Thursday, July 28, 2011

Winning Combinations

As back to school preparations begin, there are many things that high school students need. Binders, calculators, mechanical pencils... really fun stuff that everyone gets excited about. Combination locks have never been in that category. They're one of the many necessary evils of high school. Everybody gravitates to the exact same model and the sole factor in how comfortable it is to use is how easily the combination can be remembered.

Master Lock, producers of seemingly every combination lock ever created, is determined to offer some fun and simplicity to the device. For their Speed Dial locks, they have done away with the numbers and allow the user to set any combination of directions.

Sounds great, right? No number combos to remember and a code that can be entered with nothing but a thumb. There is, however, one thing that troubles me about this: what would you set for your combination? Quickly, think of one. A series of ups, downs, lefts and rights that you could recall automatically. Got one? Good.

All right... so who picked the relevant part of this?

I'm sure enough of you did. Enough of us in the office certainly did. And if I had some significant and justified reason to break into your locker, it's the first combination I would try. It's one of those things that we either remember from childhood, wished we remembered from childhood, or see randomly in unexpected places (typing it on certain websites trigger some interesting effects. Direction-based combinations immediately make people think of video games, and a lot of people have played video games. They often play the same ones.

It's an interesting new product and should do very well in schools, but I have to caution against using popular and beloved cheat codes for inspiration. It's like making your online password “password.” Put some thought into it and come up with something that is distinctly you


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