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Ask MetaFilter posts by Rumple

Published: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 08:23:05 -0800

Last Build Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 08:23:05 -0800


Things to do in the area around College Station, Texas?

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 08:23:05 -0800

I'm going to be in College Station, Texas for a few days. I'll have a car on Sunday and be free to drive around. I'd like to see some nice small towns, maybe hit some junk shops (open Sundays?), have some delicious BBQ, see some unusual local landmark. Within an hour or two of town would be ideal Is there anything of particular interest in College Station itself? Not interested in Presidential Libraries nor in "standard" History-of-the-Region museums. History of Barbed Wire? Count me in.

Good cafe w/internet suggestions in College Station are welcome. I'm going to be busy at TAMU Monday and Tuesday so really just have the Sunday. I've been to Austin several times so not interested in that at the moment, nor in Houston.

Thanks for any/all ideas.

What are some fictional examples of archaeology/ruins set in the future?

Mon, 04 Jul 2016 14:03:55 -0800

I'm looking for examples of archaeology of the present day, and/or of the ruins of the modern world, from the perspective of the future, as expressed in fiction or film. These could be major plot points, recurrent themes, or merely passing references. Canonical examples of the sort of thing I'm looking for include: Jean-Luc Picard's archaeological hobby; Star Trek (original) episode Galileo 7 with Clovis points and ?sasquatches; the shopping list and lunchbox from A Canticle for Liebowitz; the Statue of Liberty emerging from the sand at the end of the original Planet of the Apes.

Wanted: daytrips from Aix-en-Provence, France

Fri, 09 Aug 2013 11:44:26 -0800

I'm cat-sitting for a few weeks in a small village 20 minutes south of Aix-en-Provence. Because of the cats, I am limited to daytrips, but I do have use of a car. I'm looking for interesting or quirky places to visit. These could be in a city, town or the countryside. I've seen this question, but am hoping for expanded options. I'm probably limited to about a 150 km radius around Aix. I'm ok with short hikes but it is in the low to mid 30s (90 degrees) here most days. I have a decent handle on the major sights in Marseille, Aix, Arles, and Avignon, but lesser known destinations there would be welcome too. I'm by myself. I'd prefer to do trips like, drive an hour or two, see one or two interesting things in a couple of hours, and come back to the patio here for a glass of wine, vs. exhausting 12 hour extravaganzas.

The kinds of places I like to go are low-key churches, caves (I know about the major ones in the Ardeche), archaeological sites, especially if active, modern art, modern architecture, walks by rivers, industrial tours, factory tours, modern ruins, World War II sites. But I'm open to anything you might have really enjoyed, especially if it was less crowded than typical, and in some way unusual or offbeat.

Activities for a sick toddler needed

Mon, 22 Nov 2010 08:56:43 -0800

I need ideas for helping a toddler through four to six months of chemotherapy. Two weeks ago, my 21 month old daughter was suddenly diagnosed with a large brain tumour, which has since been completely removed surgically. A few days from now, she will start chemotherapy. While much depends on how well she tolerates the drugs, the schedule for the chemo is expected to be: four days of administering drugs; several days of close monitoring, then two weeks at home. This makes a three week session, which will be repeated six times, making a four to six month course.

I am looking for ideas on how to keep a toddler as amused and happy as possible through this lengthy ordeal. Ideas for absorbing, distracting games or stories would be very welcome. She enjoys word games, songs like "itsy bitsy spider" and nonsense rhymes. She likes to look at pictures of animals and is in love with the television show "In the Night Garden", which like the teletubbies, has little dialogue and simple plots.

She can scroll around on an iphone and look at pictures and some simple iphone games might be in her reach, so suggestions of toddler apps would also be welcome, or other computer games. Both active and passive activities will be needed. Obviously, she can't read or write or use a keyboard.

