[disclaimer: all opinions expressed here are my own, not those of Random Hall as a whole or of MIT, blah blah etc.]

Hello, dear readers! (Does anyone still read this blog?)

I just spent the past weekend helping the Free Software Foundation run LibrePlanet 2017 at MIT’s own Stata Center. LibrePlanet is a conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, with presentations and social gatherings focused on the past, present, and future of free software and hardware. It was an awesome crazy time, there were lots of great speakers and interesting topics, and I’m really glad I was able to help make it all happen.

On Sunday morning, Mike Gerwitz gave an excellent talk on Privacy, Security, and Freedom. One of the topics Mike discussed was Google Analytics, Google’s handy service that lets website owners see who’s visiting their sites. The thing is, all the data that Google Analytics gives web admins is also shared with Google; and since Google Analytics is installed on a huge number of sites, Google is able to track users all across the internet without their knowledge, correlating vast amounts of data to build a frighteningly detailed picture of who you are and what you like. As I listened to Mike’s talk, I remembered that Google’s data-hoarding tentacles had crept onto a website close to my heart — this very blog. I’d always been vaguely unsatisfied by this, but hadn’t really thought about it for a while. Now though, as I remembered, a righteous flame of internet justice burst forth in my heart, and I vowed to purge this evil from my beloved home.

Continue reading ‘Google Analytics II: Revenge of the Analyzed’

Click Adventure

20 Aug 16

So remember that Random Hall Click Adventure I promised a while ago in one of last summer’s blog posts to the frosh? Or maybe it was something I wrote leaving my freshman year, for the class of 2018. It was going to be an epic virtual romp through the dorm, complete with easter eggs and a side quest and maybe some kind of dating sim. Hm.

Either way, it’s happening! For real this time.

I finally sat down for a few good solid weekends during our exile in New House and finished typing up the big parts that still hadn’t been planned. And then I put it all together yesterday while I was supposed to be watching a bunch of high school students at Junction, and I released it to the denizens of zephyr to test it out.

(Already they have found typos and inaccuracies and technical difficulties abound, which is exactly why I released it to the denizens of zephyr first. Those guys are brutal.)

For now, the link to the actual click adventure is here. It’ll open promptly on August 25th, 2016 at 8am, though if you go link-trawling and try some random urls out, you might find the beta link that is currently being played through on zephyr. :D


Yesterday was the annual Revere Beach Sand-sculpting Festival at Revere Beach in Revere, MA. Despite the possibility of thunderstorms and rain that weekend, vendors and visitors alike flocked to the festival via the MBTA blue line and other methods of transportation. There was live music, boardwalk food and rides, plenty of sand, and a promise of spectacular fireworks that evening.

There were also rumors of a dratini spawn and incoming absurdly hot weather, so ESP’s summer admins did the sensible thing.


We went to the beach!

Continue reading ‘Sun, Surf, and Thunderstorms’

Welcome to the first in what will hopefully be a series of short, weekly updates related to Random Hall! In this week’s news:

@ According to an email from ResLife, Random Hall interior repairs will be done by August 12th, though the roofdeck will take through late-September, in part due to materials not arriving until mid-August;

@ Fall residents with summer housing are scheduled to move back into Random starting August 12th through August 15th, and all Random Hall summer residents will be provided with assistance in moving to their fall assignments;

@ Thanks to Katie M.’19 and Ian C.’19, all REX events for Random Hall have been scheduled and submitted, with over 60 events scheduled to run in total from Aug 22nd to Sep 2nd;

@ Due to the aforementioned roofdeck repairs, REX events on the roofdeck will be moved to somewhere else, though this “somewhere else” has yet to be determined by our overlords, the Division of Student Life (DSL).

Hi everyone :)

So lucci asked me if I would write for the random hall blog, and I was like “sure, why not” so I guess I’m here now. There hasn’t really been anything interesting recently to write about, so lucci said I should do an introductions-y post, which is what this is, I guess.

A little bit about myself: I’m a course 5 and 6-3 (weird combination, I know), class of ’17, and during term time I live on C4 in BC (which is the only reason why I haven’t moved to Random already). I was briefly a summertime Randomite and Bonfaari before the Great Random Hall Fire happened and am now a New Randomite living on Desmond-3. I guess I qualify as a friend of Random since I know approximately a third of the residents (which really isn’t that impressive given how small it is) through either ESP or Squares or just hanging out in Random, and I think I might have made a cameo appearance in Random’s i3 video this year (something something I’m a course 5 something something people needed for liquid nitrogen).

