways, I find this type of stuff fascinating. Some of you might think I am trying too hard to get stuff that should be forgotten, and maybe you are right. Especially after seeing how my old MySpace profile looked. I still need to find a way to convert old Flash files to html5 (without buying an Adobe subscription). I also wonder if I can find a site that emulates old installs of LAMP so I can get a 14 year old export of WordPress working again (WP tells me its too old to import now – boo!). More things to look into!
Matt is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.