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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Technology

Technology myths

Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 13, 2013
First Published: 14:15 IST(13/3/2013)
Last Updated: 19:47 IST(15/3/2013)
Laptop computers made by Samsung Electronics are displayed at the company's main office in Seoul.

The world of technology is one based on fact rather than fiction. However, it is also a world full of myths, with new ones being added every year. So even as the world ditches point-and-shoot cameras for DSLRs and smartphones, we debunk five popular ones.

Jailbreaking your phone is illegal
Though the term ‘jailbreaking’ does sound forbidden, it simply means that the user gets access to areas that you aren’t supposed to mess around with, whether by installing programs or making it compatible with another cellular network. This is a problem in the US, where cellular networks tie up with handset companies.So yes, jailbreaking is illegal in the US, though the White House released a statement on March 4 that it agrees with a citizen petition stating otherwise. It argued that ‘jailbreaking’ to allow users to switch carriers should be made legal. However, this problem does not arise in India. So as long as there are no copyright infringements, buyer is king.

The higher the megapixels, the better the quality of your images
Every year, the market is flooded with cameras that offer ‘superior quality images’ with higher megapixels. So the 6MP camera that seemed like the best buy a year ago begins to feel obsolete in comparison to devices offering 12 or 40MP resolution.Turns out, the megapixel count is in no way directly proportional to a camera’s quality. The lens has some role to play in it. Even the cheapest digital cameras can meet the needs of 99 per cent of non-professional consumers. In fact, you could use the camera on your phone to get a decent image and blow it up to a poster-sized print. So unless you need to do anything more than this, a camera with an 8 or 10 megapixels resolution works just fine.

Macs never get viruses
If you’ve met an Apple fanboy or girl, you probably know that it is practically impossible for an iPhone or Mac to catch a virus. Impressive, right? Not. For a while the company claimed it got immunity from malware software and viruses. However, if hackers love something, it’s a good challenge. In April 2012, Mac users around the world suffered a Flashback Trojan outbreak. It affected roughly 6,00,000 owners, more than one per cent of users, and forced the company to take down a line on its website that says the Mac ‘doesn’t get PC viruses’. And it has taken a bite out of Apple’s pie.  

Magnets can erase your hard-drive This one has caused much stress, and for no reason. While the contents of a floppy disk (it’s time for an upgrade if you still use one) can be erased with a common magnet, the same isn’t the case for SD cards, laptops or desktop hard-drives.

You’d need to find one of the strongest industrial magnets known to mankind to cause any kind of systems blackout. Now considering that the chance of attempting this is rather slim in an average Mumbai home, it would make more sense to worry about the stock market or the 2014 elections instead.

You can ruin a laptop by leaving it plugged in when you aren't using it
This is one we preached to anyone who cared to listen till some time ago. Reasons ranged from the logical ‘why block a perfectly good plug point’ to the illogical ‘it could burst while we are sleeping’.

However, our fears were unfounded. Unless the laptop is very old or has a nickel-based battery, the probability of any damage is negligible. Lithium-based  batteries that are used in smartphones and laptops these days are not susceptible to losing charge. And if experts are to be believed, it is better to keep the laptop plugged in than to start from zero.


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