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PC Selection. Difficulty level: Paralysis by Analysis

It's time to replace the household PC. I'm a programmer, I use PCs all the time, but I have not paid attention to PC hardware specs in maybe a decade, so I'm lost in a sea of mostly equivalent choices. [more inside]
posted by SemiSalt on Feb 14, 2015 - 26 answers

Antibiotics Containing Nickel

I have what I believe is a nickel allergy (earrings cause my pierced ears to "weep"). I've read that some antibiotics contain nickel, and I'd like to avoid those. But I'm having difficulty finding out which antibiotics contain nickel.
posted by dancing leaves on Feb 14, 2015 - 12 answers

Flash game about a female spy around WWI?

Some years ago I played a Flash game set around the time of WWI. You played a female spy, moved around a house & its basement, and picked up objects to use. Anybody remember what game this was, or the author's name? Thanks.
posted by circular on Feb 13, 2015 - 2 answers

Decorate my data mine!

For the next few months, I'll be spending a good deal of my time wrangling data and doing statistical analyses in a tiny ground floor room, one wall lined with file drawers. I have no windows. What can I do to make it pleasant? What is your favorite thing about your office? [more inside]
posted by MrBobinski on Feb 13, 2015 - 16 answers

How can I best deal with an alcoholic (and make pressing decisions) ?

Seeking words of wisdom & experience, advice, reality checks, really anything that can help me gain some clarity or peace of mind. Lots of text, apologies in advance. [more inside]
posted by aggielc on Feb 13, 2015 - 33 answers

not all HDMI is the same?

I have a Samsung LCD TV. New Apple TV works fine with it. 3 other devices refuse to display a signal: Chromecast, WDTV+, and some other digital box which has been (erroneously?) disposed of. All of the above were connected via a standard HDMI cable, no adapters needed. It's not a problem with the cable (I've experimented with different cables). What gives?
posted by wutangclan on Feb 13, 2015 - 5 answers

How do I get myself out of this rut?

I’m in a rut. I focus so hard on what I dislike about myself and my situation that I can’t motivate myself to get out of it. How do I stop dwelling on these things? How do I start? Lots of self-centered complaints inside. [more inside]
posted by The Man Who Wore the Sock on Feb 13, 2015 - 23 answers

Windows 8.1 freezes for a half-second periodically, why and how to fix?

Yesterday, I started noticing that Windows is freezing for maybe a half-second every minute or so. Ordinarily it's not noticeable, but during videos or games it causes sound to catch for the duration ("...and so the solution to the pRRRRRRRoblem is..."), and sometimes video playback to glitch. Anyone have an idea what's going on? [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Feb 13, 2015 - 10 answers

Please point me at a Mac picture/sketch editor that does what I want.

I have a very basic (I think) requirement infrequently where I need to slightly modify a picture (usually a line drawing or a jpg of an event layout or similar) so that I can extract the track map from it. I keep bouncing between software that doesn't do enough to overwhelmingly complicated and too involved to do quickly. Please translate what is available in my own perspective please. I am open to the possibility that I am outside the realms of simple software, but am ever hopeful. [more inside]
posted by Brockles on Feb 13, 2015 - 11 answers

Help needed picking the CD version to import - choices are in Japanese

I just received a CD of songs based on the Yotsuba& manga. When I go to import it into iTunes, I'm given two choices, and since I can't read Japanese, I'm not sure which to choose. [more inside]
posted by ralan on Feb 13, 2015 - 9 answers

Chinese/Taishanese translation for short bits of a news report?

I'll provide the link in the extended, but in a 2 minute news report for a local culinary school I'm interested in knowing what the student is saying in Chinese and I'm wondering if I can get any help in that regard. This report is from a San Francisco Chinese-language news station, and I expect the students are just talking about their intended careers and the school experience, but would love to know precisely what they're saying. Can anyone help out? [more inside]
posted by kalessin on Feb 13, 2015 - 5 answers

Smartphones for Dummies

I have resisted getting a smartphone for years, but it's time to give in. My problem is that I'm totally clueless about how to do this. What phone should I get? What provider? What kind of data plan? Please help! [more inside]
posted by aka burlap on Feb 13, 2015 - 28 answers

Does the awesomeness of cats allow them to violate the laws of physics?

