You've been watching CSI too much.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 31 years

Little things you're probably wrong about

October 19, 2014

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2014, The Post-Standard

We were visiting Fairbanks when I found out that musk ox aren't oxen at all. They're related to sheep and goats, not the brutes Paul Bunyon befriended.

Sometimes, as our visit to the University of Alaska animal research station showed, we can be wrong about the weirdest things.

Take that computer that Apple makes. It's the Macintosh, right?

Wrong. It's the Mac. Steve Jobs changed the name before he died. Single-syllable words are better, I guess.

How about turning your computer off -- completely, totally, dead-to-the-world off -- to keep the bad guys from breaking into it? Good idea, right?

Wrong. Every computer that's plugged in but turned off can be turned on by a command stored on a chip. The bad guys can slip that command into your PC any number of ways. The only way to be safe is to plug it into a switched outlet and turn the outlet off after shutting down your PC. Or your Mac; it's just as vulnerable to this.

A quick one: If you have a laptop, you just plain have to use the @#$% trackpad that came with it. Right?

Wrong. Just plug in a mouse. (I hate those trackpads, too.)

Cell phones cause cancer. Right?

Wrong. There's no evidence. That forwarded-and-reforwarded email you got from someone you don't know quoting someone else you don't know about cell phone cancer dangers is baloney. Worry about texting while driving instead.

Keep your cell phone calls really short when discussing something personal and private. There won't be time for anyone to trace the call. Right?

Wrong. You've been watching CSI too much. Locations are tracked instantly, and government snoops listen to entire recordings of the calls if they want to. (C'mon. Haven't you heard of Edward Snowden yet?)

All-in-one devices (printer-scanner-copiers) aren't as good as separate printers, scanners and copiers. Besides, if something goes wrong, you have to take the whole thing to the shop. Right?

Wrong. All-in-Ones are just as good. And what "shop" fixes these things anyway? That went out with the first George Bush.

Looking for the right app? You can trust the reviews and comments at the app stores. Right?

Wrong-O. Half seem to be written by illiterates and most of the others by people who have nothing better to do than complain. Some are even posted by cave dwellers who haven't even tried the app. Be very careful when you feel like trusting those comments.