Privacy Concerns, and the (temporary) Loss of the Mac

So over the weekend I decided it was time to get the hard drive on my MacBook Pro replaced. The reason being that it had been continually showing surface errors that typically lead to an all out hard drive failure. I wasn't so worried about losing the drive, since I use Time Machine to backup the drive, but I was getting worried that the failure would occur at a time when I was depending on it to get a project done. Since I was facing a light load right now I figured I'd take the time to get the drive swapped under Apple Care.

Historically  I've been either lucky with computers not having problems, or have been able to make my own fixes. This is probably the first time I had a computer problem that was covered by an extended warranty, which forced me to think about different things. Primarily, what can I leave on the disk and what needed to be deleted. Ideally I'd like to think the tech will turn my computer on, verify the hard drive problem, swap it out, and follow what I hope are some decent drive wiping protocols. Sadly just dealing with the person I gave my computer over to didn't really exude any confidence in this. Thankfully the night before I had a look at my applications and data to see what should be deleted. Thinks like bookmarks and history in my browsers (3 of them) were all synced up with XMarks, then wiped off the computer. Do I have any embarrassing browsing habits, I don't think so, but I don't need Joe Tech to sift through it. With the deletion of bookmarks I also deleted passwords that were being managed by any 3rd party program. That's a no brainer, I think, but one that could be looked over. So now my online identity should be safe. Next I deleted my Address Book entries. No need to have Joe Tech sell my address book to advertisers (best case scenario), or have him stalk some of my better looking friends (worst case scenario). Again, Google handles my contacts so when I get the computer back I can easily sync it up again. So as far as information goes, I felt I was safe.
The other things I deleted were all my documents, work related or personal. Joe Tech doesn't need to know this information. The last big thing I cleared out were my photos on iPhoto. At first my argument was that I had photos of other people, and with the Faces feature these people were named. But I don't really have many people photos. The real reason I deleted them was that I don't feel confident in photography. I'm fully aware I have some duds in there, with some (what I think) good ones. I don't need Joe Tech to post up a dud in the back room for all his techie friends to point and laugh at. So after verifying I had a backup of all 4,000+ photos, I deleted them all. And for those wondering why I post photos online, that's easy. You either know me, in which case you'll know how to tell me a photo sucks, or you don't know me and the level of anonymity  protects me from you actually saying something I'll really care about, unless of course you actually leave constructive comments.
So now the Mac is gone, hopefully getting white glove treatment with hands being rinsed in what ever passes for Apple holy water by a team of technicians and acolytes. In truth it'll be some kid who probably just picked his nose before opening up my Mac, but I'll stick to my fantasy. In my Mac's place? A somewhat older Compaq/HP desktop unit that was running a Windows Evaluation copy that had expired long ago. We'll see how the transition goes.

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