Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Destroying old hard drives

This is a simple, cheap method for destroying old hard drives, making the data unrecoverable against casual attackers and identity fraudsters (although probably not some hypothetical government agency with multi-million dollar resources).

For this you will need a stack of old hard drives:

An electric drill with a twist drill bit (suitable for going through metal), and most importantly some eye protection:

Line up the hard drives against the wall and drill straight through them. I didn't show it in this picture, but in fact I drilled through from the other (PCB) side to ensure that I went through the PCB but didn't go through any components that might explode:

Sunlight where there's not supposed to be sunlight!

For a few of the drives, mainly older ones, I couldn't get all the way through, but I got through to the platters, which is the important part:

Now you can see why eye protection is not optional. This old IBM SCSI-LVD drive had glass platters which shattered into tiny, sharp shards of metal-plated glass when the drill went through:

For extra assurance, I will soak the drives in a bucket of water for a few days before disposing of them:

Monday, 8 December 2008

Stop spying on my encyclopedia reading

Recently the unaccountable UK "Internet Watch Foundation" added pages from Wikipedia to a secret list of censored pages.

I would like to make the point that no one should be prosecuted for reading an encyclopedia. Furthermore, no free, democratic society should tolerate authorities spying on people reading works of knowledge.

Let's together stop this spying now.

Here is a simple action that you can take right now, that won't cost you any time or money. When linking to any page on Wikipedia, use the secure URL:
(Replace Main_Page with the name of the Wikipedia page as usual. You can also replace the language (en) or link to commons pages).

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Fedora Rawhide has OCaml 3.11.0

Fedora Rawhide [the experimental/development version of Fedora] has been completely rebuilt with OCaml 3.11.0, and all library and application problems that were found have been patched.

List of packages: http://cocan.org/fedora#Package_status

Mailing list announcement

Slashdot groupthink

This may be the first time a comment of mine has been modded down to -1 on Slashdot. I'm questioning whether the inefficiency of glib outweighs the speed advantage of C. Very few of the replies get it. Perhaps this proves the people only read the first sentence of any posting ... tl;dr.