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MIT student blogger Snively '11

Things You Shouldn’t Do by Snively '11

And something I did

I’m not sure anybody has mentioned her, so allow me. Everybody, meet Winnie.

Hi Winnie!

Ever since Ben Jones left we’ve been looking for somebody to take over his job and while nobody permanent has been decided upon, Winnie has agreed to take over for now and help all of bloggers maintain our sanity.

Among Winnie’s many responsibilities is making sure all of the technical aspects of blogging are maintained and taken care of. She can change all of our banner pictures, update our biographies, update the spam filter, yadda yadda yadda, and she also cooks! Pretty much without Winnie the bloggers would be wandering around in a confused daze, wondering why spam was destroying our masterpieces and trying to figure out how to work the Internet.

Today we all got an e-mail from Winnie mentioning a brand new feature for the MIT bloggers: Locker Space! We’re not talking about your typical high school lockers though, we’re talking about fancy, high tech, new-fangled athena lockers. What’s an athena locker? Well, every student at MIT is assigned server space so that they can build websites, share files with people online, and do back up their computer’s files. This webspace is what the bloggers use to host their pictures, which works fine. The downside is that with all the blog pictures our space tends to fill up, so a solution was devised.

Student groups and organizations on campus can apply for locker space, separate webspace for their organization, and Winnie got us locker space so we can move all of our pictures out of our athena accounts and free up some room for other important things.

I decided to just bite the bullet, move everything over, update all my entries, and be done with it.

Step one, copy the files. Easy.
Step two, change all the internal links on all of my entries. Seemingly difficult, except that I found an awesome feature of MovableType. Turns out, you can do a search/replace of all your entries at the same time, as well as rebuild and re-publish your entries in bulk. Internal links changed, easy.
Step three, delete all of the pictures out of my web space. I CTR+A’d inside my admissions blog folder and then deleted all the files, but realized that I hadn’t actually deleted the folder. I navigated up the folder hierarchy and deleted the admissions blog folder. Then I went over to check on the new locker space with all of my pictures.


Um. Oh God.

Frantically go back to original web space.


Oh God.

I clicked back and forth between the two several times before realizing a) what had happened and b) the gravity of it. Turns out that I CTRL+A’d the new locker space and deleted all of those files, before hitting “BACK” instead of “UP” and then proceeded to delete all of the original pictures. I panicked. Every picture in every entry was officially gone. I have no backups, I have no caches, they were just gone. G-O-N-E. I began thinking of how I would explain this to everybody, but instead I quick e-mailed the SysAdmins here and they kindly directed me to a backup folder that is refreshed every evening. Now, thankfully, all of the files are properly restored and working. All of the entries should be picture-filled and happy now, and sooner or later I will begin blogging again.

This semester is incredibly busy for me, busier than I’ve seen at MIT. I’m building robots, making videos, learning controls, manipulating thermal fluids, and watching movies during pretty much every hour of every day. I’m currently running on 3 hours of sleep and will probably go to bed early tonight.

Things I’d like to blog about in the future?
– Toy Fair 2009
– Famous People I Accidentally Meet
– Student Cohesion
– Wall Scrawlings

We’ll see how many of those I get to, but they’d all make good entries. Until later then, bye all!

24 responses to “Things You Shouldn’t Do”

  1. anon says:


  2. Narce says:

    Snively is the one who hates “first”s the most, random anon…

    Anyway, I’m glad you got the backup files XD

  3. Ngozi '13 says:

    – Famous People I Accidentally Meet!

    Famous People I Accidentally Meet!!!

  4. Cam says:

    If you’re feeling creative, are there any Accidental People you Famously Met?

  5. tlyon says:

    It’s comforting to know that MIT students inadvertently delete the wrong files too. Very glad that you were able to recover them from the backup! Looking forward to those posts wink

  6. We should meet more often

  7. Kasey says:

    “Surely You’re Joking…” is one of my favorite books! If you liked it, you should also check out “What Do You Care What Other People Think”, also by him.

    I LOVE Feynman smile
    And yes, he did die in the 80’s.

  8. Ivan says:

    Great that you guys have more space now.

    Does that mean more photos in each blog entry?

    Famous people and Student cohesion sound like cool blogs, can´t wait to read them.

    How often is the MIT blogs layout changed?

  9. How about blogging about 2.007 in the future?
    that would be sweet!

  10. erik says:

    Wall scrawlings! :O

  11. cyan says:

    what ACT and GPA do I have to get in order to get in this university?

  12. LOL richard feynman above raspberry

  13. Banerjee says:

    Didn’t Richard Feynman die? Like in 1988 or something? By the way, I read an awesome book written by him – its called, “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman!”

  14. Anonymous says:

    @ Snively
    Couldn’t you just use a file recovery program if the sysadmin didn’t have a backup?

  15. Steph says:

    Nice, Snively, nice.

    @ Kasey: Feynman is da bomb.

    @ Snively: What sort of student activities/clubs/groups are you involved with?

  16. SRV says:

    @ Snively

    What’s a MovableType??? And How its different from any other webpage??

  17. tim '13 says:


    it’s a CMS — content management system. instead of mucking around in HTML you can change things ala facebook. it _generates_ webpages from text and images stored in a database. it’s really not that different from other CMS like joomla and drupal, except it runs on perl.

  18. Sh1fty says:

    do i count as a famous person? :D you should consider backing up everything on your mac, laptop or external hard drive because if you delete/modify something and realize it after more than a day, you probably lose the data wink say hi to conner 2 for me.

  19. '13??? says:

    @ banerjee and kasey

    try reading The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design.

    it was wicked good.

  20. Liz says:

    Guys, definitely read “Perfectly Reasonable Deviations – The Letters of Richard P. Feynman”.
    It’s amazin’!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think the pictures are back on all of your blogs. “Math = Broken” and “Danger Danger!” are missing pictures =/

  22. Snively says:

    The pictures are all in the directory and recovered, but I’m having trouble batch-publishing all of my old blog entries so I’m having to re-publish them in groups of 10ish and I haven’t finished yet. Most should be good, but it’ll be a little while until I finish all of them.