1954 Internet Myth Busted

  • Comments: 3
  • Written on: April 11th, 2007

From time to time I get an email or a comment on this blog asking to confirm if an Internet myth is true. In fact, a couple weeks ago I received a MySpace bulletin that said if you lock your keys in your car, and you have remote access that you can call your wife and have her hold her remote up to the phone and press the unlock button while you hold your phone up to the car.

Obviously that does not work, but it was plausible enough to get pushed around the Internet from inbox to inbox for years now.

There is another Internet myth that some of you may have heard of. reportedly there was a Popular Mechanics article in 1954 that portrayed what a home computer would look like in 2004. The picture, show below, was complete with a steering wheel, a black and white television, and a wall-full of bells and whistles.

Hoax 1954 image of futuristic home computer

This image has been floating around the Internet for years now, and it is actually a hoax. The image was originally taken from the Smithsonian Cold War Submarine Exhibit and was manipulated to add home computer elements. The altered image was obviously never published in Popular Mechanics.

If you have forwarded that image to someone and believed it was real, you have been taken by an Internet myth. This one is probably not explosive enough to make it onto the Myth Busters TV program, but some Photoshop guru somewhere has been chuckling for years over this little prank.

  1. Josh the Aspie said on April 12th, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Hey Thor, just a little heads up on the cell phone / door opener myth. Fox news actually did a news story not to long ago on cell phone capability myths and truths. The big thing here is the fact that most remote fobs use RF (Radio Frequency) signals to send the information to open the door. Those definitely won’t work over the phone. However if your fob uses audible signals in the range of frequencies that cell phones are designed to transmit, there is a chance that the remote cell phone fob unlocking might work.

    Even with audible signals though, some of the sound frequency is outside of the range of human hearing, and according to my wireless communication hardware class, most cell phone companies actually attenuate the range of frequencies that they will carry so that you don’t even get the full range of audio frequencies that the human ear can hear, in order to save bandwidth (since most people won’t notice the difference in voice quality anyway). Add to that any garbling of sound due to noise or low cell phone signal areas, and the rarity of audio based remote fobs… and it may as well be a myth.

  2. Mike
    Mike said on April 12th, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    I fell for this one. i think I have actually forwarded that image a couple times myself. Oh well!

  3. djman69
    djman69 said on April 13th, 2007 at 8:22 am

    You don’t really need Photoshop to do that kind of work. The communists were doing that in the 1950’s with pens and cameras. They made entire people just disapear!

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