Famous tech myths that just won't die

Here's the scoop on widespread fables about Bill Gates, the iPhone kill switch, Internet2, Al Gore and more

The iPhone 3G has a kill switch that Apple can use to disable the device

As with many myths, this one has a modicum of truth.

The reality, however, is much less interesting than the myth.

You can imagine Steve Jobs cackling to himself as he calls up an unsuspecting iPhone user on a giant screen and then, after pressing a button, watches as the hapless victim struggles to make a phone call.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the kill switch is actually just a way to disable certain unapproved apps that are used for hacking.

The company can't disable the phone at will, and calling software that disables malicious code a "kill switch" seems like a stretch. (I contacted Apple for an official statement, but it hasn't responded yet.)

Internet2 will replace the Internet

Ask a nontechie if something called Internet2 will one day replace Internet1 and that person will surely concur that it makes sense. Internet2 is actually a private network for a group of partners headed by colleges and universities and has no plans to ever go public.

In fact, the costs associated with Internet2 are so exorbitant (some connections run over 1Gbit/sec.) that it would likely take an act of Congress to make it freely available. And even then, the costs to run a public Internet at Internet2 speeds would be too high for ISPs and consumers.

And one further point: If Internet2 were the intended successor to the current Internet, companies like Sprint, Verizon and Clearwire wouldn't be busily laying the foundation for 100Mbit/sec. Internet. They would just wait for Internet2 to arrive.

PC gaming is dying or already dead

Every major PC gaming magazine, and a few dead ones, have reported on the demise of PC gaming. It's definitely not a happy time to be a keyboard-and-mouse gamer, especially when a site like VG Chartz, which tracks game sales, doesn't even include the platform. Yet, while PC game sales have declined, there still are millions of Mac and PC gamers around.

EBgames.com lists no fewer than 170 pages of upcoming PC game titles, and franchises such as The Sims (a new Sims 3 version comes out this fall) and Civilization enjoy a loyal following. Casual PC gaming is also exploding, and sites such as Club Penguin and Barbie.com are overloaded with young PC gamers every day.

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John Brandon

Computerworld
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