STORY BY MORGAN MURASKI
Although it may seem contradictory, sometimes backing up is the best way to move forward.
March 31 was the fifth anniversary of an independent, online initiative known as World Backup Day. The goal of this public project is to raise awareness among computer owners about the importance of storing their documents, pictures and other important files in an additional location other than the hard drive of their computer or laptop.
Sponsored by technology websites and computer equipment manufacturers alike, World Backup Day is a cause that is becoming increasingly important in the new age of technology, especially where large amounts of it are concentrated.
One type of place that computer technology seems to be everywhere is the college campus, and Drake University is no exception. From students out in Helmick Commons to the quiet reaches of Cowles Library, everyone seems to be hooked up and plugged into their devices.
But where there are a lot of computers, there are also a lot of computer problems. First-year Olivia Berry discovered first hand how catastrophic the results can be when a computer decides to go on the fritz or crash altogether.
“The situation is so stressful,” Berry said. “You lose everything. I lost two years of my life. That’s my history right there.”
Now, not every situation has to rival Berry’s. The goal of World Backup Day is to prepare people for the day their technology fails them, whether they be students, staff or faculty.
Associate Professor of Computer Science Michael Rieck said that, in order to be able to solve the problems they are faced with, students should make sure that they are familiar with the technology that they have at their disposal.
“In a simple sense, computer science is now general information,” Rieck said. “People who want to be knowledgeable and be plugged into their environment and community should know how computers work.”
There is a lesson for students in World Backup Day, even if they don’t actually participate. Not only is it important for students to be educated in regard to their devices, but it is also crucial to know where to get help in times of technology trouble.
On Drake’s campus, the dedicated members of Drake Technology Services are standing by in the basement of Carnegie Hall.
Technology Support Specialist Matt Haydon said that, while advances in computer technology are making total crashes less frequent, there are still plenty of things that can go wrong with a device. In order to prevent a total loss of information, Haydon gave a simple piece of advice.
“Have an external hard drive that you plug in every so often and then you have two forms of redundancy to protect your computer,” Haydon said.
Haydon also had a strong opinion about the underlying meaning of events such as World Backup Day, and said that their importance cannot be overlooked in Drake’s classrooms.
“In this day and age, everything is about computers,” Haydon said. “10 years ago you wouldn’t see a classroom of kids with laptops. Now, some classes are only provided online. You need to know the tools that you’re using.”