30 tech myths debunked

Even for a techie, it sometimes becomes difficult to tell fact from fiction -- so here is a collection of some popular misconceptions and our explanations to help clear the air.

Playing a scratched disc can damage the player: This is actually true for some optical drives/standalone players. Some models have a mechanism of increasing the laser beam intensity if a disc is not readable at normal intensity. A stronger beam means more heat and more wear and tear on the components. Hence, repeatedly playing scratched discs can potentially cause damage. If your favorite disc is scratched, it is time for you to make a backup. We decided to include this in the list despite the statement being true, as much confusion prevails on the topic.

A Blu-Ray disc will look better than a standard DVD: This really depends on the source from which the movie has been mastered before being put on a Blu-Ray disc. If it's an old movie and the source is an old generation digital or converted from a film print, then the Blu-Ray disc is not going to offer any higher quality as the original itself is of lower quality. For new movies shot and mastered with current generation equipment, you should see benefits with a superior Blu-Ray disc.

A HTPC is complicated to operate: A home Theatre PC, once setup, is no more difficult to maintain or operate than any other PC. In fact, since not many programs are installed on it, it can actually be more stable! A dedicated PC that sits next to your TV in the living room can be operated with the help of a remote control to record TV programs, time-shift (rewind), schedule recording, etc. Also, you can play any media file from your PC on the TV, giving you that much more flexibility and make it an integral part of your entertainment setup.

Photo Facts

You need a DSLR camera to take great shots: Photography is as much about the photographer as it is about the camera. Framing, the right moment, controlling lighting and position of subjects (though not always possible), the right background, the ability to visualize what looks good through the viewfinder, are all essential factors. When choosing a camera, get one that gives you manual aperture and shutter controls — learn to use them and you can get some impressive photos. Many mid-range point and shoot cameras give you these manual controls.

An 8MP picture is twice as broad and tall as a 4MP one: A digital image is composed of a horizontal and vertical resolution and the MP count (that cameras specify) is the product of the two. For example, an 8MP camera outputs an image with the resolution 3264 (H) x 2448 (V) pixels, the product of which comes to around 8 million pixels (or 8 Mega Pixels). A 4MP camera similarly produces images produces a 2272 (H) x 1704 (V) image. The extra 4MP that the larger camera has is shared vertically and horizontally, hence along each dimension you will see a gain of 1.5 times rather than 2. So, when choosing between 6MP and 8MP cameras with otherwise similar features, the advantage of the 8MP model will be an 18 per cent larger image along each dimension. Now decide if the latter's higher price tag is justified.

Digital photography means any flaw can be fixed with software: While it is true that a lot of corrections can be made to digital photographs during post processing with relative ease, some fundamental elements of photography cannot be corrected or only very lightly touched upon. For example, there is nothing you can do about an out-of-focus subject. No sharpening filter in your image enhancement program is going to help you. Similarly, you cannot bring out details from a badly overexposed area of the picture — if there is a slight underexposure, this can be corrected though. A 'flat' and burnt-out look caused by a harsh flash is another example. What you can do is alter brightness and contrast, correct white balance errors, crop and remove unwanted elements in the frame.

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Kailas Shastry

PC World India
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