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6
Nov

Terrapin Galaxy S7 edge cases are well-built and are all priced under $15 (review)


It should go without saying that owners of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge should protect their cell phones with a case. While the S7 edge is a beautifully designed and built phone, having curved Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back is an accident waiting to happen. I was one of the few who thought I could go case free, mainly because I didn’t want to cover up the awesome design on the S7 edge. The S7 edge has one of the highest costs associated with fixing broken glass at a price of over $250.

Beyond protection, cases can be functional. There are quite a wide variety of cases, like the Terrapin Leather Wallet case I have been using on my S7 edge which allows me to do away with my wallet. While many opt for functional cases, most just want protection. Terrapin also has cases like clear TPU Gel case that offers solid protection and also extra grip too.

It’s been half a year since the S7 edge was released. That means your case might need a refresh. Similar to helmets, cases only can withstand a limited number of drops. If you’re the type who is constantly dropping their phones in the case, now might be a good time to replace your protection.

Let’s check out a couple solid options to protect your Samsung Galaxy S7 edge from Terrapin.

Terrapin [Black] Premium PU Leather Wallet Case – $10.95 at Amazon

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For those of you who like premium style wallet cases, this one from Terrapin is for made just for you. It’s one of the best made wallet cases I’ve used in a long time and it offers the perfect combination of looks, build-quality, protection while staying ultra-slim.

The outside is made of a premium material that looks and feels like leather. It has a brown interior which gives it a great contrast to the black exterior. The stitching form fits the hard interior shell which keeps the S7 edge safe from drops and falls.

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The phone folds open on the right side to expose three card slots for your ID or credit cards. If you still use cash there’s even a pocket for holding it under the cards. This wallet case doesn’t require much money to purchase at $10.95, and is a fantastic value if you want to minimize what you carry in your pockets.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Two Tone Wallet with Stand – Amazon US and Terrapin UK

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Terrapin’s synthetic leather wallet case in genuinely one of my favorite cases when it comes to functionality. I’m not a huge fan of multiple credit cards, as I try to keep things simple with two credit cards, and one debit card. Of course I always carry my driver’s license and generally limit my cash to under $100. I’ve used a card sleeve style wallet for the past decade, but with this wallet case from Terrapin I no longer need to carry that extra item.

Terrapin’s synthetic leather looks like the real thing. I honestly didn’t know it was synthetic leather until I read the description and then did the smell test. It looks like genuine leather and has the deep stitching usually reserved for higher end cases.

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There’s also the right amount of card slots for holding my ID, credit cards and debit card, with a larger slot for cash.

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Without overstuffing the wallet, the case still manages to fold flat even though it offers quite a bit of protection at the same time. The front cover is held down on the case when not using the phone by a magnetic clip that is rather strong. Overall if you’re looking for a professional look, while minimizing items you carry, the Terrapin S7 edge two tone wallet case is a solid option. There are similar style wallet cases that cost four to five times as much but offer very little advantage over this one.

One last feature that is nice for people who consume a but of multimedia is the built-in kick stand.

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Terrapin TPU Gel with Polycarbonate Bumper Protective Case – $8.95 at Amazon 

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One of my favorite cases is Terrapin’s Gel TPU Polycarbonate bumper case. It’s not your typical hard plastic that simply offers protection. It has a real grippy texture to it that makes the S7 edge real easy to hold. It’s also clear which allows me to see the beautiful phone I paid for.

The edges line up perfectly with the volume rocker, power button, microUSB slot, and 3.5mm audio jack. This is a great case for just $10.95 and resists scratches and bumps with the best of them

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Terrapin Trifold Clutch Purse Wallet with Polka Dot Interior for Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge – $13.95 at Amazon

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Terrapin’s deep red leather wallet style case is admittedly not my type of case, but there are many women who would love a case like this. While many cases are rugged or technical looking, the Trifold Clutch Purse wallet case is refreshingly different. It’s got a beautiful colored exterior with a polka dotted interior and hard interior case.

