Seems like every time technology evolves and blows our minds, some comes along to warn about an innovation’s dangers.
Fortunately for us, many of those warnings are typically misguided or often just flat-out wrong.
We’ve broken down some of the most widespread myths — about cutting edge tech, as well as devices that have been around for a while.
Myth: Incognito mode makes you invisible to the world.
Truth: The word “incognito” means false identity. So, when web browsers offered the incognito mode, it was automatically assumed that it creates an impenetrable barrier between a computer and the outside world. The reality is quite different. Incognito mode increases one’s privacy and security as browser history is not saved in this mode. Also, cookies created during this mode are automatically deleted when the window is closed. But, incognito mode doesn’t completely prevent any computer from being tracked. The websites you open in incognito mode can still track information about you. Your internet provider can also track the pages you visit while you are in incognito mode. This mode also does not protect the device from viruses and other malicious programs.
Myth: A camera’s quality is measured by its megapixels
Truth: This is perhaps one of the most widespread misguided beliefs among the vast majority of digital camera users, myself included up to a few years ago. It was partly the manufacturers of the cameras themselves who contributed in some way to establishing this falsehood, via their strategic criteria for marketing and sales. The truth is that the quantity of a digital camera’s megapixels only affects the resolution of the images it can take, in other words the matrix of dots or pixels distributed bi-dimensionally across the entire surface of the image. Therefore, the number of megapixels a camera offers only affects the size up to which an image can be printed without any loss of quality or definition. The quality of a digital image is measured using other parameters and depends on a whole host of factors such as the number of pixels, the size of the sensor, the quality of the lens and the way in which the pixels are distributed throughout the image, among others.
Myth: Constant use of cell phones may cause cancer
Truth: How often do we hear that mobile phone cause cancer? Perhaps every day. But, according to the United States National Cancer Institute: “Radio frequency energy, unlike ionizing radiation, does not cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer. The only consistently observed biological effect on humans is a slight retarding of tissue heating. In animal studies, it has not been found to cause cancer or to enhance the cancer-causing effects of known chemical carcinogens.”
As per the World Health Organization: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”
Myth: Refreshing the desktop screen will increase the speed of computer making it work faster
Truth: To make our computer work faster we often right-click the empty area on the desktop screen and refresh it. However, in actual fact, unless any modification is done to the icons and to their paths, refreshing the desktop will not make any difference. Basically, refreshing the desktop is not necessary to increase the speed of computer.
Myth: Holding a laptop on your lap for a long time will make you sterile
Truth: The relation between laptops and fertility has been a long-debated topic. When it comes to females, they are assumed to be absolutely safe. This is because the eggs are produced in the ovaries deep inside a woman’s body. So, the heat from a laptop or other external source is not likely to be so intense that it raises your core body temperature enough to damage the ovaries and hurt egg production.
The effect on males is a more debated topic. It is well known that a rise in temperature negatively affects sperm production. It’s a phenomenon that’s been observed in bicyclists, runners, and hot tub enthusiasts. But the research between men’s testicle and laptop heat have all been done under controlled experimentation. Normally, people do not keep their laptop over their private body parts so long that it could cause any permanent damage. Keeping one’s private areas well-ventilated goes a long way toward heading off any potential damage.
Myth: Magnets will erase your data
Truth: You’d need a really big magnet, and even then it would only affect certain types of data storage. Solid state drives (SSD) such as thumb drives, for example, are safe. Hard disk drives, like those on your computer, are at risk but only from really powerful magnets, like those used in MRI machines or other specialized equipment.
Myth: You should never, ever put metal in the microwave
Truth: Putting metal objects in the microwave can be dangerous, but it’s not as harmful as you’ve been led to believe. Rather than quantity, the safety of putting metal in the microwave depends more on shape. Sharp edges can conduct electrons that result in sparking, but items with more rounded metal surfaces, such as spoons, usually don’t cause problems.
Myth: Not removing the USB safely will erase the data
Truth: When we disconnect a USB device from any computer, it is advised that we always click on “Safely Remove Hardware” before removing the device. For a long time, people have assumed that not doing so will corrupt the data. But actually, it only leads to corrupt data if any file is being read or being written to or from the USB. If there is no action or exchange going between the device and USB, you can just take out the USB device from the computer without clicking on the safely remove hardware option.
Myth: Macs are not affected by virus
Truth: Another of the myths prevalent among PC and Mac users is the latter’s supposed immunity to viruses. This misguided belief has always been perpetuated by Apple, as shown by the statement posted on its website claiming, “The Mac is immune to the thousands of viruses that threaten computers that run using Windows…”. This is evidently nothing more than a myth propagated by marketing criteria designed to set Mac apart from its principal competitor, Windows, given that the current increase in the popularity of Mac OS X has seen professional malware become a multiplatform phenomenon. Cases such as the Trojan horse Flashback clearly show that no system is immune.
Myth: Processors – the faster the better
Truth: Up until a few years ago the speed of the processor was an important factor when it came to choosing, for example, between a 1GHz and a 1.5GHz processor, but the reality of the matter is that it is not all that significant. The speed of a processor is related to its per-cycle workload , which is another way of saying that for a certain workload there are processors that require a greater or lesser speed in accordance with the number of cycles their architecture needs to carry it out. Therefore, it makes no sense to compare the speeds of the different processor family architectures as the workload implemented per cycle differs with each architecture and, in turn, the ratio between performance and clock speed is different.
Myth: You should not charge a phone/computer until the battery is completely dead.
Truth: When we see zero percent charge on our laptop or mobile, we assume the battery is dead. But if you hold the power button in such a case, the screen will turn on long enough to tell you to charge the battery. This is because the battery is still sitting at somewhere around a 10 percent charge.
A popular myth has made many people assume that charging the device when it is at zero percent charge will increase the longevity of the battery. In reality, if you allow your battery-powered devices to go to “dead” each and every day, it will reduce the battery’s effectiveness over time. So, to prolong the battery life of your electronics stop letting your phone’s or laptop’s battery die every day.