Saturday, February 09, 2013

Five Most Popular Tech Myths

Popular may have been a bit of an over statement, lets say the five most commonly held myths in the tech world.  First off, I know that Five common anything in and of itself is a myth, so I am not about to say that this is definitive in the least. But I crawled through a few lists and took some that just screamed of polarization in the techie world. Let's see if you agree:

1: Macs are immune to Malware: Last year alone the trojan called Flashback infected more than 600,000 Macs. The idea that Macs were not as likely to contract malware was more of a marketing ploy spread by Apple marketing than actual statistics of real conditions.

2: The more megapixels a camera has the better the pictures: Do you remember the movie "This is Spinal Tap"? The part I am referring to is when Nigel explained to the documentary's director that their amps went to 11 while other amps only went to 10. When pushed for the significance his only reply was "But Ours Go to 11!" as it was with Nigel so is it with camera buyers today. Unless you plan on printing and enlarging your photos, the extra pixels are of no use what so ever. For the web, a 3 mega pixel camera's output will be virtually the same as a camera with 3 to 4 times the pixel count. Plus if the pictures are going online, even 3 mega pixels have to be downsized to less pixels so they will load faster. Yep, pixels from your great 16 mega pixel camera are thrown away when you put them online for viewing.

3: Commercial software is safer and more reliable than free or open-source software. Wow talk about a loaded question! But one near and dear to my heart, because you see, free or open source and free software is in many ways superior to their commercial counterparts. First quite a few free software titles are gateways to commercial packages. That's fine in my book. As long as the free packages have enough features from the commercial versions to make them safe and functional. I myself use almost exclusively open-source ( open source software is usually conceived and coded by programming pros that have a need for custom software, which they then release to the public to change or improve the software to make it more up to date ) These packages are equal and in a lot of cases superior to the commercial offering.

4: The qwerty keyboard was designed to slow typists down: Here is another that is close to my heart and to be truthful I know this answer from experience. The true answer is exactly opposite. From my experience the keyboard designed was to speed up or to be clearer to make typists more efficient by having them type more. Yes the design comes from the old typewriter days when the keys and letters were mechanical. Only one key could occupy the paper strike area at a time. In the ABC keyboard, it was easy to get the most common keys used to try and occupy a space designed for one letter, the keys would then jam and you would spend time getting the keys unstuck. The less time you did this and the more you spent typing the more efficient you were, so the most common keys were moved apart to cause less jamming and much less wear and tear on the expensive equipment. Typing speeds in truth went up and repair bills went down all due to the qwerty keyboard design. today, no one design is better than another because it is now impossible to "jam" keys.

5: Refurbished tech is not as good as new: Another one that near and dear! WRONG! People have this idea that refurbed means broken damaged or otherwise not working that has had the bare minimum needed to get it operational and returned to the sales floor or bought by junk dealers who sell it with no warranty. In reality refurbs can be as simple as a floor demo or a unit with packaging damage or missing instructions or secondary hardware. Often these are cleaned, tested, repacked and sent for sale. It has been< my experience that such units are NEVER old, then they can only be sold as used. They can not be sold as new, so you often get great savings on items that have little or no usage at all. Now to be as safe as possible, purchase factory certified. These have been tested to spec and often have 30 to 90 day warranties. The savings may be shorter though. If you can forgo the< factory certifications look to buy from sites that will allow you to lodge a grievance should you be unhappy with your purchase. I myself have used these option with a great deal of success and maybe once or twice had to ask for a replacement. You should check the reputation of the site you are making purchases from would not hurt though.

Now there are MANY other tech mythperceptions that can be found by googling the subject. Some of these ideas came from



from an article by Kim Komando


George said...

Respectfully disagree with #4--there is a more to efficient keyboard design than whether keys jam. For example, how much one has to move fingers to type. Having the most used keys under the resting fingers is most efficient and fastest. In that respect, the Dvorak keyboard is better, but never caught on.

Anonymous said...

Pixels do make a difference when you take pictures, you answered was skewed toward online viewing not keeping the pictures for yourself, Wrong again chief!

Beam Me Up said...

NOt really Anon, being a photographer for 50 years or so, I begin to see what is smoke and mirrors. Yes I skewed my comments toward the online community because that is where 98% of all photos go now. But as for viewing it is almost the same. I demonstrate this in class all the time with pictures blown up to feet on a side for an extreme example. One taken at 3 megapixels and the other at 12 and challenge the class to pick out the low rez. More than half can not. For an average photo of 4x6 inches there is virtually no view-able difference.

Now if you are printing an enlargement, yes the pixel count can make a difference. But with about 1% going to print there is really little incentive to Buy the heavy megapixel rigs. The thing to remember also is that I didn't come to that conclusion in a vacuum, the original writer of the article(or parts there of) came to the very same point themselves.

And in closing the thing that I find funny in this argument is that most camera now output in jpeg, so you buy a camera that takes hirez pics and then compress the bejesus out of them, throwing away vast quantities of pixels in the compression process. Something else the camera people dance around. Even if you take a pic in RAW but save it in jpeg you do the same thing. The real funny is when some people edit, they will load up the jpeg, edit and save it again in jpeg... and any of you people who are reading this, give it a try....take a photo, copy it to your hard drive. now open it in your fav editor and save it again as 2.jpeg and again and save it as this 50 times and then compare your 50.jpeg to your do you like them apples?

Beam Me Up said...

Yeah I wondered about this one myself George. I have been a touch typists since the early 70s and used to have trouble jamming even with the qwerty...and for the longest time I bought into the myth that is was to slow fast typist down. But if you look at how the key heads are arranged vs the older style where the keys (the things that make the marks that is)are so spread out in the popular keys. That really doesn't have to anything to do with the notations on the keyboard. But again if you look, none of the fingers have to move any further than the the others, but oddly it is still the first 3 fingers on each hand that moves the most. As for the know, I tried it and found it more frustrating than anything. I think just the mechanical positioning of the keyboard halves demonstrating a more natural positioning of the hands

kallamis said...

Okay. went and looked up that board you two are discussing. I'll stick with my qwerty type here.
Anyone that wants to use one of those, had better start on it first. For those of us that have started with type writers back in the day, that board will never fly. Way too many years of finger and mental training for any of us to switch over with any type of comfort level.
We'd be looking at the board more than the screen.