Common hangout locations include my room, the ESP office, the 5-2 kitchen, and randomly around New Random. Common term time Random-based hangout locations include Clam, Bonfire and Black Hole. Common activities (for now) include derping on the internet, living in my lab, ESP-related things, Pokemon Go (obviously), and complaining about the state of the 5-2 kitchen (but actually though, why can’t people respect shared kitchen space) and going on a mad cleaning spree whenever the clean freak in me simply cannot stand the state of the kitchen.

I’ll probably post something more interesting when something interesting happens (like going to the beach next week :O)

(Yes. This joke has been made before. In my defense, Elaine P.’19 came up with it within hours of the game coming out, due to its effect on the clam-hole residents, so it’s kinda relevant.)

If you’ve been on the internet or listened to the news or basically been anywhere besides under a rock for the past week or so, you should be aware that Google baby Niantic Inc., in partnership with The Pokémon Company, released Pokémon Go recently. Built on the still-not-cold-in-the-ground framework of Niantic’s other game, Ingress, Pokémon Go is an “augmented reality” game that forces players to go outside (most of the time) to collect Pokéballs, catch Pokémon, and claim gyms for the glory of Team Instinct.

Within the first hour of the game being introduced in clam-motherfucking-hole kitchen, true-bred Randomites, known for occasionally complaining that our building’s proximity of one block from Shaw’s was too much, were wandering outside together to face the open sky for what may have been the first time since our move from Random Hall in order to chase Pokémon.

(I myself went out three times that night with various groups to chase Pokémon outlines, and only finally stopped because my phone battery had died.)

Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go Outside’

O Canada

05 Jul 16

So July 4th happened. That night, I went out with Anthony L.’15 and William N.’17 to stand by the MIT side of the Charles River and watch fireworks. We listened to explosions set to the timing of the perennial favorite ‘God Bless America’, alongside such American classics as Adele’s ‘Hello’, DNCE’s ‘Cake by the Ocean’, and Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’.

(They also played Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and a bad rendition of Demi Lovato’s ‘Confident’, for some reason.)

2016-07-04 22.30.52

Ultimately, the main event lasted 20 minutes, and felt about as titillating as any number of events that MIT runs on the regular.

My trip with Ryuga H.’18 and Ian C.’19 to Canada for Canada Day groceries, on the other hand, was much more exciting.

Continue reading ‘O Canada’

(Or, the official colonization of New House Houses 5 and 6 by the displaced summer residents of Random Hall, as mandated by the Powers That Be running MIT ResLife.)

We finally finished moving in to New House yesterday afternoon, when the movers brought in the last truckload of boxes from Random Hall to New House. Kitchens and lounges and rooms were unpacked, while wankery continued to happen over the usual channels of communication and emails went out from various residents looking for last-minute displaced things.

On clam-motherfucking-hole, Lane G.’17 and Aisha W.’16 were flashing XΛM gang signs.

Aisha was also licking Lane's elbow, just because.

Continue reading ‘Random Hall’s New House Invasion’

Irony is Bonfire, the floor so-named not because of its penchant for fire but due to laziness on the part of its residents, catching on fire one summer day through no obvious fault of its residents.

Irony is the Random Hall residents, being told this morning that, due to water damage in our dorm, we would be moving to New House.

Irony is me, walking up Dorm Row once again to get to main campus despite explicitly choosing to dorm at Random Hall this summer instead of Epsilon Theta because I did not want to make the trek up Dorm Row to get to main campus.

It’s 2pm on a Wednesday and I’m sitting behind a desk, checking in Random Hall residents for New House.

Perhaps comforting is the thought that, even with a fire, Random Hall bureaucracy marches on.

Continue reading ‘Third Floor Involuntary Cultural Exchange’

Five Minutes

21 Jun 16

Random Hall caught on fire today.

I was bustling around in Clam kitchen, clearing up dishes, with Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD playing in the background and Erons, Random Hall’s resident non-resident, fiddling with something at the kitchen table. There was not much to do, it being summer and all, so I paced aimlessly from my laptop to the sink, occasionally rearranging the cups and plates in the bookshelf by the kitchen window that looked into the 282 shaft.

There was ash in the air. I gave a wary look at the oven, which had already caught on fire earlier that week when Lane G. ’17 had tried roasting vegetables in it, but the oven was off.

“Hey Erons, do you smell smoke?”

We both looked out of the kitchen window and saw flames.

Ryuga H. ’18 pulled the fire alarm.

Continue reading ‘Five Minutes’