posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
I am making a transition from an Excel-based reporting analyst to a database-oriented role in which SQL will be the primary necessary skill. I have next to zero database experience. I'm looking for resources that would be effective at teaching me what I need to learn. More within...I'm a reasonably-close to expert-level Excel user with a lot of experience programming in VBA. I've never gotten into high-level math functions of Excel like regression analysis, forecasting, or any calculus-related things, but I pretty much know the ins and outs of the rest. That's my skill set. Other than a little playing around with basic HTML and VERY basic SQL tinkering, I've no other programming experience. I thought that being pretty capable with VBA might making picking up SQL a cinch, but I think my lack of background/familiarity with database theory is making things kind of difficult to conceptualize. I'm ultimately expected to make my way into the data warehousing world, so SQL is something that I need to develop expert proficiency in. I've seen a lot of options (sql.learncodethehardway.org, sqlcourse.com, New Horizons, etc.), but I'm asking for help identifying which are good for my situation and which might be a waste of time. Free online stuff would be great, but if there's a really well-regarded paid course that would be helpful, I might swing it by my bosses and see if my company would spring for it. Thanks!

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posted about 24 hours ago on metafilter
n00b wants to do international container shipping. Please advise and assist.Hey there, I see a potential business opportunity, the sticking point is figuring out how to plug into the globalized container shipping business, and as cheaply as possible. I want to be able to pack a 20' container with a used car and a bunch of household odds and ends (mostly used clothing). I then want to ship this container from Halifax to Dubai. Where to look for this shipping service - who can provide a container and then ship it for me? What sort of pricing to expect for this? What is the "gotcha" that n00bs always screw up when trying to do this? What sort of paperwork is needed? Thanks for any advice pointing me the right way!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
This fall, the South Dakota Historical Society Press will publish Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder - apparently full of "not-safe-for-children tales includ[ing] stark scenes of domestic abuse, love triangles gone awry and a man who lit himself on fire while drunk off whiskey" (or, more academically put, "full of the everyday sorts of things that we don't care to think about when we think about history"). They've been blogging the process of research, annotation, and publication at The Pioneer Girl Project, as well as stories about crabs, a new letter from Pa, really useful books, as well as photos and a series of interviews with the researchers involved via.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I've fallen in love with a friend's OP-1. It's limited enough not to feel overwhelming, but versatile enough that it feels possible to create quality work; doing a little bit of everything synth/sequence/sample/drum machine/recorder. It feels like it hits just the right sweet spot between tool and toy. Unfortunately at $850 it's a purchase that I really can't justify. Is there a software (osx or ipad) or hardware solution that offers a similar all in one, versatile, fun to use electronic music production environment?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm the only copywriter at a mid-sized advertising agency. We just landed a huge job that's going to require a lot of work on my end. Here's the problem: I'm agnostic, and religion (namely Christianity) makes me really cranky and frothy. The client is a faith-based company that makes things (I don't want to say what) for churches. How can I make it through unscathed?Other details: many of the people in my office (including the president of the company) are very religious and involved in their church. When people talk about church-y stuff, I usually just tune out and avoid conversation. However, with this client, there's no getting around it. There are going to be lots of strategy conversations about how to appeal to certain sects of Christianity (e.g., Catholics vs. Protestants). Then, I'm going to have to write directly to these audiences. I lack knowledge about these things, and I also get extremely uncomfortable talking about them. I don't feel like I can approach my boss about this, because I'm 95% sure he will judge me and it will affect our ongoing professional relationship. In short, I feel like a vegan writing for a meat-packing company. I'm going to have to be involved in this. There's no way around it. How can I power through this without getting extremely worked up? How can I minimize my frustration with the situation and not make it apparent to others?