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How often does a residential septic system really need to be pumped out?

I'm getting conflicting opinions on how often a septic system needs to be pumped, and pumping isn't cheap. My current system is about ten years old, and it's been mostly just me using it. I've heard of other low-use households that have been pumped maybe once in 30 years. Conventional wisdom seems to be thus: pump every 3 years or so or risk anything from a bad smell to a total system wipeout and replacement. Is that for real? [more inside]
posted by Camofrog on Jun 30, 2014 - 24 answers

IFTTT on iOS used 7.5GB of cellular data

I just received a huge cellphone bill due to excessive data usage. I checked my iPhone's cellular data usage, and the IFTTT app has used 7.5GB (yes, gigabytes) of data in the last month. WTF! [more inside]
posted by krunk on May 9, 2014 - 14 answers

A sign of the times?

I just had someone tell me that it is correct to close a letter with “Signed, [Mr. Letter Writer].” It’s the use of the word “Signed” that I find strange and just wrong. I have never in my life seen this and am having a hard time believing it is acceptable. Can anyone enlighten me?
posted by Dolley on Dec 13, 2013 - 36 answers

Is there any difference between the three sentences?

1)I should be going. 2) I shoud get going. 3)I should go. Please tell me the difference of the nuance between the three. Thank you.
posted by mizukko on Oct 23, 2013 - 25 answers

Why is my smartphone (Android) burning through my dataplan?

I have a Samsung Galaxy for TMobile, with a fixed dataplan. Two months ago, my phone began burning through data. Can you help me figure out why? [more inside]
posted by vignettist on Sep 25, 2013 - 16 answers

Examples of background clues from vocabulary and/or usage?

When someone says head or latrine for bathroom its likely that they were in the military or around the military. A less common example,when someone says "avoid the near occasion" about something its likely that they are from a Roman Catholic background, I'd even say its use indicates a likelihood that they are or were a priest, seminarian, religious, in a kind of serious catholic family or school etc. Reckon is a common word and its being used once doesn't mean anything but when its use is pretty frequent it might be indicative of someone's having lived in the south east United States. When people say pop instead of soda or coke they likely are from somewhere roughly between Chicago and Denver, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Things like this interest me and I'm sure I know only a infinitesimal fraction of a percent of them. Do you have any like observations to share? [more inside]
posted by logonym on Jun 19, 2013 - 92 answers

Philately is to Stamps as ____ is to Rocks.

Stamp collecting is philately. Coin collecting falls under numismatics (perhaps as a subdivision). Rock collecting is not really geology in the same way as the above terms are used. Is there a similar term for rock collecting?
posted by Jahaza on Nov 3, 2012 - 7 answers

Modern mobile etiquette

Please explain to me as though I have lived under a rock: What are the modern norms among urban folk in the US regarding mobile telephones? SMS? Internet-capable phones and "apps"? When is it appropriate to take a call? To place a call? What do people do with their telephones that really pisses you off? When, if ever, has someone made your life easier by appropriate use of a telephone? [more inside]
posted by d. z. wang on Jun 8, 2012 - 21 answers

How different is different?

English language friends: Why do we use the word “different” when it doesn’t appear to be necessary? [more inside]
posted by bryon on Apr 17, 2012 - 18 answers

My information superhighway is more like a bike path.

I need a Firefox or Chrome extension that tracks my bandwidth usage. [more inside]
posted by Zozo on Dec 16, 2011 - 5 answers

Using images from public library special collection?

How do I choose an image from a large collection of rare (or rare editions of) illustrated children's books at the public library? The Friends of that Library would like to use one of the images to promote a fundraiser for the collection, and I need some help navigating copyright and practical issues surrounding that choice. [more inside]
posted by saguaro on Nov 2, 2011 - 5 answers

Grinds or Grounds?

Coffee grounds or coffee grinds? [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Oct 7, 2011 - 49 answers

Looking for a good book on English grammar.

