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The past 24 hours of questions at Ask MetaFilter

Published: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:49:37 GMT

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:49:37 GMT


Cheap reliable laptop recs, please

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:49:37 GMT

I am looking to buy the cheapest reliable laptop possible...I need it to last for a year plus with fairly constant use, mostly writing & reading. Under $400. Any OS. X 15"+ I don't have Internet access at home, so nothing that relies on the cloud to function. Flexible on other specs. I really hate Dells. Suggestions?

New Android Games

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:36:20 GMT

Looking for a new Android game, good for my commute, that doesn't require an internet connection to launch. Rogue-lite or RPG preferred but a good puzzle game also works.

I usually keep a couple games on my phone and the current ones are getting stale.
I prefer no internet connection required, no microtransactions or pay-to-win games, and touch controls instead of a fake joystick on the screen. Happy to pay for a good one.

Pixel Dungeon
100 Rogues
Legends of Yore
Punch Quest
You Must Build A Boat and 10000000
Monument Valley
Mage Gauntlet and Wayward Souls (The controls are amazing, like Secret of Mana built for a phone)
Injustice (Not the micro-transactions, but the ability to pick it up and play a fight just for a couple minutes)
A bunch of puzzle games that I can't remember the name

Squaresoft ports (Can't handle the controls)
Most Mobile focused strategy games with a buy gems or wait an hour mechanic
Injustice 2 and that other DC game (Can't play without connection)
Platform games with on-screen controls

How to see all the latest of my fave podcasts in one place (no iTunes)?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:33:52 GMT

I love listening to podcasts on my computer but often they are available on different platforms and it's hard to check each one. My preferred platform is SoundCloud -- I like that I can "follow" my favorite podcasts and they just show up on my feed when I go to the SoundCloud homepage. But I have podcasts I enjoy that are on Stitcher, AudioBoom, Art19, some are self-hosted, etc. It's hard to keep track of them all, and I absolutely hate using iTunes.

I just want to see a feed of all the latest episodes of the podcasts I like.

Some parameters: I don't use apps or my phone to listen to podcasts. I just play them on my computer, and then I may or may not use a wireless speaker so I can listen from anywhere in my house. I'd prefer some sort of web-based solution, although a Windows 7 desktop app would be fine, but I'm not interested in anything for my cell phone or an iPod. I also really like just streaming the podcasts, not downloading them.

Is there a good solution I can set up to automate checking for new podcasts for me? Are RSS feeds still a thing? Have we come up with something better than RSS feeds by now, which I remember were a thing like a decade ago? I'm looking for a 2017 solution to this problem and I want something that is really simple and will just work automatically once I set it up. Thanks!

What steps do I need to take to move out and change my life around?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:03:46 GMT

I am heading toward my mid twenties and I have never moved out of my parents home. I commuted to college for all five years that I was in college full time. I was under strict rules and was very sheltered during this whole time. I had serious mental health that I have only recently started to treat. I do not have a lot to show for college. I was careless with my grades and many of my relationships have ended badly. I take responsibility for this although my mental health issues have contributed.

I feel that I am very far behind my peers and that I have not adjusted well at all to adulthood. My family is very traditional and conservative and are starting to pressure me to get married. I don't think they would ever force me however there will be lots of emotional guilt tripping from the whole extended family. I have been a closet agnostic for years living in a religious household. I am very prone to depressive episodes and generally not well equipped to handle things emotionally. My parents have treated me very well for the most part however they do have episodes of rage that scare me. I feel that they have coddled me and I do not feel like I am a good enough daughter. I never had to pay rent and rarely ever cooked. Because of that I feel guilty for letting them down and for not being the daughter that they wanted. My parents have worked very hard to keep me comfortable.
During college I had a very hard time and preferred to stay home after classes. I never joined any clubs or made any friends. I have very little relevant work experience and a very low gpa. I have also accidentally made a lot of enemies because of my poor work ethics and social skills and so I have few references.
I have lost out on my early twenties and I am hoping my late twenties will be better.
What steps do I need to take so that eventually I feel secure moving out? My worst fear is that I relaspe into a depressive episodes when I move out and I will no longer have my parents to fall back on.

Seeking a very soft, light, natural fiber blanket (silk-cotton or?)

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:30:02 GMT

For our wedding a decade ago, we received a lightweight, toast brown blanket that was my couch cocooning pal until it finally fell to bits. Machine washing only made it softer. Not sure who made the blanket, but I'm pretty sure it was a silk-cotton blend. Texture was similar to a thinly knit cashmere sweater, with satin edges. Weight comparable to a couple of sheets. I need a silky-soft, thin blankie I can cuddle up with. Does this description sound like any currently available bedding you can recommend?

I'd like to buy this Hat

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:28:02 GMT

In 2009, I bought a hat. A few years later I lost the hat in Lake Te Anau, and I'd like to get a new one just like it. But, I can't find the right words to google this correctly. Snowflakes within.

This is yours truly, in the aforementioned hat. Not quite visible is that the fabric itself is made of pink skulls.

I bought this hat in a gay men's shop called Priape in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is now closed. Searches for things like "pink skull hat" do not turn up useful results.

Given I bought this in 2009, and the company went bankrupt in 2013, getting useful information there will maybe not work?

Do you know what this hat is? Where I can buy a new one? Maybe one similar that would suit my current hair (which is blue-green)?

