Technology’s Biggest Myths

Expensive cables are better! Defragging speeds up your PC! Refilling ink cartridges ruins your printer! We put these and nine other claims to the test to find the truth behind tech’s tallest tales.

Patrick Miller, PC World

Illustration by Keith NegleyAs it turns out, Windows Vista really wasn’t all that slow; and no, your PC probably won’t fry if you open it up without wearing a wrist strap. Thanks in large part to the Internet, the tech world is teeming with lies, half-truths, and misinformation. We’ve dug up some of the Web’s most notorious nuggets of conventional wisdom to see which hold up to scrutiny and which are merely urban legends.

Of course, there’s often a grain of truth in even the most fanciful myth. That’s why we provide a handy-dandy set of numbered warning signs to indicate how accurate each of these myths is, with 1 being True and 4 being Outrageous–a complete fabrication. After all, they say numbers never lie.
The Claim: Vista Is Slower Than Windows 7

When Windows Vista came out, it soon acquired a reputation for being slow and a resource hog. Once Windows 7 arrived, people were quick to tout it as the speedy, slim operating system that Vista should have been.

We conducted performance tests on a handful of laptops and desktops using both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7, shortly after the latter OS was released. While results varied across configurations, a few trends stood out. Windows 7 raised WorldBench 6 scores from 1.25 percent to almost 10 percent (but most often in the vicinity of 2 to 3 percent); it also resulted in much faster disk operations (in Windows 7 our Nero disc-burning software tests ran twice as fast on an IdeaPad laptop, and 2.5 times as fast on a Gateway laptop), and in slightly longer battery life (the IdeaPad lasted only an extra minute; the Gateway got an extra 15 minutes).

While Windows 7 did seem to speed things up somewhat, a few tests actually showed some slowdown. Applications launched more slowly across the board (the most dramatic change was a 2.7-second Photoshop CS4 launch in Vista turning into a 9.6-second launch in Windows 7), and the Gateway laptop saw a slight increase in startup time (39.6 seconds in Vista; 43.6 seconds in Windows 7).

As it turns out, the “snappy” feeling Windows 7 engenders has to do with Registry tweaks and minor changes to the window manager that make the OS feel more responsive, even though it isn’t that different.

The verdict: Windows 7 is faster, but not by as much as you may think.

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Expensive cables are better! Defragging speeds up your PC! Refilling ink cartridges ruins your printer! We put these and nine other claims to the test to find the truth behind tech’s tallest tales.

Patrick Miller, PC World

Illustration by Keith NegleyAs it turns out, Windows Vista really wasn’t all that slow; and no, your PC probably won’t fry if you open it up without wearing a wrist strap. Thanks in large part to the Internet, the tech world is teeming with lies, half-truths, and misinformation. We’ve dug up some of the Web’s most notorious nuggets of conventional wisdom to see which hold up to scrutiny and which are merely urban legends.

Of course, there’s often a grain of truth in even the most fanciful myth. That’s why we provide a handy-dandy set of numbered warning signs to indicate how accurate each of these myths is, with 1 being True and 4 being Outrageous–a complete fabrication. After all, they say numbers never lie.

The Claim: Vista Is Slower Than Windows 7

When Windows Vista came out, it soon acquired a reputation for being slow and a resource hog. Once Windows 7 arrived, people were quick to tout it as the speedy, slim operating system that Vista should have been.

We conducted performance tests on a handful of laptops and desktops using both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7, shortly after the latter OS was released. While results varied across configurations, a few trends stood out. Windows 7 raised WorldBench 6 scores from 1.25 percent to almost 10 percent (but most often in the vicinity of 2 to 3 percent); it also resulted in much faster disk operations (in Windows 7 our Nero disc-burning software tests ran twice as fast on an IdeaPad laptop, and 2.5 times as fast on a Gateway laptop), and in slightly longer battery life (the IdeaPad lasted only an extra minute; the Gateway got an extra 15 minutes).

While Windows 7 did seem to speed things up somewhat, a few tests actually showed some slowdown. Applications launched more slowly across the board (the most dramatic change was a 2.7-second Photoshop CS4 launch in Vista turning into a 9.6-second launch in Windows 7), and the Gateway laptop saw a slight increase in startup time (39.6 seconds in Vista; 43.6 seconds in Windows 7).

As it turns out, the “snappy” feeling Windows 7 engenders has to do with Registry tweaks and minor changes to the window manager that make the OS feel more responsive, even though it isn’t that different.