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I went to buy some new kitchen towels, and every brand labeled theirs as being treated to be antimicrobial, and that it "doesn't wash off". Is this a legit claim? What are these towels actually treated with?(I did try searching for an answer.) I've managed to survive and be quite content with all the microbes festering on my kitchen towels for many decades--I don't want towels with any kind of weird chemical treatments! If this is just marketing hype, I might go ahead and buy them. I want to avoid the extra work of trying to find untreated kitchen towels. (Rolling my eyes at stupid trends that inconvenience me. ;-)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
How do I get a static IP address for my teapot? The story of the teapot: HTCPCP (Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol) and the mentioned Wikipedia link.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Depressive here. If you know of a Dallas psychiatrist that you have heard good things about who takes Cigna, I sure would appreciate their name. I could also use the name of a good general practitioner that takes Cigna, but this is secondary to my main concern of finding the psychiatrist. Thanks for any suggestions.My family doctor is no longer on the approved list for my Cigna health insurance. The last time he switched up my depression meds, he said a psychiatrist should be brought into the loop if I didn't respond well to the new prescriptions. Well, the Effexor/Buspar/Deplin combo worked for a while but have pooped out. (I am not suicidal, but I am practically bed-ridden right now.)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
A series of Pop Songs converted into Shakesperean-style sonnets. New sonnets added every week. Among those already featured (see if you can guess first): Young Thomas is a longshoreman by trade, Whose guild ceased work to fight for wages fair. The strike drags on, 'tis weeks since he's been paid, A crawl towards destitution and despair. Remember when I tended to thy grass? She then appeared in nought but towel dress'd. Her lasting look showed favor clear as glass, While pointing out some errant growth in jest. From observation of my gallant gait And its effect upon the sex so fair, You see no hope for discourse or debate, For comely ladies find me debonair. These feelings that weigh heavy in my breast Should in your soul be similarly sown; I pledge these vows, so earnestly express'd, To make my deep affections truly known... To these celestial bodies raise a toast For they've maintained a wondrous constancy, Just like we've drifted on Life's trying coasts Too long to any diff'rent sailors be. While ladies dance away the night for sport, So shall we too, their favor sweet to court. ...If you prefer Shakespeare as a dramatist, enjoy this previous post.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Looking for sports podcasts which are not sports news or discussion of sports news. More sports documentary, if you will.I'd like to find a podcast which is about sports, but not sports news, or discussion of recent sports news. What I might call sports documentary, for lack of a better term. Something that looks at sports stories, not necessarily recent, more in depth, and goes beyond just "on-the-field" accomplishments, perhaps with more about the athletes involved, wider societal impact, etc. This was inspired by a recent rebroadcast of an episode of the Freakonomics podcast, in which one segment talks about Bo Jackson's decision not to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when he was drafted by them in 1986. I'm not much interested in day-to-day sports results, or the usual sports radio discussion of current events, but it occurred to me that that's the sort of sports story I'd like to hear more of. Thinking about it a little more, I realized that what I'm looking for is more or less the podcast equivalent of ESPN's 30 for 30 series. Either a US-centric podcast or one with a worldwide focus, or anything in between, would be of interest to me. Length is not a major consideration: an episode might be five minutes, or it might be an hour. So, does something like this exist?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm due to start my first job post-PhD on Monday. It's a tech job outside of academia, vaguely related to my field of study (but not my research). I've never had a job in an office before. What should I expect the first day? What do I need to bring with me (besides documents for an I-9)? What am I supposed to wear? (I'm assuming err on the side of formal relative to what people were wearing when I interviewed, but not as formal as for the interview.)

