Tech for All has replaced computers for students at the Escuela Tlatelolco to have at their home. We placed 36 computers b Check out this local Denver school at escuelatlatelolco.org
Chances are great there's sensitive data on it. If you're like me, that PC's hard drive contains a compilation of your personal and business life. If the wrong people were to grab it, they could hurt you and your business very seriously.
Is the Data Really Gone?
Here's the problem: An index of files is maintained for the hard drive, telling it where things are stored. When you install a file, especially a big one, it is scattered around the hard drive in bits and pieces. On your command to open the file, the hard drive checks the index, then gathers the pieces and reconstructs them. When that file is deleted, the links between the index and the file disappear. That tells your system that the file is no longer needed and that hard drive space can be overwritten. But the deleted file remains on your computer. Only when it is overwritten do you begin to be safe. Even then, a specialist might be able to recover the old data. Assuming you just deleted everything in preparation for saying goodbye to your PC, it is unlikely that the sensitive information has been overwritten. It's still sitting there, and anybody with a shareware program could find it.
Recovering deleted data isn't automatic. A thief or con artist will have to get some specialized software and learn to use it. Rivers of boring data would have to be sorted to find the good stuff.
Reformatting a disk prepares it to accept a new operating system. It also wipes out everything on the hard drive. That's your goal.
Past versions of Windows (through Windows ME) allow you to create a start-up disk. You'll need
one to reformat your hard drive.
When the reformat finishes, put the Windows installation CD in the CD drive and remove the floppy. Restart and re-install Windows.
If you don't know much about computers, this might be easier. There are several programs that write gibberish to the hard drive. They promise that nobody will be able to find your files after the software is utilized. You can leave the operating system and other files on the hard disk, if you want. These programs can be set to overwrite only the unoccupied areas. The process can be slow, because they write to the disk repeatedly. You might want to run it overnight.
You're Totally Paranoid; so Get Out the Acetylene Torch. I'm not kidding. The only absolute and assured way of protecting your data is to destroy the hard drive. To do that, you need to remove it from the computer. If you want to save the rest of the computer, touch the machine's metal frame before reaching in. Static electricity can wreck the circuitry. Unplug the wires on the hard drive and remove the mounting screws. The hard drive slides out from the back of its holder. The Pentagon shreds its hard drives. That should work, assuming you can find a hard-drive shredder (I use Atlas Metals in Denver). You need to destroy the platters inside. Try smashing them with a hammer. Destroying them with a torch should work. This seems excessive to me. But you're right to be paranoid about this. Identity theft has become overwhelming. Personally, I would use the overwrite process.
I believe in being careful, no matter who gets the computer.
In 1999 Rose Keating started taking in older computers and rebuilding them to be used by children. These computers were from individuals and businesses that were upgrading their hardware. The children were Junior High School age and did not have a computer.
Over the years Tech for All has been offered impressive hardware but the donors needed a tax write-off, so those opportunities were missed. In 2003 we began the process to become a 501-c3. 2004 was our first full year as a Not for Profit Foundation.
Jan 1 - Oct 1, 2011 689 computers Total 1726 computers !
The Power of Ten
She started on a shoestring and a smile....and a kind of 'little girl' optimism that doing something small could make something big happen. Never mind there were no funds and only a kitchen table full of computer parts with nowhere to go. That was 1999. And that was Rose Keating.
Ten years later, Tech For All is a leader in computer restoration, and a testament to the yearning that lies in all of us: to help change lives for the better, to re-use materials that have value, and to be among the good people who do good works.
………We continue to thrive in our home at ARTCRAFT SIGNSIn the short span of a decade, Tech For All has given out over 2200 refurbished computers, now averaging 15 to 20 computers a week. These go to children whose families cannot buy the tools that will prepare them for school and subsequently, the job market. With advances in technology, Tech For All has had to dig deeper into our meager coffers to buy RAM to upgrade these machines, something we did not have to buy in previous years. Money from recycling parts does not cover expenses any longer.
And now, what are the challenges that lie ahead?
Summer 2009 ..We have a one year agreement to loan 24 computers to the Spanish Peaks Public Library in Walsenburg, CO a project close to the hearts of our benefactors, Steve & Reba Savageau. The Library did not have the funds to acquire these computers this year. At the end of the year, the computers will go to qualifying recipients in Walsenburg.
COMPLIMENTS OF TECH FOR ALL'S
24 Volunteers plus
Over 170 Hours plus
328 Miles on "Ol Blue" plus
EQUALS 20 Computers with monitors, keyboards, mouse(s)
If you haven’t checked out our Tech For All website lately, you’re missing a lot of info about our activities, as well as some tips and valuable learning tools that may help you keep things running smoothly at your desktop. But in addition you can read on-going updates on how we’re doing and the challenges were facing in our mission of making computers available to people who cannot afford this now-essential equipment.
Here’s an example: When we started, it took Tech For All eight years to reach the one thousand mark in the number of computers we cleaned up and gave away. But guess how long it has taken us to reach TWO THOUSAND? Only 24 months! That’s a real tribute to our exceptional army of volunteers who have learned not only to RECYCLE used computers, but also how to UPGRADE them! You see, as technology has developed and expanded in recent years, it’s important that we give young people and competent adults computers that can do the work according to today’s standards. That means upgrading better used computers with enough memory and other capabilities that make them really useful…and that costs money.
