24 November 2009. There are many reasons this date is stuck in my head. First reason: I became a superhero that day. Second reason: It was the first time I got robbed. Third reason: I did one of the most stupid things I’ve ever done in my life.
Thursday afternoon, I had visited Chinedu, a friend and course mate. It got late and I decided to crash in his place. Saka, another course mate and friend was also there. Evening came and Chinedu brought dinner. There was no light(power) at that moment so I used my laptop to play some music – I love eating with music playing on the background. Chinedu’s girlfriend had prepared the meal before she left.
Saka frowned when he saw the soup. He wasn’t a fan of Egusi(Melon) soup spiced with Onugbu(bitter leaf). His face was set like that of a kid who’d come last in a racing competition. He decided to go upstairs to a friend who had earlier invited him for dinner. And somehow I was happy – less stomachs to feed on the meal.
Saka had reached the door when we heard noise coming from outside. But it was late; the door was open already. I held the mould of garri(cassava) in my hands and hurled myself at the door. There I met Saka struggling with a huge, tall guy. The guy had a gun in his hand and he was doing everything in his might to get inside the room and Saka was pushing him away. I joined in the struggle pushing from behind and stretching my hands to snatch the gun away. I didn’t know when I pushed my friend and the huge guy out of the room.
Then Chinedu came from behind and closed the door. As he locked the door, I went for my laptop immediately. For me it was the most important thing in the room – I wish I knew then that our lives were the most important. I took the laptop, dashed into the balcony, contemplating whether to climb into another balcony opposite Chinedu’s. I knew it’d take much time to get into the other balcony so I hid the laptop behind a bucket and returned to the room, ready for the bad guys. But I saw Chinedu lying on the floor, his head glued to the floor you’d think he was kissing it. The bad guys were inside the room already and all the resolve in me to fight back had melted already because I cannot fight two armed guys alone. The support I had expected was lost. I wasn’t Jet Li.
I dived on the floor immediately the huge one with a gun came for me.
‘I swear I no know where e dey!’ I replied in pidgin, pretending to be afraid.
The sole of his boot came upon my head. ‘Where the laptop dey?’
I felt like my head had been smashed with Thor’s Hammer. ‘I no know walahhi! I swear I no know!’
The other bad guy – the one busy with searching the room and collecting our phones and wallet – said, ‘Abeg shoot that guy for me.’
That was when I let my acting talent takeover. I began to fake a cry, shouting all the while that I didn’t know where the laptop was. Till today, Chinedu and Saka still believed it was a real cry and they use it to make fun of me.
Three more boot stomps landed on my thick skull, and the bad guys left. Maybe God touched their minds and they didn’t shoot me. Saka walked into the room from outside, told us the about another bad guy who was outside the room. They’d collected laptops and stuffs from other rooms. We were quiet for a while as we pondered the experience. Then we burst into laugh all of a sudden. We didn’t know why we were laughing but we laughed. And then Chinedu called me Flash because of the way I hid the laptop in the balcony, returning to the room as if I hadn’t gone anywhere.
Gunshots sounded outside, cutting short our laugh.
Then the superhero, the actor, and the stupidity left me. I felt myself pulled into a deep reflective mood as I wondered what would have happened if the guy with the gun had pulled the trigger on me. Maybe I would have… Argghh! I couldn’t think of it. So I asked myself the BIG questions: Is that laptop more valuable than your life? Why didn’t you let them go with the laptop?
I knew the answers even before pulling the superhero act.
I hadn’t backed up my files.
I had finished the first draft of my first full-length novel; I had the manuscript in my laptop. Saka, a poet had some of his poems were in the laptop too. I also had some of my music projects, beats especially in my laptop…
I knew I’d be screwed if I lost those data.
That was when I knew the essence of backups. If I had back them up, I would have wrapped the laptop in a gift bag and given it to the robbers when they requested for it. I might have added a thank you for robbing me note.
A BIG lesson for me!
Apart from theft, other things could affect your data. We are in the computer age. Almost everything nowadays could be done in and with a computer. Apart from breastfeeding. Your personal projects – writing, music, graphics design, and a whole lots of things can be stored in your computer. But an incident such as theft or maybe a fire outbreak could destroy your computer.
Did you say your system is fire-proofed? Okay. What if your hard drive crashes?
That is why you need a “backup device”
The “backup device” is some place to make a copy of all your valuable information.
Flash drives. A flash drive uses "flash memory" to save data without a hard drive. It plugs into the USB port on your computer. They are small, pretty cheap you can carry them about all the time. That way, if your house gets burnt, you’ve still got your data with you.
What if your house is burnt and your flash gets stolen?
CDs or DVDs. You can easily burn your data to a CD or a DVD and sock it away somewhere safe. If you have a safe-deposit box at your bank, that's a nice place. You can use your Private Mail Bag as a safe too.
External hard drives. External hard drives are my favorites. I love them because they are big enough to save everything on my computer.
Online storage. There are number of services on the web that allow you to backup all your stuff over the internet. This can be slow, if you have a lot of stuff, but you can automate the process so it happens at night when you're sleeping.
Gmail is free and it gives you a lot of storage. Some people email their works to their Gmail account.
If you have books, graphic designs, poems, even your music files, pictures, videos or whatever that you MUST NOT LOSE, then back it up on a flash drive, burn it to a CD, copy it to another hard drive, and save it online so you don’t end up being a stupid superhero like I was.
Stay tuned guys. Remain blessed and have nice weekend.