UPS delivered my new M3 MacBook Air last evening in the rain. I used the Migration Assistant app to transfer everything from my older (2020 M1) MBA via wireless connection, a process that took about two hours. That completed, the next step is prepping the old laptop for shipment back to Apple. They gave me nearly $500 trade-in credit for a four year old laptop that cost a thousand bucks to begin with. I’ve been doing trade-ins of old gear to Apple for years now and have found the savings to be significant.

Beyond that, it permits me to properly dispose of the hardware. I have a stack of non-Apple laptops in the garage that I don’t know what to do with. In the “old” days I would remove the hard drive and drill holes thru them before pitching it all in the dumpster. It gave me a sense that I was deleting my old data. But with the advent of solid-state drives and chips that store biometric data, etc. I don’t trust just putting these in the landfill.

For the hardware I return to Apple (iPhones, iPads, Watch, and Mac’s), I wipe these clean electronically then they are supposed to be further scrubbed of my personal data before being re-sold in China. I trust Apple to get that done. At least I trust them more than every other Fortune 500 company who contacts me monthly to let me know of yet another data breach that includes my personal data.

Life in the modern age has plenty of drawbacks and what self-respecting person doesn’t, sometimes frequently, but at least on occasion, long to get off the grid and out of the system? When I was a kid a social security number wasn’t a requirement until you got your first job. But a bunch of us got ours before then because of a particular 5th grade teacher who, as a class project, had us all sign-up for a social security card in an effort to show us how government works. (Hah!) I still have mine, with my 5th grade handwritten cursive signature scrawled across it. We had them laminated because this was an important document that needed to be preserved. Printed in bold text on mine says, “NEVER GIVE THIS NUMBER TO ANYONE”.

Then a few years later, when I went to the bank for my first auto-loan, the lender demanded to know my social security number and people have been asking for it for everything ever since. I don’t know why - why did Radio Shack need my telephone number to sell me batteries? Privacy is a dead concept in this modern world where a trillion dollars a year in fraud and stolen identities is considered chump change and not worthy of a serious fix.

It’s enough to make me want to go all Thoreau and build my own lonely cabin on Walden except then how would I recharge my lovely new laptop?