The verdict: Windows 7 is faster, but not by as much as you may think. Leer más “Technology’s Biggest Myths”

Remote Working from Anywhere

I know it’s not summer for everyone reading FreelanceSwitch right now, but up here in Canada it still is. And one of my favourite things to do in the summer is to camp, but this year it was a little bit different, since this was my first summer as a fulltime freelancer.

Sure, I could have gotten way ahead of my projects, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I figured it might be possible to tether my iPhone to the laptop, and keep connected while everyone else was making smores. We’re back home now, and other than a slight campfire smell coming from the laptop, it’s pretty hard to tell that I was not at my office all week. The clients were communicated with, the articles were uploaded, and the invoices were sent – all while enjoying way too much junk food, liquid refreshments, and beautiful hikes through an amazing forest.


I know it’s not summer for everyone reading FreelanceSwitch right now, but up here in Canada it still is.  And one of my favourite things to do in the summer is to camp, but this year it was a little bit different, since this was my first summer as a fulltime freelancer.

Sure, I could have gotten way ahead of my projects, but where’s the fun in that?  Instead, I figured it might be possible to tether my iPhone to the laptop, and keep connected while everyone else was making smores.  We’re back home now, and other than a slight campfire smell coming from the laptop, it’s pretty hard to tell that I was not at my office all week.  The clients were communicated with, the articles were uploaded, and the invoices were sent – all while enjoying way too much junk food, liquid refreshments, and beautiful hikes through an amazing forest. Leer más “Remote Working from Anywhere”

Flush With Oil Cash, Southern Sudan Plans Giraffe-Shaped Capital City and a Rhinopolis

Southern Sudan expects to hit big with oil in the coming years, and what does the government plan to do with the newfound billions? Build animal-shaped cities. That’s right, the government recently announced that it’s capital, Juba, will be transformed with neighborhoods, amusement parks, roads, and buildings that all fit nicely into blueprints of a giraffe, and nearby Wau will take the form of a rhino.


BY Jenara Nerenberg

City architects tap their inner animals and go wild on urban planning.

Sudan animail-shaped cities

Southern Sudan expects to hit big with oil in the coming years, and what does the government plan to do with the newfound billions? Build animal-shaped cities. That’s right, the government recently announced that it’s capital, Juba, will be transformed with neighborhoods, amusement parks, roads, and buildings that all fit nicely into blueprints of a giraffe, and nearby Wau will take the form of a rhino. Leer más “Flush With Oil Cash, Southern Sudan Plans Giraffe-Shaped Capital City and a Rhinopolis”

Infographic of the Day: Will the Coming Tax Changes Hit Your Wallet?

With Bush-era tax breaks set to expire at the end of the year, Congress is gearing up for a knock-down-drag-out fight over whether to extend all of them, some of them, or none at all (and just in time for mid-term elections!). The Washington Post has a fun–albeit visually misleading–interactive infographic on how the options will affect your wallet. (More on the misleading bit below.)

The question is: Are we willing to put the country in deeper debt, to keep our taxes as they are now? The Post’s infographic shows three scenarios:

Letting all cuts expire
That would mean that our government incurs no extra debts. But it also means that most Americas will pay a bit more in taxes:


With Bush-era tax breaks set to expire at the end of the year, Congress is gearing up for a knock-down-drag-out fight over whether to extend all of them, some of them, or none at all (and just in time for mid-term elections!). The Washington Post has a fun–albeit visually misleading–interactive infographic on how the options will affect your wallet. (More on the misleading bit below.)

The question is: Are we willing to put the country in deeper debt, to keep our taxes as they are now? The Post‘s infographic shows three scenarios:

Letting all cuts expire
That would mean that our government incurs no extra debts. But it also means that most Americas will pay a bit more in taxes:

Extending all the cuts
This is the favored plan of most Republicans. It would cost the government $3.7 trillion over ten years in forgone revenues.

Letting cuts sunset only for those earning more than $250,000 a year
This is what Obama and many Democratic leaders are agitating for–here, the richest Americans will shell out about $310,000 more a year (which comes to about 1.7% of their income). Those in the middle class won’t pay more. The government still loses money, though — about $3 trillion over the decade. Leer más “Infographic of the Day: Will the Coming Tax Changes Hit Your Wallet?”

US Navy outlines cyber-security strategy

Navy Chief Information Officer Robert Carey has outlined several possible approaches to improving cyber-security within the sea branch of the US armed forces.

According to Carey, industry, academia, military, civilians and contractors must work as a team towards a “singular” purpose: to operate and defend the Department’s networks against attack, while enabling access to information for those who require it.

