All posts in “Conversations”

Apple AirPods are destroying a crucial part of flirting

AirPods have ruined the headphone-sharing game, and I for one refuse to stay silent while decades of adorable eye-gazing, face-bumping, and shoulder-resting memories fade away.

I recently tried Apple’s wireless ear buds for the first time, and while they may offer a certain sense of freedom and convenience, they’ve completely killed the intimacy that existed between two people sharing a single pair of wired headphones. 

Sharing wired headphones with someone isn’t just a kind gesture — it’s a personal experience that connects two people through sound, but also in a literal sense.

With AirPods, headphone sharing has transformed into a cold, detached act that provides zero change in atmosphere. It gets the job done, sure, but gives people the opportunity to wander feet away from each other in the process. Appalling.

The heartbreaking moment of truth

I get that I’m a year late to Apple’s wireless party, but after they killed the headphone jack I decided to stick with my iPhone 6S and wired headphones. To use AirPods meant having to try someone else’s out, which didn’t occur until a recent train ride with my male friend (who may or not have been a crush at one point in time, okay?).

After spending hours together at a concert in Central Park, we settled beside each other for the train ride home, doing what any dedicated music nerds would do while still riding their post-concert high: listening to the same songs we just heard performed live and gushing over them.

My friend handed me his right AirPod, fastened his left one into his own ear, and together we embarked on my first wireless listening experience. Initially, I’ll admit I was impressed. I felt lighter, different, even cooler in a sense. But it soon hit me as I was freely staring out the train window with my head turned away from him that the two of us weren’t physically connected.

Were we both enjoying the music simultaneously? Sure. But were we in a position that made our shoulders touch? That forced us to be cautious of our every movement so as not to tug the other’s headphone out? That gave me the butterflies I’ve gotten so many times before when sharing wired headphones with a crush in the past? Definitely not. 

Two sad AirPods wishing they were connected.

Two sad AirPods wishing they were connected.

Image: lili sams/mashable

The point is, the moment could have been much more meaningful, much cuter — and if we were using old-school wired headphones I’m convinced it would’ve been.

That’s when I realized not only had AirPods changed this classic experience, but they had the power to completely erase it from society.

The magic of sharing wired headphones

From bus rides on middle school field trips to Netflix viewing parties for two on a laptop in college, the close proximity of connected ear buds helped create countless magical moments in my life.

Growing up, sharing wired headphones was seen as a classic way to flirt. If someone offered to share headphones it essentially meant they liked you enough to have their head tethered to yours by a wire that’s around two and a half feet long. It might not sound like much but if you’re a tad socially awkward and unable to confidently flirt it can really set the mood. 

In a way, it’s almost like the wire acted as the world’s most innocent wingman, drawing two people closer together, giving them the perfect excuse to simply be near each other for a while.

And it’s not just me — six of the eight people (woah) who cared enough about this topic to take a Twitter poll have shared headphones with a crush and found the experience to be ~magical~. (Those other two must not live every day like they’re in a rom com and are 100 percent missing out.)

In fact, sharing wired headphones is a bonding experience so powerful that it’s made its way on-screen in several movies and television shows.

The Office‘s Jim Halpert and Pam Beesley had a sweet headphone-sharing moment in season two that no doubt played a role in their future romantic relationship.

Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson’s characters in Creed cuddled connected by a headphone wire to listen to a song she had written him, and Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling huddled close together to listen to a radio on Orange Is The New Black.

Headphone sharing on 'OITNB'

Headphone sharing on ‘OITNB’

Image: Lionsgate TV/Netflix/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

Had AirPods been introduced to us sooner would any of these intimate interactions have even existed?

The repercussions of going wireless

Of course this applies to all the wireless ear buds out there — from Sony’s and Motorola’s to Samsung’s and more — but most of the people in my life are Apple fans and as more and more upgrade their iPhones I fear these AirPods will become ubiquitous.

And these things can work really far apart. My co-worker, Senior Tech Correspondent Ray Wong, gave me his right AirPod while he took the left and played a song for us on his iPhone. He walked backwards until he reached the other side of the office, and at two opposite ends of the room we both still clearly heard music through each AirPod.

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When it comes to AirPod-sharing in relationships, “no wires attached” feels almost as non-committal as “no strings attached.” You can listen together without even having to physically be together. You’re each free to do your own thing.

AirPods seem designed to create a deeply individual experience — one so deep that when they’re shared, rather than bringing people together, they split to offer two different personal journeys.

And it breaks my heart to think future generations might never know the wonders of sharing wired headphones.

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Twitter explains why Rose McGowan’s account got suspended

Actress Rose McGowan attends a premiere.
Actress Rose McGowan attends a premiere.

Image: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Twitter is finally breaking its silence on why Rose McGowan was temporarily suspended from its platform.

The actress — who has been vocal about Harvey Weinstein amid dozens of other women alleging he sexual harassed and assaulted them — announced on Instagram Wednesday night that Twitter suspended her account for 12 hours for violating the platform’s rules.

Though it was unclear at the time which tweet violated Twitter’s rules, the official Twitter Safety account clarified McGowan had included a private phone number in one of her tweets, which is prohibited in the site’s Privacy Policy.

Twitter’s account explained the company has been in touch with McGowan’s team and temporarily locked the account as a result of the tweet that included the phone number. 

The site’s policy reads: “Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter Rules.” And goes on to list personal phone numbers as an example of private information.

