The World Backup Day

It's March 31, so happy World Backup Day 2013! Yup, it's a real thing. You can spread the message by taking the pledge to backup your data. (I did.) You wouldn't want to lose you data, would you?

Imagine losing your digital photos. Or your music collection. Maybe those great videos you took of you last vacation. What if there were all gone? What if your term paper (which is due in a couple of weeks) were to disappear--with no backup?

Did you know they almost lost Toy Story 2? Of course they made backups--but backups be corrupted. There's a great video that explains what happened. (Warning: don't watch it if you have a weak constitution and/or you haven't backed up any of your data since there was a U.S. president whose name is a synonym for "shrub." On second thought, maybe then you should watch the video.

Not only do I make backups, I go one better. As soon as I save anything to a local hard drive, my data is immediately synced with my other computers, and is simultaneously saved to a server in the cloud. (My human factors and ergonomics students will know what this is called. It's not merely a backup, it's "active redundancy".) Last summer, the boot drive on my primary laptop died. It was an inconvenience--that's all, just an inconvenience. It wasn't the end of the world.

But just because you save your data to the cloud doesn't mean it's safe. The company you rely on likely uses another service to provide their storage. Somewhere out there, your data is sitting on a spinning disk. And those can fail--even in the cloud.

So: make an extra backup today. Save your term paper on a flash drive. Save it to a cloud storage service. Burn it onto a CD. Hey, copy it to a floppy, if you have one. And save your pictures, songs, videos, and everything else you don't want to lose. There's no excuse for losing your data. No, really. Saying, "My computer crashed and I lost my term paper" is today's equivalent of "My dog ate my homework."

Why aren't you studying?


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