The Real Deal: Common Computer Misconceptions and False Technology Beliefs

The following are 50 of the most common misconceptions about computers, technology in school, Facebook, viruses, history of technology, Computer Science, and many more. You’ll be surprised to know that some of what you actually believe in are actually false.

1. When you delete something, it’s permanently deleted.

The Real Deal: It does give space to you hard drive, but they do remain as reference. There are special programs in permanently deleting files.

2. Magnets can delete hard drive memory clean.

The Real Deal: It may be true when computers were made out of more delicate materials in the past, but now that they are made in the form of durable chips, there’s less likeliness that this would happen. Unless you have a very powerful super magnet.

3. Power Strip and Surge protector are one in the same.

The Real Deal: These two are completely different products. The Power Strip gives more outlets to plug in external gadgets while a surge protector, while it does in fact have outlets, stabilizes the flow of electricity during a power surge so that your machine avoids damage caused by it.

4. Restarting your computer is as good as shutting it down and opening it again.

The Real Deal: The only difference is that the power your computer consumes is cut off when shutting down (less electric consumption). But both do delete temporary files, but shutting it down deletes more.

5. The computer is a tool.

The Real Deal: We have to admit, using a computer is part of our daily lives. But, it’s not some mere hammer or toaster. It’s a complete environment where we work, live, and play.

6. To learn computing, one must attend computer classes.

The Real Deal: Even children learn how to use computers before taking formal classes about it in their primary school years. The computer has GUI designed for ordinary people that even children can easily use it as well as a person who’s never seen a computer in his/her life.

7. Being an ordinary computer user who uses the computer regularly is enough to meet professional standards.

The Real Deal: There are a number of professions that require the literacy of certain applications and software not available to the public market. What you may use on a regular basis may not be even used in a certain office environment.

8. Online documents lack privacy.

The Real Deal: It actually depends on the user on how public or private he/she wants documents and files to be. File sharing services  provides options on privacy and who can or cannot see your documents. Same goes to your blogs, photos, etc.

9. Using the computer is inevitably more time consuming than using the old-fashioned pen and paper.

The Real Deal: It actually depends on the user on how he/she is acquainted with the gadget he/she is using. Some tech-savvy students of today use their iPads for notes in class, or even just take the picture of the black board for the chalk-written lecture of their teachers. Others find that writing on paper is more effective for their study habits.

10. Teaching with the aid of technology can be done by non-computer-using teachers.

The Real Deal: There are so many aspects involved with this highly important decision of using technology in teaching. We must first consider the state of the teacher itself, because it’s on his/her usage of technology that ultimately depends on the learning of the students. If he/she is not comfortable with it, it’s more likely that he/she becomes a lousy teacher. Another is the relevance of it on his/her subject. Physical Education instructors do not need technology because their subject is physically demanding and technology is more or less stationary when in use, unless playing the Nintendo Wii is part of the curriculum.

11. Technical tasks are done quickly and easily compared to any other manual tasks.

The Real Deal: Computers are made to make man’s life easier but because of the new realm it has created upon its invention, some tasks are even impossible to be done under an hour, at the least. Programming can take months and months. Even term papers are time consuming. The typing and printing alone is, how much more is research work. So much is expected now that computers do make it easier, thus it is reasonable to conclude that outputs should have quality content and form, but most of the time this is not the case.

12. I.T. Educators are in the know of technology across the curriculum.

The Real Deal: If a accounting teacher approached an I.T. teacher and asked to be thought on how to use an accounting software, it is more likely that the I.T. teacher has no idea on how to use it because its a specialty that an accountant should know, regardless of the involvement of technology.

13. Viruses can infect humans.

The Real Deal: A virus under medical terminology is completely different from viruses found in computers. They are not the same thing, whereas when your computer “catches” a virus, not only will it damage your computer, but also affects the human user.

14. Viruses are the one who opens sleazy websites and can browse from one porn site to another.

The Real Deal: Not usually admitted by the mass, but it is the user who browses from one porn site to another and this opens they’re computer to the risk of having viruses. It is not the other way around.

15. Malware only attacks Windows OS.

The Real Deal: Though it is true that majority of  Malware problems are from Windows users, there are reports from Mac users (that use pirated software cracks)  that do have the same problems.

