Different data deletion methods

I was needing a nice summary of deletion methods, what they mean and what they do. What happens when you delete something, and how reliable is your deletion method?

Operation/tool Meaning Consequence
Delete (in Explorer, or other file explorer) File is moved to the trash / trash folder File is recoverable with a few mouse clicks
Empty recycle bin / delete file (Shift-Delete, del)  / remove file (rm) File entry in the file system  (a pointer) is deleted,  but data is retained Data can often be found and saved with simple tools (freeware or similar)
Cleaning the free space (disk defrag and friends) After deleting you overwrite the free space/ mark it as writeable Files will be overwritten. Often incomplete and does not track backup copies…
Safe deletion (partial or total, with special software, Eraser, DBAN, etc) File is overwritten and then deleted using some kind of workflow (first A, then B, then C…) Files are usually gone, data can be found again in other places (backups, history, etc.), with SSDs data remains in Flash
Complete reset of the hardware (total) complete disk is overwritten / ATA Secure Erase / deep formatting All data is gone – they can not be restored. But at least you keep the disk.
Destruction Disk is physically destroyed Consequence: data are no longer available

Here on Lifewire you can find a list of software that can be use to do all kind of nasty things to your hard disk before you go for the sledgehammer option. My experience is that you can always recover the data, at least partially, unless you use destruction. It may take time, but you end up managing. I hope, anyway, that you have your data under control…at least, the data that google doesn’t have already 😀


VR Squatters

– So, y’know, n’found that piz of cyber, that, y’know, it’s empty. – My friend Adam apparently found another virgin land on his wanders. He’s a very lucky explorer. I look at my headset and gloves. They are already charged, so I remove them from the ebike plug that I hacked as usual.
– How far it is? Do you know?
– Nooo man. I took the highway compressed. Th’was, y’know, this city service data stream… it was very dirty, that’s why I managed to fit in the package.
– And you ended up in a shredder? – Damn, I remember the last time. I almost destroyed my OS. I was reduced to a chatbot with a keyboard and a pointer. It took me months to scrap out the code to build me a new face. – I don’t want to follow you hooked on service data. Didn’t you have enough with being shredded once?
– Sorry maaan. I’m tired of this craap. – He waves around. He means the reality. He despises it. – We should be there! This: only food, pee, and sh*t. And veeery sloooowwww.
– You are right. But we need it. Unless you found the key to a Farm.
– Mmmm…yes, n’think I found one.
– That’s great! Where is it?
– That’s the problem… I saw the key on the empty cyber, but I don’t know where is the place. – He sighs, and seems to melt to the floor. I look around. Walkers are ignoring us, most of them with their VRs on. To my left, a group of zombies, but they don’t seem to come to real any time soon. I grab my drink and give it a sip before passing it to Adam. He empties it and throws it over his shoulder without any care. It hits a bypasser, but he ignores the collision and continues walking. His set is gorgeous, probably last gen.

– Will you help me, pleaaaase? You are very good with the mysteries. I need you maan! – He shouts the last words. One of the zombies seems to move his headset, but doesn’t do it at the end. I make Adam a sign, that he quickly understand. – I promise there will be no problem! The piz is empty, n’tell you! As far as I know, its servers may be on the fucking Moon! N’don’t care…I want to be warm and play on my piz for a while, until they start building some sh*t there!
– Don’t shout or the zombies will come for us! Wait a minute. – I play with my headset and I put it on, but I don’t switch it. – So how do we go there, again?
– I didn’t fucking tell you the first time! You didn’t let me finish!
– OK ok ok, sorry. Please enlight me.
– Yeah whatever. Y’speak so fun sometimes. W’take the next city service data stream, and before the White Tower, we jump out. There’s a hole…you can’t miss it, it’s big, and black, and it looks scary. At the end I was thinking I was going to be deleted and I closed my eyes, but then, everything stopped and I was there. A fantastic space with green hills and blue sky. And a yellow shiny key floating in the middle.
– Any idea of what are they going to build up there? Any property signs, anything?
– Noooo man, I told you! It’s the best! So are you in or shall I keep searching?
– No no no. Let’s do this. – I press the switch. – I see you in!

Climate Fiction Reveals Just How “Weird” Humans Truly Are


My first reblog is to advertise  the paper book collection of short tales Lost Objects, by Marian Womack. Check out her interview by the Chicago review of Books here.lost-objects

I know Marian since she was a teenager. But life is life, and I don’t meet her (and his lovely and laureate poet husband James) as much as I’d like to. I hope I can fix this at one point. Kudos, Marian. I’m very happy for you, and you totally deserve it 🙂

Topaz install on CentOS 7

Yes I’m back to work. I should have logged it more, but I was busy with so many issues that the only thing I wanted to write was fiction. Anyway. Today we are going to install Topaz over our already existing python module.

