Wellesley College CS115/PHYS155


Nike Basics

nike.wellesley.edu is a file server where students in computer science classes may store their files during the semester.

Accounts and Passwords

In order to store files on Nike, you need a Nike account name and password. Your Nike account name is the same as your FirstClass username. That is, it is the first letter of your first name followed by your last name. As with FirstClass usernames, the Nike username is limited to eight characters, so your last name will be truncated if it is longer than this. Also, your username may end in a digit to distinguish you from other users with similar first and last names. For example:

Student Name
Nike Account Name
Georgia Dome
Abby Stracksen
Janet Lee

You need a password to access your account. During the first week of class, you will get a chance to choose your own password. Your Nike password should be at least 6 characters long, should not be easily guessable by person or computer (no English words, people or place names, or dates), and should be different from the password for your FirstClass account.

Examples of bad passwords: CS115, computer, sesame, abracadabra, Wellesley, Georgia, 092378

Examples of good passwords: kriptyk, roborama, Interknet, 17Abby23, UpAnDdOwN, gwrkt79

Both account names and passwords on Nike are case sensitive. Your account names consist only of lowercase letters. Your passwords may contain both lowercase and uppercase letters, but you must get the case of each character right in order for the password to be accepted.

If you forget your password during the term, please contact your instructor.


A Nike directory is a structure that contains files and other directories. It corresponds to a folder on a Mac of PC. Associated with every Nike account is a home directory in which files for the account are stored. Whenever you connect to Nike via an FTP client (see below), you will be connected to your home directory by default, though it is possible to navigate to other directories as well.

The name of the home directory is the same as the account name. All home directories on Nike are located within another directory named users, which itself is located in a top-level directory named usr. Directory and file names are often specified as a path name containing the sequence of directories that must be traversed to get from the "top" of the file system to the desired directory or file. Path names are written with the components separated by slash ('/') characters. For example, Georgia Dome's home directory is /usr/users/gdome, and the Robotic Design Studio home directory is /usr/users/rds. The /usr/users/ path prefix is so common that it is abbreviated by a tilde ('~'). So ~gdome is an abbreviation for /usr/users/gdome.

Each user directory for a Robotics Design Studio studen has been preconfigured with a number of special directories. We will illustrate the special directories associated with account gdome; you should substitute your own account name for gdome:


Only you are able to write files to or delete files from your home directory, project directory, or any subdirectories thereof. Any attempt to write files in another students' home directory or project directory will fail.

Only you are able to read files in your private directory (and subdirectories thereof). However, by default, all directories other than your private directory are world readable, which means that anyone may read them. If you want files to be private, you should store them in your private folder.

Note that your instructors have the ability to read, write, and delete any of your files. However we will only look at files in your private directory in unusual circumstances.

Transferring Files From/To Nike

To transfer files between Nike and your local computer, you need to use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client on your local computer. An FTP client for PCs is Winsock-FTP. An FTP client for Macs is Fetch. Click on the above links for more details about these applications.


Because storage resources on Nike are limited, each student account has a 10 megabyte (MB) file system quota that cannot be exceeded. This is about the amount of storage on 6 floppy disks. If you keep lots of files, or even just a few large ones (such as images), you may find yourself pushing the 10MB limit. An attempt to store a file that will exceed the quota will fail. In this case, you will need to delete some older files in order to be able to store new ones.

If you find that you need more than 10MB of space for your final project web pages (e.g., you might have lots of images or a movie), please contact your instructor to increase your quota.

Backup Your Nike Files!

File servers like Nike sometimes fail. In some cases, they may become inaccessible for long periods of time; in other cases, they may actually lose information. For both of these reasons, we require you to keep copies of all your work during the course on your own personal floppy disks or Zip disks. That way, if Nike should become inaccessible or lose files, you will still be able to proceed with your work.

Because floppy and Zip disks themselves are unreliable storage media, you should make backup copies of your floppy and Zip disks on a regular basis during the semester. Since student accounts on Nike will be deleted after the semester ends, you should be sure to save on your personal disks any Nike files that you wish to keep for the future.