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It has enough slots to hold your ID, three to four credit cards as well as a wad of cash. It also has a detachable wrist strap to ensure you don’t lose the phone while out on the night. The Trifold wallet has a magnet inside of the flip cover to keep it tightly closed when not in use.

Behind the leatherette exterior are hard shells to keep your S7 edge protected from just about anything you can throw at it.

It’s a stylish clutch styled case that is perfect for those who don’t want to carry a purse and don’t want to spend a ton of money.

Terrapin Samsung S7 Edge Case Wallet [Purple] – $11.95 at Amazon

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Up last is Terrapin’s ultra-slim purple wallet case that might be the best of the bunch. The color is one that isn’t one I’d normally choose for myself, but is one that I can see many people choosing.

It’s another wallet style flip cover that is the slimmest of the bunch. There’s a hard interior case to protect and hold your S7 edge, with an outer flip cover two slots for credit cards. It’s one of the more functional cases since it also doubles as a flip stand so you can use watch videos on your phones hands free.

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It’s slimmer than the other wallet cases by a couple of millimeters making it very pocketable.

Priced at just $11.95, it’s a great value for the quality and protection it offers.

Terrapin makes fantastic cases

Terrapin has been making cases for a decade and offers some of the best value for your dollar. It’s not a brand you’ll see in big box stores, but is one you can trust. These five cases made for the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge are a great example of the quality of work it does and are worth your money.

Protect your Samsung Galaxy S7 edge today with Terrapin.

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6
Nov

How to debloat and speed up your Samsung Galaxy devices for just $1 without root


It’s no secret that Samsung Galaxy devices come preinstalled with a ton of bloatware and duplicate apps. Some of those are useful, but a vast majority of them are resource hogs that don’t need to exist on your smartphone.

Samsung has been duplicating apps for several years now in its version of Android with TouchWiz. It has also partnered with carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to preinstall a wide variety of apps that you con’t need, even though you pay an ultra premium price for its devices. It’s one reason why so many people are driven to Apple iPhones, official Google smartphones like the Nexus and Pixel, and is one reason for rooting your devices.

Rooting a device gives a user explicit control over all of the software installed on a smartphone. It’s one way users can remove bloat and customize the software to maximize the most their hardware. However the process is complicated and will void your warranties.

I for one don’t root devices because I don’t have the time to research how to do it. I also don’t like voiding my warranties. However I like bloatware even less and hate how it hogs my device’s resources.

I’ve come across an app that will remove the bloat from your Samsung Galaxy devices like the Note 5, S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+, S7, S7 edge and even the recalled Note 7. The app is called Package Disabler Pro and it is available at the Google Play Store for just $0.99.

I was highly skeptical this app would remove the bloat (it doesn’t uninstall the bloat, it just disables it) from my Galaxy devices. I tried the app on my S7 edge and Note 7, and within minutes both of my devices were faster than they were out of the box.

Some of you might never experience Samsung lag, but I always encounter it and it drives me nuts. I don’t understand Samsung can be satisfied with devices that slow down over time when its rival devices that cost half as much can outperform them. If you’re in the same camp as me, you should try out the solution I’ve come across.

All you have to do is install that app and give it Admin access to get started

In order to get started on your path to bloat freedom, get the Package Disabler Pro app from the Google Play Store. It will cost a dollar but it is one of the best investments you can make for your Galaxy device.

If it doesn’t work for you, the developer offers a five day money back guarantee.

Once installed simply open the app and give it Admin access to your phone.

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You’ll want to be careful not to click all of the disable boxes as it might hamper an app you need. However you can select “Disable all Bloatware” in the three dot menu at the top right, and it will disable all of the apps the developer knows is unnecessary. I selected this method and it disabled 91 apps on my AT&T Note 7 and 84 apps on my AT&T S7 edge.

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It not only disabled apps like DirecTV and the AT&T Locker apps, but it also disabled useless Samsung apps like Flipboard Briefing and the Game Launcher.

If you want more control over which apps you do not want, simply scroll through the list of items and select which ones you want disabled. It doesn’t get any simpler.

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I’ve disabled these apps for over two weeks and noticed better battery life and improved speeds. There are ways to disable preinstalled apps, but that method is not nearly as fast or as efficient as the Package Disabler Pro.

