Tag Archives: Screwdriver

Yaghmour: Ten Days in Shenzhen

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/745708/rss

On his blog, embedded developer Karim Yaghmour has written about his ten-day trip to Shenzen, China, which is known as the “Silicon Valley of hardware”. His lengthy trip report covers much that would be of use to others who are thinking of making the trip, but also serves as an interesting travelogue even for those who are likely to never go. “The map didn’t disappoint and I was able to find a large number of kiosks selling some of the items I was interested in. Obviously many kiosks also had items that I had seen on Amazon or elsewhere as well. I was mostly focusing on things I hadn’t seen before. After a few hours of walking floors upon floors of shops, I was ready to start focusing on other aspects of my research: hard to source and/or evaluate components, tools and expanding my knowledge of what was available in the hardware space. Hint: TEGES’ [The Essential Guide to Electronics in Shenzhen] advice about having comfortable shoes and comfortable clothing is completely warranted.

Finding tools was relatively easy. TEGES indicates the building and floor to go to, and you’ll find most anything you can think of from rework stations, to pick-and-place machines, and including things like oscilloscopes, stereo microscopes, multimeters, screwdrivers, etc. In the process I saw some tools which I couldn’t immediately figure out the purpose for, but later found out their uses on some other visits. Satisfied with a first glance at the tools, I set out to look for one specific component I was having a hard time with. That proved a lot more difficult than anticipated. Actually I should qualify that. It was trivial to find tons of it, just not something that matched exactly what I needed. I used TEGES to identify one part of the market that seemed most likely to have what I was looking for, but again, I could find lots of it, just not what I needed.”

The Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list 2017

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/christmas-shopping-list-2017/

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a beloved maker in your life? Maybe you’d like to give a relative or friend a taste of the world of coding and Raspberry Pi? Whatever you’re looking for, the Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list will point you in the right direction.

An ice-skating Raspberry Pi - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

For those getting started

Thinking about introducing someone special to the wonders of Raspberry Pi during the holidays? Although you can set up your Pi with peripherals from around your home, such as a mobile phone charger, your PC’s keyboard, and the old mouse dwelling in an office drawer, a starter kit is a nice all-in-one package for the budding coder.



Check out the starter kits from Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers such as Pimoroni, The Pi Hut, ModMyPi, Adafruit, CanaKit…the list is pretty long. Our products page will direct you to your closest reseller, or you can head to element14 to pick up the official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.



You can also buy the Raspberry Pi Press’s brand-new Raspberry Pi Beginners Book, which includes a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a case, a ready-made SD card, and adapter cables.

Once you’ve presented a lucky person with their first Raspberry Pi, it’s time for them to spread their maker wings and learn some new skills.

MagPi Essentials books - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

To help them along, you could pick your favourite from among the Official Projects Book volume 3, The MagPi Essentials guides, and the brand-new third edition of Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi. (She is super excited about this new edition!)

And you can always add a link to our free resources on the gift tag.

For the maker in your life

If you’re looking for something for a confident digital maker, you can’t go wrong with adding to their arsenal of electric and electronic bits and bobs that are no doubt cluttering drawers and boxes throughout their house.



Components such as servomotors, displays, and sensors are staples of the maker world. And when it comes to jumper wires, buttons, and LEDs, one can never have enough.



You could also consider getting your person a soldering iron, some helpings hands, or small tools such as a Dremel or screwdriver set.

And to make their life a little less messy, pop it all inside a Really Useful Box…because they’re really useful.



For kit makers

While some people like to dive into making head-first and to build whatever comes to mind, others enjoy working with kits.



The Naturebytes kit allows you to record the animal visitors of your garden with the help of a camera and a motion sensor. Footage of your local badgers, birds, deer, and more will be saved to an SD card, or tweeted or emailed to you if it’s in range of WiFi.

Cortec Tiny 4WD - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

Coretec’s Tiny 4WD is a kit for assembling a Pi Zero–powered remote-controlled robot at home. Not only is the robot adorable, building it also a great introduction to motors and wireless control.



Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Pro Kit offers everything you need to create interactive electronics projects using conductive paint.

