posted about 1 hour ago on metafilter
Cyberdeck64 by D10D3

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posted about 1 hour ago on metafilter
"American Male, a short film [~6 min] from MTV's Look Different Creator Competition, is a gritty look at how gender norms make it hard for us to be who we really are." [content warning: some violence]

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posted about 1 hour ago on metafilter
As useful as round-ups, retrospectives, and anniversary pieces can be for making sense of historical events, there's no substitute for going back to primary documents. And an exceptional primary document quietly appeared on YouTube Sunday: the WSNS Channel 44 Chicago broadcast of the July 12, 1979 double-header between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. Those baseball games, only one of which was ultimately played, lived on in infamy under a different name: Disco Demolition Night. Previously, Previouslier, Previousliest

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posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
I'm 27 years old, designated male at birth. I recently recalled a bunch of gender dysphoria from when I was in middle school/high school, and I'm trying to work out if it matters, and what exactly I am. A part of me worries that it might just be a rational response to toxic masculinity rather than anything to do with me myself.Executive summary of my life: I was born with low muscle tone and jaundice. I am no longer yellow, so one of those healed. When I was little, I wouldn't say I had many strong preferences gender-wise. I was never really cool with overly aggressive or war-themed toys, nor did I beg to wear dresses or makeup. I was diagnosed with mild Aspergers' pretty young, and never really had many friends of either gender. My elementary and earlier years are honestly a blur. My father, a non-smoking runner who spent a lot of time at work, was diagnosed with a rare lung cancer that nonsmokers get. He passed away when I was 12. In middle school, I'd say my sexual awakening was pretty tinged with shame. For one thing, I was a faithful Presbyterian, and didn't really get what masturbation or sex was in the context of my faith. So I felt really guilty about the times I masturbated. And I also realized I have a paraphilia I'm still not comfortable with (feederism, which I'd much rather keep as a fantasy than a real life thing because it seems unhealthy and dangerous), but was especially disturbed by then. I became curious about the idea of myself as a woman, and kind of had thoughts (I don't know if ideation is the right word) of castrating myself. I don't know if that was more shame, normal puberty mental exploration, or what. I have no frame of reference. In high school, I developed some mild and undiagnosed depression. I thought depression was sadness, so the crushing apathy didn't mean anything to my mother or myself when I described it and how it made it hard for me to do much beyond the minimum schoolwork. I graduated with good grades, but I think it's mainly because honors and AP courses at my school were surprisingly forgiving and easy. I think the teachers just didn't want to deal with helicopter parents so long as a student was turning in enough work, even if it was done poorly. I got into a selective "public ivy" college, and had an emotional breakdown shortly before going to campus. I felt extreme anxiety and sadness, and then dissociated to an extreme amount. My mom later confided to me she thought I wasn't ready, but didn't know what else to do. I had trouble making friends, and the depression made schoolwork near impossible. My mom finally realized something was wrong and got me with therapists, but because she had heard from autism groups that asperger's and depression are comorbid, she took that as a sign I should go to therapy for aspergers. I ended up getting a lot of lectures about time management and executive functioning, and felt like nobody was taking me or my confusion or pain seriously. By sophomore year, I was holed up in my room and not going to class. I flunked out. Eventually, my mom found me a psychiatrist. A regular psychiatrist, who doesn't focus on Aspergers and pretend everything will work itself out if I get told to write to-do lists and check the clock more often. I tried anti-depressants and found a set that worked for me. I'm on an SNRI and Welbutrin. I started running, and began feeling better. I got my associates in Comp Sci, and I'm now in my senior year at a public university. I met my fiancee and moved in with her. The college is a bit more of a safety school, but I honestly feel way more welcome and happy here. I was never super-competitive. My mood is in a good? place. I've been reading "The Windup Bird