Tech Myths busted

Here at SuperTechman, we strive to keep you informed of the truth. To help everyone make better use of technology, I am going to debunk 10 of the most common tech myths and prove they are wrong.

Tech Myth 1 : More bars = better service

Have you ever had an issue with mobile call dropping out or the call quality is fairly poor, or even your mobile internet speed yet when you check your phone and you see plenty of signal bars. It’s because those little signal-strength bars don’t necessarily mean that you have a great connection. Signal bars are meant to indicate how strong the connection is between your phone and the cell tower, but there’s no industry standard that dictates how those bars are calculated. The phone manufacturer decides how to handle and displays that information. That means two different phones connected from the same spot to the same tower might show different numbers of bars.

There can also be variations in the signal based on which carrier you use and its choice of network technology. Issues such as dropping of calls, poor quality of calls and slow mobile internet speeds can be caused by network congestion, which can happen in urban areas and during big events when a lot of people are all trying to use the network at the same time. While the number of bars is usually a good indicator of the signal, it’s entirely accurate and something to trust.

Tech Myth 2 : Apple devices don’t get malware

If you use a Windows computer it’s extremely important that you have an antivirus program, but if you use a Mac or iPhone, then most people think you don’t have to worry about it. The fact that people believe this is the motivation for hackers to target these systems. Apple devices are far from immune from malware and more and more suspect viruses are being created every day.

While Apple’s reputation for offering a secure operating system is still largely intact and performs better than Microsoft in that department, Mac users should still consider using security software or running a virus scanner on their computers.

Tech Myth 3 : WiFi causes cancer

Wi-Fi is non-ionising radiation, it’s safe. Ionising radiation is the type of radiation that carries enough energy to free electrons and ionises them. This type of radiation is dangerous and it includes bad boys like x-rays, gamma, a part of the ultra-violet spectrum, etc. If you are exposed to ionising radiation for a longer period, it can cause harm to your health. 

On the other hand, non-ionising radiation doesn’t carry enough energy to ionise atoms. This radiation includes visible light, radio waves, and infrared radiation. Also, the non-ionising wavelengths longer than light are not dangerous. As Wi-Fi networks operate using non-ionising radiation, it’s harmless. Unlike ionising radiation, Wi-Fi can not break chemical bonds and harm your body.

Tech Myth 4 : Incognito browsing is always private

Incognito browsing, where your browser doesn’t retain your history or a cache of your internet activities, may sound like a great idea for both privacy and security, but it’s not going to completely hide your online adventures.

For example, choosing incognito mode in Chrome generates a message saying your activity might still be visible to websites you visit, your employer or school, and your internet service provider. Downloads and bookmarks are still saved, as well. Incognito does not mean you are entirely invisible, so browse accordingly.

Tech Myth 5 : You can do more on a laptop than a tablet

When tablet computers were still relatively new, it felt like they couldn’t keep up with the power, features ease of use of a regular laptop. But tablet technology has come a long way and high-end devices like the Apple iPad Pro and the Microsoft Surface can be perfectly capable laptop replacements whilst giving you the benefits of a tablet. Many graphics professionals have adopted tablets as their preferred machines thanks to the convenience of having a drawing surface that works with a stylus.

Tech Myth 6 : Fully draining the battery on your smartphone or laptop helps condition It

Older nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride rechargeable cell rechargeable batteries have “memories” — they only recharge up to the level of a previous state. If recharged before fully discharged, they won’t recharge to 100 percent. Over time, a rechargeable battery will lose potency if not “conditioned” (totally discharged then totally recharged).

This is not true for the newer lithium-ion or lithium-ion polymer cells. Apple notes that “you can recharge a lithium-ion polymer battery whenever convenient, without requiring a full charge or discharge cycle.” Regardless of how you use it, your laptop or smartphone battery should retain near full potency for around 2 to 3 years.  Funny that most device manufacturers will give you a different warranty on the battery (1-2 years) but a more lengthy warranty on the device.

Tech Myth 7 : You need to regularly defragment your computer’s hard drive

This used to be true, but it’s not anymore. Data is not always stored in an orderly fashion on both hard disk and solid-state drives (SSDs), and a computer can slow to a crawl as data becomes increasingly fragmented. In the past, it was necessary to manually start a defragmentation routine to better organise the data, but modern computers defragment their drives automatically on a regular schedule. SSDs get special treatment since they have a limited number of read-write cycles.

