Walt Mossberg

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Wiping Hard Drives


Some time ago you wrote in an article about software that erases files and then records over them, as the safest way to clean off a hard disk. Could you identify the software?


If you are using a Windows PC, there are multiple programs, both free and paid, called “file wipers,” that can do this. One I have recommended is Window Washer from Webroot, which, among other things, does what the company calls “bleaching” of files so they can’t be easily recovered. If you’re using a Mac, a similar feature is built into the latest operating system versions. It’s called “Secure Empty Trash” and is found in the Finder, the Mac’s equivalent of Windows Explorer.


In your recent article about transferring Internet video to your TV, you ignored Apple TV. Why?


Because the article was about methods for wirelessly streaming video from multiple Web sites via a PC to a TV, and that’s not what Apple TV primarily does. It mainly takes audio, video and photos that are already on your computers and plays or displays them on your TV. It only directly streams in real time from YouTube and Internet radio sites, plus content being downloaded from iTunes. Unlike the two products I covered, Apple TV doesn’t allow you to stream movies or TV programs from a variety of Web sites you choose, like Hulu or CBS.com (CBS).


If I get a magicJack, when I call another magicJack, can we engage the computer’s camera to converse?


No, magicJack is an audio device, not a video one. It isn’t like Skype, which can do both.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online at walt.allthingsd.com.

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