Chronicle" by Murakami, and Creta Kano's sensation of pain being very strong and unbearable, then completely gone (dissociation), and then back in a healthier amount reminds me of my journey with depression. These days, I find myself not feeling much anxiety or sadness, or much bliss. It's more than when I dissociated, I felt near nothing except a sterile kind of sadness, and now I can enjoy things or get excited about them in the future, but I go back to my baseline apathy really fast. Me, Physically: I'm 27 years old, white, slightly overweight by BMI and appearance. I used to weigh a lot more before I started running. I naturally grow a good amount of white hair. I don't have much upper-body muscle, and my legs don't naturally show much muscle unless I flex for some reason. I don't like the idea of becoming more muscular. I have a beard, but mainly because my fiancee likes how I look with a beard. I have a minor issue with compulsive hair pulling when I'm stressed, so I find a beard a bit of a liability there. Appearance and fashion-wise, I'm not too into male aesthetics, so I mostly just ask my fiancee what she likes. I tend to wear H&M stuff and baby it so I don't have to buy more fast-fashion junk that wears out after a few washes. Me, Sexually: I tend to fantasize about curvier or fat female partners. When I view porn, it tends to be softcore or lesbian porn. I find the framing of heterosexual porn ("BRATTY ITALIAN SLUT DESTROYED BY MONSTER COCK") weirdly violent and ultimately gross. If I masturbate without pornography, I tend to not actually insert myself into the fantasy, or imagine my partner paying attention to my nipples. Penetration is an aspect, but I think mainly because that's the most analogous thing to what I'm doing with my hands? I've tried picturing myself as a woman and found it nice, but not really a game-changer. My fiancee, who I love dearly and find amazingly hot, is going through a bit of a dry-spell libido-wise. She's bisexual, and also extremely concerned about what me and others think about her. She once confided in me that she thinks it's boring when I have sex with her in the missionary position, but she never wants to try any other position, and it's hard to get her to want to have sex more than once a month or so. And she felt to guilty to say missionary sex was boring, that when I pressed her for more, she felt really guilty and refused to talk about it more. So that's an issue perhaps not entirely parallel to what's going on in my head. Me, Socially: I have a pathetic number of friends. It's my fiancee, and one friend from my first shot at college, and a bunch of acquaintances I'm not that close to at all. I'm not great at making friends. Hobbywise, I like crafts. I like cooking and baking. I'm into crochet and knitting, I'd like to sew were it not for the expense/tools/space issue. I never really got into sports, probably largely because I'm clumsy. I like running because it's non-competitive and gives me some time to be alone and focus. Me, and Masculinity: I generally find toxic masculinity antiquated and depressing. To me, it looks like men posturing as dumber and more violent than they are, for a fragile sense of safety from either outsiders or other men. It feels like middle school bullshit carried over into adulthood. Living in an age of police, guns, and standing armies, it seems really weird to link strength and deterrent force to a person's genitalia. A woman with a gun is just as capable of harming someone as a man with a gun. I don't really see a lot of masculine alternatives to it that really feel so much like masculinity as "not being an asshole." Me, feeling guilty: I don't honestly know if I could transition, even if I were convinced/deduced beyond a shadow of a doubt I'm 100% trans and not just depressed about the patriarchy. It reminds me of how I once wanted to quit caffeine to see if it'd help my mood, but realized quitting caffeine would probably be more inconvenient and likely to get me depressed than my mood would actually change. This is a facile comparison, but I'm bad with words and kind of ranting at this point. Also, considering this isn't a problem that makes me feel in pain (like, I worry dysphoria might be too strong a word when I really just have no love for being a man), sometimes I wonder if I'm just jealous of trans people knowing so much who they want to be after I've been and remain somewhat aimless. But that gets to be a catch 22, because if I hated my body to the point I wanted to harm myself, I'm of the mindset I'd worry about that far more than this kind of soul searching. I'm not really sure I've made any kind of sturdy point. I guess I'm just dumping a bunch of words about what's been casually bothering me. If anyone has any thoughts, I appreciate them. Thanks.

