Tech Myths Busted
Unlocking your phone can get you locked up
While of course laws vary from country to country, unlocking your phone is for the most part completely legal. People are often unclear as to the legality of unlocking their mobile device in order to use a different phone or internet provider from the one they were originally signed with. Many phone companies perpetuate this grey area in order to prevent defectors. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the US, however, unlocking your device is fine as long as it is “for the sole purpose of lawfully connecting to a wireless telephone communication network.” You cannot, for instance, make money off the sale of unlocked phones. You will void your warranty, however, once you have unlocked your device, so be sure it’s what you want.
Macs don’t get viruses
This myth has been floating around for some time. One of the major selling points of Mac computers for the technologically-naïve besides the minimalist chic design, is the erroneous notion that they are not susceptible to viruses, and thus don’t require the expensive malware and virus protection software that most other laptops and PCs are reliant upon. While it is true that Macs are not harmed by PC viruses, they can still be invaded by custom-made Mac viruses. A virus does its damage by embedding itself into the code of a program itself. Once it has done so, it can infect all computers which use the same server. This is why viruses spread across user-heavy sites, such a Gmail or Yahoo, are so effective. While Macs are less likely to be targeted, they too have been hacked, as demonstrated by the Mac Defender virus in 2011. This fake anti-virus software spawned many cumbersome pop-ups until the Mac user agreed to buy the anti-virus software from the “benevolent” Mac Defender. The most easy ways to protect your computer from a virus, be it a Mac or PC, is not to make yourself an easy target! Be wary of attachments when you don’t know the sender and avoid risky websites. Mac security software also exists, such as Intego’s VirusBarrier 6.
You + Gas Station + Cell Phone= BOOOM
There are a few ways to have an explosion at a gas station— smoking, splashing gasoline on the ground and arson would be some good ways—using your mobile phone would not. This is an example of a myth with dubious origins taking on a life of its own. Emails falsely attributed to Shell Oil circulated which posited that using your mobile phone while pumping gas can lead to an explosion worthy of a Bruce Willis movie. While Shell denied authorship of this email, the rumor spread, oft repeated by fearful gas-pumpers. The rumor gained so much traction that Australia and New Zealand have signs telling people to stay off the phone while pumping gas and certain cities in the US have even made cell phone use in gas stations illegal. While using your cell phone at the gas station will not lead to an explosion, you may want to postpone that chat anyway as with gas prices what they are you wouldn’t want to be distracted from that moving dial.
Gaming Doesn’t Work on a Tablet
Gaming on a tablet is not only possible, but is also becoming a preferred method. In addition to being portable, tablets provide a larger screen, better graphics, and a robust processor, as demonstrated by this blackberry PlayBook review video in which the fast processing is clearly visible. 84% of respondents to an Admob’s survey said that they use their tablets to play games, and the number will continue to grow as tablets become more affordable and commonplace. Gaming on tablets has seen a rise because manufacturers are focused on creating gaming-enabled tablets, in addition to a tablet’s more traditional functions, such as email, note-taking and surfing the web. As this blackberry PlayBook review demonstrates, enhanced entertainment is often a key selling point. So don’t be fooled by naysayers – gaming on a tablet is not only possible, but often preferred.
Rechargeable Batteries are always cheaper
Determining whether you should buy rechargeable batteries depends on how often you use your gadgets and the type of battery you choose to use. Rechargeable nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride batteries lose charge very quickly when they are stored, so don’t use them for gadgets you use infrequently. Lithium ion batteries keep their charge longer, but they don’t come in every size. Other factors include the price of the charger and electricity. For items you use on a more regular basis however, like your point and shoot camera or GPS, rechargeable batteries are most effective.
Electronics will crash airplanes
Verdict: TRUE (well, sort of..)
Between stories in the media of celebrities being kicked off planes for refusing to close their Draw Something game, and multiple announcements each time we fly of the necessity to “TURN OFF ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES,” one must wonder – will me playing my Angry Birds game on my iPad really bring down one of the most powerful pieces of transport on earth? The answer is yes – it’s possible. Electronic devices all emit a small amount of radiation, which can interfere with the plane’s equipment, especially during takeoff and landing. Once in the air, however, this threat lessens. So why must our devices still be on “flight-safe mode?” This is because wireless users on an airplane can overpower wireless towers beneath them, which would make the signal weaker on the ground. While the risk of a crash is very small, it’s better to be safe, so save that badly drawn unicorn or interactive chess game for another time.