While you’re at it, there are five apps made by Google that you should consider as replacements to the stock apps on your Galaxy devices.

Package Disabler Pro only costs a dollar

Samsung is the number smartphone manufacturer in the world. That means you’re probably using some sort of Galaxy device. There’s a good chance you’re experiencing Samsung lag and you can fix it with the Package Disabler Pro app. It’s only a dollar and is one of the best investments you can make to help your device run smoother and improve battery life.

KEY FEATURES:

* Disabling and enabling any packages /apps
* Package Disabler Helps to Identify 100+ Bloatware’s on most of Samsung Handsets
* One click bloatware removal to quickly improve device perfomance and save battery
* Export your disabled list to the external storage to import them later
* Batch operation to enable all disabled packages
* Filter to show all disabled packages
* Password protection
* Filter to show all installed apps
* Filter to show all system packages
* Quickly find apps using the search functionality

6
Nov

Understanding memory card speeds and what works best for your phone


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Buying an SD card shouldn’t be difficult. Learn what those numbers all mean and how to pick what’s best for you.

SD cards are a cheap way to provide extra storage for just about anything that can create or read a digital file. Most cameras use SD cards, as do audio players and recorders, digital photo frames, many laptops and a lot of phones. While we’re going to focus on the how what and why of using them with an Android phone, the overall ideas are the same and you’ll be just fine using this reference when buying an SD card for anything that can use one.

Buying an SD card can be a little frustrating. You need to find a reputable place to buy them if shopping online, you need to know which type you need and what the class rating means. It’s OK not to know this stuff, and we’re here to help you sort through it.

SD card form factors

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Once you’re sure your phone can use an SD card, you need to know just what type of card to buy. SD cards come in different physical sizes, have different read and write speeds and different storage sizes.

Phones use the smallest microSD card form factor.

For your Android phone, you’re looking for the microSD form factor. SD cards come in three different sizes. An SD card is the biggest — a little larger than a postage stamp — and is used for things like stand-alone cameras. The Mini SD form factor is about half the size of a full SD card and they aren’t very popular. Chances are you won’t ever buy anything that needs a Mini SD card. The microSD card is about the size of your fingernail and the one we’re looking for.

When you buy a Mini or microSD card you often get an adapter in the package. The smaller card slides into the adapter so it can fit into something that needs a full-sized card — like your computer — as well as something like your phone that needs a microSD card. This makes it pretty handy when transferring pictures or video from your phone to your computer.

SD card storage versions

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There is a method to the madness of all those letters you see.

The next thing you need to know is the storage version. You can buy microSD cards, microSDHC cards, and microSDXC cards. A microSD card was designed to hold up to 2GB of information, though a few 4GB versions are available that work outside of the specifications. microSDHC cards (Secure Digital High Capacity) are designed to hold up to 32GB of data. microSDXC (Secure Digital eXtra Capacity) cards are designed to hold between 32GB and 2TB of data. It’s important to know what version your phone can use. Most all modern phones — Android or otherwise — will be able to use a microSDHC card. Many newer phones are capable of using a microSDXC card.

There is no easy to see difference between a phone that can use a microSDXC card and one that can’t. You’ll need to consult the documentation that came with your phone or hop into the forums and ask other folks who have already found the answer. The versions are backward compatible (a microSDXC card slot can use a microSD or microSDHC card) but there is no forwards compatibility, and if your phone can’t use a microSDXC card it won’t ever work.

SD card speed classes

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No card is going to be as fast as the listed maximum.

Finally, you need to understand the speed class ratings. There are currently five different speed classes (listed slowest to fastest) — DS (up to 12.5 MB/s), HS (up to 25 MB/s), UHS-I (up to 104 MB/s), UHS-II (up to 312 MB/s) and UHS-3 (over 312 MB/s). There are also speed “subclasses” and those are listed with a number. You’ll usually see a 2,4 or 6 listed on a DS speed card. HS speed cards will have a 10 listed. UHS cards can also have a U1 to U3 rating.

