It’s no secret that the Shack Out Back is a gay erotica-based community. Not surprisingly, there are members of the community who would love to write a story for us but can’t due to circumstances such as living at home or with a friend. Erotica isn’t something most of us want to share with the physical world. It’s private, and for some it’s even their deepest, darkest secret. Fortunately there are a few ways for you to start writing a story of your own without leaving your personal files susceptible to prying eyes.
The easiest way to start writing privately is to use an online service, such as Google Docs (now known as Google Drive). All you need is a Google account and you’re set. If you have a YouTube account, you already have a Google account, but if you don’t, sign up is virtually painless. Once you’ve done that, all you have to do is navigate to Google Drive and press the big read button labelled “Create”. It works just like any other word processor; the only difference is it’s all done online. That, of course, is the downside. If you lose your Internet connection you’ll be unable to write. Lastly, please be aware that Google will display your name to whoever you share that document with.
If you’re not a fan of online dependency, all is not lost! With an awesome little program called True Crypt, you’ll be enabled to encrypt anything from a USB flash drive to your computer’s entire hard drive. But let’s start off small. Download True Crypt from truecrypt.org/downloads and download the appropriate file. This program is available for Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7, as well as the Mac OS X.
To get started, plug in an empty USB flash drive and start up the True Crypt program:
Click “Create Volume” on the lower left-hand side, and a window will pop up:
Since we are encrypting an entire USB flash drive, choose “Encrypt a non-system partition/drive” and then press “Next”. The window you’re now looking at should look like this:
Here you are given an option to either create a “Standard TrueCrypt volume” or a “Hidden TrueCrypt volume”. The standard volume encrypts the entire USB drive and allows you to store your files on the USB just like you would before you encrypted it. The hidden volume creates two containers inside the USB. One is for storing your super-private files, and the second is the dummy volume, where you store important looking files. For this to work you will need two passwords, where one opens the hidden, private volume and the other opens the dummy volume. As the hidden volume is for really paranoid people who are trying to hide stuff from more than Mom and Dad and Uncle Jim, we’re not going to go any further into that option. We’ll create a standard volume to keep out regular people. If you want to create a hidden volume, that’s fine by me! I won’t tell. The process is pretty much the same, and the set up wizard will guide you through fairly well. Moving on! Press “Next” after choosing your volume type and you’re brought to this window:
Press the “Select Device” button on the upper-right of the window and find your flash drive in the menu. It’ll tell you the drive’s letter (like C, D, E, F, etc.) and the size of the each storage device plugged into the computer. Be aware that your 8 gigabyte (or whatever size) will show up as 7.9 gigabytes, and maybe even a bit less. Once you’ve found your flash drive in the list, press “Next” again!
The next window gives you two options. If your flash drive has absolutely nothing on it, select “Create encrypted volume and format it”. However, if you have files still on your USB and refuse to remove them (although I don’t recommend you take this option!) then choose “Encrypt partition in place”. The second option will encrypt the USB while preserving the files inside. This option takes longer and prevents TrueCrypt from cleaning out the entire USB, which may leave little fragments of old files that can be detected. Of course, again, you’re only trying to hide stuff from regular people, so it’s probably not a huge deal. Make your selection and press “Next” again.
Here’s where the fun begins. It’s time to choose your encryption. The default options are more than enough security for your needs, so feel free to press “Next” right now and move on to the next step. However, if you want to super-encrypt your flash drive you’ve got several different options to play with. You might want to do some research on algorithms if you’re unsure of what to do but want super-duper protection, as this guide will not be going into best encryption methods. Mommy can barely control the cursor on the screen, so the need to use stronger encryption just isn’t there. Press “Next”!
The next screen is so simple that I’m not even going to take a screen shot. Verify that the size stated in bold text is (example: Size of DeviceHarddisk1Partition1 is 7.88 GB) the same size as the device you’re encrypting and press “Next”.
For the next step you will be entering your password. Make sure it’s something you’re going to remember, as you won’t be able to recover a lost password! TrueCrypt will try to make you create a really strong password; however, you can ignore this and pick whatever you want. Just make sure the password isn’t something someone you know will be able to guess. Set your password and press “Next”.
Remember that fun I mentioned a while back? This is it! Wiggle your mouse over the window randomly for as long as you can bear. The longer you do it, the stronger the “cryptographic strength”. Of course, I do it for the fun! It’s like a challenge, damn it! My current record is fifteen minutes and thirty seconds. I doubt I needed to do it that long, but I was on a mission. When you’re fed up with this step, click format!
TrueCrypt will take it from here. As soon as it’s done, press “Exit” and you’re ready to go. Simply open up TrueCrypt and, instead of pressing “Create Volume” select “Auto Mount Devices”. A password box will pop-up, you type in your password, and TrueCrypt will find your USB and make it available to you. While the volume (flash drive) is “mounted” you will be able to use your flash drive just like you did before.
Store all of your story files on the flash drive and you’ll never have to worry about anyone finding your erotic stories ever again. Just remember to press “Dismount All” and remove your flash drive from the computer before you leave.
As a side note, every time you plug your flash drive into a computer, a box will pop up saying “You need to format the disk in drive (insert drive initial here): before you can us it.” Simply press “Cancel” or the red “X” button and ignore it. And don’t forget that in order to open your flash drive TrueCrypt will have to be installed on that computer.
Tip: If your word processor keeps a recent file history of all opened documents, name your story files something inconspicuous like an essay title or “resume”. Of course, you could also clear the recent history… but where’s the fun in that?