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posted about 2 hours ago on metafilter
My latest temporary job is coming to an end this week and I have six months of living expenses saved up. Rather than jumping into another temp office job, I'm looking to use the time in a more productive way to further longer-term life goals, such as moving to a new environment in another part of the country and improving my quality of life and improve my (especially mental) health. How can I maximise the time and resources I have to get out of my rut and into a life that's more worth leading?I'm 30, single, no children, no plans to find a partner or have children - this is me building a life for me and no-one else. :) I've been working a temporary office job for the past six months or so. It was only ever meant to last for three months but kept being extended on an ad-hoc basis - it was ended with a week's notice last Friday. (Part of me would have preferred it to last for just the initial three months, to reduce the "do I get to go to work next week?" uncertainty I've been struggling with for months, but what's done is done.) The job was never a long-term career option for me - it was always a temporary stopgap which has served its purpose. I've been in a rut of these on-off jobs for over a year and I want out. I have around six months of living expenses saved up. I don't want to burn through my savings drifting around playing Cities: Skylines and eating cheese, but nor do I want or need to rush into another awful job with a long, horrible commute that's going to exacerbate my mental health problems. This is partly a move to change my lifestyle to one that is more conducive to good mental and physical health in the long term. This, to me, is an opportunity rather than a setback. A temporary job has ended with a good work record and reference and I've got a significant amount of money saved up - it's not like I've been fired for cause and have 42p in the bank. It's an opportunity to look around, reframe things, fix rubbish things that have built up in my life through inertia and exhaustion and try and improve my lot in life rather than scratching around for another shit job in an area that I don't really want to live in anymore. I have a couple of areas in mind that I would like to look into moving to - target areas, as it were. There are jobs available in those areas and the cost of housing and living is reasonable. There are things I've identified as being particularly bad for my wellbeing - a car commute is a significant negative factor, so I'm looking at smaller towns and small cities where I'd be able to live and work in the same place and walk or bike to work, and dump the car. (I don't want to live and/or work in a big city again. I've been there and it's just not for me.) Although it isn't strictly relevant to the question, my #1 target area is north or mid-Wales, followed by Shropshire or Herefordshire, and finally (in a distant third because of distance from family) County Durham and Northumberland. I've picked areas that are big enough that I can be flexible rather than zeroing in on one specific town, but I have a clear idea of the kind of place I want to live in within those huge areas. I've started applying to jobs in my target areas - initially I'd do something similar to what I've been doing recently, but with a view to eventually furthering my education (possibly using the Open University or similar distance-learning) and moving into more technical and challenging areas of work rather than doing admin forever. I'd also be more than open to non-office work in those areas, especially if it were outdoors, but I'm mindful of the fact that it's much easier to get a job doing what I'm doing now than trying to convince an interviewer that I'm capable of changing. Long-term (we're talking years here) I want to look at alternatives to endlessly renting a house. That's not something that's ever going to appeal to me as a lifestyle for ever. For example, eco housing and self-building or renovating really appeal in terms of providing a sustainable, more ethical and lower-cost lifestyle for myself in the long run. But that's years in the future and requires a lot more work financially to make it happen. So, how do I use this opportunity and this money to maximise my chances of reaching my short- and long-term goals and avoid falling into the trap of another year of more of the same? If you've ever relocated like this (to a specific area because you wanted to take steps to improve your quality of life, rather than moving to an area just because a certain job was there) what did you do to make it a success? What challenges did you face - did potential employers raise an eyebrow that someone was applying from so far away, for example? I'm super excited to finally have the means to start making a few changes in my life. :)

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posted about 3 hours ago on metafilter
I've had a boozy summer and I'm wondering whether I'm over doing it?For the last few months I've probably downed about, on average, 2 pints of beer a night down the pub. Sometimes 3 but never more then that and this is mainly because I can't physically drink more then this without feeling sick and woozy. I never have been able to. I suppose this is a safety valve of sorts as stops me drinking more. Still, I feel this is probably too much and can't really be good for me. I'm early fifties and regularly keep fit by running, cycling and playing football. I don't drink at home and always only after work in evening in the pub. I'm thinking of giving up for October. I've done a month off a few times over the years and don't find it a problem to achieve. Am I drinking too much ?

