I find myself sitting in the second floor of a huge public library in a good-sized college town. I came here for the quiet and solitude, for a change of scenery that was different from my home office. What I got was an overwhelming sense of how technology has changed our lives. Even though I am sitting amidst long, tall rows of books on every conceivable subject, I look around and see people at tables, clicking away on laptops and netbooks.
This particular library has over sixty public computers scattered through its two-story repository. There is even a computer lab for patrons to use. In addition, I am connected to the virtual world outside through their free Internet WIFI connection. Do you remember the card catalog cabinets and the Dewey Decimal System? It's all on computer now, thank goodness. You do not get just a shelf location; you get a map!
As I gaze out the window to the street below, I see college students walking, or rather, dancing down the sidewalk with tiny headsets stuck in their ears, harnessed to a tiny mp3 player. I think back to my vinyl LP record collection that took up two shelves that were six feet long. There is more music stored on those tiny devices than I could ever fit in my house.
When I walked in the door to get my new library card, I was advised to put my cellphone on silent. I can remember back when our telephone was on a party line and we had to wait our turn to use the service. These days, the tether of the handset cord to the phone is gone; we have free rein to roam anywhere in the world and still be able to phone home.
Unfortunately, those technological advances that have enriched our lives have a downside: electronic waste. According to a recent Environmental Protection Agency study, our electronic waste is having a negative impact, not just locally, but globally. In the United States, the EPA estimates that 1% of our municipal waste streams are composed of electronic waste. They also estimate that 30 to 40 million computers will be scrapped each year for the next couple of years as they reach their end of usable service. Technology and software advances are making computers obsolete, almost before they sold off the shelf.
Recycling old computer parts, such as hard drives, may not eliminate the problem, but it can certainly help. Data loss that requires a hard disk file recovery service often means that the hard drive is toast. Physically damaged drives can be repaired enough to perform NTFS file recovery , but they are no longer reliable. The next time you need internal or external hard drive data recovery, look for a company that has a hard drive recycling program. These people care, both about your data and about our environment.