Even Top CEOs Fall for Internet Hoaxes

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Have you ever fallen for an Internet hoax, urban legend, or doctored data?

Well, you’re not alone. Even Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, has fallen for at least one.


Giving the keynote address at the annual Oracle OpenWorld show this week, at Moscone Centre in San Francisco, McNealy spoke about how rapidly technology changes and improves.

During the course of his speech, and to illustrate his point, McNealy diplayed a photo purporting to be an exhibit demonstrating how, in 1954, people envisioned the home computer of the future.

The picture shows a man in a suit, looking for all the world like he just stepped off the set of DragNet, with a computer console behind him which is the size of a small room.

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Even Top CEOs Fall for Internet Hoaxes

Rows and rows of dials, gauges, buttons, knobs and lights adorn the 10-12 foot-long console, which is flanked by a wall-mounted monitor and a printer-mounted keyboard, which sets right in front of the…steering wheel?

Yes, in fact, the photo is not a 1950’s vision of the home computer. It is a doctored picture of the command center of a nuclear submarine, from an exhibit at the Smithsonian.

And McNealy isn’t the first high-brain-power geek to fall for the photo, nor, Aunty is sure, will he be the last.

All this goes to prove that with the Internet it’s even more true than with newspapers and books: just because you see it in print, doesn’t mean it’s true.

You can read more about this at [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead]

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Even Top CEOs Fall for Internet Hoaxes

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