How NOT to Protect Your Passwords

Check out this screen shot from an ESPN interview…

ESPN Interview

See that piece of paper taped to the wall right behind this guy’s ear? Yes, those are passwords, now conveniently displayed for all the world to see.

I didn’t personally see this interview, but Sophos speculates that it took place in a MLB press room where having the network names and passwords pasted to the wall is just easier than telling each journalist individually. While not the most secure practice, it probably only reached a limited number of eyes … until now.

Hopefully they’ve changed their passwords by now.

The World’s Worst Water Slide

There are some things that are good in theory but just don’t quite work right in-the-wild. Then there are things that are just never a good idea at any point from concept to creation, ever. Take, for example, this horrifying “water slide” that actually graced a New Jersey water park for a few brief runs in the 1980s.

Cannonball Loop Water Slide

That, dear readers, is the Cannonball Loop at Action Park in New Jersey and it’s creators apparently knew absolutely nothing about physics. Let me set the scene for you with a description of what it took just to get on this “ride” (from io9):

A good portion of those who wanted to were nixed because of inappropriate attire— anyone wearing anything with zippers or grommets or anything that could possibly cause a snag was turned away. Too big? Sorry, you could get stuck. Too small? Ooh, you probably won’t get up enough speed to clear the top.

And they weren’t kidding about the “getting stuck” part. The ride literally looks like it was made of some sort of pipe probably only 15-ish inches across. Look at the size of that grown man compared to the width of the water slide designed for grown men.

Oh yea, it didn’t even empty into a body of water, just a dirty mat that was hosed down … like a slip and slide that you’re catapulted on to.

But back to the ride requirements. If you were too small you couldn’t ride because you wouldn’t make it to the top of the loop. Which really just means that you would make it partially to the top of the loop then crash painfully back down to the bottom, where you could then crawl out of an escape hatch built in for this express purpose. Not joking. Even if you did manage to clear the top you still weren’t safe. Check out this rider’s story:

I vividly remember the sensation of my feet going up as I realized “Here comes the loop!” I remember being ecstatic when I had cleared the pinnacle of the loop, however the worst was yet to come. Apparently my sub 100 lbs. body was not heavy enough for the ride and rather the sticking to the slide on the back end of the loop, I actually fell to the bottom of the loop. I smacked the back of my head on the slide and was nearly knocked unconscious. It was then I saw light as I sputtered out of the exit of the tube [...] I was able to orient myself enough to get to my feet and smile with pride as the stunned crowd cheered for the little kid who just went down the most dangerous water slide of all time. It was closed again within minutes and although I went to the park a dozen times after that day I never saw that slide opened again.

Most of the riders were apparently park employees who were paid to test the slide. But despite no one wanting to ride Satan’s water slide … I mean Cannonball Loop … again, the park still decided to go ahead with it for a bit. Until officials walked in and shut it down like sane people.

According to the most common reports circulating around the internet, the Loop was open for one month during the summer of 1985 before being shut down by the New Jersey Carnival Amusement Ride Safety Advisory Board.

For more information and terrifying stories related to this king of bad ideas, check out the full io9 article.

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.

Mouthwash and Hoses Need In-The-Wild Testing Too

Stainless steel appliances get covered in handprintsIn-the-wild testing isn’t just for technology – every once and a while you get an item or product and think “How in the world did this make it to market!?” Steve Tobak, over at CBS Money Watch, highlighted a few things that clearly weren’t put through real-world, real-life tests.

Neutrogena Shampoo Container

My favorite shampoo has a cool new container that stands upright so its opening is capped on the bottom. The problem is, when you drop it – and you will – this tiny plastic piece that plugs the opening breaks off so, when you set it down, all the shampoo leaks out. I’m two-for-two on this. Still love the shampoo … if I can only keep it bottled up.

 Listerine Total Care

My dentist recommended Listerine Total Care with fluoride. It’s purple. It stained my teeth purple. Yes, I know saliva chemistry is a complicated thing, but still, it’s hard to believe.

Stainless Steel Products That Stain

You pay all this money for stainless-steel products that look cool … until they stain. I’m not talking five years down the road, I’m talking five months.

Read more…