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm a university student and I have a math exam in 10 days. I didn't really study much and only covered about 25% of the required material. In order to pass this exam (based on other people's experiences and my own evaluation) I would need to study about 10 hours per day for the next few days. But there's a problem - I've never done so much studying in such a short time frame.There are also these other problems: I procrastinate too much while at the computer, but I still need it to check results on Wolfram Alpha, so turning it off completely is not really an option As the exam approaches, I get more and more discouraged, more pessimistic and less motivated to study. I always imagine that I will fail anyways, and so I get back to wasting time. Often, this proves to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stuff like Adderall is not an option, since it's banned in my country. I use a pomodoro app on my phone, but I only manage to study for about 4 hours like that. As soon as I make a longer break, it's really hard to make myself get back to studying So, I need your help MeFites. Is there a reliable way of forcing myself to study for a long period? Tell me any tricks and advice you have. Thanks.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I have a very very niche job. I've been doing it for over ten years now and have made about $28,000 per year. Because of my experience, I was called in for a meet and greet. It was going to lead nowhere. So, I pretty much blew it off, and blew the next one off, and showed up to the third because it was on my way home. They hired me and gave me a job that pays about $786,000 per year. I was told that they had reservations about me and told me they were bothered by the fact that I wore "denim with unpatched holes" at the interview. I didn't even think I was being considered. This is very unreal. And now I will have a job that pays me more in my bimonthly check than my last year's entire gross. I will be working with a different clientele, and my position will have more prestige than previously. So how do I dress?Sure I know that everyone at this level wears suits and ties (85-95% conservative, and sometimes rather flamboyant-I specifically remember someone who had on a gorgeous RED suit a few years ago for a negotiation). But beyond that I know nothing. What kind of suit should I buy? Actually, how many suits do I need? Are all white shirts the same, or is there a difference between any button down white dress shirt? Everyone wears cuff links. What kind should I buy so i don't look like a poser? Any other cuff link tips? Do I need a different type of shirt for cuff links? How do I have a hair cut that looks like (I make) a million dollars? How often do I get my hair cut? Any other grooming that I should do? So I wear Rockports for shoes, right (I don't even know if that's a joke)? Any tips for shoes? Oh my god, do I have to have multiple pairs now? I'm guessing my Casio Data Bank watch won't be good enough. Any tips there? Socks and underwear, any tips that may be relevant? Cologne? Do I need to start smelling high-end? How best to do that? Any other tips to help me look the part in this new job that will really change my life? I'm 38 years old, and considered "youngish" at this level. What was stressed to me was that any lack of confidence in myself would be seen as a liability for the entire organization. I have no problems with confidence regarding the actual work, but I am having issues about how to join this new class of people and fit in. The clothes thing is keeping me up at night. I'm really scared of being found out as someone who "doesn't belong", so I am posting this anonymously, and am not using a throwaway address because I don't want anybody to figure out who I am. This is as detailed as I can get. If I haven't said it here, I honestly don't know, so please take that into consideration if you think a follow-up question to me would help you answer this post. Please help me.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I'm in need of a new laptop, and I get the impression I ought to avoid Windows 8. What are my options?My HP laptop hit five years recently and, perhaps unsurprisingly, has decided to turn in its resignation. It still boots, sort of, but the tech people at Best Buy said the hard drive could fail at any point, so I need a replacement. (As a grad student, I really can't go for long without a computer.) According to friends, Windows 8 is pretty damn terrible—the interface is clunky, it's hard to do basic tasks, etc. I do not need that noise. I'm sure a lot of people will recommend a Mac, but I don't have that money to pay upfront. (I know, it's a long-term investment, but still. I'm hoping to spend $600, give or take.) I don't want a tablet. Can I (should I) buy an old Windows version and install that on a new machine? (My current one didn't include any installation discs.) Use something else entirely (like Ubuntu or some such, which would be a future AskMe)? D'you know of any reputable retailers for refurbished laptops? Thanks in advance!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Does your ISP know the sites you're going to and what you're doing there if you use a strong or open VPN?I access the internet from a place where it's censored. To get around this, many users employ a "strong VPN." Surprisingly, the IPS (perhaps a government, perhaps a business: understand that I cannot clarify) doesn't seem to mind this. It is whispered, though, that the reason they don't seem to mind is that they can tell what you're doing all the while, that you aren't really surfing the internet confidentially, as many users fondly imagine. Thus a few questions: Do ISPs know when you specifically are using an strong VP, or do they merely know that somebody somewhere on the network is doing so? If they do know it's you, do they know what websites you're going to? If they know what websites you're going to, are they also able to tell what sort of things you're doing there (eg, would they know it was you that posted a certain comment). Thanks, anybody, for any clarification.