These numbers are the highest speeds the card is capable of when reading data. No card is going to be as fast as the listed maximum. You’ll often see an actual rated speed listed on the packaging along with the speed class rating.

Deciding what you need

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Are you thoroughly confused yet? Don’t be.

  • You need to know what size SD card you need. If you’re buying for use in a phone, you need a microSD card.
  • You need to know what storage version your phone is compatible with. If in doubt, ask the folks who sold you the phone or others using the same phone in our forums.
  • The speed of the card you need depends on what you’re going to do with it.

The first two items on the list above are pretty self-explanatory. The wrong size card isn’t going to fit and anything you attach or insert into a phone needs to be compatible. The speed you’re looking for isn’t too difficult to suss out, either.

  • The faster, the better. You’ll never run into a situation where an SD card is too fast. A UHS card isn’t needed to listen to stored music or stream video you have saved, but it won’t hurt anything to use it. Faster SD cards will more future-proof if you decide to shoot a lot of videos, especially in 4K.
  • Never buy a card slower than Class 10. Class 10 cards are a great compromise between price and performance. They are plenty fast enough to transfer music or pictures to a computer (or the other direction), are fast enough if your phone camera has a burst mode, and are even fast enough to store Android application data. Your phone is probably capable of copying bits and bytes faster than the 25 MB/s when doing these things, but it’s not going to be able to process that data fast enough to see a noticeable difference.
  • If you shoot 4K videos, the card is never fast enough. See item one in this list.

4K video has a need for speed.

Your phone needs to be able to copy video data to the storage as fast as it can. It copies this information from the camera a lot faster than it would if it were a regular data file. There is a noticeable difference between a few minutes of 4K video shot using a Class 10 card and the same video shot when using a UHS speed class card. Video can look blurry or fuzzy, audio can be out of sync or you can even see some skipped frames. Once you see it side by side you can’t unsee it, and I’ll save you the trouble and tell you up front that to shoot any HD video you need a UHS speed class card. Of course, shooting video directly to the phone’s internal storage is always better than straight to an SD card.

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The Samsung Galaxy S7 makes for a great example here, so we’re going to use it. Remember, your phone may support different speed classes.

The Galaxy S7 supports microSDXC cards using the UHS-I speed bus. UHS-II cards will work in the Galaxy S7, but the extra speed is not supported — there are two extra points of contact that are not present on the S7’s card reader. To take pictures, store music or video on the card or to add some application data, any UHS-I card would work and may even be overkill. The thing to consider with the Galaxy S7 is that it has a really good camera that can take 4K videos. If you’re going to shoot 4K videos, you need a UHS-I class U1 card or better. If you use anything slower, you’ll see a difference in quality.

The bottom line: A faster SD card is always better

This is especially important if you’re going to be shooting HD or UHD video because you need to be able to write the raw data stream to the storage as fast as you can.

Using a fast card to do “normal” things like store files or copy pictures to a computer doesn’t hurt anything. It makes no sense to ever buy anything slower than an HS speed Class 10 card.

If you’d rather not know all this industry talk and just want to buy an SD card and move on, here’s the skinny. Find out what version microSD card your phone supports, and buy a good brand name card from someone you can trust (there are a lot of slow cards with the wrong label being sold at places like eBay) that’s as fast as you can find and you’ll be fine.

More: The best microSD cards for Android

6
Nov

Ninja Coffee Bar CF092 review – CNET


The Good Ninja’s updated Coffee Bar CF092 automatically brews in many styles and for various container sizes. The machine also comes with its own motorized milk whisk.

The Bad With brewing temperatures that are much too high, the Ninja Coffee Bar CF092 makes coffee that tends to taste bitter. The coffee maker’s milk frothing tool whisks dairy but doesn’t steam or heat it. Above all else, it costs more than other home brewers that perform better.

The Bottom Line All the Ninja Coffee Bar CF092’s extra features can’t justify its steep price or poor brewing ability, which makes superb drip coffee makers such as the Bonavita BV1900TS a better bargain.

