Ziszor – Shredding Credibility
By Jim Bray
Who among us hasn't been found at one time or another to be in possession of sensitive documents it wouldn't be wise being caught with?
That's why someone invented the Ziszor, a portable hand-held document shredder you can use to get rid of those compromising documents you just stole from a competitor's safe and photographed with your cell phone camera.
Of course you could also use it for more mundane functions such as protecting yourself from the scourge of identity theft, but where's the romance in that?
According to a company press release, the biggest threat to a person's identity these days is a total stranger who finds your old papers in a dumpster. The release attributes a study conducted by Utica College and funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, which examined 734 identity theft-related cases the Secret Service closed between 2002 and 2006.
"Contrary to corporate security heads' concerns, the methods for stealing identity information are surprisingly low tech," the release says. "Thieves using the Internet and other technical devices, such as a computer or a printer, represented less than half of cases (49.1%). More often, thieves relied on non-technical means like stealing someone's mail to get data."
This may be a good reason to also keep a gun next to the Ziszor…
The Ziszor bills itself as the first premium, hand-held paper shredder to balance security with ease of use and portability, and that's a pretty apt description. The thing's only about 10 inches long and weighs less than a pound and a half – and it'll shred stuff wherever you need to be shredding stuff, from the place you sort your mail to the kitchen, family room, home office, dresser-top. The Ziszor people would undoubtedly love it if you kept a Ziszor in each of these fine locations!
I was thinking of attaching one right to my mailbox so the letter carrier can take care of bills proactively.
The device is silver with red trim and looks kind of like a big tuning fork with a closed end, or maybe a small version of those wands airport security people wave at you like a divining rod as they indulge their passion for annoying the heck out of you before deigning to let you board a plane.
When you hold the Ziszor in your hand your thumb falls right to the switch that activates it, in a nicely thought out example of ergonomic design.
Ziszor runs on four AA batteries; the bottom snaps off to let you load them, as well as offering access to the thing's innards so you can clean out those bits of paper that never go all the way through and threaten to clog it up. The little slot through which you run the paper isn't very big, so if you're shredding a letter sized document you'll have to fold it in half before it'll go through, and you can only do a couple of pages at a time or it bogs down.
The manufacturer says it'll shred up to five pages at a time, but if that's the case you're probably shredding tissue or toilet paper because I had no trouble bogging it down with fewer pages than that. But as long as you keep its limitations in mind, it works well and is a pretty cool and handy device.
I've been keeping a Ziszor on my desk, right next to a little portable scanner, where it's nicely at hand when I want to get rid of documents I've just scanned or which I don't want to leave hanging around, stuff like bills, second notices, demands for payment, "govern yourself accordingly letters", that type of thing.
Included in the package are your first set of batteries and three catch bags you can use to prevent the shredded pieces of paper from littering your floor – unless of course you're creating shredded bits of paper deliberately so you can line a gerbil's cage or something, in which case you'll just want to let the stuff spew from the Ziszor and let gravity take care of the rest.
Ziszors sell for fifty American dollars. Thirty extra catch bags will set you back $3.29, or you can use up those plastic grocery bags you have lying around before they're outlawed.
We've been shredding documents for years, thanks to a plug-in shredder my wife picked up somewhere sometime, but now I can shred my own stuff downstairs in my home office without having to take it upstairs to the "main shredder". That means I don't have to interrupt my sedentary lifestyle to keep my identity protected and annoying mail eliminated. I like that!
The Ziszor is made of high-impact plastic that should just wipe clean with a cloth and mild soap if you manage to spill something onto it and don't short out yourself and/or the device first (okay, there's little chance of that). It's available from the company's website at www.ziszor.com.
With identity theft (and littering!) being such a hot topic of concern these days, the Ziszor could be a nifty little addition to the home, office and/or briefcase.
Copyright 2008 Jim Bray
Jim Bray's columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.
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