16. The appearance of “the blue screen of death” on your computer means that you have a virus.

The Real Deal: In reality, blue screen warns you of faulty hard drives and bad drivers. Rarely does it show up to notify you that your computer has a virus.

17. Anti-virus software are ALWAYS reliable.

The Real Deal: If there are “false positives” in pregnancy tests, there are also in Anti-viruses.

18. Re-installing Windows and copying everything back from a back-up disc is a good plan.

The Real Deal: Usually, the reasons behind re-installing is to get rid a virus but if that virus found its hiding place in one of your back-up discs, be sure that you haven’t heard the last from that virus.

19. Viruses are the ONLY cause of computer errors.

The Real Deal: This is not true because files can actually be corrupted all on their own without any help from a virus. This can be caused by a bug on the software, faulty memory, a bad sector on your hard drive, or even a conflict with the installation of your anti-virus.

20. Viruses can physically damage your hardware.

The Real Deal: Though it is quite reasonable for an ordinary user to imagine their hard drive sending sparks inside their computer, or blowing up when it attains some kind of virus, that is not actually the case.

21. Firewalls protect you from Viruses.

The Real Deal: The least a firewall can do is just protect you from a worm because worms can travel through networks. Unlike Trojans, viruses, or spyware where they are attached on an actual file, this is not covered by firewalls.

22. Shutting your computer at night, every night to keep it healthy.

The Real Deal: You don’t need to shut it down all the time. You can use hibernate because truth be told, it does take a long time to shut down your computer (especially Windows) then start it up again. But it is good to shut it down once in a while.

23. Spilling beverage on a keyboard will cause malfunction.

The Real Deal: Most keyboards will survive a spill. Just turn it upside down on top of a towel and leave it to dry. Wipe off the excess stuff later. This, however does not apply to laptop keyboards since they are built directly on top of your machine.

24. Laptop batteries will become less efficient when always re-charged before it empties.

The Real Deal: Unless your battery is made of Nickel Cadmium. Nowadays, batteries are made of Lithium Ion, thus preventing this from happenning.

25. It’s ok to give away your computer after deleting all files.

The Real Deal: As mentioned earlier, once you delete something, it’s not permanently deleted so whoever gets a hold of your computer can recover everything on your hard drive if he/she knows what he/she is doing.

26. Gates (microscopic transistors) can be bought at an electronics store.

The Real Deal: Though you can buy them online, they aren’t really available for purchase on the actual store.

27. Linux will eventually overtake Windows among ordinary consumers.

The Real Deal: It’s not going to happen until their whole design is more user-friendly because while Linux is more powerful, it is also harder to learn and understand.

28. Programming requires Calculus.

The Real Deal: It’s been said that software development requires calculus, but this is not true.

29. Lectures are an effective method on teaching programming.

The Real Deal: Programming needs to be practiced and experienced. It’s a very hands-on requirement that goes beyond the chalkboard of I.T. educators.

30. One should write codes on paper before writing it on the computer.

The Real Deal: Not only is this time-consuming, but it is stupid. Codes are consistently being edited and changed, thus if you do it on paper, you’re gonna end up killing a lot of trees.

31. Java is a good first teaching language.

The Real Deal: When going over variables, loops and conditionals, the object-oriented overhead of a language like Java is unnecessary and confusing. Students can’t just memorize things (ex. public static void main (String args[])) without demanding to know what it means and why it’s there.

32. Girls don’t have a logical mind like boys, therefore taking up Computer Science isn’t practical for them.

The Real Deal: This is just pure sexism. Statistics say that even though less women do take up this course, those who do pass and graduate. Only 50% of the male population that take this course pass and graduate. The other half end up shifting to other courses.

33. Computer Sciene is only for those geeks who play video games and program their TI-84+.

The Real Deal: Computer Science takes logical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Knowing how to play video games or having the knowledge to program a TI are not pre-requisite knowledge and are useless in this course.

34.  One must be an internet junkie to do well in Computer Science.

The Real Deal: Though it is useful to have adequate knowledge of the internet, it does not help or pre-determine your performance in the course.

35. Computers cause cancer.

The Real deal: Though computers do emit radiation, it emits such a low frequency, it doesn’t harm users.

36. It is dangerous to use a cellular phone while at a gas station.

The Real Deal: Not only has this NEVER happened, it has also never been testes upon scientifically. This is just an e-mail urban legend spread.

