Apple AirPods Are The Best Purchase I’ve Made In A Long Time

Apple AirPods Are The Best Purchase I’ve Made In A Long Time

Unpopular opinion: Apple AirPods are better than Apple EarPods, here's why.

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Apple considers AirPods the "future of headphones," and I honestly couldn't agree more.

Despite hopping late on the bandwagon, I recently treated myself and bought a new pair of Apple's AirPods. Though it has only been a little less than a month since I've owned my AirPods, I'd consider myself in love. I'm constantly flaunting my AirPods off while also applauding Apple for how well of a job they've done (for once).

Let's start with the looks. First impressions are…everything. However, to your dismay, I actually didn't see the AirPods first, I saw the charger…and it's unlike any other charger I've yet to see. Essentially, its a capsule for AirPods, and is all around seamless: light in weight, durable, AirPod magnetizable, etc. My first impression on the AirPods themselves was that AirPods and EarPods look…identical, disregarding the obvious fact of AirPods being cordless. I still haven't found any major differences in appearance and I don't really think I ever will. People like familiarity, so it's not a surprise that Apple designed air-pods very similarly to EarPods.

Eventually, I couldn't look at them much longer before wanting to witness my AirPods for myself. It took nearly no time to connect them to my phone and invalidating that, I also tried my laptop. Ultimately, AirPods are very flexible to connect by Bluetooth to any device. Not to mention, a fancy sound is made to ensure activation. Speaking (or should I say listening, haha) of sounds on air-pods, the audio AirPods display is impressively smooth, enhanced, and clear. I personally believe AirPods provide better sound than EarPods (by far).

A common fear-based specifically around Apple's AirPods is that the headphones are too small and therefore, relatively easy to lose. I too, had this fear as it's a valid debate when deciding to invest in AirPods ($159 from Apple). On behalf of my experience, I can confidently say that I have never lost my AirPods nor have either fell out of my ears (unless I felt them falling out, which I then had the reaction time to catch). Although, when AirPods do accidentally fall out of the ear, music being played is automatically paused until the air-pods detect themselves back in both ears (today's technology is wild!). Nonetheless, Apple's AirPods are form-fitting and comfortable, I usually forget I have them in my ears (that's a good thing, trust me).

If you couldn't tell, I'm more than happy with my purchase on Apple's AirPods. This is Alyssa Gormley, and I 12/10 recommended Apple's Air-pods -- thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

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A Letter To My Best Friend On Graduation Day

What are you suppose to say to your best friend on graduation day?
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Have you ever heard of a fairy tale? Where two people meet and then everything else seems to fall into place. Well here’s how this one started: two little girls in preschool, sitting in a little room, with other little people. The teacher comes over and starts to hand out frosted cookies and bunny coloring pages for us all. Somehow, somewhere in here, the two little girls became best friends.

Now, I don’t want to tell you some fairy tale story, because fairy tales aren’t really true, right? So here’s what I really want to tell you.

What do you say? I mean really, what are you supposed to say to someone whom you’ve known for almost 15 years? And this someone isn’t just anyone. This someone is your best friend. Someone you’ve gotten used to seeing every day during the week. Someone you looked forward to seeing every day. What do you say?

Well, I guess I can start off by saying thank you. Thank you for being there when I needed someone to just listen. It doesn’t matter where we are in this world or in our lives, I know you will always be there to listen. As I will always be the same for you. Thank you for always being my best supporter. Thank you for not judging me for my sometimes poor decision-making skills. Thank you for late-night conversations. Thank you for remembering every inside joke we have ever created. And I mean every joke! Even if I don’t always remember them. Thank you for being brutally honest with me when I am being ridiculous.

Thank you for respecting my values and opinions, even if you disagree. Thank you for loving my family like you love your own. Thank you for fighting all of life’s battles by my side. Thank you for celebrating all of the exciting moments of my life with me and the many more to come. Thank you for forgiving me every time I might not have been the best friend in the entire world. Thank you for all you’ve taught me, even if you didn’t realize it at times. Thank you for always sharing your crazy stories with me. Thank you for being there through all of the significant others that I have mistakenly chosen. Thank you for listening to my long stories as though you haven’t already heard them a million times. Thank you for being strong when I was weak. Thank you for sharing your secrets with me, and for keeping mine. Thank you for sharing the past fourteen and a half years of your life with me. Thank you.

I honestly cannot believe that high school is over and soon we will both be going our separate ways in life. It’s hard to fathom that we won’t live a few houses down from each other anymore. Only on weekends when we are home from college. It’s going to be tough, but it’s OK. Because I know that no matter where we go in life, whether it’s a quarter mile away from each other or halfway across the world, you’ll always be my best friend. I’ll never come across someone who will be able to take your spot as my best friend. We’ve just got to remember that even though we change and we are both finding our own places in this world, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not still best friends. Later on in life I know I’m going to be able to look back and remember that you were the one who lifted my head when I was losing faith in myself. I know I’m going to remember how you were that one person who knew who I really was. Most importantly, I know I’m going to remember that you were that one person who made the biggest difference in my life.

There really aren't enough words to even begin to describe how much you mean to me. We have the highest expectations for each other and I know that you will be successful in anything you choose to do. Writing this to you is hard, because honestly, I’m scared to admit how truly sad I am to know this will be the end of school with you. There are so many things that I will miss about you next year, from how much of an angel you were to your contagious smile. There’s no one else who can make me laugh so hard that my sides actually begin to kill with pain. I’m going to miss the countless hours we would spend playing Mario Kart and Wii Fit. I’m going to miss you sitting in my kitchen eating cookie after cookie. While you may be one of the craziest individuals that I have ever met in the last 14-and-a-half years of my life, I know you will always be making others laugh if you’re not there making me laugh.You always manage to light up a room. You’ll forever be the life of the party and you never fail at making everything interesting.

