On the Season 5 Premiere at 32:21 you can see how series protagonist Dexter (both a serial killer and a blood spatter analyst for the police) is destroying files about his victims.
When my wife saw that, she exclaimed “I want that!” which sent me to the Googles searching for what app this is. Turns out that quite a few people had a similar emotional response of “WANT” on seeing this on TV.
So in this article I’m giving you intrustions on how to achieve this.
Step 1: Get the Widget
You download and install the widget which results in having the widget appear on your dashboard. You can shred files there if you start dragging them on the desktop or finder and – while holding down the mouse button – switch to the dashboard and let the files drop on the widget.
The widget has 3 levels of security which you flip through by clicking on the widget.
- Low: Bypass the trash can. This is a quick way to get rid of those files you know you don’t need, leaving the trash can for those things you just might want to dig out later. It still provides a 1 pass overwrite of the deleted data.
- Medium: Secure erase. This mode overwrites your shredded documents with a US Department of Defense compliant 7 pass procedure.
- High: Virtual Paper Pulp. Use this setting for only the most sensitive files. Though it might be slow, the 35 pass Gutmann algorithm will ensure that no data from these files is ever recovered.
As a regular user you should be happy here and can stop reading. The next step demonstrates a hack that lets dashboard widgets appear on your desktop.
Step 2: Hack it
Normally dashboard widgets are confined to the dashboard. But there is a developer mode that can be enabled by changing a default setting.
Open terminal and enter this command:
defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
To activate this setting you need to either log out and log back in or reboot your Mac. Once you are back to the desktop you can now drag widgets between worlds.
Step 3: Drag it
Now open up the dashboard, on modern Mac keyboards its the F4 key with the dashboard icon on it. Alternatively you can use F12.
Drag the shredder icon and without letting go of the mouse button leave the dashboard. You will see the shredder widget stick with your mouse pointer. Then you can let it go anywhere on your desktop. On my iMac it worked via the dashboard button, on an older white MacBook I had to set the function keys to be working without FN and then use the F12 key.
Step 4: Shred it
Now you get shred documents without having to call up the dashboard just by dragging them on top of the shredder.
You have to try this out to appreciate the feeling of relief you get when you see the incriminating files be shredded to pieces that no FBI data reconstruction algorithm can ever hope to restore.
You can still drag the shredder around as you like, but it will overlap all windows. Nothing can go in front of widgets that you have thus moved to the desktop. Which might be an argument against keeping it on the desktop as you might use some full screen apps where this might be annoying.
But with the described hack in place you are free to store the shredded on the dashboard until you are planning a bigger evidence destruction session at which point you simply move it to the desktop with a swift gesture.
If you are like me (no, not a criminal) then you have lots of screenshots on your desktop and having to empty the trash might be annoying for files that you know you won’t need any more. Here the Low security setting of simply bypassing the trash bin does away with this annoyance.