Pi Hut Arcade Kit - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

Finally, why not help your favourite maker create their own gaming arcade using the Arcade Building Kit from The Pi Hut?

For the reader

For those who like to curl up with a good read, or spend too much of their day on public transport, a book or magazine subscription is the perfect treat.

For makers, hackers, and those interested in new technologies, our brand-new HackSpace magazine and the ever popular community magazine The MagPi are ideal. Both are available via a physical or digital subscription, and new subscribers to The MagPi also receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero W plus case.

Cover of CoderDojo Nano Make your own game

Marc Scott Beginner's Guide to Coding Book

You can also check out other publications from the Raspberry Pi family, including CoderDojo’s new CoderDojo Nano: Make Your Own Game, Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree’s Raspberry Pi User Guide, and Marc Scott’s A Beginner’s Guide to Coding. And have I mentioned Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi yet?

Stocking fillers for everyone

Looking for something small to keep your loved ones occupied on Christmas morning? Or do you have to buy a Secret Santa gift for the office tech? Here are some wonderful stocking fillers to fill your boots with this season.

Pi Hut 3D Christmas Tree - The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2017

The Pi Hut 3D Xmas Tree: available as both a pre-soldered and a DIY version, this gadget will work with any 40-pin Raspberry Pi and allows you to create your own mini light show.



Google AIY Voice kit: build your own home assistant using a Raspberry Pi, the MagPi Essentials guide, and this brand-new kit. “Google, play Mariah Carey again…”



Pimoroni’s Raspberry Pi Zero W Project Kits offer everything you need, including the Pi, to make your own time-lapse cameras, music players, and more.



The official Raspberry Pi Sense HAT, Camera Module, and cases for the Pi 3 and Pi Zero will complete the collection of any Raspberry Pi owner, while also opening up exciting project opportunities.

STEAM gifts that everyone will love

Awesome Astronauts | Building LEGO’s Women of NASA!

LEGO Idea’s bought out this amazing ‘Women of NASA’ set, and I thought it would be fun to build, play and learn from these inspiring women! First up, let’s discover a little more about Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, two AWESOME ASTRONAUTS!

Treat the kids, and big kids, in your life to the newest LEGO Ideas set, the Women of NASA — starring Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison!



Explore the world of wearables with Pimoroni’s sewable, hackable, wearable, adorable Bearables kits.



Add lights and motors to paper creations with the Activating Origami Kit, available from The Pi Hut.




We all loved Hidden Figures, and the STEAM enthusiast you know will do too. The film’s available on DVD, and you can also buy the original book, along with other fascinating non-fiction such as Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science, and Sydney Padua’s (mostly true) The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

Have we missed anything?

With so many amazing kits, HATs, and books available from members of the Raspberry Pi community, it’s hard to only pick a few. Have you found something splendid for the maker in your life? Maybe you’ve created your own kit that uses the Raspberry Pi? Share your favourites with us in the comments below or via our social media accounts.

The post The Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list 2017 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

How to securely recycle or dispose of your SSD

Post Syndicated from Peter Cohen original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-to-securely-recycle-or-dispose-of-your-ssd/

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are fast and efficient. More new computers than ever come with them, and many of us have upgraded our existing PCs and Macs to them to get better performance or to replace dead or dying spinning hard drives.

With prices dropping on larger SSDs, those of us who have outgrown our current models are ready to upgrade. What’s more, SSDs die and need to be replaced just like everything else. When it comes time to hand down, recycle or get rid of your SSD, what do you do? Read on for details.

Don’t Bother Degaussing, Drilling Holes or “Zeroing out” an SSD

First, let’s focus on some “dont’s.” These are tried and true methods used to make sure that your data is unrecoverable from spinning hard disk drives. But these don’t carry over to the SSD world.

Degaussing – applying a very strong magnet – has been an accepted method for erasing data off of magnetic media like spinning hard drives for decades. But it doesn’t work on SSDs. SSDs don’t store data magnetically, so applying a strong magnetic field won’t do anything.