You may wonder what topaz is: it  is a “pipeline for particle detection in cryo-electron microscopy images using convolutional neural networks trained from positive and unlabeled examples“. Understood? Alright, so we can go ahead. On the github topaz page you find  the software installation formula and a docker definition. I did try the docker, but for some reason linked with my default python, my docker was created but I couldn’t manage to make it run.  I call these ones DOA dockers (Dead On Arrival).

When I find a DOA docker I tend to reverse engineer it. In this case, it is not needed. We have a “From source” section.  I quote:

Installation of dependencies

conda install numpy pandas scikit-learn cython
conda install -c soumith pytorch=0.2.0 torchvision
conda install -c soumith pytorch torchvision cuda80

This takes for a while. In my case, around 20 minutes, but I may be influenced by the installation method. Then I cd into my topaz folder (the one of the DOA docker) and type

pip install .

No error is thrown. To test it’s properly installed, I go to another machine, load my python module and try to do “topaz” something. And it works! The users are going to be happy, since my python module is mounted on a network location, everybody will have topaz once they load it. Even better than a docker! We’ll see what they can do with it.

A free travel card

– Sir? I really need you to choose one plan. – I just handed the lady in uniform my application form for a free travel card. I wanted one, since my new position was forcing me to move frequently from my current flat downtown to the heart of the City. But I left the plan option empty. I’m not sure about to keep my old flat. My new job is supposed to make big money, so if I’m lucky I could find a better one in a slightly more distant position, like in the next town. Then the company girl started to complain about the hole in the plan thing. Who cares?

– Please explain it to me again. I don’t get it. Is it a free travel card or not?

– It is indeed free. But this is not meaning we need to give it to you without conditions, right? – By looking at her, I’m not able to say if she’s being ironic or just kind. Her face is an iron mask, it could be even electronic camouflage, as far as I know. I refrain myself about to knock on the glass that is separating us to check out if it’s a glass or a very good screen.

–  Right. But why so? Why I need to choose what kind of freedom I want? Isn’t to choose one free plan to cut my freedom of choice, so to say?

– Dear friend, I don’t make the rules. Ask your politicians, they make the rules.

– If I see one of them around, of course I will. – I give her my best hypocritical smile. – For the moment, I only have you around. Will you be so gentle as to answer me please, if you can? – She seems to crack her iron mask to produce a very artificial smile, not so different from my canned one. The effect is weird, but I take it as sincere.

– It is very simple. We do need to pay the transport. Everybody is paying it with our taxes. Imagine the next: everybody in EU applies and get the EU-free card. Do you think everybody will be travelling everywhere all the time?- I shake my head, doubtfully. –   That’s right. It is impossible everybody travels everywhere at the same time! After all, you do live somewhere. Here it says…

– I know where I live. Please continue. – I look back. I’m creating some kind of queue. I’m not the type of person that is happily waiting, so I sympathize with them. But.

– Anyway. If everybody is free to go wherever they want, we don’t know where to drive our trains, buses or plains. And how long, or from where. We have no idea. – I understand. – Therefore the need to force you to choose. If you don’t choose, we can’t choose also.

– Don’t you have an AI in charge? What’s the AI saying about? What’s the travel plan an AI would choose for me? Can’t you ask her that? Don’t you have simulations or something like that to take care of the planning thing?

– I could ask my AI of course. But why should I? Just picture it. If I ask the AI what does she recommend  for your special circumstances, then I may need to ask the AI also what she thinks of the case of the other ten people coming after you. And maybe, to the hundred people coming after these ten after you. And how this all of this end? You will have our AI permanently blocked processing information, making personal travel plans, for the whole day. – She elongates the “whole” day in a way that it sounds like a bad word. – All of it because you – she points to me with her finger, in a rather nasty way – refuse to put a stupid cross on this damned form! – The smile is gone, also the iron mask. I’m not sure but I think I need to stop here if I want to manage to do something today.

– Alright, alright. I understand. Once I get the card, can I change the plan?

– Of course you can’t change the plan! What do you think, that we are playing with LEGOs or something like that? That we can put a railroad here today and move it tomorrow to there? – Now she’s shouting. People on my back start to murmur, a little bit alarmed. – You are supposed to get the free travel card only if you know how you are going to use it! And you don’t know a sh*t about that, I gather!

