Let’s see if this thing still works

Yesterday, my colleague Ryan Bender noted to me that it has been a year since I’ve posted anything here. A year. I can barely remember the last 20 or so months, so I imagine it is fair to say that I have been unavoidably detained dealing with a few other things. With that said, it is probably time to dust off the old blog and see what happens if I do what I used to do with great frequency — write.

For some reason I decided to take a look through a bunch of my old friends’ sites this morning. Yes, people still blog and it was really great to catch up on some old voices from the dawn of the ed tech/Internet boom. One of my all time favorite people is a guy named D’Arcy Norman. He is the Associate Director, Learning Technologies & Design, in the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary. He is a lot more than that, but that is his current gig. He was one of the first voices I discovered on the Internet back at the dawn of Web 2.0. He wrote about a time back in the day that he sent an email to Steve Jobs and got a response.

It made me reflect on the many opportunities I have had to visit the Fruit Company that D’Arcy speaks about in his post. Back in 1999, Apple was a very different company. They had barely survived being bought by a handful of companies, the stock price was ridiculously low, and innovation was not something that they were known for at the time. Steve had recently come back and was putting his stamp on the place. As a part of that, I believe Steve brought John Couch back to lead up the Apple Higher Education team and he immediately got to work identifying ed tech people to help him think about new strategies. It was an exciting time to be a fan of Apple, watch them get their mojo back, and realize a dream of getting to work with them.

One could imagine that it was a thrill getting to go to Apple at a very early part of my career at Penn State to not just be part of an executive briefing, but to actually get to present things we were building at the IST Solutions Institute. It was even more exciting to get invited back over and over again to work with all sorts of brilliant people both inside and outside of Apple. From the Apple Digital Campus project, the release of the first iTunes U, to getting to actually go into various buildings on their campus to meet with product teams and inform future products. It was always a humbling and amazing experience getting to work with them.

And here is the full circle back to D’Arcy, it was at one of those early Apple dinners that I met D’Arcy in real life for the first time after several years of interacting with him online as a commenter on his blog. He proved to be even smarter and cooler in person, but it is nice to know he is only a URL away.

Cole presenting at Apple

Me setting up to present at Apple (a long time ago).

Cross posted from my Northeastern site.

6 thoughts on “Let’s see if this thing still works

  1. You blog still works, and I’m still getting email notifications. Yes, people still have voices, but I feel many of the early adopters have scaled back their public contributions. I know I did when my wife got pregnant 6 years ago, and I never was fully able to recover et reengage. Also, as our careers progress, we end up having more responsibility and we have to self-censor a bit more in order to not get in trouble with our employers.

    But I’m glad you’re finding the time to get back into the game. Looking forward to future insights for you!

    • Holy shit, it does still work! Amazing that all of us from back in the day are now the ones who seem tentative to post and use social media in general. I really do miss the days of borderless discourse that was rooted in positive conversation. Somewhere along the way all of that was lost. I think for me it is about not knowing what is the “right” thing to write about given what I do these days. I struggle a bit with that, but as I have been thinking about it I just need to share what makes me feel ok.

      • It’s ok to engage in different topics than what you used to engage in. I think everyone here has migrated into more management, and your path from edtech to CIO is not necessarily typical, so that journey, and what you bring to the position, is interesting, at least to me.

  2. It still works! Long live RSS! That D’Arcy guy sounds amazing! That felt like another era – so many different things happening. I’m glad that it brought us together. And here we are, like 20 years later…

  3. Way to Ryan… I was thinking about over the break to maybe wean out the not active blogs in my reader, but that sounds like work.

    Glad to see this one lit up with a new post.

    I was never quite in the In Crowd with the fruit company. When I started at Maricopa I believe Paradise Valley Community College was one of their special programs.

    I first connect with D’Arcy via the Direct-L Listserv (Director was a software from that psychedelic t-shirt transfer company?). I made many tech decisions by Doing What D’Arcy Did including blogging and daily photos.

    If my memory is correct, Cole, I first saw your ETS blog via NMC?? And the stuff you were doing with first generation iPods as quiz devices (?)

    I came across Matt’s blog later but path crossing led to me speaking at his school, where I got my undergrad- Go Blue Hens!

    I don’t criticize others leaving their blogs fallow, but to me it’s enabled almost everything I’ve done and people I’ve gotten to know as friends. At least with folks spending time elsewhere I have fewer posts to read in my Reader, so go mess up my routine.

    So any blog action is a plus in my book, no matter how long it has been. That’s how good friendships work. Best to you Big Guy and your family. We had plenty of good times!

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