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posted about 4 hours ago on metafilter
Today, Andrea Dworkin, "radical feminist" would have turned 70 years old. (Trigger Warning: written depictions of rape, assault) Full PDF of her writings can be found here "When most people think of Andrea Dworkin, they think of two things: overalls and the idea that all sex is rape" – Ariel Levy, New York magazine She was anti-pornography but it was also said that She Never Hated Men... - Kathy Viner, The Guardian One version of her Legacy: : "Without Andrea, generations of feminists would be wilfully ignorant about the meaning and effect of pornography, as well as how to overcome a desire for male approval in order to tell the truth about women's lives. That is not all that today's feminists could learn from Andrea. There is the respect she had for the human rights defenders who came before her, and her loyalty to other women in the struggle who were attacked by those antagonistic to our aims and beliefs. There was her sheer courage, in never backing down or renouncing her principles because it would make life easier or pay dividends; that was a defining characteristic of Andrea, as was daring to hate the men who hated women." – Julie Bindel, The Guardian Alternatively: "Dworkin's true legacy has been that far too many young women today would rather be bitten by a rabid dog than be considered a feminist." – Havana Marking, The Guardian But although the battle was lost, perhaps the war can yet be won: "Her analysis is clear and essential, and though it was rejected, it has never been comprehensively answered. ... Even if you believe that prostitution and pornography are fundamentally acceptable, the challenge of Dworkin is to explain why they should exist – rather than merely accepting their current existence as an argument for their continuation. We are creatures of culture and Intercourse is the promise that we are not doomed to the endless replication of misogyny, but can reinvent that culture in new and better shapes." – Sarah Dictum, the New Statesman Maybe the answer lies in engaging with her work in 2016 Maybe she was a feminist out of her time when she wrote in Intercourse in 1987: "Life can be better for women—economic and political conditions improved—and at the same time the status of women can remain resistant, indeed impervious, to change: so far in history this is precisely the paradigm for social change as it relates to the condition of women. Reforms are made, important ones; but the status to women relative to men does not change. Women are still less significant, have less privacy, less integrity, less self-determination. This means that women have less freedom. Freedom is not an abstraction, nor is a little of it enough. A little more of it is not enough either. Having less, being less, impoverished in freedom and rights, women then inevitably have less self-respect: less self-respect than men have and less self-respect than any human being needs to live a brave and honest life. Intercourse as domination battens on that awful absence of self-respect. It expands to fill the near vacuum. The uses of women, now, in intercourse—not the abuses to the extent that they can be separated out—are absolutely permeated by the reality of male power over women. We are poorer than men in money so we have to barter sex or sell it outright (which is why they keep us poorer in money). We are poorer than men in psychological well-being because for us self-esteem depends on the approval—frequently expressed through sexual desire—of those who have an exercise power over us. Male power may be arrogant arrogant or elegant; it can be churlish or refined: but we exist as persons to the extent that men in power recognize us." Previously on Metafilter

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posted about 6 hours ago on metafilter
I follow very few pundits or specifically political people on Twitter, but just saw Bill Maher on YouTube saying he's going to livetweet the debates. It really made me wish I had stocked a list of the best people to follow for fun, incisive, weird, good live commentary on the debate. But, now I don't have time for that. What public list(s) should I subscribe to?PSA: Read the The Election Debate Logistics Thread on MetaTalk.

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posted about 6 hours ago on metafilter
So, due to a series of computer hard drive failures and cross-oceanic moves, I have no access to my music collection right now, and may never get it back. I've decided to look on it as an opportunity to start afresh and get into new music. I listen to a lot of podcasts, so I'd like to add one that's new music focused. Do you have any recommendations? Further specifications follow.1) It shouldn't be too long. An hour a week would be ideal. 2) It should have a pretty wide range in tastes and play many artists, not focus on a few. 3) It should focus on little known music, not the sort of stuff that gets a million-plus views on YouTube. 4) It should at least have an awareness of diversity. 5) Basically I want a college radio show, but in podcast form.

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posted about 7 hours ago on metafilter
Shunpu is a Tokyo-based Instagrammer who focuses on coffee and Japanese calligraphy.

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posted about 8 hours ago on metafilter
Arnold Palmer has died at the age of 87. One of the all-time golfing greats, a world-class philanthropist, and an advertiser's dream was awaiting heart surgery when he passed away on Sunday, 25 September 2016. Jack Nicklaus reflects: I just got the news at about 8:45 that Arnold had passed. I was shocked to hear that we had lost a great friend - and that golf had lost a great friend. At this point I don't know what happened, and I suppose it is not important what happened. What is important is that we just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all sports. My friend - many people's friend - just wore out. I know he was in Pittsburgh trying to find out how to make himself better. That's what Arnold was always trying to do. He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn't give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold's will and spirit did not.