Looking for a good book on English grammar. [more inside]
posted by dbirchum on Aug 31, 2011 - 18 answers

y rose to x from x-δ

Why does the New York Times write "unemployment rose to 10% from 5%" rather than "unemployment rose from 5% to 10%"? I trip over this formulation and have to go back and reread the clause every time. Is the goal to increase clarity of avoid confusion in some way? How so? This doesn't seem to be standard American English, and it's certainly not usual in the UK. [more inside]
posted by caek on Jul 15, 2011 - 14 answers

Orbus sensualim pictus for the modern language learner

I'm trying to find public domain e-books of English language teaching material that I can adapt into online courses. [more inside]
posted by mammary16 on May 13, 2011 - 3 answers

Is "What's your favorite lunch menu?" appropriate question for ESL textbook?

ELT-filter: I'm arguing that "What's your favorite lunch menu?" is Japanese-English phrasing that shouldn't be included in an English textbook. [more inside]
posted by planetkyoto on May 9, 2011 - 37 answers

Who is most likely to say this word?

Is there a web service that shows the geographical usage of a particular word from twitter? [more inside]
posted by seanyboy on Apr 14, 2011 - 2 answers

Diss question

When did the word "diss" pass into popular/mainstream usage (either in the US or Australia)? [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Jan 7, 2011 - 18 answers

Train me please

So what does "train-the-trainer" really mean anyway? [more inside]
posted by RajahKing on Jan 6, 2011 - 23 answers

It's not an idiom. And it's not a phrase. And it's not "conjunction junction"

I'm trying to come up with titles. Where is a site that I can find uses of words that aren't cliches or idioms but common usages? [more inside]
posted by rileyray3000 on Dec 17, 2010 - 5 answers

picking your brain about iPhone matters

iPhone Filter: Now that my ol' flip phone is dying, I've decided to take the plunge this holiday season…. [more inside]
posted by 5Q7 on Dec 6, 2010 - 22 answers

Did you find "Time-of-use" metering helpful?

Looking for anecdotal data: when you switched to a time-of-use electrical meter for your residence, what happened to your bills in the first year, and what changes did you make that seemed to have the largest impact? [more inside]
posted by davejay on Oct 25, 2010 - 1 answer

SKUH, RUDE, SCREWED

Disputing a bill with the electric company: how to estimate electric usage of heater/central air. [more inside]
posted by samsara on Aug 17, 2010 - 9 answers

If it were dun...

How common is the usage of the expression "To dun" in the context of chasing payment? [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on Jul 19, 2010 - 16 answers

I am three times dumber than you not to know this already

Saying "it's three times less" seems nonsensical to me. Please enlighten me. [more inside]
posted by not that girl on Jun 17, 2010 - 27 answers

needs replaced v. needs to be replaced

Is the phrase "needs replaced" an English language regionalism? Is it an American English regional phrase? Is it of relatively recent vintage? Why does it seem to be gaining prevalence? [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Mar 15, 2010 - 47 answers

Which uses more power: Disney or Las Vegas?

Which uses more electrical power: All of the hotels and attractions on the Las Vegas strip, or all of the hotels and attractions within Walt Disney World in Florida? [more inside]
posted by Mwongozi on Feb 13, 2010 - 9 answers

Indefinite articles used with acronyms starting with U

Why do we precede acronyms starting with the letter U with 'a' instead of 'an', e.g. "a USB key" or "a UFO"? Acronyms starting with a consonant are frequently preceded by "an" because consonants' names have a different spelling than the letters themselves, e.g. M as em and H as aitch, therefore "an HIV outbreak" or "an MRI". However, U's name is spelled u, and acronyms that start with other vowels are preceded by 'an', e.g. "an ABC license". What's the deal?
posted by BigSky on Feb 12, 2010 - 31 answers

Billions and billions

Given that Federal bailout monies are being tossed around to banks like sacks of rice from an aid truck, are there any emergent slang terms for one billion dollars? [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Jan 15, 2010 - 14 answers

What to do with seeds?

What do people do with seeds besides plant them? Examples: Watermelon seed necklaces, cherry pit spit distance contest...etc [more inside]
posted by bleucube on Jan 2, 2010 - 16 answers

How can I keep an eye on warcraft usage

How can I surreptitiously monitor someone's World of Warcraft usage? [more inside]
posted by tomble on Dec 31, 2009 - 9 answers

This doesn't look correct.

Affect/Effect [more inside]
posted by tizzie on Dec 22, 2009 - 9 answers

Plural of "behalf'?

