Reader encourages peers to destroy data, not useful disk drives

My inbox has been a busy place, as readers share their thoughts on data destruction, Silverlight and Cuil.

Doug Bennett of RebornPC ( writes: "What a shame to throw away functional hard drives. Destroy data, not hard drives! Even the Metropolitan Police Department uses a program to wipe their drives instead of wasting a perfectly useful resource.

"You should recommend some freeware programs to your users that will clean their drive and render all data unrecoverable. Just go to and search ‘wipe’ or ‘erase’ to find free, effective programs."

As a Macintosh user, I have relied on the "Secure Erase" options under the Disk Utility program. The "Zero Out Data" choice overwrites data with zeros. The "7-Pass Erase" and "35-Pass Erase" options also do thorough jobs, but take much longer to accomplish.

I found this tip for Mac users on "Don’t erase unless you absolutely have to. If you just want to erase the free space to get rid of all the data you’ve deleted before, use the ‘Erase Free Space’ option."

Reader John Pinyati of Salt Lake City has a new favorite video player. He writes: "The NBC Olympics Web site has been using the full features of the latest version of Silverlight since about two weeks before the games started.

"The product is simply ‘fantastic’ … vivid, clear, live and streaming broadcast quality better than the cable company can provide. Many events feature no announcers or commentators when watched live, thus eliminating the squeaky-voiced ‘homers’ color analysts like Rowdy Gaines and Tim Daggett from swimming and gymnastics respectively.

"There are super features similar to what you describe for the Democratic Convention with no noticeable slowdown in performance, though I do have a 10 megabits-per-second download connection, which may make the whole operation seem easier to use. Silverlight is the closest I’ve seen to live HDTV (high-definition television) on my laptop. I’m sure that’s next since the Microsoft newsletters are now advising on how to preorder a DVR (digital video recorder) for your PC."

The reviews of, the new Internet search engine, continue to come my way.

Reader Dave Durling of Las Vegas said he found some inaccurate information in the results when searching his name on Cuil. He contacted the company about the situation, and although he hadn’t received a reply, he did notice the inaccurate content has been removed from the search results.

He’s not a fan, writing: "So much for newest and the best!"


Head to my Tidbits blog to continue the conversation. I update the blog four or five times a week, and welcome your input at

Share your Internet story with me at

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