What could my boyfriend do to help me feel more comfortable and secure?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 21:13:46 GMT

I've posted a couple of other questions that are focused around the same thing, which basically amounts to my past trauma in an emotionally/sexually abusive LTR, and my insecurities/ongoing anxiety in my current relationship. I've gotten some really helpful responses in my other threads that I still go over when I need them, and my boyfriend even looked over some of them with me. Basically, I feel like I'm always on the defensive and feeling threatened because I'm afraid (of reliving past trauma? being hurt? cheated on?) but I would like to feel more secure and "safe" in our relationship so I can stop feeling insecure and doubting him or his intentions.I know my question is worded strangely but I'm having trouble coming up with a coherent thought about this ~whole thing I'm going through~ and was hoping to gain some insight/perspectives from others so I can maybe understand things better and talk to my boyfriend in a more efficient manner. It's not that he doesn't normally make me feel safe or loved, in fact he's extremely thoughtful, kind, loving and receptive when I talk to him. He's wonderful and I feel like I'm ruining a good thing. I'm not the best at communicating in a healthy, gentle way and more often than not I end up getting upset first and then communicating calmly after a fight. Obviously this doesn't help and it's exhausting for us both. It happens because I get extremely anxious and feel physically uncomfortable when I'm put in a situation that "triggers" feelings from past trauma. This has been an ongoing thing. For example we'll be watching something or out somewhere and something will just "trigger" me. I never thought I'd react this way before we met. I met him right after that awful relationship ended and was under the impression that I left it unscathed, and it wasn't until halfway into our relationship that I realized how untrue that is. I feel bad about it not because I'm wrong to feel this way, but because my reactions are not the best and I end up hurting him and causing a fight, when I'd rather just talk about it and resolve it together. It seems so simple on paper but in reality I struggle with this a lot. I end up holding him accountable for whatever made me feel uncomfortable (e.g. if he was showing me a video or show) or worse, I end up feeling so threatened that I'll be mean, accuse him of doing something (without having a real reason to think so) or I'll dwell on something he did in the past and hold on to it as proof of [whatever I'm feeling insecure about]. We talked about this recently because of Game of Thrones. He holds a viewing night for it and invites friends over. The show makes me uncomfortable and it sucks that I can't seem to look past the things that bother me because I normally love medieval fantasy settings. The nudity and rape and blatant male gaze make me feel extremely anxious and I start feeling weirdly unsafe again, like I did with my ex. I have friends that love the show so I understand it's not some awful misogynistic show, but I have said these things when upset and I want to learn to control that. I feel bad about this because I want to control my emotions better. I think the show and things like it act as a sort of trigger and make me feel really insecure. It's not that my boyfriend or his friends are doing or saying anything inappropriate about women or anything, in fact it's the opposite - my boyfriend is respectful and kind, but sometimes I have a hard time seeing that when all I feel is the same anxiety and fear I felt in my chest with my ex. It sucks because when I feel threatened like that, I start to lump my boyfriend with my ex and other sexist men and I absolutely do not want to do that because it's hurtful. GOT is just an example of something that does this to me but it can really be anything with rape/sexist jokes, misogyny or blatant male gaze or non-consent. Rationally I know that my[...]

Microsoft Outlook has ...... failed!

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:32:20 GMT

Outlook 13 has handled our email with little drama until last Friday. It started hanging up on the syncing steps in Send/Receive. Summary of my futile steps to remediate inside.

When Outlook opens, it executes Send/Receive, part of which is a syncing function. My problem is that it is stalling with message saying "syncing". Task Manager suggests than nothing is happening. (0% CPU activity)

Things I have tried: 1) using the "change" option to check the account settings, which are OK. Fails on the connectivity test. 2) Setting up a new profile and adding the account. Fails on the connectivity test. 3) Spent an hour or so with support from the ISP doing the above again, plus more. All fails on the connectivity step. He says try Microsoft Support. 4) Tried Quick Repair and Complete Repair from Uninstall Programs screen - no effect. 4) Turned off Kapersky anti-virus - no effect.

No matter what I do, the program doesn't connect with the ISP. The account sends and receives properly on this computer using the browser client, and on my tablet using Outlook for Android.

If I thought it would fix the problem, I'd spring for the newest version of Outlook (2016), but why should I think that would work. OTOH, maybe MS support would be able to help. My suspicions are on Kapersky, and I might completely uninstall it. Or maybe I need to run a different virus detector.

I'm at a loss. Any suggestions?

What prevents my Mac Kobo desktop from connecting to Kobo server?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:28:47 GMT

On my primary admin account, I launch a fresh install of Kobo Desktop, click sign in, get this error message:
Network Error Oops, something happening to your internet connection. Please check your connection and try again.
I tested with a fresh Mac user account: installed Kobo from disk image and first launch I'm already signed in. No problem communicating with the Kobo server. Can you tell me what might be lingering in my admin account preventing the connection?

What I've Already Tried

Searched & posted on MobileRead. Followed suggestion to explicitly allow Kobo through the firewall using System Prefs -> Security & Privacy -> Firewall Options to add "Kobo" set to "allow incoming connections" to the apps permitted to connect. I do permit both "allow built-in" and "allow downloaded signed software" to receive incoming connections.

I have reinstalled Kobo many times.

I have reinstalled ADE first, with both 2.0 and 3.0 versions, and then reinstalled Kobo.

