All posts by Ayman Fadel

Before you Recycle Your Computer, Boot & Nuke It

wipeI learned about an electronics recycling event today, and I had intended to include an ACER mini-laptop which we haven’t used in 4-5 years. I knew that I should erase all data from a device for security purposes before giving it away. Using a pencil’s eraser is not optimal!

The tool I’ve used in the past is the free-for-personal-use DBAN Hard Drive Eraser & Data Clearing Utility. DBAN stands for “Darik’s Boot and Nuke.”  This utility won’t work on every kind of storage device and it won’t make your data %100 irretrievable, but it’s adequate for anything short of spycraft and white collar crime. See DBAN’s FAQ for technical details.

Every time I used it before, I had created a boot disk and inserted the boot disk into the PC I wanted to erase. My ACER mini-laptop has no CD or DVD drive. Thankfully, the folks at the electronics recycling center pointed me to RUFUS, a utility which creates bootable USB flash drives. I followed the instructions from Philip Yip, the author of The Unofficial Windows 10 Reinstallation Guide, and things worked like a charm.

Now I possess the USB Flash Drive of Destruction! Bwahaha!

Google Search Remove Outdated Content form

I use Flickr for my pictures. I had uploaded a family picture and forgotten to change its permission to “Family,” and hence, when a parent Googled herself (a wise practice), she saw that this picture was coming up in the Google search and people could access the photo. She alerted me, and I corrected the permissions in Flickr. Within a few days, the public could no longer access either the photo or the Flickr page, yet the image’s thumbnail continued to appear in the Google Search. I used the Google Search Remove Outdated Content form to request that Google remove it.

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My Hard Drive is Running Out of Space!

In response to Fascist-in-Chief Donald Trump’s recent proposal to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, somebody posted an image made from a Twitter status update from noted public advocate for science and astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

When I receive a call saying, “I need to clean my hard drive!”, I first check to make sure the user isn’t confusing memory with storage space. Also, realize that while your computer’s performance may be correlated with the amount of free space on your hard drive, lack of free space is not the cause of the performance problem. Continue reading My Hard Drive is Running Out of Space!

Use FreeConferenceCall.com to Record Interviews Remotely

When you want to record an audio interview with a person at another location, I recommend using FreeConferenceCall.com. When you’ve created an account at this site, you will receive a number which you can distribute to the person(s) with whom you want to conduct an interview or conduct a conference call. You will also receive an access code which you would give to your call participants. Continue reading Use FreeConferenceCall.com to Record Interviews Remotely

Blog About Web Content Without Improving Its Rank in Search Engines

Updated May 29, 2016: Unfortunately, this site no longer works.

Bloggers often link to content with which they disagree or hate to promote. A simple link will, however, increase the undesirable Internet content’s ranking in search engines. Use donotlink.com to create a link which won’t boost the undesirable content’s profile. Here’s the service’s FAQ which gives more info.

How to Fix an iPhone Blank Unresponsive Screen

My mother wanted to record a selfie message on her iPhone to one of her grandchildren. The phone told her she was out of room and suggested she go to settings. She asked for my help.

I’ve installed Dropbox on her phone and set it up to automatically backup all of her photos. So I went through the photos and deleted many duplicates and moved some to a PC for storage in Flickr, which our family uses for sharing. I also decided to check out the Settings option the iPhone Camera App directed us to.

It showed applications taking up the most space. Most space was taken up by the music my mother has on her phone. However, I noticed some Apps which she never uses, so I removed them to free up space.

Then I went back to the Camera App to delete the photos I’d previously dealt with in Dropbox. When I went to Camera Roll, the screen went blank. Nothing I did seemed to get a response. I knew the phone was working, because it would ring when called, and, if I pressed the Home button, Siri would respond.

After watching this video, I learned I could reboot the phone by pressing the power and Home buttons at the same time until the Apple logo appears.

Do Android Users Dream of Electric Rain? An App May Help You Get to Sleep Faster

Forgive my blog entry’s title. It’s a nod to the science fiction author Philip K. Dick’s story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, from which the movie Blade Runner was adapted.

I wanted to alert readers to Relax Rain – Nature sounds, a wonderful app on the Android which has helped me get to sleep faster. It allows you to choose from a variety of rain-themed sounds. Select the one you like and, as long as you are not on call, turn your phone to Airplane Mode to save power and avoid notifications which might interrupt your sleep.

The application’s developer has other nature-themed sound applications. I haven’t tried any others.

I searched the iTunes store for this app, but I did not find it. There are apps there which look similar. I haven’t tried those. If you like an iOS or Blackberry or Windows app for this purpose, let me know.