News Articles

Earth Day 2009

Earth Day 2009

One of the oldest Earth Day celebrations in the Midwest, the 2009 St. Louis Earth Day Festival, is being held in Forest Park on 4/26 from 11am-6pm.  As the area’s leading recycler of electronics, EPC has been asked to educate the more than 25,000 festival participants about electronics recycling. Stop by  our educational booth at this year’s festival and learn why and how we recycle electronics.  Our environmental efforts have earned EPC the St. Louis Business Journal’s 2008 Heroes of the Planet Award. If you can’t make it to the festival, you can check out our website for more information on how you can help EPC in our efforts to prevent electronics and their hazardous parts from ending up in landfills.

Laptop gets new life as digital photo frameWhy settle for a digital photo frame that only shows pictures? That’s the question that Justin Griswold asked himself when looking at an old Sony Vaio laptop he had laying around. Justin decided to be creative instead and turn the Vaio into a wall mounted LCD screen. In addition to being able to view image slideshows, the computer could also view powerpoint presentations, tv shows (using software like boxee), game emulators, and more. This is an awesome form of computer recycling.

It looks like the only challenge would be controlling this frankenstein creation after mounting on the wall, having bluetooth in the laptop would be a definite plus. With tons of used laptops at my fingertips, I think I will try to create my own.

Found via: Lifehacker – DIY: Turn an Old Laptop Into a Wall Mounted Computer

Earth Hour '09With only a few days left, this year’s “Earth Hour” is gaining momentum and is well on its way to being the largest climate event in history.

At 8:30 pm, on Saturday, March 28, the twinkling lights of Broadway will shut down… the Acropolis, in Athens, will go dim… and Seattle’s Space Needle will fade into the darkness. All done to voice concern about climate change and to promote the need to find solutions to our environmental problems.

Visit Earth Hour’s website, spread the word, and let us know if you plan to be a part of this historic event!

Internet Explorer 8 released

Just because you purchased a new computer and your old one will not run Vista or the latest games doesn’t mean you should throw it away. There are a lot of projects you can do with an older computer.

Note: Many of the examples include video how-to’s from the great tech DIY podcast Systm hosted by Revision3. If tech is your thing, Revision3 probably has a podcast for it.

1. Turn it into a file server

Have a large collection of digital photos or music files? Have multiple computers and want to have the same files available to all of them? With just a few minutes time, you can turn that old computer into network attached storage (NAS) using FreeNAS. The only gotcha: hard drive space can be limited in older computers, so to really make use of this tip, you will want to invest in a larger hard drive.
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Buried within the huge American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a, the “Stimulus Bill”) are a few changes to HIPAA’s Privacy and Security Rules, increasing the scope of coverage to include Business Associates. This means data security providers, contractors, and partners can be directly fined for informational security breaches that occur on their watch. The bill also increases the penalties for some of the violations.

Previously, Business Associates were required to comply only with a written business associate agreement. Now Business Associates are subject to many of the same requirements hospitals and medical providers are. They will be required to appoint a security official, develop written policies and procedures pertaining to data leakage, and training its workforce in electronic data protection.

In addition, breach notification requirements were increased. If a breach occurs, the specific business entity that has the breach will be required to notify every individual affected by the security breach. If current contact information is not available, the entity may be required to post notification on their website or in some other broadcast medium (television, newspapers). The bill also provides for the creation of a website by the Health and Human Services department to list information about these breaches.

Source: Stimulus Bill dramatically modifies HIPAA rules

Here are a few quick computer and security news articles from this week:

  • Mother sues Apple over exploding iPod Touch Supposedly the iPod was in her child’s pocket in the off position. The kid felt a hotness from his pocket, looked down and was on fire. The mother is suing Apple and 10 Apple store employees for damages.
  • Army database compromised The US Army discovered a possible security breach on a web application containing personal information of about 1600 soldiers
  • Cyber crime goes SaaS Want to buy a toolkit for attacking computers? No problem? Don’t have the expertise to run it yourself? No Problem, they’ll host it for you! Seems like this would make it easier to shut the attackers down since they have a common source.
  • Rigged podcasts can leak your iTunes username/password Hackers can create malicious podcasts to hijack usernames and passwords from Apple’s iTunes software. iTunes 8.1 fixes “feature”

From the Across the Pond department: Waste collection crews in England are being equiped with computers and GPS in order to build “rubbish profiles” on residents. These computers will feed crewmembers up-to-the-minute information on the houses they are servicing.

In addition, information will be collected and provided to local authorities so they can issue recycling advice, or fines for residents that fail to obey recycling rules.

These processes are part of a government strategy to increase recycling to 40% of trash collected by 2010, and 50% by 2020.

While I’m in favor of increased recycling, the very idea of automatic fines seems like something out of science fiction movies like “Demolition Man” or “The Fifth Element”.

There is some controversy regarding data destruction in the IT industry, some vendors claim that no software writing solution is secure, and only firmware level erasing, like Secure Erase, is certifiable. Others go further and say that only physical destruction is enough. The DoD spec calls for either a 3 pass or a 7 pass wipe, and NIST has stated:

Studies have shown that most of today’s media can be effectively cleared by one overwrite.

Popular TV shows like Numb3rs show scientists able to recover data from drives even after they have been wiped. There are probably as many standards to wipe data from hard drives as there are companies providing solutions. When is it enough? EPC as a company has standardized on the 3 pass DoD wipe as it is well recognized in the IT industry and it is a relatively fast process. (more…)

If you are reading this, you’ve found EPC‘s new computer recycling blog. This site will be home to posts about computer recycling, data security, and any thing else technology related that catches our fancy. If you are looking for company news and press releases from EPC check out our corporate blog. We’ll start by listing important links to learn about EPC:

If on Facebook – join us on our company page. On twitter, find Brian Wahoff (ackbarr) and Tracy Fuller (EPCfullerT)

* Shameless Plug – If you are a business looking for a computer recycler, drive wiping and destruction, or asset recovery services, contact EPC.