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posted about 9 hours ago on metafilter
This is ofcourse a completely theoretical question. Suppose a friend of mine would like to experiment with psychedelic drugs, what would be the safest substance(s) to use?

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
My friends/classmates and I are going on the job market in the coming months. I don't want to really discuss this whole process with them and what my top choices are, where I've gotten interviews, and so on. But, I also feel like a competitive, secretive asshole for not openly telling them what I'm doing and what my goals are.Truth is, of course I have an idea of what my top choices are, but I just don't have an interest in talking about it with my friends/peers who are in the running for basically the same few opportunities. I don't like lying, so I hate playing dumb and saying, "I don't know," because that eats away at my soul. How do I deflect inquiries about this graciously? I have multiple people telling me "we should meet up!" and I know that this is going to come up when we finally get around to doing so. It seems like everyone else is pretty open about where they are applying and interviewing, but all I want to do is put blinders on, not worry about what other people are doing, focus on myself, and not share too much about my own process, either. My program is small, people talk, and not always kindly, either. Is this a common feeling to have, or is there something immature/wrong about the way I'm going about this? I suspect this is another manifestation of how I struggle with maintaining good boundaries, because it shouldn't be that difficult to smile and say, "I'll have to see where I end up!" and change topics, but argghhh this whole interaction is so grating and stressful for me. I almost want to just be a hermit these coming months, but that's not exactly healthy, either. Any strategies for me to keep my friend-acquaintances, hang out with my friends, while not discussing my job applications and aspirations?

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posted about 11 hours ago on metafilter
I would like to buy a new tenor ukulele with a pickup. But I'm shallow and would like it to look pretty and unusual (as well as sound good). Ukemeisters of AskMe, give me your recommendations.I love the look of this Bushman Rockabilly uke, but Bushman seem to have a terrible reputation. Is there anything similar from a more reliable manufacturer? Indicative budget of $500 USD, but I'm willing to go a bit higher for something great. Difficulty factor - must ship to Australia.

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posted about 13 hours ago on metafilter
After finishing 11 years of school I now work as a general practitioner. I am 30 years old. Almost all patients tell me I "look too young to be a doctor" - some are just making conversation and some seem genuinely concerned about my credentials. I usually respond in a joking manner that after "finishing so many years of school I certainly feel old". People however often keep asking me questions about my age. This is within the first 10 seconds of meeting them so do not think it is a reflection of my clinical skills or demeanor. What would be the best response that would 1) Reassure them I am not doogie howser and fully qualified 2) Allow me to quickly move on to what brought them to the ER

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posted about 13 hours ago on metafilter
Ghana has one of the highest rates of access to electricity in Africa - and yet experienced 159 days of rolling blackouts last year. For Ghanaians, this causes all sorts of problems. Al-Jazeera English explores the dumsors: the electricity outages leaving Ghana in the dark. Dumsor, by Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie --- Power Outage? Can't see in the dark? Your room is darker than sin? Dumsor is here to brighten your corner and make life easy in your darkest moments. -- Jeremiah Quarshie: "When I don't feel the urge to paint, I start wishing for the lights to go out so I can have an excuse to go out."

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posted about 14 hours ago on metafilter
For a long time I haven't really been close with anyone. I don't really have anyone I would consider a close friend even though there are probably people who would consider me their close friend. I feel like I can't find people who I can relate to or feel comfortable with. Most of the people I hang out with are by default; they are old friends who I fell out of touch with but then moved in with recently so I often hang out with them and their friends. I try to make it work, but inside I just don't feel the connection or desire to be truly close. They are all extremely into music and the arts. I used to be more like this but feel like I'm desiring a different lifestyle. (Though I still appreciate music and arts and do enjoy some of the company)Sometimes I get the feeling like we are all just like robots, and when people around me are talking I wonder why our social processes are so complex compared to other animals and how strange it is. It's like I'm disassociated from the socializing process. The sad thing is, I know connecting with others is probably one of the most important things in life, yet I'm just doing such a shitty job at it. Sometimes when I'm talking to people I will just feel this wall in my body against them, and in my head intrusive thoughts keep popping up about how I don't fit in with that person, or analyzing why they are acting the way they act. I keep trying to overcome this and telling myself to love others or try to find something we have in common but i find it hard to concentrate or act engaged. It leaves me feeling as though I'm being fake or I worry that they can sense my feelings. I often worry people can tell I'm judging them. It's not that I'm judging them it's more that I am just trying to figure out where I belong. I can think someone is a great person but still not feel like they are the right kind of friend for me. It is so frustrating and leaving me feeling so lonely and empty. So my question is how do I connect with people? How do I connect with myself to better understand what I need?

