Sunday, March 24, 2013

Drill whirs funeral hymn for data in cyberspace cemetery

Image: High-tech tool ... a beautifully composed picture from fellow blogger, Doctor Drill Bit.

A DRILLPRESS on a workbench in a Capalaba home has become a high-tech tool in the new age of fear and suspicion. The drill has a special purpose. Its sharp bit bites into computer hard drives, making them inoperable. Computing consultant Chrissy Herford has implemented the whirring conclusion on more disks than she can count. It's just one of the services of Chrissy's firm Executive IT Connections, a regular advertiser in the Computers column.
CHRISSY has found a common disregard for ensuring the data on discarded computers does not fall into the wrong hands. "Some people don't realise how dangerous it is to just throw their old computer into the garbage bin," she says. "People sometimes say to me that they don't have anything personal stored. "I ask them, 'How would you like to have pictures of your head on a donkey's bum put out there around the internet?' "When you put it like that they are not so keen to simply put it in the garbage."
SHE has been so concerned about protecting people's privacy that she invited people to leave their old computers at her home so she can hear that special sound that sends the data to the cemetery of cyberspace. Born and reared in the central western Queensland town of Morven, Chrissy developed an interest in computers more than a decade ago. She says she started learning about computers by working on her own because upgrading to new equipment was too expensive; the interest grew into a business that now services not only home computer users but also other clients including state government departments. Chrissy says she started Executive IT Connections "to bring affordable and reputable computers and repairs to executive clientele and businesses at very competitive prices".
 "I OPERATE my business from home to keep my costs down so that I can make owning a personal computer affordable for everyone," she says. "Quality is a must and I guarantee it. I only use parts that I would use myself and all parts come with warranties. "Best part of all is 'I am mobile' – I come out to you." Chrissy has a special mission to help seniors and offers them a discount. She believes many computing experts use 'geek' language when talking to seniors who prefer to plain and simple English. "I am happy to spend more time with them and be available to help them over the phone," she says.
CHRISSY says that in one recent case a widow gave away her husband's computers soon after his death then realised she wanted to write his life story. Although all his stored data was lost, Chrissy could at least supply a computer for the widow's project.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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