An iOS Charger For Your Keychain

JuiceBuddy keychain chargerIf you read our other blogs you may know that Kate and I are the modern day Hatfields and McCoys (I totally get to be the Hatfields because SPOILER: life just did not work out for the McCoys). Today our feud continues! Awhile ago Kate blogged about a small, portable, in-the-wild phone charger, but today I’m going to blog about an even smaller, more portable, more in-the-wild phone charger!

The JuiceBuddy is a pocket-sized iOS charger that you can carry around on your keychain. So if you don’t wear a belt, you might want to skip the Volt Buckle and opt for the JuiceBuddy for your on-the-go charging needs. From CNET:

Pacific Productions’ JuiceBuddy is a portable, self-contained iPhone/iPod charger that’s tiny enough to slip into your pocket — or ride shotgun on your keychain. In fact, it even comes with a keyring adapter for exactly that purpose. …

It closely resembles a Zippo lighter, except that when you pop the JuiceBuddy’s top, you get an iDevice connector, not a flame.

Then you just pop out its prongs, plug it into an AC outlet, and plop down your iPhone or iPod.

Read more at CNET >>>

Remove the keychain dongle and you reveal a USB port, so if you need to charge different devices you can use the JuiceBuddy as a normal AC adapter. Though it’s been pointed out that USB ports aren’t the strongest, so it remains to be seen if that was a good way to attach the keychain or not. What is the whole thing just falls offer the keychain? Hopefully they did some in-the-wild testing.

In-the-wild device charging has never had so many options!

REALLY Testing a Waterproof Backpack

Sure, you can testing a waterproof backpack with a tub in a lab, but why not test it by jumping into a public pool instead?

Read more about the backpack’s aquatic adventures at TechCrunch >>>

Five Products That Will Make You Angry

Oh Buzzfeed, the cause of all those unexplained phantom laughing bursts you hear around the office. Well after hours of diligent research the In-The-Wild Testing crew has found a Buzzfeed list that details quite a few products that really could have used some real-life testing. The entire list is entertaining, but here are a few that stand out as being in desperate need of a reality-induced update.

No. 8 – The Pringles Can

The can is a cool and innovative shape as far as chip storage vehicles go. And I know that you can just turn the can upside down, but then you get salt and crumbs everywhere! Why oh why did they make the cylinder too small for a human hand to reach those delicious chips at the bottom!? Are you trying to tell us something Pringles?

Pringles Can

No. 9 – The Unbalanced Yogurt Cup

I’m all for saving the planet and using as few resources as possible, but would it really be that hard to use a tiny bit more plastic and weight the cup properly so you can leave your spoon in it without the whole thing toppling over?

Yogurt Cup

No. 12 – The Oversized Power Adapter

This is 2012. I have a small computer-phone-music player-magic box of awesomeness that fits in my back pocket (and I wear girl jeans (cause I’m a girl)). Are you really telling me we can’t figure out how to make a single power adapter not take up the space of three plugs?

Large Power Adapter

No. 19 – The Cardboard Milk Carton

THIS is why milk should only come in plastic jugs. Glass is also acceptable.

Cardboard Milk Carton

No. 20 – Binder Rings

Did they not actually test the closing function of these binders when you put a giant stack of papers in them and carry them around for an extended period of time? Isn’t that the sole purpose of a binder?

Binder Rings

Everything on the Buzzfeed list is super annoying, but these five are the ones that I think could at least be fixed. Personally, the giant power adapt is the one that bothers me most, and I’m pretty sure the binder rings make one of our community managers cry.

Which one drives you up a wall? Let us know in the comments.

Adventures in Extreme Mobility

Mobile TravelBrian Nadel didn’t test a product, per se, he tested a theory, a practice, a movement. He tested what it’s like to use only a smartphone while in the wild world of traveling. Here’s what he did to prepare for the trip, from PCWorld:

Leaving my laptop and its clunky power adapter at my office has lightened my load considerably. I feel like the After picture in an ad for a new diet plan. Before, I was hunched over, burdened by a heavy notebook bag filled with nearly 10 lbs. of assorted stuff. The After shot shows me standing up straight, holding a thin leather briefcase that houses my smartphone, accessories, paper files and reading material.

All told, I cut 7 lbs. out of my hand baggage. …

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as swapping a laptop for a phone. There are serious pros and cons to laptop-free travel, and pulling it off takes some extra planning, new hardware and software, and a willingness to squint at a small screen.

In my travels, I relied on an LG Nitro HD smartphone ($100 with a two-year contract), which runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and can tap into AT&T’s 4G LTE data service for fast connectivity. It weighs 4.8 oz. (6.8 oz. with its power adapter), a savings of nearly 5 lbs. compared to my HP EliteBook 2560p notebook and its 13-oz. power adapter.

Read more…

Ford’s Touchscreen Problems

Some people say it’s good to learn from your own mistakes. I disagree. It’s better to learn from someone else’s mistakes. In this case, you could learn a valuable lesson on in-the-wild testing (or lack thereof) from Ford Motors. Here’s the story from the New York Times:

But after many buyers grew frustrated with flaws in the system, known as MyFord Touch and developed with Microsoft, Ford’s quality ratings plunged and a feature meant to increase loyalty instead damaged perceptions of the company.

MyFord Touch replaces many of the traditional knobs and buttons in a vehicle with touch screens, steering wheel-mounted controls and spoken commands.

I think they were too willing to rush something out because of the flashiness of it rather than the functionality,” said Michael Hiner, a former stock-car racing crew chief in Akron, Ohio, who bought a Ford Edge Limited last year largely because he and his wife were intrigued by MyFord Touch.

Now Ford has issued a major upgrade that redesigns much of what customers see on the screen and tries to resolve complaints about the system crashing or rebooting while the vehicle is being driven. Ford said on Monday that the upgrade made the touch screens respond to commands more quickly, improved voice recognition capabilities and simplified a design that some say had the potential to create more distractions for drivers who tried to use it on the road. Fonts and buttons on the screen have been enlarged, and the layouts of more than 1,000 screens have been revamped.

We expect that these improvements will put us back on track in the quality ratings,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “It’s more than just an update. This is a substantial upgrade.”

Read the rest >>>