Don’t try this at home

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Blogging
February 27th, 2003 • 5:02 pm

Just did something very stupid and was very relieved that I had a recent backup of my “www” folder.

I’m still in the process of learning about how Radio works and about the underlying logic of this blogging tool. So from time to time I CHECK out the various options provided by the software and experiment a bit.

This morning I went to look at my Referers page, just out of curiosity. And, again, out of curiosity, I clicked on the link to “Help” on that page, in ORDER to learn more about referer rankings and the like. And here’s what’s on that Help page:

The Home page lists all of the weblogs which have updated in the last 3 hours. Whenever a member of the Radio UserLand community updates their site, it will appear on the Home page.

The Ranking page lists sites in the Radio UserLand community, sorted by page-reads. There are two lists, one for today’s rankings, and one for all-time rankings. Click on a site’s name to see where the hits are coming from.

The Hotlist page lists the 100 channels most-subscribed-to by members of the Radio UserLand community.

How to become a member of this community

If you want to become a member of this community, use Radio’s Change Community Server page to switch.

Cool, I thought. Let’s try becoming a member. I clicked on the “Change Community Server page” link. It took me to one of my local Radio preference pages, with three fields: Server URL (already filled in), “Password” and “Repeat Password”, and a button called “Change Community Server”.

I naïvely thought that I was not yet part of that particular community and typed in a new password and clicked on the “Change Community Server” button.


This effectively caused Radio to create an entirely new identity for me, with a new Radio UserLand user number, and my whole web-based Radio environment was back to the default settings. In other words, all my customized settings, templates, etc. were gone!

I quickly found a “Congratulations” page congratulating me on HAVING just joined the Radio UserLand community. That page included a section for “existing users” inviting me to re-enter my existing user number and password. I did just that, hoping that Radio would immediately revert to my existing and customized environment.

No such luck. Radio did reload all my existing blog items of the past couple of weeks, but none of my blog setting were restored. Radio was still using the default templates, and the preference settings were all back to their default value.

That’s when I remembered that I did a complete backup of my “www” folder (inside the Radio Userland application folder) yesterday. I thought at worst I would have lost my last blog entry, which I posted last night, several hours after doing the back up.

I quit Radio, copied the existing “www” folder to a backup location, just in case, restored the “www” folder from my backup, and relaunched Radio. I accessed my Radio home page through the web and… it was back to my customized environment!


The moral of all this? A couple of things:

  1. Don’t fiddle with Radio settings unless you’re absolutely sure you know what you are doing. The underlying logic of Radio is not at all clear to the uninitiated, and there are no warning messages telling you that what you are about to do is going to wipe out all your customized settings and templates. In other words, Radio is not particularly “user-friendly” (or fool-proof) in this respect, and it’s too easy to do irreversible damage.
  2. Back up your stuff regularly! Radio UserLand’s “www” folder, in spite of its many, many files, is very small, and backing it up is almost instantaneous.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back and do a little more reading about why Radio was stupid enough to let me join a community that I was already part of…

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