To delete installations, I use CleanMyMac3. After a deletion I always empty my trash and reboot.

My setup:
Kobo Mac Desktop 4.4.6339
MacOS Sierra 10.12.5
MacBook Pro (Retina, 13.1" early 2015)
2.7 Ghz Intel Core i5
8 gb RAM 1867 Mhz DDR3, 500 gb Flash HD
Intel Iris Graphics 6100 1526 MB

God helps those who help their pear trees.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:18:44 GMT

We moved into our house two years ago, and we thought this tree was an apple tree the whole time. It's ancient, and honestly thought it was kind of dying. Due to some (meteorological?) miracle, it has 4 whole pears on it, and seems to be much more full of foliage this year. How do I nurse this thing back into production?

If I had to venture a guess (based on 10 years of working in a grocery store's produce department) I would say they're D'Anjou pears, or something very very close? I'm willing to go to lengths to make this tree produce; I'm allergic to apples and love love love pears. Lets make the goal for next fall for me to be asking "Too many pears, halp!"

Furnace.Heart's Pear Tree Facts:
-Pear Tree lives in Portland, Oregon, hardiness zone 8B
-It's blossomed every year we've lived here (3 times so far), but this is the first time it's fruited. There are usually quite a few blossoms on it. The prior owners said it bloomed in the 2 years they owned the house as well, but never fruited. They also thought it was an apple tree.
-There are several branches that produce no leaves nor blossoms.
-It stands about 2 stories tall.
-It is large enough that my very large 6 year has a swing on one of the larger branches.

We were planning on having an arborist out sometime this year to trim back some other, taller trees at our house, is there a better time to have them come out for a tree like this? How do I encourage this thing to bear fruit? Do I need a special fertilization schedule? Are there complimentary plants I should be growing nearby to attract pollinators (which, I think we do have many of in our hood).

Basically this all boils down to, how should I be caring for this tree, to ensure maximum yield?

Parking etiquette

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:46:27 GMT

The person with the parking space next to mine in our apartment building's garage wants to buy a new car, that apparently will require me to back into my parking space instead of parking front-first, in order for me to be able to get out of my car. They have asked if this will be a problem for me.

I want to tell them yes, it would be a problem. The garage is very cramped as it is, and it would be complicated and annoying to have to turn around and back in every time. Also I am not comfortable backing into spaces in general and never do it.

Would it be an asshole move to say no? I don't want to cause bad blood with my neighbors (who I don't know and never see, if that matters, but I still don't want to be an asshole). Should I just say yes and learn how to back in?

I am only a renter, while most of the people in my building are owners, so another option would be to defer to the owner of my unit, I guess. Since technically it is their parking space.

Just interested to hear people's opinions on this. I know it's not a big deal and this is a silly question, but it's kind of stressing me out.

How do you get rabbits out of the garden and crows off the fruit trees?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:40:41 GMT

We have a serious rabbit problem in our backyard. Crows are also absolutely vicious to the pear trees. We also have another weird large brown furry animal that lurks around eating things as well, but I'm not quite sure what it is. Does anyone have tips on netting or other fairly affordable solutions we can buy to keep them out?

I tried traps, but they didn't work. We have a fenced-in vegetable garden and fruit trees as well as a flower garden.

The rabbits and crows are out of control this year. We also have other critters that wreck havoc like the deer and chipmunks. We also have a largish animal (groundhog?) that is terrible and I don't know how to get rid of that (someone help!).

The vegetable garden is fairly well fenced in however the smaller creatures, like baby rabbits and chipmunks, can still slip through some cracks. The crows are also swooping in from time to time.

Does anyone have any advice on how to:

1. Crow-proof the trees (started hanging CDs from the trees)

2. Crow-proof and critter-proof the vegetable garden further

3. Get rid of all these critters without shooting them

Sleeping in minivan while driving across the US?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:30:27 GMT

I will be driving from California to my new home in Philadelphia in mid-August, taking up to 3 weeks. I also need to buy a new-used car and am considering buying a minivan with tinted back windows so I can sometimes just sleep in it discreetly. Pros/cons of this method?

As the front page says - I'll be driving across country in mid-August. I'm on a very limited budget and dislike motels anyway (lingering bedbug paranoia from an event many years ago) and while I like camping, the freedom of just being able to pull over (almost) anywhere and sleep in the back of a minivan with tinted windows is very appealing; I wouldn't have to plan out a route as tightly (I want it to feel like an adventure, but a secure-ish one.) I would probably also do some camping and some motels so I can shower, but I like the security of having this option. I've slept in the back seat of a Corolla (I'm short) but a minivan seems like a better option because I can be discreet (plus with all my stuff in it there won't be space to sleep in a smaller car.)

If you've done this:
-Am I likely to get disturbed if I just park somewhere overnight and am discreet? I wake up pretty early anyway so I'm not concerned about being woken by street noise. More concerned about physical safety/the law.

-Assuming I have the A/C running in the car *up until I turn it off to go to sleep for the night* and I crack the window open for a little ventilation, will I be hotter than I would be tent-camping in the same environment?

-Also very open to hearing about your other suggestions for lodging/camping/etc while crossing the country on the cheap without advance campsite/motel reservations. (I know about Couchsurfing, though not sure how practical it is because I can't tightly plan a route in advance plus I'm a single "visibly queer" woman who can't offer a couch in return.)