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I inherited a riding horse when my father died a few years ago. Until recently I was able to provide for it at a relatively low cost, but that is changing and I am in a dilemma as to what to do. Looking for possible solutions, especially from resident Vermont Mefites.The horse is approximately 20 years old and is a Paso Fino that my father used to ride. She has a few years of light riding left in her according to those in the know, and could possibly live for another 8 or 9 years. I'm left with a bit of a practical and emotional dilemma: Practical: It is hard for me to justify the indefinite expense for the horse (which will soon go up to approximately 2-3 thousand a year). Unfortunately noone in my family inherited the desire to ride, and even if this were the case, we live nearly 2 hours away (across state lines, which makes horse transport slightly more complicated). I'm not even interested in getting anything in return, and would give it away for free, but see the next paragraph for qualifiers. Emotional: This was my father's horse and so I care where she ends up. A complete stranger is out of the question unless I had evidence that it was a good situation. So placing a Classified or Craigslist ad is ruled out for now, filtering out that noise is not something I want to do. Relevant details: My family has some connections in the horse world, so transporting her to some location in Vermont is also something I could provide for free. I hesitate to consider a location outside of Vermont, mainly because of the distance and the need to order a test for transportation across state borders,(although this area is in Southwest Vermont so certain areas of Mass and NH could be fine in the right scenario.) Things I have thought of but have not explored in depth: 1.) Because the horse has some riding left in her and is in decent shape for her age I have thought of contacting riding camps, she probably would be great as a first horse for someone, but not sure where to start. 2.) Apparently "companion horses" are a thing. People bring older horses onto their pastures to keep their younger horses company. 3.) Animal rescue. Have only heard of this in passing, apparently there are organizations that will do this, but again not sure where to start. Any ideas appreciated!

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I want to sort of lease my car (that I'm still making payments on) to someone in a different state. Am I crazy?So my spouse and I have recently moved to NYC from Mississippi. In doing so, it has become apparent that our car is more hassle than it's worth. We are still making payments on our car, we do not yet own it outright. While teaching at the University of Mississippi, my spouse and I took a pair of recent graduates under our wing. We are godparents to their child. Well, it turns out that they desperately need a new car. Here's the complication: We can not currently take a loss on this car. The couple can not afford to pay for it outright. My idea, is for them to take over our monthly payments (which are relatively low). Now, my spouse and I would continue to make monthly payments to the bank, and the couple would in turn make monthly payments to us. This bypasses them trying to get a loan from the bank (which, given their financial situation would be a daunting prospect). What sort of roadblocks/complications will we be likely to run into? We will be in NYC, and they will be in Mississippi. What about car registration? Insurance? etc.? You are obviously not my lawyer (and we may well be seeking legal advice) but does anyone have any insight into this deal? Is it a pipe dream or is it feasible?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Pianist Jon Cleary is not a native New Orleanian (he hails from Cranbrook in Kent, England) but when it comes to the history and practice of New Orleans music, and piano music in particular, hell, you'd think he'd grown up on Basin Street or maybe next door to Tipitina's. You'll see what I mean when you watch this little clip, Jon Cleary - History of New Orleans Piano, and hear this masterful player roll through an exhaustive (and very entertaining) demonstration of the musical styles that the city is renowned and revered for.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
BKS Iyengar, one of the most prominent founders of modern yoga practice, has passed away. His 1965 book Light on Yoga (pdf link) sold millions of copies and began the growth of yoga into its current popularity. Namaste, Guruji. Video of Iyengar demonstration in 1976.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
Husband needs open heart surgery. Our preferred surgeon is not on our healthcare plan. We're going to request a benefit exception. We are in Washington state. We are on an individual plan, not with an employer. I called the insurer and requested a case worker. Any suggestions on my approach? Feeling overwhelmed already.We are going to ask the cardiologist to write to the insurer and request a benefit exception to pay for our preferred surgeon, Dr Q. We want to use Dr Q for the surgery because 1. Cardiologist believes patient is at high risk for a catastrophic event. 2. Dr Q performed the patient's first open heart surgery, several years ago (paid by a different healthcare insurer). 3. His familiarity with the patient makes him the best choice for a successful surgery and avoidance of expensive complications. And we still have to find out if Dr Q's hospital is covered. He works two hospitals, but he will only do this procedure at Hospital A. And we need to get a plan-approved anesthesiologist. Yes, we will look into using a plan-approved surgeon, but I want to request the benefit exception and see what happens. My throw-away email is birds.108p@yahoo.com