Modern coffee tastes have moved way beyond your basic mug of drip. These days, java drinkers hanker for a variety of beverages, including stiff shots of espresso, creamy lattes, refreshing iced coffee and practically everything in between. Kitchen appliance maker SharkNinja, formerly Euro-Pro, feels its new $200 Ninja Coffee Bar CF092 can satisfy many of these cravings right from your countertop.

While the flexible coffee maker does automatically brew in many different container sizes and even boasts its own built-in milk frother, it doesn’t live up to SharkNinja’s hype. More expensive than its predecessor the $140 Ninja Coffee Bar CF080 (itself a mediocre performer), this pricey machine brews coffee that tastes worse. You’d be much better off buying a $190 Bonavita BV1900TS to make big pots of quality drip. For delicious single portions of joe choose the $16 Oxo Good Grips Pour-Over, which serves superb coffee one cup at a time.

Ninja’s new coffee bar machine offers many…
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Design and features

Constructed from thick, black plastic parts with faux-chrome highlights, the Ninja Coffee Bar certainly doesn’t look like a premium coffee maker. Placed next to luxury competitors like the $299 Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 and the $580 Ratio Eight, which use metal, glass, even wood within their frames, the Coffee Bar looks downright cheap. Even the spartan stainless-steel chassis of the $190 Bonavita BV1900TS makes the Coffee Bar look chintzy by comparison.

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The updated Ninja Coffee Bar still has the same retro appliance look.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Still, I do find the retro appliance styling of the Ninja somewhat charming. Its large buttons labeled in capital letters are easy to read and easy to press, too, since they’re well-spaced from one another. This coupled with lots of bright LED lights, sharp lines and angled surfaces give the Coffee Bar a decidedly 1980s alarm clock appearance, which I admit isn’t for everyone.

Underneath its unique styling, the Ninja Coffee Bar is still a traditional coffee machine. Essentially a rectangular tower standing 14.8 feet tall and sprawling 11.6 inches wide by 7 inches deep, this is one big machine and takes up even more space than the massive Moccamaster KBT 741.

On the left side of the appliance you’ll find a 43-ounce glass carafe that sits on a circular hot plate. Above that is a brew basket that accepts either the bundled permanent filter or disposable paper filters (Type 4). SharkNinja also equipped the coffee maker with a handy drip-stop switch, placed at the foot of the basket.

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The water tank has ridged sides, which help ensure a tight grip when you remove it.

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Like its predecessor, the updated Coffee Bar has a removable water reservoir. The clear plastic tank (54 ounce capacity) sports a series of fluted ridges along its sides that are easy to grip. There’s also a hand-size indentation on its right edge, which makes it a cinch to grab as well.

Below the reservoir is the Ninja Coffee Bar’s main control area. It includes a “Multi-Serve Dial” for selecting the coffee container size you plan to use (ranging from small 9.5-ounce cups to 43-ounce carafes). Here too are buttons to engage specific types of brewing programs. Five in all, the keys are labeled Classic Brew, Rich Brew, Over Ice Brew, Specialty and Cafe Forte. Each brew style is designed to create coffee of varying strength, with Classic the weakest and Rich Brew slightly stronger. Cafe Forte is stronger still, while Specialty is the most intense, with an almost espresso-like concentration.

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Select the brew size to match your coffee container.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The entire coffee machine rests on top of a trim, flat pedestal, which houses a few more controls such as the power key along with buttons to command the hot plate. There’s a tiny LCD screen here, too, which displays a digital clock and allows you to set a time for delayed brewing.

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A milk frothing arm swings out from behind the coffee maker.

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The Coffee Bar’s most novel feature, however, is a motorized frothing whisk that’s designed to aerate milk for frothy cafe drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. The whisk is attached to an arm that lives in back of the appliance and swivels forward when it’s ready for action.

Performance and taste

SharkNinja makes breathless claims about this new Ninja Coffee Bar system, going so far to say the gadget offers a “Better than a coffeehouse experience. At home.” Sadly, this statement could not be further from the truth, since the coffee the Coffee Bar makes is substandard and at times completely undrinkable.

