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Lesson: Disposal

Discussion in 'Technology' started by awitch, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    Due to some time restraints, this week's tidbit is a short one. I'm also having a hard time picking out topics, so if there's something you'd like to know more about, just post it here or send me a note.


    There are a lot of toxic metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic in your electronic components so you can't just drop them in the garbage. That's illegal in many places. You can't just drop it in recycling bin either (you DO recycle, don't you?).

    If you're in the US, check this page for organizations that can take your junk.
    Where Can I Donate or Recycle My Old Computer and Other Electronic Products? | eCycling | US EPA

    In some cases, you can box up your stuff and take it to certain electronic stores and they will dispose of it for you for a few dollars.

    Before junking those old cell phones, you'll want to restore them to factory default settings so your contacts, call logs, text messages and email aren't available. Check the documentation for your model on how to do so.

    Before you toss the laptop or desktop you're going to want to destroy that hard drive. If the computer doesn't work, you're best bet is to take the drive out, open it up, and find a safe way to smash the platters. I urge using eye protection and heavy clothing and watch out for small, sharp pieces.

    If the computer still works (powers on) and you want to donate it, you'll need to destroy the data on the disk drive. Formatting the computer isn't enough. Formatting the drive preps the disk so the drive controller can recognize the file system. Most format utilities that the average user will use will only mark the disk space as available for use and doesn't actually overwrite the data. That means it's possible (and not really that difficult) to recover much of the data that was on the disk. Even if you use a restore CD to return the system to factory default, it's not guaranteed (and probably not very likely) to write the new operating system files over the old ones.

    To properly wipe the disk, you'll want to use a utility that will overwrite the entire disk several times. Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) is one popular program that is free to use. Wiping the disk makes it exponentially more difficult to retrieve any data. It may still be possible, but it may take some resources that aren't available to the general population.

    If there is no organization nearby who will take your junk, and the municipality isn't equipped to pick it up, you can ask the friendly, tireless, dedicated IT people at your employer how they dispose of corporate e-waste. If they are like me, for the price of a doughnut or two, they will accept your personal junk and throw it in with the rest of the e-waste for your convenience.

    That's all I have for now, so next week I'm thinking of doing a lesson on what to look for when buying a new computer, but I imagine that will be quite extensive.
     
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  2. EphesiaNZ

    EphesiaNZ It's me! Who else could it be...

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    If you have an older computer, give it a few years extra life by installing a lightweight Linux distro such as Puppy Linux, Crunchbang Linux, Tiny Core or even Debian Linux. Most of these are quite easy to install and will turn that old XP, ME or even Win 95/98 machine into something useful again.

    I currently have an 11 year old PC, P3 733MHz CPU and 128MB RAM, which use to run Windows ME and now runs Arch Linux with Openbox WM and browse the web (not heavy/flash content) too and still have a few MB of memory to spare.

    If you don't want to do this then think about offering them to any geeks you know or your local Linux users group as they will probably find a use for them.

    Some links for getting the most out of that old PC - if you're prepared to spend some time to try,

    Motho ke motho ka botho

    Thought bucket » Blog Archive » Reviving your old PC with Linux, Part IV: Fully Lightweight Distros

    minimal linux: Archive
     
  3. Qyöt27

    Qyöt27 AMV Editor At Large

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    If the hard drive still works, then I wouldn't really mess with trying to dispose of it. Just buy a drive enclosure and pop it in there. If the drive doesn't work, then you can use drive wiping utilities or go the NSA route and destroy the drive by smashing and then incinerating it (which is the only method of destruction the NSA actually sees as 'foolproof'; the 3-pass wipe method is for lesser security models, and if the comments by Peter Gutmann are taken as authoritative, modern drives almost never need the excessive 35-pass method he helped to create, and probably rarely even need the 3-pass NSA method either - not that it's not a good idea to wipe the drive, but there does come a point where you've reached the threshold of diminishing returns).

    Some computer repair shops will actually pay the customer for bringing in the computer and selling it for parts. They probably get more out of recycling it or cannibalizing the parts than the average joe will, and can therefore afford to incentivize the procedure a bit.
     
  4. pgp_protector

    pgp_protector Noted strange person

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    I find using one of these on any flash memory based devices before I depose of it works wonders.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    Low tech version:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. pgp_protector

    pgp_protector Noted strange person

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    But not as fun :ebil: :)
     
  7. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    Unless you're smashing the flash drive with the nuker how could it not be as much fun??
     
  8. pgp_protector

    pgp_protector Noted strange person

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    (Don't try this at home)

    1) One Wire to A Foil Covered Area
    2) Place Drive / Device on Foil Covered Area
    3) Second wire to High Voltage Probe Tip And Draw on your Drive / Device with mini Lightning :)

    (you can even cut(burn) through glass with it when using 2 probes :) )


    ETA:
    Proper Ventilation is a requirement though as all the magic blue smoke will escape the device.
     
  9. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    Lightning does beat hammer.
     
  10. EphesiaNZ

    EphesiaNZ It's me! Who else could it be...

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  11. pgp_protector

    pgp_protector Noted strange person

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    Love it :D
    Build it into your computer with a self operating power supply with tamper switches.

    If wrong PW entered, or system is tampered with, Boom their goes the HD :D
     
  12. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    Does anyone know of an open source version of DBAN that only wipes the parts of the disk that are marked as unread as opposed to the entire disk?
     
  13. Qyöt27

    Qyöt27 AMV Editor At Large

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    I dunno about open source, but CCleaner has a 'Wipe Free Space' function - if it needed to be boot disk-esque, you could have the drive hooked up via an enclosure and point CCleaner at it that way.
     
  14. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    D'oh! I have CCleaner. I never noticed that option hiding at the bottom before. Thanks!
     
  15. MPaul

    MPaul Covered by the Blood

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    I put monitors and computer towers out with the trash and they are picked up -- I called the trash company and they said it was no problem. I use a five pound sledge on computer hard drives and it works fine destruction. However, I wacked some cell phones many times with the same sledge, and it did nothing -- did not even put a nick in the outer case. I had to take off the back of the phone, and drive a screwdriver though the simm, as I thought it was obvious that trying a ten pound sledge next was not going to accomplish anything.
     
  16. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    The trash company doesn't care, but it's worth the trouble keeping the toxic stuff out of the landfills, especially if it can reused.
     
  17. WalksWithChrist

    WalksWithChrist Seeking God's Will

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    I've used one of these a few times:

    [​IMG]

    *Highly* satisfying!
    FORE!
    :thumbsup:
     
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