February 18, 2004

that key

It turns out these online databases, these blogs, they're more fragile than they look. If you, say, delete a weblog accidentally (who would do that?) (Oh, nobody I know) (ducking and running now), you can still see all the files, every single one, on the server. Just sitting there hanging out. Index file, every archive page. Everything. But you can't get there from here. Whatever that mysterious something is (some cgi scripting key) that connects the main Movable Type interface with the files it created, that's gone and you're locked out of your online house.

I guess the same thing is true when you delete a file from your hard drive -- the file's still there but the link to it is gone -- but you can't see the thing anymore so for you it really is gone. In this case, it was frustratingly close but infinitely far.

So strange. So fragile. We type and we save and we go on as if everything's concrete, tangible, like the hardcover books on the shelf or the key in your hand. Illusory. Everything on my hard drive. Illusory. Blow on it, spill water on it. Bye bye novel, bye bye email, bye bye online life.

As my friend Otto said last night this goes to show: the maxim back up! back up! and when in doubt, back up! applies to websites too.

Because everyone hits the delete key by accident every now and again. Everyone makes dumb mistakes. If you want proof, go look at my photoblog. The format is wonky on the entry archives. Why? Um... hmm... yeah. I'll get on that today. Moving a domain from one server to another is trickier than it looks. On the surface everything remains the same, the still surface of a pond on a windless day. Underneath? Like water, it shifts, it moves, it eddies and flows. It's ephemeral. Looks solid. Isn't.

Posted by Tamar at February 18, 2004 10:22 AM