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
In the 1951, impressed by the amount of Tupperware she was selling (especially compared to other outlets), Earl Tupper hired Brownie Wise to run his sales organization. As a VP of the company, she revolutionized Tupperware with her Tupperware parties, her salesforce management, and other sales and marketing techniques, thus allowing him to stay in the background, creating new designs. Sales skyrocketed and Tupperware became popular throughout the United States. PBS's spritely American Experience: Tupperware! (51 minutes; lots of video from parties, jubilees, and interviews with Tupperware distributors) took a look at the iconic plastic storage ware, the company that made them, and the women who built the company (and the men who held down all the top jobs except Brownie's). If you don't have an hour to spare, here's a summary of the corporate history. Earl Tupper retained control of the company, and in 1958, he fired Wise - despite sales at record highs. They had been at loggerheads for a while, arguing over direction, expenses, attitude, control, communication, manufacturing, and her popularity. He sold the company a year later. You can see vintage catalogs, postcards, ephemera, and other product material at Tupperdiva. Vintage Tupperware (on flickr) has become increasingly collectible (or reimagined), while modern Tupperware sales are happening (WSJ) around the world

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
After a month and a half of unsuccessful job seeking, I'm running into the problem of applying to multiple jobs at the same institutions. Is this okay? Are there any problems I should be aware of?This is in a major U.S. city, and the institutions are non-profits, universities, and museum/archives. The positions are sometimes similar but often in different departments, since my work experience is applicable to several fields. I always edit my cover letter, but the main chunk of it and the phrasing is almost always the same in every iteration. These are all institutions with central Human Resource Departments and computerized application systems, so I do not know who is reading my cover letter or whether applying to 2 or 3 jobs is a red flag of some sort. Any advice is appreciated, thank you.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
According to glassdoor I am really well paid for my title and company. I'm pretty sure I am either underpaid or average, based on what I have heard from recruiters and my management. What is your experience? Does glassdoor seem to skew low?I only have a bit of anecdata to suggest I am not incredibly well paid for what I do. 1. A recruiter told me I was underpaid for my title and function. This was before I received a significant raise. On one hand I believe the recruiter because this person knows the industry. On the other hand I assume recruiters have a vested interest in making you think the grass is greener elsewhere. 2. After my significant raise I was told I am at the "median" for people in my group/ level. Granted it's a small sample size. (Of course then I was displeased to have been clearly underpaid prior to the raise, but whatever) My peers also complain about being underpaid all of the time, but I think that's just typical everywhere so I don't really take that into account. I talk freely with friends about salaries, but that's just a handful of data points and it's good to have others. I am interested to hear your experiences on accuracy and skew on glassdoor.com! (I find the other sites vastly less accurate, by the way, but let me know if there is a good site in your experience with similar data). If this is relevant I'm in a managerial position with a big range of years of experience etc. so there seems to be a large band compared to more technical or entry level roles.

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I have had a knee problem for two/three years now. If I sit with my right knee bent for a long period of time the joint starts to hurt, not much at first, but the pain can become quite uncomfortable after a while. If I fully extend my leg my knee joint clicks, just like when you crack your knuckles, and the pain goes away. What is up with my knee?The pain is centered on the knee area exclusively. It starts as a very dull throb and builds to a warm, intense pain throughout my knee. If I can't extend my leg fully, say I am sat in a cramped location for a long time, the pain can become really unbearable. I would say I am generally a healthy person. I am 32, 6 ft tall, 10 stone, slim build. I don't exercise intensively, but I walk a lot which includes a 1 - 2 hour dog walk every day. When I am walking my knee is usually fine anyway. It is possible that the problem is worse in warmer weather, though this might be something I have convinced myself this summer. Is there anything I can do to alleviate the symptoms without doctors, physios and surgery?

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posted 1 day ago on metafilter
I received emails containing American Airlines eVouchers. It looks like the vouchers were meant for a family with a last name similar to mine. What to do?Should I contact the airline? Should I delete them and never think about them again? Or should I go for it and enjoy an adrenaline fueled but ethically ambiguous walk from the check in desk to the boarding gate?

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