Quick grammar/usage question. Which is the preferred usage: "I'm buying this property on their behalf," or "I'm buying this property on their behalves." [more inside]
posted by crLLC on Dec 8, 2009 - 17 answers

That is the question.

What is a good heuristic for the usage of 'that'? [more inside]
posted by ageispolis on Nov 25, 2009 - 10 answers

What items get better with use?

Which products or goods improve with age and use? [more inside]
posted by Earl the Polliwog on Oct 28, 2009 - 36 answers

How much electricity do you use?

In the interests of science, please tell me how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) your house or apartment used last month and how much it uses in the middle of winter. If possible include variables like whether you use electric heat, air conditioning, electric or gas hot water heater, etc. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Oct 14, 2009 - 27 answers

From a jet-setter to ordinary consumer, what happened?

Having enjoyed my share of jet travel both locally and across the globe for the last couple of decades I was surprised last week on an interstate Qantas flight at the persistent use of the word "customer" in the inflight communications rather than the usual "passenger". [more inside]
posted by l'esprit d'escalier on Aug 11, 2009 - 7 answers

Calculate daily KW usage?

If I know my current power usage, how do I calculate my daily kw? [more inside]
posted by matholio on Jul 17, 2009 - 12 answers

Why not just say "price?"

Why do people say or write "price point" instead of "price?" [more inside]
posted by msbrauer on Apr 14, 2009 - 19 answers

TV on all the time

Craigslist HD TV deal..it was $25. The rub being it "doesn't always turn on". The first week it was fine. Then it started not turning on until later in the evening. The boyfriend (possibly) diagnosed the problem and will attempt to fix it when it becomes absolutely necessary. However, until then we are leaving it on all the time. [more inside]
posted by Epsilon-minus semi moron on Mar 15, 2009 - 20 answers

Need Adobe Acrobat (8 or higher) help

Need help from someone with Acrobat 8 Pro (or higher) to add "usage rights" to a simple PDF file [more inside]
posted by AstroGuy on Jan 22, 2009 - 2 answers

Using Creative Commons licensed works on a political website?

Dear mefites, Is it legal to use creative commons stuff, properly licensed and attributed, on a political website that 1) expresses views that the original author might not like, and 2) raises money, such as for a candidate or a party's branch? Particularly interested in stuff that's got a non-commercial license but is okay to use for derivative works. This is in the U.K. Thanks!
posted by anonymous on Jan 12, 2009 - 6 answers

How to better pay for shared computer supplies at a retirement village?

My dad lives in a retirement village that provides a shared computer (in a common area) used more heavily by just a few people. Supplies (ink/paper) are covered by dues everyone pays. What's the best way to have those that use it more pay more, e.g. somehow track usage, or maybe have users pay a nominal usage fee to cover ink/paper supply costs (and cost when it's to be replaced). [more inside]
posted by idad on Nov 17, 2008 - 8 answers

Teachers, students, and the Internet

Do teachers have their students use the Internet? [more inside]
posted by unreason on Sep 22, 2008 - 23 answers

How to best provide online usage statistics to content subscribers? Should I?

Tools for a scientific publisher to provide usage statistics for its subscribers? Is this a good idea? [more inside]
posted by chillmost on Sep 5, 2008 - 3 answers

What are people actually doing on the internet?

What are people actually doing on the internet? [more inside]
posted by quiet on May 29, 2008 - 5 answers

Bandwidth monitoring tool needed.

I'm looking for a bandwidth monitoring tool for OSX. I need it to do some specific things. [more inside]
posted by jammnrose on Aug 21, 2007 - 5 answers

any difference between 'acting' and 'interim' in job title?

When filling in for a superior that has resigned, before a permanent replacement for the position is identified, is there any difference between a job title of "acting $POSITION" and one of "interim $POSITION"? Specifically, does one indicate that the temporary replacement is or is not in consideration to be the permanent replacement? (This is a position in a university office, if that matters.)
posted by genehack on Aug 6, 2007 - 7 answers

Most all people don't know proper English, amirite?

"Most all" - it is wrong. Right? [more inside]
posted by ClarissaWAM on Jul 2, 2007 - 45 answers

Rise again, rise again

In the Stan Rogers song "The Mary Ellen Carter", what does "crumble into scale" mean? [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay on May 7, 2007 - 5 answers

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