It’s going to be hard not being able to run up to each other every day and share our crazy stories or rant about something that just happened during the previous class. I know there will be times after a long day of classes or work when I wish I could just head over to your house, plop down on your bed in your room and play Mario Kart while we talk about our day. I want you to know that whatever happens, whoever you become and whoever the future shapes you to be, I will always be here for you. Whether a drive or a phone call away, I will always be here. We may not be able to spend the next few years seeing each other every day, but I know that you will make a huge impact on those who meet you in the time to come.

The past 14-and-a-half years of my life have been fantastic. I want to thank you for simply being the person you are and for letting me have the honor of being your best friend. I will see you up on that stage when we sit there in the gym at Carrabec High School for the last time together. As soon as we march out that door, you can bet that I will be the first one to run up to you and hug you, and probably cry, and tell you that we made it. Here’s to an amazing future and to a lifelong friendship.

Back to the fairy tale thing for a moment. Now that I think of it, I don’t see why I called our friendship in the beginning a fairy tale. Fairy tales have happy endings, right? Well, our friendship may be a happy one, but it will never have an ending.

Cover Image Credit: Jeff Pouland

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While Representation In Video Games Has Come A Long Way, It’s Still Lacking And That’s A Problem

Children need protagonists they can identify with.

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The videogames I grew up with were the stereotypical “girl” games. Barbie, Disney Princess, Bratz — those were pretty much the only games I had for my pink GameBoy Advance. And while there was nothing wrong with those games and I did enjoy them, they quickly grew boring.

No matter how much young me loved Barbies, playing “Barbie” (aka the CPU) in checkers for hours quickly grew monotonous — especially because, if I’m not mistaken, you could set the CPU to easy, making an already simple game even easier.

Looking back on my early experiences with videogames, it’s no wonder that videogames have been considered a “boy’s thing.” I mean think about it. How many videogame protagonists were female back then? The only one I can think of is Samus Aran from “Metroid,” but if you see Samus in her suit, can you tell she’s female? And was “Metroid” geared towards girls the way games like “Bratz Rock Angels” were?

I never enjoyed videogames until I got my Nintendo DS and discovered “Super Princess Peach.” When I first got the game, I loved it. In a nutshell, this time Mario is the one that was kidnapped by Bowser and it is up to Princess Peach, the usual damsel-in-distress, to save him.

Peach was so badass, knocking around bad guys with her parasol and destroying things her emotions. Now, I will admit, with the advantage of hindsight, having Peach save the day with the power of PMS doesn’t send the greatest message, but it was still awesome to see that a female character could be a hero too, that action and adventure games weren’t just a “boy’s thing.”

“Super Princess Peach,” though not the most complex game (I seriously beat it in four hours the other day), was probably the game that opened the door for my love of videogames. Playing through it again got me thinking, what would gaming be like if more kids had a protagonist that they could identify with?

Let me be clear, I’m not here to make a feministfrequency outrage post about why the damsel-in-distress trope needs to die because that is honestly kind of ridiculous and I actually don’t agree with that at all. What I am saying is that representation in all media, including videogames, really does matter.

Don’t get me wrong, many of my all time favorite videogames feature male protagonists — “Kid Icarus Uprising,” “Fire Emblem,” every “The Legend of Zelda” game ever, the whole “Mario and Luigi” RPG series — but if there had been more female protagonists that I could have more easily identified with, I potentially would have discovered my love for videogames sooner.

LGBTQ+ kids deserve to have protagonists they can identify with. Kids of every racial and ethnic background deserve to have protagonists they can identify with. Children from all religions deserve to have protagonists they can identify with. Everyone deserves to have a protagonist they can identify with.

We need to show children that no matter what your background or identity is, you can be a hero too. You can go on an adventure. You can change the world. You don’t have to just be a white male.

We also need to show that people can be different by diversifying all forms of media.

Even though I grew up in the early 2000’s, diversity in media has come a long way since then. When I was little, I didn’t even know the LGBTQ+ community existed because there was very little LGBTQ+ representation in any form of media. And from what I remember from my childhood, the majority of characters in both videogames and television were white.

Now look at media today. The reboot of “DuckTales” made Gizmoduck — who is now voiced by Lin Manuel-Miranda — Latino. Princess Peach has been the damsel-in-distress less and less in many recent Mario titles. One of the main characters of “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard,” Alex Fierro, is a genderfluid demigod who ends up dating Magnus at the end of the series (spoiler alert).

And those are only three examples of how much more diverse media, especially children’s media, has become.

Children not only need to see themselves in the characters on TV or in books or in videogames, but they also need to be exposed to characters from different backgrounds, especially when they wouldn’t naturally be exposed to people from those backgrounds. They need to know that it’s okay to be themselves, and that it’s okay that not everyone is like them.

We often forget just how impressionable children are. And if we don’t make the media more representative of real life, what kind of message are we sending?

If I hadn't ever been exposed to "Super Princess Peach," I would have never found that videogames can be and are enjoyable for everyone, not just boys. I would’ve just thought that videogames were a “boy’s thing.”

While yes, there are elements of the game that are admittedly problematic (the whole "fighting bad guys with crazy female mood swings" thing in particular), to younger me, seeing Princess Peach be a badass was completely and utterly awesome and inspiring. If Princess Peach could be a hero, so could I.

If one game with a female protagonist did that for me, imagine what multiple games with an LGBTQ+ protagonist or a Muslim protagonist or an African-American protagonist will do for kids.

Nobody's saying get rid of "The Legend of Zelda" or "Mario." Let's just make sure that we're developing videogames that contain protagonists from different backgrounds so kids from all backgrounds have a hero they can identify with. While we’ve gotten better, we still have a long way to go.

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