I’d like to get a better understanding (or, really, any understanding) of how cats are able to survive under extremes of temperature. [more inside]
posted by akk2014 on Feb 13, 2015 - 8 answers

I sing the song of good grammar

Clearly Weird Al's "Word Crimes" is the ne plus ultra of songs about proper word usage. But that can't be the only one! Can you suggest other songs about grammar, syntax, etc? (Note: Ironic by Alanis Morrisette does not fit the bill, as it is neither an accurate definition of ironic nor a good song.)
posted by rednikki on Feb 12, 2015 - 14 answers

Where can I test a bunch of different office chairs in NYC?

I need a new office chair and would like suggestions for stores in and around NYC where I can try out several models at once. Difficulty level: short person. [more inside]
posted by Owlcat on Feb 12, 2015 - 4 answers

Something like arduino for people with poor vision

So, I am getting into Arduino as something to tinker with. And it seems like something my elderly father would also really enjoy futzing around with. [more inside]
posted by jeribus on Feb 12, 2015 - 3 answers

Why do questions on Quora read like they were written by a robotic 9yro?

Are Quora questions all written/edited to follow a stringent style? [more inside]
posted by bystander on Feb 12, 2015 - 9 answers

What am I supposed to do with a manically depressed tablet?

I recently bought a new Alcatel One Touch 7 Tab, running Jelly Bean. It has a lot of problems, often it takes several seconds to respond, apps freeze, it has graphical issues with some games that aren't necessarily new, some apps don't even run, and it hangs when going from one app to another. [more inside]
posted by Promethea on Feb 12, 2015 - 13 answers

What's the perfect elephant-related Valentine's gift?

Please help me find the perfect Valentine's Day gift for my beloved wife. Difficulty level: elephant. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Feb 12, 2015 - 23 answers

Save my nearly-burned "braised" short ribs

I know my oven cooks hot, but I didn't realize it cooked THAT hot, plus we recently had the door repaired and it must be holding heat better than before, because after three hours at around 160-170 C, I have some very well done braised short ribs and a charred pan! Nothing was left of the lovely wine and broth mix. The vegetables were tiny burned crisps of charcoal. I had to throw the pan away! Can this dinner be saved by tomorrow night? [more inside]
posted by tiger tiger on Feb 12, 2015 - 14 answers

Help me turn off animation in Google Hangouts

I use Google Hangouts to chat (initiated from Chrome, on a Windows desktop). When I type "hahahaha" (as I do, because I am nonstop fun) some little animals come across the chat widget and dance around. When I type happy birthday, they appear with a birthday cake. This was whimsical once, and now it is soul-crushingly twee and intrusive. I can't figure out how to turn them off, in settings or via Google searching. Anyone done this successfully?
posted by chesty_a_arthur on Feb 12, 2015 - 5 answers

What B&W movie ends with the line "Here comes the sun"?

I saw a black and white movie on TV when I was younger, and it ended with a family (presumably farmers?), looking out a window or a door (or standing on a porch) as the sun rose, and the father says, "Well, here comes the sun." It stuck with me, but I can't seem to find what movie it was. [more inside]
posted by wivy on Feb 12, 2015 - 7 answers

do Norwex cloths really safely clean with just water?

It is safe to take my baby to a playspace that is using just Norwex cloths and water to clean? [more inside]
posted by octarine on Feb 12, 2015 - 26 answers

How do I free up my phone for more games?

I love puzzle games, like The Room, Room 2, Monument Valley, Tiny Bang Theory, Botanicula, all those kinds of things (I have, in fact, gotten many recommendations from others' previous AskMes). The thing is, these games all add up memory-wise. I have finished them once, but know that I will enjoy returning to them in the future after I've forgotten some of the bits. How do I move them somewhere else to free up memory in the meantime? Or can I just delete them and download them again later? [more inside]
posted by Athanassiel on Feb 12, 2015 - 9 answers

reinstalling Ubuntu on a partition in existing dual-boot system?

