Letters: Mondello, All Tech, Correction Listeners respond to Bob Mondello's Academy Award picks and Omar Gallaga's recommendations for ways to erase your computer's hard drive. Also, there is a correction to an item on Port St. Lucie, Fla.
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Letters: Mondello, All Tech, Correction

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Letters: Mondello, All Tech, Correction

Letters: Mondello, All Tech, Correction

Letters: Mondello, All Tech, Correction

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Listeners respond to Bob Mondello's Academy Award picks and Omar Gallaga's recommendations for ways to erase your computer's hard drive. Also, there is a correction to an item on Port St. Lucie, Fla.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

And I'm Melissa Block. A few of your letters now.

NORRIS: And we begin with this correction. We got it wrong when we promoted an upcoming story on one of last week's programs. At the top of Wednesday's show, we said with 10,000 homes in foreclosure, Port St. Lucie, Florida, declares an economic state of emergency.

BLOCK: As our story itself later made clear, it is St. Lucie County, not the city of Port St. Lucie, that's weighing a state of emergency, and they're only considering it.

NORRIS: Well, on to our tech conversation yesterday about how to erase your mistakes, and any other personal information, on your home computer hard drive before you recycle or donate your old computer.

Our tech guru, Omar Gallaga, gave us a number of options for doing that.

OMAR GALLAGA: It really depends on how sensitive your data is, and how far you're willing to go to protect it. You can format the disk in Windows, Mac OS or Linux, but that doesn't always erase what's on it unless you pick a secure method of formatting. On Mac OS, for instance, there's an option to do a 35- pass erase. And what that does is, it goes through the hard drive and erases it 35 times over, overwriting that data.

There's also software on the market with names like WipeDrive and Drive Erase Pro, and their sole purpose is to clear what's on your data completely and ensure your privacy.

BLOCK: That was Omar Gallaga yesterday.

Well, a number of you wrote in with your own solutions. Some of you suggested downloading free programs. Darik's Boot and Nuke came up more than once. There's a link to that in the All Tech Considered blog.

NORRIS: And then there was Matt Poland(ph) of Buxton, Maine, who sent this. He writes: I was tasked with disabling hard drives for my employer. First, running them over with a forklift didn't even make a dent. The best method I had was to disassemble the drive, and then I would have a nice, shiny disk good for use as a pocket mirror, and two magnets strong enough to hold a small child to a refrigerator. In a pinch for time, the best method is to use a drill press - safe, quick and effective.

BLOCK: Okay. And then there's our movie critic, Bob Mondello, in the matter of his Oscar picks. It turns out Bob was being characteristically humble when he said his success rate was only about 50 percent.

We got a letter from Stephen Meskin(ph) of Columbia, Maryland, who identifies himself as a statistician. And he says Bob's 15 out of 24 success rate was actually 62.5 percent, which, he writes, seems to me to be a fair distance from 50 percent. Indeed, it is as close to 75 percent as it is to 50 percent. So Bob's 15 out of 24 is much better than one could expect from random guessing, and it shows his fine judgment of cinema and academy politics.

Bob Mondello, you've got a defender in Columbia, Maryland.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BOB MONDELLO: I'm so relieved. Actually, I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually did that calculation and came up with 62.5 percent, but was embarrassed enough about it being so close to 50 percent.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: He points out that I'm nearly at 75 percent, too, and I was thinking about that. Let's see, 62.5 - if I were graded on that result on a test...

BLOCK: Uh-huh.

MONDELLO: ...I would have gotten a D-minus. And the fact that it's not quite an F, but it could have been a C, I mean...

BLOCK: Well, maybe we grade on a curve here.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: I'm shooting a little higher than that. But anyway, I appreciate the defense.

BLOCK: I will just say, in my own defense, I think I may have gotten 16 out of 24, but not a whole lot more than that on my Oscar ballot.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONDELLO: Well, congratulations.

BLOCK: NPR's humble film critic, Bob Mondello.

MONDELLO: Very humble.

NORRIS: Have a correction or an idea that you want to bring to our attention? well, write to us. Go to npr.org, and click on Contact Us at the top of the page. And please don't forget to tell us where you're writing from, and how to pronounce your name.

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