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The Worst Life Hacks of 2017
best of lifehacker 2017

The Worst Life Hacks of 2017

Nick Douglas, Gawker Media

1. iOS 11

Updating your software is one of the most basic elements of maintaining your devices . Updates fix bugs and security flaws , introduce new features , and take advantage of new hardware capabilities . Every major update includes a few new bugs or annoyances, maybe even a controversial new design that takes some getting used to. But the vast majority are, overall, a good idea. Apple's iOS 11 was not.

The OS's design is uncharacteristically sloppy , the new control center is less intuitive than the one it replaced, and some native apps lost useful features. The first release was full of bugs , some of which were fixed in updates. But iOS 11.1 added new embarrassing bugs, like a calculator app that couldn't add three numbers . Even after multiple updates, iOS 11 is still buggy and awkward enough to push some longtime users to Android.

2. Equifax's Data Breach "Solutions"

Credit reporting agency Equifax took the worst data breach in history and made it worse. They launched a site where users could check if their data was breached, but it gave conflicting results. The site was at equifaxsecurity2017.com , a URL so unofficial-sounding that Equifax's Twitter account accidentally linked to the fake site securityequifax2017.com.

3. Cheerios Seed Packet

Cheerios just wanted to help bring the bees back. So they distributed seed packets that included invasive species-which seemed to include the Forget-Me-Not, a weed banned in two states. Further investigation revealed that the packet actually contained a less harmful plant, but Cheerios seemed not to know that when it distributed the seeds. The most important lesson is that the natural world is complicated, and if you want to make things better, you need to do your research.

4. Amazon Key

Sometimes it's hard to get a package delivered to your home when you aren't around. Maybe you fix that by getting things delivered to work, or grabbing them from the local UPS location. Amazon wants you to fix it by installing a smart lock and a camera that constantly records your home.

Yep, Amazon's solution to not getting your packages is that you give them the ability to unlock your door and look inside your home. For most customers, that's a pretty big trade-off for not leaving packages at your doorstep. And it's clear that Amazon plans to do more with this access once they've earned it. Otherwise, why don't they just sell you a lockable box that goes outside your home? That seems easier.

5. Individually Packaged Chipotle Ingredients

Some poor bastard told the world that he asks Chipotle staff to separately pack each ingredient of his order, so he can assemble it at home. Everyone yelled at him for wasting the staff's time. A few defended him. Remember, if your "hack" makes more work for someone else, be polite and tip them heavily, and don't leave that point out when you publicize it.

6. One Weird Trick to Flatten Your Belly

You can't tell your body where to gain or lose its fat. Exercising your stomach muscles strengthens and tones them, but it doesn't spot-remove fat. Yet sites like Health.com still publish headlines like "10-Minute Love Handle Workout."

7. The Wolverine

Sticking your keys between your fingers is a bad self-defense move, one that teachers have to regularly debunk. It's likely to hurt you as much as it hurts your assailant, and it's a good way to drop your keys, leaving you even more vulnerable. You're better off using your bare hands, experts tell Lifehacker.

8. Unroll.me

Unroll.me, a popular service for unsubscribing from email newsletters and spam, got caught scraping user emails for Lyft receipts and selling the data to Uber. It's another reminder that free services will often find "innovative" ways to make money by selling your data.

9. Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you google "how to clear a clogged drain," you'll see a lot of suggestions to skip the expensive Drano and just throw some baking soda and vinegar down there. But all that leaves you with is a clogged drain topped with some wet baking soda. (We learned this one the hard way.) Boiling water, mixed with dish soap or salt, works better and is even cheaper. Or just give in and use the Drano. It turns out scary chemicals are really good at cleaning things.

10. Clean Eating

What is clean eating, even? The people promoting it don't even agree on a definition. That's just as well, because no version of it is especially great for your health. While you should definitely cut down on sugars, eat more veggies, and avoid artificial trans fats , don't believe that a gimmicky diet is effective just because it happens to include one of those valid tips along with garbage like "no one should ever eat gluten or dairy."

11. Investing in Bitcoin

Over the past few years, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have revolutionized the ways people can lose money. You could lose it on a stolen laptop . You could lose it in a market crash or a pump-and-dump scam . You could store it in a physical digital wallet and lose your passcode .

Maybe, just maybe, you'll safely hold onto it and manage to sell it at a profit (once you've handed over your driver's license and Social Security number ). If so, good for you! But remember, you're lucky, not brilliant.

12. Bump Stocks

This one's not a fun one. Bump stocks use a legal loophole to turn semi-automatic rifles into automatics. The Las Vegas mass murderer strapped twelve of them onto his stockpile. There is no defensible reason not to ban them.

Honorable Mention #1: Bill O'Reilly's XXLs

Bill O'Reilly has been tweeting out "tips of the day" for a while now. While we work on a more thorough analysis of the serial sexual harasser 's life hacks, we want to highlight this little conspiracy theory:

Sure Bill.

Honorable Mention #2: Peanut Butter Slices

Hate wasting several seconds spreading peanut butter on bread? Then simply spend a longer time spreading it on wax paper, rolling it flat, refrigerating the paper, then pulling it bak out when you make your sandwich. That's the advice in this Facebook video from the Food Network, which was so silly that even Mashable didn't fall for it .

Thanks for getting your good hacks here all year!

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