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MIT student blogger Elijah T. '11

Most Importantly, No Reddit by Elijah T. '11

This is actually how people lived.

On Friday evening, I made the disturbing discovery that my computer’s power adapter was dead. A long time coming, it had been on the fritz for about three weeks – I’d plug it in, but the battery wouldn’t begin to charge until I gave the plug a little jiggle. The odd thing was that I was just using the plug not five minutes earlier. I then unplugged the laptop, took it to another room, and then came back. I’m not sure what happened during those five minutes, but not even a jiggle could resuscitate its powerful abilities (pun intended).

After fruitlessly trying to get the thing to work, I quickly ordered a new adapter online the following day. It was scheduled to arrive Monday, and while I knew I would miss my computer the whole weekend, I was ready to take advantage of this weekend off to get some serious work done. No YouTube, no Grooveshark, and, most importantly, no Reddit. This weekend, I said to myself, was bound to be my most productive all semester — and perhaps ever.

How naïve.

I was able to complete my Spanish homework without issue – my textbook and two workbooks were all I needed. I now feel moderately prepared for tomorrow’s exam, and I should be fully prepared once I finish this post and get back to studying. However, when it came to just about everything else, well… no, it was far from the most productive weekend of the term.

I tried to work on my UROP, which involves computing statistics about traffic in a section of Singapore. I had been really guilty about not devoting enough time to the project as I would like, and this weekend – I had vowed earlier – I’d really knuckle down and work on it. But it required MATLAB. And previous data I had already spent time computing. And that was on my computer. So, sorry, Swapnil, it’ll have to wait a bit longer.

At the same time, I came to the alarming realization that my first set of graduate applications is due in mid-December. Mid-December! I have plenty of time to work on them, of course, but the three people whom I would like to ask for recommendations? Well, unlike me, they may not be so willing to pull all-nighters to get something in before an application deadline (did that last week for externships). They, as Matt put it, have lives too, and I needed to give them ample time. (Note, for the record, that I absolutely will not be pulling all-nighters to get my college applications in, and neither should you. I’m just saying that if I had to, due to unforeseen circumstances, I would.) Two of the three people who I decided to ask recommendations from are overseas and so I needed to ask them via e-mail. There were e-mail addresses, background information, resumes, etc, that I wanted to have access to as I prepared said e-mails. And, guess where those were? Yes, so, I didn’t get around to that until today.

I needed to also pay some credit card bills. But, I’m not doing that from a public computer, nor am I searching through thousands upon thousands of e-mails in Webmail (can you tell I don’t use Gmail?) looking for that esoteric username they assigned me. No, still haven’t done that yet.

Now, now, I know what you’re thinking: (1) Use an Athena computer. Yes, I did, but I had more pressing things than work, silly. (2) This is why you should back things up. Don’t worry; I have learned that lesson by now. My computer crashed suddenly in September of my sophomore year, and I was practically crying all the way to the post office as I mailed off my fallen hard drive – and a $250 check – to recover the hundreds of photos taken during the second half of my summer that I had foolishly neglected to back up. (Ah, I’ll just get around to it tomorrow, I kept saying.) A year and a half later, earlier this year, when my computer was stolen on an overnight train in Eastern Europe (another long, sad, but easily predictable story), I had at least some solace in the fact that I had backed up everything, especially my precious pictures, just two weeks earlier (and not emptied my camera’s memory card like I had planned).

But, there’s something exhausting about trolling through and unzipping all those backup files. Instead, I sought to go the easier route – borrowing a power adapter from a fellow Baker resident. I e-mailed out to the dorm mailing list, but, unfortunately, there wasn’t a single person that could help out. Perhaps this is just a testament to how many people have Macs (yes, I’m willing to admit it now; I sometimes have Mac envy). Or maybe it was a testament to how many plugs HP makes (so many that when they offered to replace one for free a couple years ago, they sent me the wrong one: “oh, your computer has an Intel processor, so you needed the 90-watt one; sorry about that!”). But, no, it’s neither; it’s just a testament to the fact that nobody likes me.

So, yes, with no help from fellow Bakerites, I had to suffer the whole weekend without my computer, but with a wonderful – albeit not airtight – excuse for putting off so much work. But to think my parents had to go decades living like that… wow… makes me shudder.

6 responses to “Most Importantly, No Reddit”

  1. Wow, this is weird, I was just closing my Reddit tab to start working on application essays as i saw this raspberry

    Also, this is the first time I’ve seen someone write “I know what you’re thinking” and actually be 100% right, haha.

    You’re absolutely right though, we are strangely dependant on computers now!

  2. 3x10E8 says:

    “Now, now, I know what you’re thinking” – how did you predict my thoughts?

  3. kewi says:

    what country/countries did you pass through during your eastern europe trip? :D

  4. Elijah '11 says:

    @kewi:

    It wasn’t just an Eastern Europe trip. I traveled from Cambridge, England, to Paris, Venice, Athens, Istanbul, Budapest (via Sofia), Berlin, Amsterdam, and Munich. My computer and my sister’s computer were stolen on the train from Sofia to Budapest. No one was particularly surprised stuff was stolen from us on that particular train (no offense to Eastern Europeans intended), but those thefts tend to be crimes of opportunity (e.g. due to leaving your stuff out when you use the restroom) rather than pre-meditated crimes (e.g. breaking the lock on the door while we were sleeping).

  5. a redditor says:

    what’s your reddit handle?

  6. Elijah '11 says:

    @a redditor

    As of now, I’m just a lurker. (I’m a Digg refugee.)