Thursday, Nov 20 2014

Common Technology Myths (Busted!)

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There are plenty of things “everybody knows” about technology. For instance, everyone knows you can’t use cell phones and gas pumps at the same time, or put metal in the microwave, or stick a magnet on your computer tower.

So it may be a surprise to learn that all these known technology dangers, and many more, are wrong. Some are exaggerations, and some are just flat-out incorrect. Here’s a list of common myths about technology that you’ve probably believed.

If you pump gas while you’re on your phone, your car will catch fire

So far, the number of gas station fires that have involved a cell phone have been one — and in that case, it was found that the phone didn’t actually start the fire. While the FCC says it’s “theoretically possible” an electric spark from a cell phone could ignite gasoline fumes, even they admit the possibility is “very remote.” There have been several studies and an episode of Mythbusters disproving this myth.

Magnets + stored data = poof!

As the belief goes, placing a magnet on any electronic device that stores data will erase everything on there — so unless you’re playing a cruel practical joke, keep magnets away from computers and thumb drives. But the truth is, solid state drives like thumb drives won’t be affected at all. And computer hard drive disks can be erased with magnets, but only really big ones like those used for MRI machines.

If you microwave a metal object, it will spark and your microwave will explode

It’s hard to dispute this one. Most people have either seen a video where a fork is being microwaved and shooting sparks everywhere, or they’ve tried the fork trick themselves. The myth lies in believing that any metal object will produce this effect. The sparking isn’t caused by the metal of the fork — instead, it’s the shape of it. Sharp edges conduct the electrons that cause sparks. But microwave a spoon, and pretty much nothing will happen. Note: we do not suggest you run out and microwave any or all metal items in your home.

Standing next to a microwave will pump you full of radiation

This myth has lost some ground over time, but plenty of people still believe that if you stand next to a microwave while it’s running, you could turn into Spiderman or Godzilla from the radiation. But while it’s true that microwaves sometimes leak radiation, the FDA explains that the lifetime radiation an appliance emits is “far below the level known to harm people.”

More megapixels = better photos

Smartphone cameras have come a long way in a short time, and it’s all because they keep adding megapixels to the image resolution. But equating more megapixels with higher quality photos is one of the most common misconceptions in all of digital photography. You can’t take a great picture with a crappy resolution — but you can take a fantastic photo with a decent resolution, if your phone camera has a good lens, circuitry, sensors, and controls, and you have an eye for lighting and composition. More megapixels do not create instant master photographers.

Internet, World Wide Web…same difference

The Internet and the Web are not two different terms for the same thing. The World Wide Web is actually what most people consider the Internet: all the websites that start with www. But the Internet is more than the Web — it’s the infrastructure that enables information sharing between networks around the globe, including computers, smartphone, and software networks. The Web needs the Internet, but the Internet can exist without the Web.

If you don’t completely drain and recharge your phone/laptop, the battery can’t hold a full charge

This is a myth that used to be true. Older cell and laptop batteries had this problem, but battery technology has advanced along with the devices they power. Most modern devices use lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged whenever it’s convenient — and even a quick charge just to get enough power to send a text won’t harm the battery capacity.

Private or “incognito” browsing lets you be anonymous online

Whether you’re paranoid or just don’t want anyone to know about your Hello Kitty obsession, you might feel safer browsing online in “private mode.” This stealth setting for some browsers keeps the websites you visit out of your history, and prevents you from being automatically logged into your accounts (so you don’t accidentally post about Hello Kitty on your Facebook page). However, incognito mode doesn’t make you invisible to the sites you’re visiting — and your footprints are still findable with some tech savvy.

Your phone is giving you cancer

This myth has been particularly polarizing. In the 1990s and 2000s, there were people who believed this with a passion, and others who called those people paranoid Luddites for thinking it. But the truth is actually…not certain. Several studies, including an exhaustive 11-year-long research program in the UK, have failed to find any link between cell phones and brain cancer, or any other type of cancer. But the studies have also stated that “more research is needed,” so this myth can’t be truly retired yet.

Want to know more about these myths, or have an IT inquiry about jobs or open positions? Contact the experts at The Armada Group today.

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