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How to destroy a computer hard drive

When you get rid of a computer hard drive, it’s important to get rid of it properly. Your hard drive probably contains a lot of sensitive information on it, like tax returns or loan applications. Here’s how to destroy a computer hard drive when you need to.

Let’s set some expectations here. Making the data impossible to recover isn’t something you can do without a drive shredder. But you can make it so difficult and expensive to recover that nobody will bother. That’s good enough. If it costs $10,000 to recover the data from your drive, a thief isn’t going to do it, due to the risk that you don’t have $10,000 to steal.

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Gesso: Brushable, non-toxic primer

The best time to paint figures is when it’s over 50 degrees, because the first step is spraying them with a coat of primer, which requires a temperature of above 50 degrees. The problem is that when it’s that warm, that’s when you’re busy keeping up the yard and other stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could prime your figures with something safe to use indoors?

It turns out you can. I’ve searched years for a brushable, non-toxic primer (preferably acrylic and water-based). Such a thing exists; I was just calling it the wrong thing. What you need is called gesso. You can order it online from Amazon or you can buy it in craft stores like Michael’s, Jo-Ann, and Hobby Lobby and use a coupon. If all they have is white, mix some black acrylic paint in with it (which you can get there as well) to darken it. Or mix in any other color you wish.

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How to remove paint from a tin litho toy or train

It isn’t terribly rare to find old tin lithographed toys or trains that have been overpainted. Boys will be boys, after all, and have you ever met a boy that didn’t love paint?

When it comes to restoring these toys, there are no guarantees. Removing the paint without damaging the lithography beneath is tricky, at best. And, of course, there’s a pretty good chance that whatever lies beneath that paint is scratched up or otherwise damaged. Generally speaking, it’s the well-worn toys that get painted, not mint-condition ones.

But if you’re feeling brave and at least a little bit lucky, you can remove the paint, see what’s under it, and maybe, just maybe, it will prove to be salvageable.

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