-I would probably get a used Sienna or Odyssey and while that might not be what I'd pick to drive around Philly, I'm fine with that.

Please critique my road trip in Scotland

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:46:19 GMT

Hi Mefites, I'm going to Scotland with my SO fo a 10 days trip in September. We're mainly interested in gorgeous landscapes and lonely places, wild animals, haunted castles and are open to hiking, cycling & kayaking. We would like to keep the driving up to 3 hours per day maximum.

We have the choice between Glasgow or Edinburgh as the starting / arrival point. 
Once off the plane we'd like to first start with a train and then rent a car a bit outside of the big cities so we can experiment with the dreaded driving on the opposite side of the road in a quiet place.
Here's how I envision the trip after having read the Rough Guide and the previous posts & comments on the subject here on MeFi :

- Glasgow / Edinburgh - Inverness by train. Rent a car here.
- Loch Ness and loch affric
- Loch affric - Ullapool
- Ullapool- isle of Harris
- Isle of Harris - isle of Skye
- Isle of Skye
- Isle of Skye - Glen coe
- Spend a day exploring Glen Coe / Ben Nevis / West Highland Way
- Glen coe - Trossachs
- Trossachs / Loch lomond - Doune castle - Falkirk bridge (?) - Edinburgh

What do you think? Am I cramming too much in too little days? Is there some must-see I am missing?

Also, how difficult are the single track roads? (For example, compared to the narrow roads of the french / Swiss Alps?). Can we rent a basic car with those roads in mind or should we rent something "sturdier" / more comfortable?

Thank you in advance (and pardon my English!)

How to automate data entry across Google Docs, Sheets, MS Word and Excel

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:23:44 GMT

I started a new job at a company serving 50 clients. We have a "Master" Google sheet tracking data for all the clients, but we need to present each client with their personalized data in status reports that are formatted nicely for presentation. To accomplish this, each account manager takes data from the Master Google sheet and copies & pastes it into the corresponding formatted Word and Google docs to present to the clients. There's lots of data entry every day, thus all this copy/pasting and redundant data entry results in eating up an enormous amount of time across the organization. After some research, I've discovered the following programs that help automate such repetitive administrative tasks: Zapier, Google Apps Script, Ultradox, Applescript, IFTT Which one would best suit my needs?

I started a new job at a company serving 50 clients. We have a "Master" Google sheet tracking data for all the clients, but we need to present each client with their personalized data in status reports that are formatted nicely for presentation. To accomplish this, each account manager takes data from the Master Google sheet and copies & pastes it into the corresponding formatted Word and Google docs to present to the clients. Additionally, some account managers copy/paste data from the Master sheet into their own Google sheets, making slight tweaks for specific data they need to track for specific clients.

There's lots of data entry every day, thus all this copy/pasting and redundant data entry results in eating up an enormous amount of time across the organization. After some research, I've discovered the following programs that help automate such repetitive administrative tasks:

Zapier, Google Apps Script, Ultradox, Applescript, IFTT

Unfortunately, I don't have enough free time at work to learn and try each one to see what works best, so I thought I'd ask the lovely people of MetaFilter for guidance. To summarize, I want to automate duplicate data entry going from:

Google Sheets --> Google Sheets
Google Sheets --> Formatted Word doc (MAC parallel)
Google Sheets --> Formatted Google Doc

BONUS QUESTION: Is it possible to create an applet or script that can look for key words in Gmail and update a Google sheet for me automatically?

Thanks very much!

Discuss negative Glassdoor reviews with my new employer?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:06:29 GMT

I have a new job that I am starting in a week. Just now, I have discovered that my new employer's Glassdoor rating has gone down significantly. A wave of one-star reviews from former emplyees were added quite recently, criticising the managememet for under-appreciating/compensating the technical staff and the CEO for mood issues and lack of concern for junior/non-management employees. Given this is a small company without much information on Glassdoor (headcount ~50), these reviews now consitute the majority of the reviews on that site. I feel quite concerned about these reviews. Should I bring them up during my first days at work? Or should I wait and observe?

Where to fly from Miami for ±6 days?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:05:08 GMT

My wife and I will be in Miami visiting family in early October. We want to spend around 6-7 days in central America/the caribbean, not in a resort. With special snowflakey details.

Things to consider:
1. We like culture, food, colors, music, people, markets.
2. This is sort of our honeymoon so we want to splurge a bit when possible (nice hotel, close to the beach, etc.)
3. I spent four months in Central America a few years ago. This led me to check out Oaxaca and San Cristobal in Mexico, but getting there through Mexico City would take up a half day of travel and we don't have that kind of time.
4. I am a queer female married to a woman, so overtly anti-LGBT places would make us uncomfortable.

Places we have thought about but are unconvinced (feel free to convince!): Puerto Rico, Costa Rica.
Place I would love to visit (again) but wife is less inclined: Cuba

How to help a withdrawn/depressed foster dog

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:40:31 GMT

I've just picked up out newest foster dog, Blossom, a little Jack Russell terrier type. The rescue who have had her for the past few months say she is very withdrawn and unmotivated. She spends almost all her time sleeping, has never wagged her tail while they had her. Does anyone have any suggestion for how best to look after her?

My husband and I have been fostering dogs over the summer months for the past few years. He is a teacher so is at home during the day at this time of year. We have two dogs of our own, and two cats. Blossom is the 5th dog we've fostered. All the others have been pretty healthy normal dogs who haven't needed any special care.

