LOS ANGELES - If you're like most computer owners, Ismail Jadun wants to make sure you're no April fool this weekend - back up your data!
Jadun, a 24-year-old college student from Youngstown, Ohio, created World Backup Day in 2011 when he and others started talking on the Reddit Web community about how insane it was that most folks rarely back up their precious stuff.
"It was close to April 1," he says. "I thought it would be kind of funny to have a World Backup Day before April Fool's. You know ... back up before someone plays a prank on you."
So he bought the worldbackupday domain, where he beats the drum for paying attention to our ever-expanding collection of photos, music, video and documents. He pays the bills with sponsorships from cloud storage companies.
"The data shows that most people have no backup," says Reddit general manager Erik Martin. "Yet we have our whole lives in the form of data - documents, receipts, works of art, photos, music. It's important to have multiple backups so you don't have a tragedy."
Think it won't happen to you? Since last year's World Backup Day there were natural disasters on the East Coast with Hurricane Sandy, where many folks lost their homes (and data) on the New Jersey Shore, plus major hurricanes in Italy, Iran and the Philippines.
So let's take a collective pledge to take proactive steps to pause the browser and start copying our data.
The World Backup Day site recommends two distinct ways to go about copying data. Start with:
• Local backup. External hard drives with as much as 1 terabyte of storage now sell for under $100. Since most photos and music files are around 3 megabytes and documents are even smaller, that offers room for thousands of files. Jadun recommends buying at least two drives, leaving one drive on your desk, and using another one for off-site backup. "If someone came in and stole your computer, the hard drive would be swapped too," he says. You can store the second drive at work or with friends or family.
• Cloud. Multiple services offer backup plans via the Internet for monthly fees. Carbonite, CrashPlan and Backblaze are three popular offerings, all starting at about $60 yearly. The services back up everything from your computer (which can take days or weeks, depending upon how much data you have) and then add new stuff whenever it's created. (CrashPlan and Backblaze are sponsors of Jadun's site, and are offering World Backup Day discounts.) For smaller loads, try Dropbox (first 2 GB free), Google Drive (first 5 GB free) or Microsoft's SkyDrive (first 7 GB free).
Jadun's hope for World Backup Day is that people will take the "pledge" and take the time to back up data, or at least "start talking about backing up our data. I don't want World Backup Day to be the only day they back up. Backup should be happening all the time. I hope people talk about how we need to save our memories for the future."
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)