Spinning hard drives are also susceptible to physical damage, so some folks take a hammer and nail or even a drill to the hard drive and pound holes through the top. That’s an almost surefire way to make sure your data won’t be read by anyone else. But inside an SSD chassis that looks like a 2.5-inch hard disk drive is actually just a series of memory chips. Drilling holes into the case may not do much, or may only damage a few of the chips. So that’s off the table too.

Erasing free space or reformatting a drive by rewriting it zeroes is an effective way to clear data off on a hard drive, but not so much on an SSD. In fact, in a recent update to its Mac Disk Utility, Apple removed the secure erase feature altogether because they say it isn’t necessary. So what’s the best way to make sure your data is unrecoverable?

Lock It Up and Throw Away the (Encryption) Key

Hopefully your SSD isn’t dead yet or hasn’t been pulled because this takes a bit of advanced planning. But as the old expression goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The easiest way to make sure the data on your SSD is unrecoverable is not to erase at all, but to encrypt it. Without having the passphrase or encryption key to recover from, any data on that drive is useless to anyone that finds it.

Apple’s FileVault is encryption software included with macOS. Microsoft’s built-in encryption software for Windows is called BitLocker. Both systems are full-disk encryption methods, so anything you’ve stored on your hard disk is safe from prying eyes unless you type in a passphrase or key to decrypt the data.

Reformat the drive and you should be safe – any data on there is unrecoverable without that encryption key. If you want to rest even easier, re-encrypt the drive after the format, then reformat again.

Check the SSD Maker’s Web Site

If you’ve upgraded your computer with a third-party SSD, visit the manufacturer’s web site. Intel, Samsung and others make free SSD utilities designed to work with their own devices. Many of these utilities include re-formatting and erasing tools, including some secure erase options that will help give you additional peace of mind.

Shred It

Physically destroying the SSD by shredding it into small particles is the absolutely safest, most foolproof method for safe and secure disposal. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive.

Prices on devices designed for SSD shredding start in the thousands. This isn’t something to buy on a whim for home use. And the sort of shredder that you might use to get rid of old tax documents or CDs won’t work – an SSD will jam them up.

If your business has the budget, a number of companies make shredding devices especially designed to physically destroy SSDs. Security Engineered Machinery, Phiston and Garner are popular SSD shredder makers.

It’s important to check the specs of any potential shredder to make sure the shred size is small enough to actually destroy the memory chips on your SSD, however. The shred width should be 1/2 inch or less if you want to make sure the chips get properly mashed up.

No, a woodchipper like the one from the movie Fargo does not have a suitable shred width for secure SSD disposal.

If your SSD looks like a hard disk drive, you should be able to take it apart with the right tools (usually the small screwdrivers included with a computer repair kit are all you need). Inside you’ll find the SATA memory chips where data is actually stored; you can remove them and destroy them however you see fit, whether it’s by a shredder or some other destructive means.

One of the folks in the office found this video if you’d like to see the process in action. We’re not affiliated with any of the products shown here.

Integrated SSDs

Some computers – most notable recent-model Macs from Apple – include factory-installed SSDs that are integrated directly onto the motherboard and may not be removable. Sure, you might be able to run the whole main logic board through a shredder, but that seems…well, excessive.

In those cases, physically destroying the SSD becomes a lot harder. Which makes it doubly important to have another way to make sure your data is safe, like encrypting the drive, for example.

Find a new use for it

Upgrading an SSD that’s still working? If you want to hang on to it, there are plenty of options. If it’s in a SATA enclosure, you can pop that SSD into an external USB hard disk drive enclosure and use it as a backup drive or as additional storage for whatever you might need. Some companies including Transcend and Other World Computing make external enclosures for the removable, upgradeable SSD cards you’ll find in late-model Macs, too.

You can also hand down or sell the SSD to a friend or family member who could use the upgrade, too. Assuming you want to be on the hook for the inevitable family tech support to follow.

One way or the other, it’s a good idea to encrypt and reformat the SSD before handing it off to anyone else.

More About SSDs

If you’re interested in upgrading your computer with an SSD or you have questions about an SSD configuration you’re having some problems with, we’ve published a few blog posts you might be interested in. Let us know if you have other questions!

The post How to securely recycle or dispose of your SSD appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.