I have no problem keeping her happy and amused under normal circumstances but we will need a lot more arrows in our quiver for the intense times to come when I expect she will often be feeling poorly. Any idea, no matter how small, which could entertain or distract her for even five minutes would be well worth it to me, and ideas stemming from personal experience would be especially welcome. Thanks in advance. Cute overload from last month here.

Using iPod touch in Europe while travelling

Mon, 03 Mar 2008 01:23:34 -0800

Using an iPod Touch wireless features when travelling in Europe - what is the general availability of free wireless connections/hotspots? Would one be able to get substantial use out of it for checking train schedules, finding telephone numbers, etc? My daughter (18) is planning a six-month backpack around Europe. I am thinking of getting her an iPod Touch because (a) her old mp3 player broke and (b) I thought the wireless feature could be very useful for getting train schedules, bus schedules, google maps, hostel phone numbers, etc., and, (c) selfishly, it would make it easier for her to drop me an email so I don't worry too much. She likes the idea of the touch. She'll be travelling with her boyfriend, 20, who I like and who is sensible so I am not too worried.

My question is general -- what is the density of free wireless connections/hotspots in Europe? Do most major train stations have it? On an average downtown street would there be an open connection? I know this varies country to country, but, overall, is this an idea that seems good in principle but might not be very practical? I've googled but it is hard to put together a qualitative answer to the question "is this worth it?" Thoughts, Euro-hivemind? She's planning on spending most time in UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Czech R., Greece, Turkey, but thoughts about Scandinavia, Germany, Poland and eastern Europe/Baltic States also welcome.

Any other comments on related aspects of this would be welcome - does the touch have decent connectivity / antenna? Could one save a googlemap as a jpeg and view it offline later? Are there widely available pay-to-connect wireless networks that are worth considering?

The iPhone is not usable here in Canada so doesn't seem to be a viable option, assuming it does the same things the touch does.

Aborted OSX 10.5.2 update help needed.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 21:54:44 -0800

OSX Leopard 10.5.2 update - somehow aborted, now my macbook pro is caught in limbo. So I woke up from my nap and there was a software update bouncing ball thingie, so I approved it and it asked to restart my MacBook, which is (was?) running Leopard 10.5.1. Well, it asked for all the Apple registration stuff as if it was a clean install - I went through with all that, then, when it came to the last "continue" it cycled back to the beginning, asking if I had ever owned an Apple before. I hard rebooted it, and it went through the same cycle. Stopping the installation does nothing, some of the menu bar windows operate but do nothing (e.g., "help", "about this mac" are there but don't function). It is stuck with a plain blue screen and a menu bar, no dock, and no programs. Since I am only semi-backed up, I'd rather not bork this totally, and I'd like to keep all my settings etc (i.e., not fresh install 10.5, if I can help it)

I presume the normal overlay install of 10.5.2 on 10.5.1 wouldn't mess with my data, but it didn't prompt me to make a backup or indicate in any way this was, in fact, an OS reinstall. I can see all the data booting it as a Target Drive from my old Powerbook running 10.4.10, which I am using to post this, and am backing up to this computer right now over firewire (once I make space by clearing off my daughter's crap music).

It is a 2.2 ghz 15" Macbook Pro, if that matters.

I don't have my install disks for Leopard here at home, but it is legit and registered and all that.

What's the best way to proceed here? Any way to kick-start the stalled installation? Anyway to restart that installation from the target disk?

Stubborn powerbook battery won't charge

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 10:49:25 -0800

The battery in my G4 Powerbook won't charge, and I am a long way from any technical help! I have a Powerbook G4 15 inch 1.67. The battery is about a year old and is not one of the recalled ones. I left my computer in hibernate mode while away for a week and when I came back the battery was drained, which is not uncommon. However, now the battery will not take a charge at all. Some relevant symptoms:
- menubar indicator shows 0%,"calculating until full", which never changes
- the lights on the battery do not blink
- depressing the battery button produces the flickering green "battery empty" signal
- the computer will only boot if the PMU is reset, but will soft reboot without that step
- it runs fine with the battery in or out, but of course dies immediately the power cord is pulled out

I have googled around and done the PMU reset and also tried:
command-option-p-r (reset PRAM) (whatever that is) and
command-option-o-f; reset-nvram; set-default; reset-all

One potential confound is I am using an aftermarket power adapter which apparently only puts out 50 watts not the 65 of the stock model. This is preventing me from updating the firmware - it demands 65 watt adapter. However, I have never had a problem with this adapter and it shows as charging.

