Tech Talk #3 – July 18, 2015

Deleting files – Say you come into the office on Monday morning after a great office party, turn on your computer and find, to your horror, that sometime during the party you wrote a tremendously awful love poem to one of your coworkers. What can you do?


When you have a document, image, or video on your computer that you really, really want to delete, it takes more than just hitting Delete or dropping it in the trash or recycle bin on your desktop.


The trash bin hides the file so you can’t see it anymore, but you can get it back if you want it. Emptying the trash on your computer removes the computer’s “map” of where the file is stored on your computer. The file is still there, it’s just hard to find now.


But what if you want the file gone forever, not just hard to find? To do that you need to overwrite that file with other data, kind of like scribbling on top of written words on paper. If you do it enough times you can’t read the original words. But how can you do that? It’s not like you work at the NSA, right? Luckily there are good tools to do the scribbling for us.


For the Windows folks, there’s Eraser. Eraser is a free (my favorite price) tool that you can point at particular files for overwriting (scribbling on.) Once Eraser is installed, you use it by right-clicking on the offending file then hovering over the Eraser icon and clicking on Erase. Once Eraser is done scribbling over your file, it deletes the file for you. Works on images, too.


You can also use Eraser on everything in your Recycle bin.


For Apple folks, there’s the playfully named Secure Empty trash and it’s already built into the trash bin. Just take your file to the trash bin and then go to Finder and click Secure Empty Trash and you’re done.


Of course, there’s also an app for this. File Shredder inserts a “shred” option in the right-click menu so you can select an individual file or a group of files to delete without opening the app. File Shredder also lets you drag the files to the app’s icon in the dock to delete files.



What is code? The June 11, 2105 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek consists of a single story by Paul Ford. Why just one story for the whole magazine? In the words of Josh Tyrangiel who oversees all content at Bloomberg Media:

“Software has been around since the 1940s. Which means that people have been faking their way through meetings about software, and the code that builds it, for generations. Now that software lives in our pockets, runs our cars and homes, and dominates our waking lives, ignorance is no longer acceptable. The world belongs to people who code. Those who don’t understand will be left behind.

This issue comprises a single story devoted to ­demystifying code and the culture of the people who make it. There’s some technical language along with a few pretty basic mathematical concepts. There are also lots of solid jokes and lasting insights. It may take a few hours to read, but that’s a small price to pay for adding decades to your career.”

Josh Tyrangiel


To read the story, either search for “bloomberg businessweek code issue” or go to



Quote – Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done. – Andy Rooney


Do you have a computer or technology question? Greg Cunningham has been providing Tehachapi with on-site PC and network services since 2007. Email Greg at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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