The rescue we foster for have had Blossom for two or three months. She has been living in the house with them, not it kennels, but still hasn't shown any real sign of improvement.
They describe her as not really interested in anything apart from sleeping.

She also has something wrong with her fur/skin. They've washed her multiple times but she still seems to have a sort of tacky stickiness to herself, the edges of her ears are very leathery, and she has a bald patch.
The vet has looked at her and can't really find a cause, they think that maybe her ears were burned, but they don't know know the cause.

We're really only minding her for a few weeks, the couple who run the rescue are taking a well deserved holiday and trying to keep numbers as low as possible in their care (they have two shipments going to Sweden fairly soon). Is there anything we can do to help Blossom? Or at the very least what should we avoid doing?

The World Wide Web, 1991 to 1995 - is any of it archived anywhere?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:39:19 GMT

Yes, the Internet Archive contains some (not all) web content from 1996 onwards and is useful. But searches for any archives containing the interesting and quite busy first five years of the web before that draw up a blank. Are there any such archives? If only specialist ones exist, are there any covering websites in the library sector, or UK academia?

Need film timestamp to avoid watching scene of sexual violence

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:18:28 GMT

I want to watch film, 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' - the 2009 original 'Män Som Hatar', not the 2011 English language remake. I shall be watching with English subtitles. [film spoilers under the fold]

I want to skip the scene where Salander's character is raped by her legal guardian Bjurman.

I know how the scene informs the plot, I just don't' want to watch it.

I've looked online, but cannot find a timestamp for the beginning and end of the scene so I can skip it.

I'm asking here, because I suspect it's one of the few places online where someone won't troll me with an incorrect timestamp, nor argue with me as to why I would want to watch the film, yet avoid that particular scene.

Thank You

Can you recommend a video calling solution for elderly parent?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:57:53 GMT

My 82 y/o dad lives alone about 30 minutes away (with no traffic) and we sometimes cannot make it to see him physically on a regular basis. He's had health issues in the past which he won't mention on the phone but where if I had seen it in person (or video) we could have prevented an emergency hospital visit. solution was to buy him iPad so we can video call regularly if a physical visit would not be possible. I settled on an iPad after many weeks of researching but we may need a better solution. I've removed or hidden non-essential apps already.

He has essential tremors of the hands (not Parkinson's disease) and bad eye sight so even the simple act of "slide to unlock" is difficult. I got him a stylus but I don't think that has made a difference. I've looked at the IFTTT or Workflow apps but those don't seem to have any functionality that would auto-answer or make it easier to answer a facetime or skype video call or use the iPad.

I've looked at several products targeted to this problem like the Bloom (where's the buy button?), Skype for TV (discontinued), Amazon Echo Show ("drop-in" function is most promising. I would get one for him and use the app on my phone), Ily (again, how do you even buy this? It's got an app for one of the parties), Nucleus (promising, I think I'd need to buy 2 to make it work) and some other ones.

I can't seem to find the "one". Does it exist? I don't think another iOS app is the solution. It's the hardware that is the challenge right now. I need to get him onto the iPad first before dealing with software challenges.

Do I just suck it up and spend the $229 (+tax) on the Amazon Echo Show and "drop-in" whenever needed? None of the other functions like Alexa, music, smart home etc. would be useful or used. I literally only need the video calling. Is it a waste for it to be a single purpose device? Does it matter?

Does anyone have any experience with any of the other products I listed? Or can you recommend something I haven't seen yet? I think I read somewhere that iOS 11 will have the ability to auto-answer phone calls, but I don't know if that would apply to facetime on the iPad, and it's another few months before it's released anyway.

I've already spent over $300 on the iPad, a stand and a stylus. If the Echo is the best solution then I'll bite the bullet and get one, but here in 2017 is this the best there is to communicate with a technologically challenged eldery parent?

Thank you.

Music Recommendation Filter - Classical Dread

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:34:23 GMT

I'm looking for music to put on my kindle to accompany the books I'm reading - right now it's Metafilter's own cstross's Laundry Files series. I'm looking for something wordless and probably classical to project an ambient sense of chilling dread. Help me fill out my sensory reading experience!

What is causing fasciation in these gerbera daisies?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:28:43 GMT

I have two gerbera daisy plants which live in pots outside my back door (UK). Both plants have started to show signs of fasciation on multiple stems.

I bought them around April and they were normal. I originally placed them in direct sunlight but I had heard that they don't like too much direct sun during the summer so I moved them to the back of the house about a month ago. It's still sunny but with some shade.
I have only noticed the fasciation in the past few weeks so I assume it has something to do with moving them. I have also been cutting some of the flowers to display indoors and I wonder if I might have damaged the stems.

What could be causing this?

NYS Car Registration: VA title, time & distance issues

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 16:14:08 GMT

I want to buy a hard to find sports car from a Navy serviceman who is currently in NY but who has to report for duty in LA in about a week. He purchased it in VA two years ago and the Navy Fed Credit Union there has a lien on it. He won't receive a title he can sign over to me until about two weeks after my bank pays the lien on the car and he'll be in Gulf Coast LA then.

I need some solid advice how we can make this deal happen without either one of us getting ripped off.

The car will either be in storage in NY or in my driveway while we try to work this out.