37. Charles Lindbergh was the first man to fly the Atlantic Ocean.

The Real Deal: The first flight had been done first in stages between May 8 and May 31, 1919, by the crew of the Navy-Curtiss NC-4 flying boat which took 24 days to complete its journey. The first truly non-stop transatlantic flight was made in 1919 by John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown in a modified Vickers Vimy bomber. Charles Lindbergh was not the first man to fly the Atlantic Ocean, although he was the first to have flown across it solo.

38. The US Highway system was designed to allow planes to land in case of emergencies.

The Real Deal: The United States Interstate Highway System was not designed with airplane landings. An urban legend states that one out of every five (or ten) miles of highway must be straight and flat to allow emergency (or military) airplane landings, but this is not true.

39. Web cookies are dangerous and should be avoided.

The Real Deal: Cookies are just plain text files which a website can store on your computer with information to manage your browsing.  The only thing you have to fear from web cookies is the lack of privacy regarding some of your browsing habits.

40. Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press or the movable type.

The Real Deal: Gutenberg was the first European to use movable type, and he probably invented it independently; the printing press did have a larger influence on Western than on Eastern culture. But he was not the first to invent the printing press or movable type; these were in use in China and Korea centuries before.

41. Apple Macs don’t get viruses.

The Real Deal: First of all, there are Macro Viruses that infect Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Because Word and Excel are available for the Mac, this means that they can be potentially harmful on them as well. So, while there are minimal reports regarding Mac obtaining viruses, there are some in existence.

42. Planes dump their toilet waste while up in the air.

The Real Deal: When toilets are used on a plane, the waste is dumped into a special tank. The waste remains in the tank until the plane lands, and then special ground crew members pump the tanks. And not only do planes not dump their waste mid-flight, it is also impossible for them to do so due to some kind of catastrophe which causes the waste tanks to explode open (because the valve is on the outside of the plane).

43. Hitler invented the autobahn (large motorway).

The Real Deal: The autobahn was built in 1931 and opened by Konrad Adenauer, the Mayor of Cologne. This was two years before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.

44. The web IS the Internet.

The Real Deal: The World Wide Web is made up of servers (which serve the pages) and clients (like Firefox, Safari, and IE) which display the page while the Internet is the set of technologies beneath the web which enable the web to exist. If the Internet didn’t exist, the web would not be able to function; if the web didn’t exist, the Internet still would.

45. Pong was the first video game.

The Real Deal: Pong was invented in 1972 by Atari and it was an arcade style game that featured two opposing paddles and a ball with which you played virtual tennis. It was the first commercially successful video game and it launched the video game industry. However, twenty years earlier (in 1952), another game was created. It was called OXO and it was a noughts-and-crosses (tic-tac-toe) type game which was played on the EDSAC computer. It was made by Alexander Douglas for his PhD thesis at Cambridge University.

46. Friends who recently viewed your Facebook profile appear in the friend’s section of your homepage.

The Real Deal: According to an official statement from Facebook, it is technically impossible for users to find out who viewed your account or how many times it was viewed.

47. Facebook is only for youth/teens.

The Real Deal: The website welcomes all, regardless of their age group. It is being widely used for various purposes like advertising, marketing and recruitment, and many more. And according to findings by 60 Second Marketer, 29% of users are between the age group of 18 and 25 while the 26 to 34 age group is not far behind with 23% of members. Also, the 35+ age group form the 38% of total users which proves Facebook is not only for the youth.

48. Pictures and videos are deleted upon deactivation of Facebook account.

The Real Deal: When you deactivate your account, all information is still on the website as users have an option of going back and reactivating their profiles. On permanent deletion, the information remains on the Facebook server for a long time. Though Facebook denies it, there are possibilities of information being accessible from the website through unauthorized means.

49. Facebook destroys social skills.

The Real Deal: A website cannot be responsible to do so. In fact, there have been cases of introverts opening up on the SNS to voice in their thoughts. And as far as the misconception goes, it could have been cooked up by those who had nothing better to blame for their child’s limited social skills.

50. Linux is an Operating System (OS).

The Real Deal:  Linux is an OS kernel. The kernel is the core of all operating systems, and of course Windows has one too. The quality of the kernel is vital to the running of the OS. If your kernel is slow or buggy your entire operating system will also be slow and buggy.



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