Now were lucky enough to have a couple of suppliers who give us a break on equipment we have to buy. But we have to spend our own money – from $50 to $100 on each computer – to bring it up to enough “fire power” to get the job done. By making that relatively small investment, we end up with a machine that can be valued at $500 to $700. Good enough to do excellent school work. Smart enough to be a career builder.
Trouble is, some funding sources are drying up right now. Certain grants are no longer available. Some benefactors are taking a breather. We need to scramble to collect the money to upgrade. So if you are able to help us with “upgrading money”, we would be much obliged!
Good things are happening though. We are reaching out to other parts of the state! The Spanish Peaks Library Project gave us an opportunity to meet some fine folks in Walsenburg, and we delivered 24 refurbished computers, ready for the people to use until their library can afford to buy the equipment they want. It took many volunteer hours, and the aforementioned additional hardware like RAM memory and hard drives, but we got the job done.
We continue to be grateful to Tom and David Gamel for their generous donation in providing a home for us. This office space has been a godsend that has helped us grow and put into place new efficiencies. We’ve even added a 12-station computer lab so that we can make training available in a class setting.
This is just a thumbnail of the many things happening at Tech For All. And we’re anxious to tell you about the rest. So…….
Enclosed is your invitation to our 5th Annual Independence Day Party. We want you here! Your coming will encourage our hard-working volunteers and enlighten your understanding of what we’re about in this, our tenth year of Tech For All. We thank you for your encouragement and support, and we want you to know it’s much appreciated!
Hope to see you on the 5th,
Rose Keating - Director
It’s difficult now to imagine a world without computers. For most of us, our lives revolve around them…for essential work tasks, for staying in touch with friends and family, for searching out information. All businesses and giant corporations rely on computer networks, and – let’s face it – you don’t get a meaningful job without a broad range of computer skills. Yes, a world without computers is unthinkable, and yet many disadvantaged people are cut off from the opportunity to learn about, utilize and benefit from this amazing technology that is now so commonplace.
In 1999, Rose Keating couldn’t stop thinking about the unthinkable! Here she sat with a kitchen table full of used computer parts that nobody wanted, while outside, school kids walked by who, left to their family circumstances, didn’t have a prayer of owning their own computers. Three young boys in particular caught her attention.
It was no trick for Rose to assemble three computers. Here was a professional computer programmer with years of specialized training – one of the few women in the country to know the technical end of computers inside and out. She approached the boys, asked if they would each like a free computer, and told them to bring their parents to give their consent. The next day, the fathers of these three boys came to Rose’s house, all dressed up, hair slicked back, shoes spitpolished, to find out if this could really be true.
It was. And Tech For All was born.
Tech For All is a 501-c3 Not For Profit Foundation. At this writing, well over 1800 computers have been rebuilt and placed with qualified families.
Individuals and businesses continue to donate used equipment as they upgrade their own hardware.
A staff of trained volunteers collects, catalogs, cleans and assembles components. Financial donations provide for needed parts and other associated costs. Meanwhile, Rose Keating shares her considerable expertise as a docent at Denver Public Libraries, holding popular classes for training Seniors in the use of computers and giving presentations about technology.
Tech For All is very proud of its partnership with Goddard Elementary School in Littleton.
All students at Goddard now have home computers that are coordinated with the school computer system. Children can do work at home and print it at school. Goddard reports that this has resulted in a substantial improvement in grades.
Rose Keating is a 2007 recipient of the Minoru Yasui Award and is a Channel 7 Everyday Hero.
It is an uncommon spirit that drives many of us to find that place in the community where our particular talents are needed. For me, it began ten years ago with becoming a docent at the Denver Public Library, a satisfying and challenging avocation, to be sure. But one path often begets another, and soon, as computer use became widespread, the Library recognized that mature citizens were clamoring for the necessary skills to be part of the Information Age. Here, disguised as a docent, was a professional computer programmer with years of specialized training, ready to start classes for seniors immediately! From this serendipitous beginning came the realization that many people of all ages did not have the wherewithal to equip themselves with a computer, now an essential appendage without which it's difficult to 1) be connected to the world; and 2) get a job.
This is how Tech For All was born. As businesses and individuals bought new computers, their old computers landed on my doorstep. The choice was to pay someone to get rid of them - or to refurbish them and make them perfectly good for children to do homework, retired folks to email their friends and family, and other adults to learn computer skills.
The Tech For All Foundation has now given away over 1340 rebuilt computers, and the number is steadily rising. So where are you on your Journey? Are you ready to donate computers from your office? Want to join our Tech For All volunteers in making a used computer ready for some little boy or girl? Would you like to tell your service organization about Tech For All, and get them involved?
It is sobering to realize that the Library is historically the one place where the common man had access to a world of information. And now, because of the Library, the Tech For All Foundation became a reality, and strives to open a new frontier of information to every individual at no cost. Let your uncommon spirit lead you to Tech For All, and travel this road with us.
Director - Tech For All
Download the Spirit of Cooperation Award that Tech for All received from Denver's Auditor.
Founder of Tech for All
... loves to cycle and buildyourtour.com, working with her husband at Colorado Pharmacists Society and being Tech for All's 'web-ster.'