“Defenders [must be] trained as attackers. While I know this is done in small pockets, it has yet to become doctrine throughout the Department,” he explained in an official blog post.

US Navy outlines cyber-security strategy”We need to ensure that our network defenders possess the same skills and knowledge as our attackers. Our goal should be to break down the barriers between the defenders and the red teams. After all, we are all on the same team.”

However, Carey acknowledged that a multi-pronged approach was necessary – as “no one tool” was capable of “carrying” the day.

“[Indeed], different proprietary tools produce non-interoperable solutions, which produce exploitable gaps in our defenses.

“[As such], the Department’s tools must be smartly integrated into a defensive suite, using automation where appropriate so that we can, in fact, defend at Internet speeds.”


Aharon Etengoff

Navy Chief Information Officer Robert Carey has outlined several possible approaches to improving cyber-security within the sea branch of the US armed forces.

According to Carey, industry, academia, military, civilians and contractors must work as a team towards a “singular” purpose: to operate and defend the Department’s networks against attack, while enabling access to information for those who require it.

“Defenders [must be] trained as attackers. While I know this is done in small pockets, it has yet to become doctrine throughout the Department,” he explained in an official blog post.

US Navy outlines cyber-security strategy“We need to ensure that our network defenders possess the same skills and knowledge as our attackers. Our goal should be to break down the barriers between the defenders and the red teams. After all, we are all on the same team.”

However, Carey acknowledged that a multi-pronged approach was necessary – as “no one tool” was capable of “carrying” the day.

“[Indeed], different proprietary tools produce non-interoperable solutions, which produce exploitable gaps in our defenses.

“[As such], the Department’s tools must be smartly integrated into a defensive suite, using automation where appropriate so that we can, in fact, defend at Internet speeds.” Leer más “US Navy outlines cyber-security strategy”

Inspiration: Interesting & Unique Typographic Book Covers

By Callum Chapman

Books offer graphic designers, illustrators and typographers a great way to expand their portfolios. There are endless possibilities that can be explored when designing for book covers, and often are explored, as can be seen in this post.

I’ve had an increased interest in book covers recently after putting together another showcase at The Inspiration Blog on minimalistic book covers, since then I have been browsing for book cover inspiration daily so thought I would share some of my findings here at DesignM.ag. This showcase presents a collection of 64 typographic book covers, all of which are interesting and are genuinely unique. The books themselves are crossed between a number of…


By Callum Chapman

Books offer graphic designers, illustrators and typographers a great way to expand their portfolios. There are endless possibilities that can be explored when designing for book covers, and often are explored, as can be seen in this post.

I’ve had an increased interest in book covers recently after putting together another showcase at The Inspiration Blog on minimalistic book covers, since then I have been browsing for book cover inspiration daily so thought I would share some of my findings here at DesignM.ag. This showcase presents a collection of 64 typographic book covers, all of which are interesting and are genuinely unique. The books themselves are crossed between a number of…

Coney Island of the Mind

Buy on Amazon

Eight Weeks of Bruce

Buy on Amazon

Estrella Distante

Buy on Amazon Leer más “Inspiration: Interesting & Unique Typographic Book Covers”

CrossTalk IM client for Windows Phone 7: coming soon

The need for a good, robust IM client for Windows Phone 7 will be one of the first things consumers look for when launching that Marketplace.

If all goes to plan, Blue Planet Apps will have their ‘CrossTalk’ IM client ready to go by the time WP7 launches.

‘CrossTalk’, available soon for Android and Blackberry, supports GoogleTalk, AIM, MSN, Facebook and even Blackberry Messenger (BBM). That last one is pretty huge in our book and could go a long way to woo Crackberry addicts from their devices. Talk to any Blackberry user and they’ll tell you BBM is one of the reasons why they stay with the aging platform.


by Malatesta

The need for a good, robust IM client for Windows Phone 7 will be one of the first things consumers look for when launching that Marketplace.

If all goes to plan, Blue Planet Apps will have their ‘CrossTalk’ IM client ready to go by the time WP7 launches.

CrossTalk‘, available soon for Android and Blackberry, supports GoogleTalk, AIM, MSN, Facebook and even Blackberry Messenger (BBM). That last one is pretty huge in our book and could go a long way to woo Crackberry addicts from their devices. Talk to any Blackberry user and they’ll tell you BBM is one of the reasons why they stay with the aging platform. Leer más “CrossTalk IM client for Windows Phone 7: coming soon”