However, Twitter claimed McGowan’s account has since been unlocked and the tweet has been removed.

McGowan reached a settlement with Weinstein in the late ’90s, but had been especially vocal about the Hollywood producer since other women came forward with their own similar experiences.

McGowan didn’t hold back condemning Weinstein on the platform, so when Twitter suspended her account without explanation it led to a great deal of backlash.

Many felt the suspension further discouraged women from speaking up about sexual assault, but Twitter explained it is “proud to empower and support the voices on our platform, especially those that speak truth to power.”

“We stand with the brave women and men who use Twitter to share their stories and will work hard every day to improve our processes to protect those voices.”

In the future, Twitter claimed it would be “clearer about these policies and decisions” and the site’s CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged the team needs to be “a lot more transparent in our actions in order to build trust.”

The way Twitter enforces its own rules has come under fire many times before, most notably in reference to President Trump’s negative behavior — such as when he threatened violence with North Korea

Last month Twitter announced that though it holds all accounts to the same rules it assesses the “newsworthiness” of a tweet that’s been reported.

It seems Twitter will have to work a lot harder to ensure their rules are upheld equally in the future.

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Facebook launches profile picture frame to celebrate International Day of the Girl

Image: mashable composite: shutterstock/facebook

It’s high time girls around the world got some extra recognition, and Facebook is working to help make that happen.

Facebook has created a special profile picture frame in honor of Oct. 11, which marks International Day of the Girl — a day meant to inspire people to work toward advancing the rights and future opportunities of young women while celebrating their talents and accomplishments.

When users log on to the network Wednesday, users are prompted with a “Today’s girls, Tomorrow’s Leaders” notification, which explains International Day of the Girl. It will also present the option to add a celebratory frame to their profile pictures.

Image: screengrab/facebook

This year’s frame adds five illustrations of young girls to the picture, showing them peeking over the edges with big smiles on their faces.

Image: screengrab/facebook

To add the frame manually, simply go to Facebook’s profile picture frame page and select the frame you want. Then adjust the length of time you’d like it to be featured for and click “Use as Profile Picture.”

Facebook also offered a frame on International Day of the Girl last year, which was a bottom border doodle of a girl drawn on lined paper.

In the past Facebook has unveiled profile filters and frames to celebrate holidays and other notable moments, like the LGBTQ Pride rainbow filter that was added after the U.S. Supreme Court ended gay marriage bans in a historic ruling.

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Say hello to Apple’s new iOS 11 emoji

Finally, iOS 11 is here in all its glory, and in case the software’s new features weren’t exciting enough, Apple is also releasing hundreds of new emoji.

On Friday the company announced a trove of highly-anticipated emoji will be coming to iPhones and iPads, including more beloved food items, animals, smiley faces, and mythical creatures. Apple also announced it’s introducing gender-neutral characters in this update. 

The new roster of emoji includes a giraffe and delicious looking pie, in addition to some clothing accessories and a smiley for when you’re just dying to swear. Here are just a few of the fun new emoji Apple revealed:

Image: apple

Image: apple

Image: apple

Image: apple

Image: apple

Image: apple

Image: apple

iOS 11.1 will also feature the emoji announced on World Emoji Day, which include Woman with Headscarf, Breastfeeding mom, Bearded guy, a Zombie, a Sandwich, a Coconut, a Zebra, a T-Rex, and much more.

And one that’s sure to make its way onto your “Frequently Used” page is the “Love-You Gesture,” presented as the American Sign Language “I love you” hand sign.

The new emoji — which Apple says are “adapted from approved characters in Unicode 10” — are all set to debut on the developer and beta previews of iOS 11.1 next week. Get. Psyched.

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Looks like Trump hasn’t gotten upgraded to 280 characters on Twitter yet. Bless.

We may all be able to take a temporary sigh of relief.

When Twitter announced on Tuesday that the platform would be adding an additional 140 characters to tweets — giving users the option to compose 280-character messages in the future — everyone had the same fear: What will Donald Trump say with more characters?

But if the president’s Wednesday morning tweetstorm is any suggestion, Trump hasn’t been upgraded to 280 characters yet.

Donald Trump used the microblogging platform to embark on one of his infamous morning rants on Wednesday, taking shots at Facebook as “anti-Trump,” calling out Fake News, and posing the question of collusion between outlets like The New York Times and Washington Post.

And yet, during Trump’s Twitter rant, he sent out six tweets, all of which were either exactly 140 characters or less… suggesting he hasn’t received Twitter’s expanded character limit.

That tweet was a neat 140 characters, but then he followed it up with another related message that was also exactly 140 characters.

If Trump had the ability to type 280 character tweets, we assume (and deeply hope) he would have just combined his two thoughts.

Others took Donald Trump’s tweet storm as evidence that POTUS didn’t receive the Twitter update too:

Ideally, if Trump gets the update he’ll cut his number of tweets in half. Though we also run the terrifying risk of getting longer, more frequent thoughts from the man.

When will Trump have the power?

As for why a man as important as the president hasn’t received the honor of an early admission to a Twitter update, the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the change will be rolled out to a “small group” of users.

Under normal circumstances, it might seem like a good idea to give the President of the United States access to a feature that would allow him to more efficiently communicate with the world. 

(But in this case it’s okay, Jack — really. America is good. Pls don’t.)

As for Trump, he shouldn’t feel too left out — beloved celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres haven’t even received those extra 140 characters yet either.

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