Tech Myth 8 : Password-Protected Wi-Fi is Safe

There are two types of password-protected Wi-Fi environments — your home network and a public network. Using a password at home to log into your own Wi-Fi network by using WPA or WPA/2 encryption (older WEP encryption can be easily cracked) is plenty of protection.

On the road, however, a password merely enables your entry into the hotspot and offers no invulnerability against hackers accessing your information. Hackers can launch ‘evil twin’ networks that look like the real thing that you will connect to unknowingly.  When you enter your password they can use this and go to town compromising your security,” If you’re on the road, don’t rely on a mere password as protection when connecting to public Wifi networks. Increase the protection of your information by using a VPN.

Tech Myth 9 : A Camera With More Megapixels is Better

Megapixels have absolutely nothing to do with digital photo quality, only digital photo size. The quality of a digital camera photo is determined by a camera’s sensor type and size, its processor and its optics. The only impact the number of megapixels makes is in the quality of a zoomed-in image snapped by a smartphone. Zooming on a smartphone camera is done digitally — the phone simply crops the full resolution image, resulting in a grainy photo. The higher the smartphone’s camera resolution you start with, the less grainy photo you’ll get if you zoom in.

Tech Myth 10 : The Government Can Track Your Cellphone Even When It’s Off

It’s impossible. “Any signal requires power to transmit,”  If you power down your phone with 50% battery for 3 months and power it back up again it will still have 50% battery. The one exception is if you’ve unintentionally installed a piece of malware — a Trojan horse used to control and/or monitor the device.  This virus makes the user think the phone is ‘off’ but it’s not really turned off.” A temporary solution is to remove the battery; a more permanent solution is installing an anti-virus app on your phone. But the bottom line “no power equals no electronics can work.”

Tech Myth 11 : Keeping laptop plugged in all the time overcharges the battery.

Laptops include an integrated circuit that cuts off the power supply once the battery reaches 100 per cent. Practically the battery can’t be overcharged. And the damage is caused due to the overheating of the battery and laptop’s body.

Similar is the case of smartphone batteries. People think charging smartphone overnight would damage the batteries.

Tech Myth 12 : My phone has the highest resolution, it’s great

Your newly brought smartphone packs a quad-HD display. Does matter? And does it look better than a 1080p display? Maybe it is. But in reality, our eyes have their practical limitations when it comes to differentiating between the screen pixels. But given the same size, it won’t do wonders stuffing extra pixels beyond a limit.

Tech Myth 13 : More RAM means faster

People think, if they keep adding more and more RAM to their machine then one day it will turn into a supercomputer. But, it doesn’t happen in practical applications.

RAM is a memory that’s faster than the hard drive, so, the data to be used by the processor is copied to the RAM. If you have limited RAM, the data needs to be interchanged between the hard drive and the RAM. Adding some extra juice will have its benefits but the speed only depends on the processor and on the type of RAM being used.

Tech Myth 14 : A phone call at the petrol station will be my last call.

NOTE: I would like to mention that this is a highly debatable topic. So, I’ll request you to take it with a pinch of salt and follow the instructions to ensure your safety.

It’s normal for us to encounter ‘no phone’ signs at gas and petrol stations. It is widely known that using cellular phones at the gas station can use fire hazards in the event of sparks coming out of the smartphones messing with the gas fumes. Theoretically, it might be possible. But the possibility is quite low under normal circumstances. There hasn’t been a documented incident of a petrol station fire due to cellular phones. The chances of a mobile phone causing a spark is extremely low.

Tech Myth 15 : Using cell phone in the plane will certainly lead to a crash

NOTE: Just like the above-mentioned myth, this one is also highly controversial. So, whatever instructions are given to you inside the aircraft, follow them diligently.

Probably every flight announcement asks you to switch off your electronic devices including your cellular phone. While some people believe it might interfere with the plane’s communication system. Well, it does, but mostly its impact is quite low. Modern aircraft are built by keeping interference in mind. There is also an in-flight cellular tower tech in the works which will be able to connect cellphones to the network while flying.

And be assured your smartphone ain’t gonna make the aircraft free fall from 20,000 feet in the sky. It’s an exercise of caution. Again, I’ll advise you to follow whatever instructions you’re given inside the aircraft.

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