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posted about 14 hours ago on metafilter
I'm looking for ways to practice assertiveness that I can incorporate into daily life. I've noticed that in certain situations, especially with men, I don't say anything even when I'm uncomfortable, because I have a deeply ingrained fear that they will become violent if challenged. I want to get better about this. I can't really ask men to start saying and doing inappropriate things to me until I say something, but I can work on assertiveness in other ways. A while back I read about a guy whose fear of rejection was interfering in his life, so he made it a point to get rejected every day until the fear became less intense.My therapist suggested visualization, and I can do that but I'd rather practice actual assertiveness in small ways in real life, slowly building up. My own idea was to make a point of going to bars (or coffee shops) and sending drinks back. It's something I have done occasionally but I find it a little uncomfortable and doing it more often would likely help me. What are some other ways I can practice assertiveness?

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posted about 14 hours ago on metafilter
I need to gather info from subject matter experts from a group at work so that I can document their procedures and reference information. I was wondering if you all had some best practices that I should follow in order to get the most thorough information, while being as helpful as possible.I have not done a lot of technical writing until recently, and the last section I did was the section I do my main work in, so I didn't need to do so much interviewing to gather information. Also, the people I did interview were people I knew well. For this next section I am to document, I do not know the people well, and I am quite unfamiliar with almost all of their procedures, so I will be starting from scratch. I would like to know any best practices that I should follow to get the most thorough information when I do ask them for procedural task steps and reference information for the duties of their group. We do have sheets with pre-printed blanks for them to write the various steps on as a starting point, but I think a large part of it will involve me sitting with them so I can see their screens as they do the computer stuff, and going through things and taking copious notes. Unfortunately, I write somewhat slowly, and feel awkward asking people to slow down so I can get everything, but I figure I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get over my awkwardness at this. There will be a review of the materials after I have written the documents, by the SMEs as well as the management, as relevant. Only when everything is ready will the final product be published. So how best should I approach this process? Types of questions that I should ask? Ways to help get the best information from the people I will be working with? Good technical writing books or websites that would be good for me to study? Any advice you would have in this regard would be gratefully appreciated.

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posted about 14 hours ago on metafilter
VanMoof had a logistics problem: too many of their bikes, beloved of hipsters and retro-fans, were being mangled during shipment. Their solution? It may surprise you.

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posted about 15 hours ago on metafilter
I'll be moving in a few months but don't know where I'll end up. What's the best moving/storage hybrid strategy here?So I'll be moving out of New Orleans shortly and don't know where I'll end up when I (fingers crossed) settle somewhere for residency. I've sorted through various AskMe questions and around the web but can't figure out what's better: PODS/knock-off with storage for a few months, or self-storage? Details: I'm looking to hire moving help for both options, and I'll likely be needing storage for 6-7 months. I've got a small one bedroom and not a lot of money. I just want the cheapest, easiest option that will not leave my things destroyed. Questions: - Do I need to spring for climate controlled storage (looks extra pricey.) Louisiana is prone to a lot of weather mayhem and it's also quite damp in the winter, so I feel like the answer to this is yes. - If I do go with PODS or Door-to-Door, etc., I can't guarantee that they service my future unknown destination. What happens in this situation? Do I get some other moving company to pick up my stuff from them? Is that even allowed? - If I go self-storage via UHaul and local movers, what happens on the other end, when I need a cross country move? Can a long distance moving company just go grab my things if I authorize them to? For those that advise I sell everything - CL is not wonderful here and I've had a hard time selling stuff here in the past. I'd rather just hang onto my stuff that I like anyways. I know variants of this have been asked in the past but the most relevant posts were from a decade ago so I thought I'd ask again, in case anything has changed. Thanks in advance!