6
Nov

How to quickly access your notifications with the Honor 8 fingerprint sensor


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Looking for an easier way to access your notifications than swiping down from the top of your Honor 8 screen? Sometimes it can be difficult to reach the top of the display without using a second hand or adjusting your grip, but luckily with the Honor 8 there is another way to access them that won’t make you do that.

Open the notification shade and tap on the Settings icon.
Scroll down and tap Fingerprint ID.
Tap to turn on Show notification panel under the Slide gesture category.
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That’s all there is to it. Now you’ll be able to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to access your notification pane anytime the phone is unlocked. Viewing your notifications, accessing settings and more can now be done easily with just one hand.

6
Nov

Android and chill: Writers are people, too


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Disagreeing is cool. Being hurtful isn’t.

I really love peanut butter swirl ice cream. If I worked somewhere and it was my job to write about ice cream and I was to compare peanut butter swirl to chocolate or cherry vanilla, I would tell you I think peanut butter swirl is better. I can say why I think it’s better — peanut butter trumps the lack of peanut butter, in any configuration, not just a swirly one. Even though it lacks the delicious bits of meaty maraschino cherry it’s still better because of peanut butter to me. If I’m going to express my preference, it will be swirly and peanutty unless someone can invent ice cream that tastes like fried chicken.

100 people will have 100 different opinions. Every single one of them is valid, but 99 of them won’t match yours.

If ice cream blogs exist (I’m not sure and afraid if I look I’ll never leave) that means there will be a lot of people out there who disagree and think their chocolate is better than my peanut butter swirl. Some would take the time to comment on articles about ice cream and tell me why they think I’m wrong. I’d enjoy reading those comments because I’m really glad everyone doesn’t have the same opinion. But others would claim the Peter Pan / Skippy coalition is paying me under the table to ruin the good name of Neapolitan or whatever they like, and I’m no longer to be trusted whenever I write another article. Others would go further and insult me and berate me because I like peanut butter swirl better than anything else.

That sounds really petty and stupid, doesn’t it? Know what? It’s just as petty and stupid when it’s about phones and not ice cream.

In the past month or so I’ve seen writers derided and berated for having an opinion. Even worse, I’ve seen their family insulted, their bodies made fun of, their sexual orientation questioned and the size of their genitalia (both length and girth) remarked on. I honestly can’t understand it and am left with the feeling of WTF man, WTF. It’s just a phone, man. Stop.

Ridiculous comments won’t change anything except how others think about the person making them.

To be clear, there are relatively few people doing this sort of shit. It’s not terrible here at AC, though some do push the limit. (You know who you are.) When it’s done to me I don’t care. If I can think of something I feel is witty to reply with I’ll do it because I’m a bit of an asshole, but otherwise, I chuckle and move on to the next thing. Hearing that I should take all the money Google pays me for good reviews and get bigfoot’s ass hair surgically removed from my face was pretty funny. But others who do what I do for a living may find it very hurtful. That does bother me. We’re people writing about phones or game consoles or another cool tech products. Abuse — and to be clear, that’s exactly what behavior like this is — is never a pretty thing. Nobody deserves it, regardless of what they have said or typed.

The internet is a big place filled with people who don’t think the same way. Whether it’s about phones or politics or sports nobody has the right to abuse another person because they said something you didn’t like. We’re just regular people doing our job. Part of our job is to be publicly judged in open comments by people from all over the world. No matter what we say there will be people who disagree. This isn’t about disagreement. You should never stop voicing your opinion, no matter what anyone else says. I am also pretty sure that nobody wants any tech writer to lie about what they like or dislike to stave off shit comments. I can’t think of one good reason anyone would be so forceful and ignorant to another person because of words. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you feel a need to get toxic when you talk about phones you should talk to a professional about your feelings. If you do it “for the lulz” you’re just an asshole.

If you want people to listen to what you have to say, be respectful. It works.

I’m not trying to say you should like the peanut butter swirl as much as I do. Nor am I saying your opinion is any less valid than mine or anyone else’s. I’m just saying you don’t have to be a jerk about it. Being cool to other people — especially when you don’t agree — never hurt anyone.

Have a recipe for the best ice cream of them all and remember to keep things chill.

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