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6 Everyday Gadgets That Are Secretly Personality Tests

Invention is smart people creating new things, and technology is other people screwing with them in ways the inventor never imagined. For example: vacuum cleaners.

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"It's probably best if you don't watch what happens next."

The whole point of technology is letting people use things they could never understand. It's why Fox News has a website, instead of a tree people avoid because the residents throw shit at everyone. The upside is that millions of users can discover functions the inventor never imagined, and we live in a world where someone imagined and invented a holster so that people could have sex with their iPads. Possibly to make changing the vacuum bag less disgusting.

Fleshlight International
Also a great way for Apple fanboys to watch the yearly keynote.

Many other technologies you use every day have hidden bonus functions.

#6. Voice Mail Age Check

We all have a physical age, a mental age, a legal age, and a technological age. For example: I'm 36, but I spent an hour this morning practicing tricks with a butterfly knife-style bottle opener, with beers I was legally allowed to buy, while listening to a dance remix of the original F-Zero. That's so many different combinations of old and young, the police are inquiring if I hosted any '80s children's programming.

Our technological age is important. When you're young, you want to survive in a world full of interesting tools, and learn accordingly. When you're old, you wish everyone would just stop doing so much, and vote accordingly. There's a definite switch where people limp out of the march of progress to sit on a lawn chair shouting at the cyborgs speeding past.

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"I just want to murder trees any time anyone sends me anything, is that too much to ask?"

It's silicon dating, which doesn't mean going out with wipe-clean synthetic partners.

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"Aw yeah, baby, I know you're checking out my bone action."

Carbon dating tells you when something stopped absorbing carbon-14, which is when it organically died. Silicon dating tells you when someone stopped learning about new machines, which is when they technologically died. The binary test for this technoperosis is voice mail. For the technold, it's a useful service; for the cyberyoung, it's older and lamer than the prefix "cyber-." It's like sending a message on a carrier brontosaurus: not just clumsy and slow, but based on serious mistakes from the past. Accessing voice mail means stopping what you were doing, dialing up a number, and hammering buttons in the hope that the robovoice will let you get into your messages faster this time. And then listening to it again to work out the bits you missed, because recording messy audio when you're holding a keyboard connected to a digital transmitter is a dick move.

Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
"Welp, let me just bog you down with a bunch of platitudes while you impatiently wait to find out what this interruption is about, then I guess I'll slur the vital phone number so you have to listen to it all again, yup."

Using a portable computer, to access a microwave network, to get to a touch-tone menu, to access a voice recording? That's hitting your handset with a devolution ray. It's only one step from dipping your iPhone in bison blood to scrape out a cave painting, which would be the only noise more excruciatingly drawn out for the phone's user.

#5. Facebook External Intelligence Test

We recently learned that Facebook has been conducting psychological experiments on people, but that shouldn't be a surprise, because that's what we've been using it for all this time. If you ask someone "Are you an idiot?" they'll lie. If you approve their friend request, they'll tell you without being asked.

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"That person I met at the bus stop is sure to like Clown Farm Organ Harvesting Wars!"

You can't walk up to your family with specialized tests to see if they're worth talking to unless you're in Scientology. (And if you are, forget the jokes, run -- not a joke, run run run.) Your Facebook feed is an unfiltered view into your friends' and family's intelligence and prejudices. Learning about their awfulness at large family events is too late. When a great-aunt starts explaining her theory of racial superiority, you can do nothing but wince. Forewarned, you can steer the conversation away, sit somewhere else, or open the conversation by describing how you hired a really great troupe of multinational buffet staff who'll be out later to show off their knife collection.

Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"We're from those countries you talked about, and cutting up flesh, then disposing of it, is our entire job."

You can't avoid your family, but after a few posts, you know which relatives can be tuned out faster than others, which are too keen about babysitting on religious holidays, and whose financial advice should be taken with a dehydrated Pacific Ocean of salt.

#4. The USB Dipstick

The Universal Serial Bus has now been plugged into more things than human genitals, and dispensed more useful and entertaining material. It can also be the most frustrating computer connection in existence. So many people complain about not being able to get it in easily, it's only a matter of time till they start marketing USBiagra.

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
Now transferring "Freudian Imagery."

The rage results from its spectacular success. USB has replaced 90 percent of all casual cabling, so of course it's going to be involved in the most frustrations. But its unexpected side effect is as a digital dipstick to see if someone is a dipstick. Anyone complaining about how it's impossible to connect a USB plug is advertising an error in themselves. Don't get me wrong -- USB sticks do seem to be quantum spin half particles: You have to rotate them 720 degrees to get them back to their original orientation. But that's truly a quantum effect because it doesn't happen when you actually observe the plug in the process.

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Of course, to get people to actually do that, you'd need to market "looking at the plug" as
"iUSB, an optical solution to a connection problem."

You either check the cable first, or, if you can't see clearly, calmly push it in twice. Because the thing has two sides. Always shoving it in without looking and then getting upset is exactly as ridiculous as being annoyed that you can't flip a coin and always get heads.

When someone complains about USB sticks never going in the right way, they're saying, "I have the exact same problem over and over again, and would rather repeat the frustration and complain than change my behavior one iota. I would rather randomly bash things at a hole than take one second to look at what I'm doing." So don't put them in charge of organizing anything. And definitely don't have sex with them.

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Luke McKinney

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