I would like to know how (if?) I can re-install ubuntu (from a flash drive) onto a partition of my dual boot hard drive without destoying the other partitions (a winxp OS and a large partition with data on it, respectively.) [more inside]
posted by needs more cowbell on Feb 11, 2015 - 8 answers

How do I start a choir?

A friend and I want to start a (casual, fun) women's choir, but we don't really know where to start. How do we find people to join? Where do we meet? How much work is this actually going to be? We are in Chicago. [more inside]
posted by goodbyewaffles on Feb 11, 2015 - 13 answers

What is this old Sci-Fi Short-Story/Novelette?

I'm trying to identify/find this pre-1980 story set in America, about an epidemic (highly contagious, spread skin-to-skin) where everyone's turns grey and the victims have hallucinations. The protagonist is on the run (along with a woman?), trying to escape roaming victims (who have a craving to touch his uninfected skin). In that last aspect, it has a zombie apocalypse feel to it. I believe it was a little-known work by a big-name author. Can anyone tell me what it is? SPOILERS BELOW [more inside]
posted by Sceadugenga on Feb 11, 2015 - 6 answers

Should I try to recruit a former classmate?

I was looking up old school acquaintances online recently, and found the LinkedIn profile of a classmate from grad school. She's got just the resume my team desperately needs (MVC web development, natural language processing) and I know she's very smart. But I never knew her that well in school, and mostly remember her because of the secret crush I had on her back then. Would it be okay to email her about the open position at my company? [more inside]
posted by serathen on Feb 11, 2015 - 17 answers

Giving a gift to restaurant staff?

We're planning a dinner to celebrate a milestone birthday. We'd like to do something to acknowledge the extra work for the staff we represent. We were thinking a gift for the staff, but we don't know the etiquette of this. [more inside]
posted by werkzeuger on Feb 11, 2015 - 28 answers

Email forwarding for a domain without hosting

I have a .co.uk domain which is hosted by Bluehost. However, after some time the only thing I use it for is to forward email addresses to my main gmail address. Is there a cheap and reliable alternative which just provides email forwarding?
posted by Stark on Feb 11, 2015 - 8 answers

MusicFilter: Help me find more mid- to late 90's acoustic "rock"

I want to hear more mid- to late 90's acoustic rock like the following: [more inside]
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith on Feb 10, 2015 - 16 answers

Meet the Colonel

What is this name or origin of this bird-headed man's (English?) accent? [more inside]
posted by Sunburnt on Feb 10, 2015 - 12 answers

Just started Twitter account and it is suspended

I finally just started a Twitter account two days ago. I have not yet tweeted, retweeted or requested friends. Now I'm told the account is suspended. [more inside]
posted by dances_with_sneetches on Feb 10, 2015 - 20 answers

a week to become a health care expert

I'm moving into the field of health care policy and I don't have a strong background in this area. I'd like some recommendations for books that will give me a broad foundation and also some that are interesting and specific to timely health issues. [more inside]
posted by inevitability on Feb 10, 2015 - 8 answers

figure skate suggestions for novice

Anyone have recommendations for what kind of skates a beginning adult figure skater might purchase?
posted by city_park on Feb 10, 2015 - 3 answers

How do I track down a death certificate?

I recently found out that a friend from back in my college days died eleven years ago, but I can't figure out where, or what happened, just a date. How can I find more information? [more inside]
posted by theatro on Feb 10, 2015 - 7 answers

House Arrest Vertical Range

Are house arrest ankle monitors able to detect vertical movement? [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight on Feb 10, 2015 - 3 answers

Help me ID ragweed in the field, from a distance

I am allergic to ragweed. I have no clue what it looks like. Give me your best pics, tips, and secrets, oh people of metafilter with Plant Foo. [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Feb 10, 2015 - 9 answers

Best way to sell a house without improvement, staging, or agents?