Bariatric Surgery: Who did you tell/not tell about it?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:29:10 GMT

I'm having a vertical sleeve gastrectomy on August 18th. I'm trying to navigate who I want to tell/need to tell about this. Did you have bariatric surgery? What was you personal matrix like of who you told/who you didn't tell? How did you go about it?

I want to have a support system and I want to make sure I don't create situations or weirdness by being secretive, but I also don't feel the need to discuss my personal decisions in agonizing detail with every family member or friend or co-worker or neighbor, to personally address each person's misconceptions, alternative ideas, or what have you.

Who did you include in the loop? How did you tell them?

So far, I've kept it small. I spoke with a couple who have both struggled with (and even written extensively about) obesity. I told my close friend/co-worker I have lunch with every day, because it would be weird to stop going to lunch forever without comment. My mom knows. I tested the waters telling a friend/fellow neighborhood parent I trust yesterday. That went okay. I told my boss because I wanted her to understand why I had a dozen doctor's appointments in a short span and why I would need time off.

But I still don't know if I feel like telling my siblings. My older brother and his wife are thin running enthusiasts and while they're A+ human beings, we don't talk much and I don't see much reason to bring them in on something this far out of their wheelhouse. I don't want to get beat up with platitudes from my other sister-in-law who's determined to meme, hashtag, Blue Apron, and pinterest her way to fitness. I don't want my youngest brother's wife (who is very heavy as well) to feel any kind of secondary pressure or judgment. Ditto my favorite aunt.

And you can probably imagine that I give zero fucks what the average person at my office thinks.

But I also know there's value in some people knowing, in some people being in my corner for this. And maybe I'm kidding myself to think it could entirely escape notice if I drop 50-100 pounds in the next six months while developing a penchant for broth. People are going to notice I'm dropping a bunch of weight and I will have to say something, right?

What did you do?

How to geekify a hoopskirt?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:44:04 GMT

This weekend I will be going with a group of friends to Florida SuperCon. Last year, I watched all the folks in cosplay and thought... "I wanna do that." I have an 1860s day dress, complete with corset, hoop skirt, and suffragette sash that I wore to the local Women's March. Is there a simple way I can modify what I have for a more geeky setting?

Difficulty -- It's coming up this weekend and I'd prefer not to spend a lot of additional money.

Some thoughts that friends have suggested:

1. Just keeping the suffragette look.

2. Adding a straw hat and becoming the Mom in Mary Poppins. What bugs me about this suggestion is that Mary Poppins is set in the early 1900s. This is definitely an 1850s-1860s dress. I also realize that bugs only me.

3. Put on zombie makeup and be a Bennett sister from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Again, it's the wrong time period for that dress.

4. Find a Captain America Shield and go as the pun "Captain America: Civil War." I like puns, so this one actually appeals to me, if people will get it.

5. Go as Jo March. (Suggested by a friend who knows that I did a lot of research on Alcott in college.) I really like this idea, except I don't know how to signal the Jo Marchness of what I'm doing besides not pretending to put my hair up.

So... hivemind, I look to you for further suggestions and ideas that can be implemented quickly.

If it helps, the geeky things I really enjoy include: Doctor Who, Hamilton, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica (if someone finds a connection here, I shall be floored), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Steven Universe. I'm also a big dork about 19th century American literature.

Thanks in advance for ideas!

What made me sick last night?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:35:52 GMT

During the night I experienced the most violent nausea and vomiting ever. Midday today, and my throat is still raw; otherwise ok. Here's what I ate ...

Yesterday I ate the following and became badly ill during the nite. Are any of these particularly suspect?

● pancakes, canadian bacon, banana
● 1 egg w cheese & homemade green chile sause (precooked)
● 1 enchilada (homemade, baked 20 minutes: tortilla, cooked ground beef, Pace salsa)
● bbq chips
● peach (washed)
● ear of corn (fresh)*
● tamale (chili/cheese, packaged, Trader Joe)*
● green beans (fresh, washed, steamed)
● basil (fresh, washed)
● apple fritter

* One other piece of info: my microwave is 1250w, so I usually set it for ~10-15% less time than a package calls for.
AND I cook corn even less, per preference. So I prolly nuked the unshucked ear for only 1.5 minutes.


Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:32:39 GMT

UK-English speakers: I'm looking for a female equivalent of the word "fellow" (as in bloke or chap, not an academic holding a fellowship). Lass is, in my view, really only the opposite of lad. The only other thing I can think of is "gal" but that just doesn't feel right. What am I missing?

Give me your organizing closet/pantry/kitchen/basement storage hacks.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:03:04 GMT

My wife and I are closing on our first house a week from now and we're looking for your best closet, pantry shelves, kitchen, garage, and basement storage hacks.

My wife and I are excited to close on our first house a week from now. We have about 12 days before moving in to do some light renovations but also to setup an organization scheme for where things will go. We have never lived in an apartment larger than 500 square feet, so a 1000 square foot house with multiple options is superb. We are trying to set the tone early, though, so we don't end up like our parents with seven blenders because you can't remember where things are.

I'm looking for infrastructure you bought, things you built, and how you decided where things would go. Things like "these baskets are durable cheap and make organizing shelves infinitely better" are great, along with more philosophical "here's how we review what we have" stuff.

Only limiter - we prefer more environmentally friendly materials over plastics.

I am aware of the Kondo/professional side of things, but honestly we're normal people and aren't likely to be militant about this.