– Let’s look at it in another way.  What can I do if I don’t know where I go or what line I’m going to take? – She seems to find out she’s overreacting and she closes her eyes. I hear a big sigh through the speakers. She opens her eyes and seems to produce some kind of smoking beverage from behind, that she sips three times before speaking again.

– You could… simply… buy a ticket. – She smiles to me again. – And you can keep the piece of paper as a memento of your wandering trip, as the tourists do. – I give up and leave the counter. Buy a ticket. What a funny idea. I may even just do that.

– Thank you very much for your help, mum. It was very instructive. Have a nice day!

– You too, mister. Please come back whenever you know where do you go!

It’s raining again

The hex clouds are back. For the next month or so, we will have heavy rain sheets. Yes, sheets, meaning here it rains, there it isn’t. I hate it. I remember the previous simple weather, sunny, cloudy, those things. Now you need a fucking PhD to understand the weather forecast. Since the atmospheric phenomenology (aka meteors) became so chaotic, so weird that you need a local weather station on every roof, I hate my life. They were saying the atmospheric pressure affects your mood. And I think I am one of them. Now, unlike when I was a teenager, the pressure can change from one street to the next. There are wind tunnels forming spontaneously able to propel a small electric bus. The wind doesn’t care if there’s an human in the middle. How am I supposed to feel about? The good thing is, the rest of my life stays the same: you can take the public cars, you can drink beer at home, you can play VR with your friends. If there’s no light, we use our batts. That’s it. I’m no drama queen about it. It’s only the weather, after all. But I do miss to be able to say things like “tomorrow it’s gonna be a fantastic day, let’s go for a walk and have a picnic in the forest”. Once I even ended up making it up over fallen leaves, hidden in the bushes. One of my sweetest memories of the past. Now I know that if I’m brave enough to leave the house without the appropriate weapons, sun cream, a bottle of water, or some heavy umbrella, best case scenario, I can end up roasted by the sun. Or not being able to breath underwater. Or I can fly away without wings or any balloon, just grabbing my heavy umbrella like Mary Poppins. I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m so depressed right now. That’s why I’m so depressed except at home. Here, at least, it doesn’t rain cats and dogs. But I miss the old world.

Remember remember

– Come this way, my love. – The face of the nurse seems indeed familiar, but I can’t manage to remember her name. Natalie? Carmen? Eve? I look at my hands. They are the ones of an old man, cracked, with red spots, nails no more shining as I remember them. – Don’t worry if you feel a little disoriented. It’s normal, given your state. I mean, I’m not allowed to tell you this, but you really look great, my dear! Look at you – I can’t do it, I’m afraid of what I will find – after all what you have suffered, and you can stand still. Hard as a rock. That’s my love.

We walk down a wide white corridor. We cross other couples of nurse and patient, or I think they are nurse and patient. The women and the men look of similar age, what I think corresponds to a biological age of around 50 or 60.  The first couple may have been two doctors. But the look of the woman of the second one is empty. I’m sure there’s very little inside the brain focusing those eyes. Fortunately, I can keep walking, and my nurse (Maria? Roberta? Katherina?) keeps producing white noise. The weather this, the colleague that, something about an incident on an elevator. Nothing I can relate to.

– So, here we are. – We stop in front of a door. There’s nothing written on it. Which is weird. Maybe I’m not reading it. Maybe my brain is not processing it, maybe I don’t know how to read it. – Time for your shot. Tomorrow, by the time we meet, you’ll be a brand new man. Or I should say you’ll be the old one everybody is in love with. Go on, go on! – I enter, and I let the people in the room smoothly make me lay on an hospital bed, connect me to several devices and gently close my eyes. Before I realize, I have forgotten their faces. And quicky I drift over to another realm.

– Welcome back! How do you feel? – I lay partially on one of these hospital beds you can put at any angle. I’m at 30, I think. The woman speaking to me is offering me an heterogeneous bunch of flowers. I take the bouquet, not before focusing on my fingers. My hands look cracked. Oddly enough, I remember them looking worse. There are no red spots on them. The nails are trimmed and they shine a little, like if they were just polished. Maybe they were. I smell my flowers: daisies, roses, lavender, tulips. One that I don’t know how it is called. Should I? I try to stand. My nurse grabs me to help me stand, and once I manage she kisses me on the cheek. – Oh my dear. I was so afraid you were not going to remember me, I was so afraid something is going to be wrong with the procedure… – Unfortunately I don’t remember her. Neither any of the other people standing around, dressed in white clothes. They are not hospital clothes, so I’m maybe not ill after all, just disoriented. I try to focus. Who am I? What is the last thing I remember? But…my legs don’t seem to be able to support me, and my last thought before I feel my body falling is… maybe tomorrow. Maybe later. Maybe next time.