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posted about 15 hours ago on metafilter
I have two Macbooks: one is a 2009 Macbook Pro, and the other is a 2012 Macbook Air. The internal Superdrive on the Pro conked out years ago (I bought it used, never wanted to pay to have that fixed) and the Air never had a Superdrive, so I've been using an external Memorex burner for about 3 years now for backing up video files (using Toast Titanium, in Data mode). Two weeks ago, I started experiencing weird issues where I was unable to burn dual-layer (8.5 GB) discs.The single layer (4.7 GB) discs burn fine. But when I try a DL disc I get errors, and it's not even the same error each time! Sometimes it says "the connection is unstable" halfway through burning. Sometimes I get "Sense Media Error" before the burning starts. Sometimes it completes burning but then I get "Sector [some number] is unreadable, verification failed". Here's what I've done so far, to no avail: --I've confirmed that problem happens in both laptops (They both have the latest software updates). --I bought a different burner, by Verbatim, from Staples. --I returned that one and bought a more expensive LG burner. --I've tried burning from the internal HD of the laptops, and also from external HDs --I tried creating a disc image first, then copying the image to disc afterwards --I've thrown away the entire stack of DL discs ("Maybe it's a bad batch?") and bought another spindle from a different store. --I've tried using, then not using, a USB hub. I feel like I have now swapped every possible combo of disc, burner and computer, and I can only conclude that something has changed in the past two weeks to make it impossible for a USB burner to work right. The most I can come up with is that some software update caused the power distribution to get flaky across the USB bus? Is that even possible? On two separate computers? Someone please tell me there's something I've overlooked.

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posted about 16 hours ago on metafilter
I was recently gifted an early inheritance from a great aunt who lives abroad. She sent over Swiss francs with a travelling family member and now I have to exchange it, but every time I look into the rates and fees it seems like I will lose a significant amount. What is the best way to ensure I get a decent exchange rate?I am in Australia. It seems that most of the information available online (rates etc) is geared towards buying money to take with you when you travel, so I am having a hard time even finding the info I need about selling foreign currency. Plus, with everything happening online, having the actual cash seems like it's a rarity these days. I don't have a time (or do I need to make a whole day available?) to drive to every foreign exchange store and compare rates. Google tells me that the exchange rate will give me $X Aussie dollars. My bank tells me they will give me $1000 less. I absolutely understand there are fees and of course you get a lower rate wherever you go, but to lose so much makes me wonder if there are any other options. I would like to share this money with my daughter and save it for a rainy day so I want to ensure I get the most I can. It's not a huge amount to begin with, so every dollar counts. Does anyone have any ideas, or recommendations, about how to exchange this money for the best rate?

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posted about 17 hours ago on metafilter
My family likes to do Christmas-time together, and a critical mass of us are in the Bay Area now. Where should we go and what should we do within a few hours of here?Two of us are in the South Bay and one is in San Francisco, while the fourth is flying in from elsewhere. We'd like to rent a place where we can all hang out together (probably not something on the San Jose - SF corridor; just too close to home to feel like vacation). We don't need any big attractions, but still would like somewhere with a few low-key things to do, like museums or beaches or restaurants. We're OK with kitschy. Three of us are in our mid-late twenties, the fourth (my mom) is 61. We do have a few constraints: -One of us has neuropathy, so anything that involves lots of walking is a no go, although leisurely window shopping through one of the coastal towns is ok. Similarly, no hiking or skiing or anything like that. -Two of us did a trip a few months ago to see the 17-mile drive, Cannery Row, and Carmel, as well as Napa, so we'd like to avoid repeating those spots. -(optional) We usually like to cook something fun for Christmas but aren't great at planning before we leave, so someplace with decent grocery stores reasonably close would be nice.

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posted about 17 hours ago on metafilter
Paqui Chips releaes The Hottest Chip Ever at one chip per package. They want youtube clips of people trying it. disclaimer: I haven't had one yet, but when I get a hold of one, I'll post a video.

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