Specific areas we're looking at:
- Kitchen cabinets - we have approximately 2x the amount of cabinetry that we have now, especially lower cabinets and drawers. My wife is vertically challenged, so upper cabinetry is likely longer-term storage.
- We are moving our fridge and will have a fridge-sized opening between cabinetry. My intention is to install pantry shelves and perhaps one of those hanging pot and pan dealies. Ideas for what else to use in a space that we intend on limiting the depth on would be great.
- Bedroom closets - the master I think longer term I'll build a knock off of the Ikea systems, but right now we also have two bedroom closets for guests. What do you do to organize there and what stuff do you keep in underused closets?
- Basement and garage - I feel like many of the things we'd store in one area we might also store in another. We have two rooms worth of storage in the basement and I will build some shelves. How do you decide what goes where and what bins/etc. do you recommend for storing in areas that might be wetter and/or not used as often?

Thanks in advance.

Looking for a primary care doc in the NYC area

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:42:08 GMT

I'd like to find a doctor who has the time to deal with complex, chronic, issues. It would be great if the doctor had the time to think about my health problems and make reasonable suggestions for the constellation of issues I'm dealing with.

Ideally, I'd find a doctor south of 34th St (Manhattan) and north of Prospect Park, but I'd travel further for the right doctor. Bonus points if they have experience with pain management, although that's not essential since I can see a specialist for that kind of thing.

I'm on a PPO with good out of network coverage, so I'm not too worried about insurance issues.

If you recommend a doctor, please say why!

P.S. I've tried OneMedical, which comes highly recommended in my social circles. They've been great for routine problems, things like a bad stomach flu or allergies. It's also nice that you can send messages online and appointments usually aren't more than five or ten minutes late. But my doctor seems overscheduled and doesn't have time to read my chart before appointments, which means that an appointment about any long-term issue is spent recounting my medical history, leaving no time for any non-superficial advice. There have also been a number of errors as a result of being too rushed, some more serious than others.

How to get tested without being treated as crazy

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:41:59 GMT

How to find someone who can effectively treat vaginal itching that is neither bacteria nor yeast per the tests?

I'm 40, female, overweight. In the past I have had yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. I've been treated, have gotten better, and it has recurred (either BV or yeast, or one time it was both at once), more times than I can recall. Recently I've had itching and fishy odor. My gyno tested me for BV and yeast, both came back negative. She basically told me to wear cotton underwear, dry completely after showering, never douche, all the advice that I've already been following to the letter for years, and I continue to follow it. But she basically told me there is nothing more she can do, because she can't prescribe something if she doesn't have a specific infectious agent to match the prescription to, and I get that, but when I asked what specialist might have the right test, she recommended a psych eval.

I've been to therapy for years for depression/anxiety, which turned out to be complex PTSD from life events that are completely unrelated to this. And I'm basically fine now, with lots of coping skills. I went back to my psychologist after the gyno visit, just to see if there was any good reason this could be psychological issue, and my psychologist was furious at the doctor and said this is clearly medical, and I need to get a second opinion.

Meanwhile, just in the past couple of days, I have begun seeing small blue threads on the toilet paper after I wipe. I can't be sure if it's in the urine or the vaginal discharge, but I know it's not from the tp because this just started recently (same batch of tp). And it can't be from my underwear which are white or nude. I tried using a white wash cloth in the shower, instead of the usual burgundy or brown, and when using it to clean my vulva, it came away with several tiny blue fibers on it. I tried to think of anything else that may have been inserted into my vulva or vagina, and nothing. No sex of that type in recent months, no tampons. Certainly nothing medium-blue and fuzzy.

I started googling and discovered that itching and seeing blue fibers means I'm likely suffering from Morgellon's disease? But I don't believe in chem trails or homeopathy or anything woo. And yet if I try to take the most logical approach I can think of, which would be to bring a sample to someone who can test it, apparently I will be marking myself as a crazy believer of woo.

How to find a medical professional who will take this seriously? Again, I'm an overweight woman, so I've got that going for me. And again, it's neither BV or yeast per the tests, so is there even a test for this? If not, what alternatives do I have?

Super Trouper Harmony

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 09:01:17 GMT

I want to harmonize when singing Super Trouper by ABBA (meaning sing the non-melody part.) How do I learn to do that?

I was a soprano in choir and super used to only singing the melody and not harmony. My choir days are a decade in the past, though. I love singing Super Trouper by ABBA when I go to karaoke with my best friend or others, and want to harmonize because a) I want to give my friend the spotlight and b) I think the upper harmony would be a good fit for a soprano and c) because I love how harmonies sound.

I don't know how to go about this. Is there a harmony-only version floating around somewhere so I can practice singing along with it, or sheet music? I haven't been able to find any so far.

Can anyone help me either source a sound file or sheet music, or tell me how to go about this in a different way? Just listening to the whole track hasn't been successful so far, I get confused midway through.

If you can't help with this song, I'd take suggestions for others as well!

Thanks in advance!

Can I tell someone they need therapy? How?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 06:25:10 GMT

There is a couple in my immediate family who are in severe need of couples therapy. Neither I nor the couple are people who discuss emotions or share personal matters well, so bringing up something like this would be out of place. So how does this communicating thing even work here?