Sytem profiler:

Battery Information:

Battery Installed: Yes
First low level warning: No
Full Charge Capacity (mAh): 3421
Remaining Capacity (mAh): 0
Amperage (mA): 0
Voltage (mV): 9831
Cycle Count: 293

AC Charger Information:

AC Charger (Watts): 50
Connected: Yes
Charging: No

So, any ideas, hive mind? Software, hardware, battery itself? I am in a town (pop. 800) with internet for one day, then back into the bush for three weeks, where I would like to have use of this battery!

Austin TX musical recommendations needed for late April 2007

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 08:28:21 -0800

Recommendations needed for hearing roots or acoustic blues music in Austin, Texas from April 26th to April 29th. I'll be in Austin for the first time ever (Texas cherry popping yeehaw) for a conference. There have been a lot of Austin questions already from which I have some good ideas re: eats. I know Austin is well known for its music scene. Where can I go to hear some acoustic bluesy music, or rootsy music, in a casual atmosphere, beer in hand, able to have a conversation (not too loud), on the above dates. I'm partial to banjoey mandolinic wailing and singers with lame mules. Any Austinians know of a particular gig during those days? We are staying more or less downtown. Bonus questions: if I sneak out of the conference for an afternoon, what is the must-see / must-do in Austin? I like museums, galleries, rodeos, that kind of thing - offbeat is good. Internet cafes near the Hilton conference centre?

How to recover lost email in Thunderbird, OSX?

Wed, 14 Jun 2006 12:21:55 -0800

Lost email in Thunderbird, OSX 10.4 (Tiger), caused by changing the settings in the news reader. I changed the settings in the Thunderbird news reader to not keep news (usenet) messages older than 10 days. Thunderbird then got rid of all of my emails as well older than 10 days (thats a lot of email, and some of it I'd rather not lose!). It deleted it from inbox, sent mail, and all saved folders -- any email older than 10 days! I suspect it's there somewhere since my free disk space didn't increase noticeably, and I'd guess there were several gigs of email, at least. This happened a few days ago and I only just clued in to what I did. The email isn't in the Thunderbird trash, nor in the system trash. I am a <1 year mac user so forgive me if this is terribly obvious, but, where might my email be? Can it be recovered? How might I recover it?

Comparing perimeters of arrays of hexagons vs. squares

Tue, 25 Apr 2006 08:42:52 -0800

Let's say I have an array of 100 adjoining hexagons, 10 hexagons per side. Let's also say I also have an array of 100 adjoining squares, 10 squares per side. Each single hexagon and each square encloses the same area. Is the perimeter of the array of 100 hexagons longer than the perimeter of the array of 100 squares? It seems to me that necessarily the lumpy exterior of the hexagonal array will be longer than the perimeter of the (square) 10 X 10 array of squares. However, each individual hexagon has a more efficient perimeter to area ratio, and so the overall array of hexagons should be smaller in diameter, perhaps compensating for the lumpiness. I know I could just draw a bunch of squares and hexagons but I'd like to know if there is a logical or pure geometric principles answer to this.

(It stems from a student expressing surprise at a result in a GIS simulation she was running - the result, which found arrays of squares gave better results than arrays of hexagons for a perimeter-minimizing objective function, seemed to me self evident but neither of us are geometers. Googling just gave me endless discourses on the wisdom of honeybees.)