My mother is moving out of her house and wants to sell it with as little fuss as possible. She doesn't want to make any improvements, hire a realtor, have 'open houses,' or have any protracted negotiations. Her plan is to just take the best offer of a "fast cash buyout" home-buying company. That sounds like inviting a ripoff to me, but we both know very little about selling houses and don't know of any alternatives. [more inside]
posted by cowbellemoo on Feb 10, 2015 - 14 answers

Help an AirBnb Host: How to apply a discount

How do AirBnB Hosts apply discounts for customers? [more inside]
posted by Rage-chel on Feb 10, 2015 - 5 answers

Must label desktops

What is the best way to label my different desktops in Mission Control, running Yosemite on my mac? [more inside]
posted by nat on Feb 10, 2015 - 2 answers

Is This Legit? is buying light fixtures with iTunes Cards common?

We stumbled on a Rain Drop Chandelier we'd like to purchase for over our coffee table. Before purchasing I googled the fixture details, finding the same fixture for 60% at Another Site. So we're good to go, only to find the site does not take creditcards. At checkout the main site gives the following information: As we are located in China, it is not easy for us to receive money from gloabl customers just for a low profit: 1. Paypal does require too high service-charging-fee (above 25% of total amount) from us. 2. Western Union is not safe for buyers. Also, it is not convenient to make a transaction. 3. Credit card channels usually hold the money at least 25 days. Therefore, now we do accept iTunes Gift Cards for your payment. My Question: Is this legit and just something I've never encountered? [more inside]
posted by Twist on Feb 10, 2015 - 13 answers

Cat drooling with runny nose

I will call her vet in the morning. Should I call emergency tonight? [more inside]
posted by janey47 on Feb 9, 2015 - 23 answers

Book suggestions for teens that are coming out as LGBQ or T

I'm working (as a therapist) with a young man (17 y/o) who has recently acknowledged that he is gay. He asked, during our first session, if there were any books I would recommend. I realized that, although I had done extensive reading on a clinical level, I hadn't explored materials for whom young people, as opposed to clinicians, were the target audience. [more inside]
posted by HuronBob on Feb 9, 2015 - 16 answers

Ice on puddles when low temperate is above zero?

I've been seeing ice on the tops of puddles when the low temperature for the day is forecast to be low (2 or 3 degrees) but not freezing. Why is that? [more inside]
posted by Bugbread on Feb 9, 2015 - 7 answers

Vending at an indie wedding expo: What can I expect?

I make and sell bow ties and other wedding-ish related mens' accessories, and I've been invited to vend at an upcoming wedding market event. I've never planned a wedding (Mrs. usonian and I eloped) nor attended a wedding expo in my life, and have no idea what to expect in terms of how people shop at these things. [more inside]
posted by usonian on Feb 9, 2015 - 5 answers

Help my gift become a surprise!

I got my boyfriend a guitar for his birthday. It's what he really wants, and he does not know for sure that that's his present. But he suspects it, based on prior conversations, hints dropped on his part, and likely possibilities. Is there any way for me to still have it be a surprise when the day comes? Is there some 'master of misdirection' moves I can use to hide the fact that it's a guitar? [more inside]
posted by tatiana131 on Feb 9, 2015 - 28 answers

Stories of empathic cats

Here and elsewhere, I keep running into the sentiment that cats are adorable, fuzzy little psychopaths. They understand us but they don't care. They are self-absorbed. They only need us for food. They will gnaw on our corpses. That line of philosophy runs completely counter to my own experience with cats, three of whom were absolutely in love with me. I would like to read some positive articles, stories, etc about cats who defy the "fuzzy psychopath" stereotype. [more inside]
posted by quiet earth on Feb 9, 2015 - 41 answers

'90s Literary Sci-fi Novel Identification

A literary Sci-fi novel I read in the mid to late '90s. Sketchily remembered details: A boy has been genetically modified for talent in the visual arts. He is told at one point to "open his gift" and goes on to become a famous artist and perhaps something of a guru. A few more details within. [more inside]
posted by DarkForest on Feb 9, 2015 - 2 answers

Wedding readings for a scientist?

I'm a physicist, and I'm marrying a biologist. Can Mefi suggest any wedding readings suitable for us? We're looking for something along a sciency theme.
posted by alby on Feb 9, 2015 - 22 answers

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