It feels like I'm watching two people suffering from a serious illness who haven't considered going to the doctor about it. Note that they are not particularly familiar with therapy in their lives or social circles which adds to my sense of wanting to say something. In discussions with other family members, there's a consensus about this as well as a "Not it" attitude in actually talking to the couple. Which is stupid and I feel like someone needs to take responsibility. I feel like an "in the moment" comment when something comes up can seem flippant when I actually want to communicate that we've all worried about them and feel like their life could improve immensely if they considered this.

If we assume that therapy would lead to life improvement for them, how could I communicate this? Should I do some research or find some therapists first and then go to them? I worry that if I don't prepare something first or otherwise show that a lot of thought has been put into this that they'll dismiss me. But on the other hand, if they do realize how much thought has been put into their problems, they'll be insulted we've all been talking about them behind their backs, and/or react by just wanting to hide their unhappiness more to maintain social appearances. So should I say something? What could I say? In what way(s) could I prepare?

I got a song in my head

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 05:10:10 GMT

I'm looking for free music composition software and associated tutorials. I want to get this song down.

Assume I know some music theory.

They tried to make go to rehab and I said yes, yes, yes.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 04:46:24 GMT

I'm starting outpatient detox this week in preparation for an partial hospital rehab program for alcohol. What do I need to know? What will help make this easier? (Not every night, but most nights, I'll drink two bottles of wine, so you know where I'm coming from.)

Wedding gift amount

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 04:18:53 GMT

I have a wedding coming up (my first as an adult) and I don't know how much to spend for a wedding gift. My sister is the bride's best friend. I know the bride, we're friendly but we aren't friends (not even on Facebook). I'm just starting to establish my self in a career and most guides seem to say $75-100 which is a huge luxury amount for something I'd buy myself, and is almost/all of my fun money for an entire month but I'm not trying to be a cheapskate either. Everyone lives in the Midwest.

Help me do rug shopping like less of a clueless noob.

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 03:28:39 GMT

I know what i want in a rug but I don't have any of the terms.

I have a few rugs at home already. Rug A was bought at a mass producing carpet shop. I do not love the faux Persian pattern but I do love that it is thick, has its own backing (doesn't need a pad and when the dog pounces in it it slides instead of rumpling) and 'smooth', so that it vacuums easily and doesn't collect junk too easily.

Rug B is a more fashionable style (in terms of the pattern) from a more fashionable shop
But is sort of knobbly. It has a few knots that have come loose (see dog) and it shows the dirt really easily. It is a huge pita to vacuum. It is very thin and in spite of the rug pad we were using is still pretty thin and not so great (again, see dog).

I want a rug that is durable and easy to clean like rug A but most of the stores I'm looking in seem to only carry rug B's style.

Can you give me better searching terms than knobbly and smooth? Is there a kind of rug pad that I can get that is more pad and less thin porous sheet like thing?

I'm in Australia if it makes any difference.

Mindful music recommendations?

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:47:23 GMT

I'm interested in finding music that is mid-tempo to upbeat and with lyrics that are neutral-to-positive on Buddhist virtues (compassion, contemplation, generosity, etc.; and avoiding harsh words and discord, wishing harm to others, and craving/clinging for pleasure i.e. casual sex and intoxication). This would be preferably in album format, but a standout song or two would also be great.

I'm interested in consuming media that aligns more with my actual values, and finding some difficulty listening to my usual playlists for work and exercise. So I'd like recommendations for music that doesn't glorify bad or sloppy behavior, especially sloppy emotional behavior (e.g. lyrics like "I live for loving you" or "I pin all my hopes for the future on this romantic relationship" or "let's go get super wasted").

This ask had some good recommendations. I am super big on Joni Mitchell and John Prine, so something in that vein would be cool. But also something interesting and newer, like Four Tet or Caribou, would be welcome.

Do not want: Hit singles that are well known ("Lovely Day" by Bill Withers comes up a lot when I search this topic); explicitly sacred music (chanting, etc.); anything overtly Christian.

What's your cell phone camera workflow for sorting/archiving family pics

Mon, 24 Jul 2017 02:44:21 GMT

I have a baby. I have a dog. I have a cell phone. Hence, I have a million pictures on my cell phone. How do I get these onto my computer, (mostly)off of my phone, touched up, and keep them organized on an ongoing basis?

When I used a separate digital camera I would download pics to my PC after any picture-taking event, touch them up in lightroom and then export them into a folder picassa would read in. I would like the same outcome (processed and sorted pics in Picassa, everything archived in appropriately named folders, everything on PC where it backs up to cloud), plus a few more things: a few favourite shots on my phone for bragging about my baby and dog (preferably the post-lightroom version), to clear most stuff off my phone because it's eating up storage space.).

What's your system for keeping everything in order? Is there a way I can make my PC send pics to my desktop over wifi into a folder and hten delete them from the phone? I can then import into lightroom from that folder every so often? Is there a way I can either designate some pics as favourites and have them copied back to my phone, or create a folder on my computer that stays synced on my phone?

How do you deal with the fact that many pics aren't event-based anymore now that you can take a pic any moment (and grandma demands daily pics!) What I've done so far is to keep event-based pics in event-based folders and also have folders that are called Baby'sNameMonth for other pictures. The problem with the monthly folder for workflow would seem to be that I'd have to wait for the end of each month to organize them, though.

I'm on android. I have lightroom for android, but it's just not as powerful as desktop and I can't figure ou how the sync is meant to work. Is this going to copy full-res pics to my desktop somehow? Can I automate that? Are there other apps I should be using?