Questions in the Technology category.
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September 10

Why do we still mail things to places instead of people?

Each apartment I’ve lived in my address has changed. :( And when, for example, my aunt sends me a package four years after moving to my old address I’ll never see it. But with the contemporary computerized world why haven’t we changed that? I mean I figure you could just go to the post office and just get a “post number” that was unique to you for all time. And that number could be associated with your current address. Then people wanting to mail you will always put that “post number” on the package and regardless of where your living the package would arrive there! The problem of shipping to an old address would mostly be gone. I wouldn’t have to update my address on 500 DIFFERENT WEBSITES WHEN I MOVED!! Why hasn’t this change come to regular old snail mail? What am I missing?
posted by verytepid at 2:30 PM - 25 answers

Modern Version of this Fisher Price Record Player Setup?

As a kid, I learned to read by listening to records with follow-along-books, on my trusty brown and orange Fisher Price record player. Now I have a three year old and I know he'd go nuts for something similar. I don't want to give him any kind of generic tech to solve this (no smartphone/tablets, etc.), but is there a modern equivalent? [more inside]
posted by amoeba at 11:11 AM - 9 answers

September 9

Print size using RISO SF5130

I am planning to purchase a used RISO duplicator to produce zines. Many models that would fit my budget claim to have a "Print Paper Size" up to 12 7/32 inches by 17 inches, but a "Maximum Printing Area" of only 8 1/4 inches by 14 1/16 inches. Can I position a set of 8 1/2 by 11 images to print on one side at a time of an 11 x 17 sheet to make a complete print? [more inside]
posted by Slothrop at 2:40 PM - 4 answers

Blue cars are prettier now. Why?

I'm in the US, in a small mid-East Coast city. This year -- the past few months, really -- I keep noticing all these gorgeous blue cars. All these gorgeous shades of blue that I've literally never seen on a car before in my entire life. MeFi, did our blue paint technology suddenly level up? How did this happen now and not before? And can somebody do the same for green?
posted by pelvicsorcery at 6:23 AM - 19 answers

September 8

Share My Paper?

I'm leading a study group online (via Google Hangouts) and it occurs to me that it would be really useful if I were able to write things that other people could see, rather than type. What's a good (cheap) way to do this? I'm eyeing the very low end drawing tablets, but am wondering if there are other options. [more inside]
posted by hoyland at 5:45 PM - 4 answers

What is the best way to get my elderly friend in the UK access to Skype?

I have an elderly friend living in the UK who needs access to Skype video conferencing, but he has difficulty typing, poor vision, and it would be hard for him to learn anything complicated. Is there a device for seniors I can get him? [more inside]
posted by Surprised By Bees at 1:22 AM - 7 answers

September 7

Critical speed of rotation - why does gravity matter?

The formula for critical speed of rotation includes the gravitational constant. Why? Including g seems to imply the unlikely idea that a rotating shaft won't go into resonant vibration in a zero-gravity environment, which is making me doubtful.
posted by clawsoon at 1:28 PM - 10 answers

September 4

Slide scanning issue

After an office move, I'm trying to scan slides with my Epson 12000XL GA scanner. Regular scanning works without issue, but my slides are only being partially scanned. Roughly one quarter scans and the rest disappears into weird lines. This happens on the regular Epson software and also Silverfast. [more inside]
posted by PussKillian at 1:30 PM - 4 answers

How do I plug a Raspberry pi into a really old TV

I think it's around 50 years old. I'm told that it works but I haven't plugged it in for fear of damaging it. Here's some pictures of the front and back. I have a raspberry pi model 3 b+, and I think it has a composite output through the audio jack. The plan is for an authentic NES emu setup. [more inside]
posted by adept256 at 4:15 AM - 10 answers

Restricting access to a printer that is physically accessible?

Is it possible to set up a (relatively basic nd cheap) printer so that only I and my co-teacher can use it for printing, even while it is located in a shared room that will be accessed by multiple other teachers and lots of students (while we are not there)? [more inside]
posted by Salamandrous at 4:05 AM - 7 answers

September 3

Electric Bikes with power source

Say I'm crazy. Imagine that I want to make a mobile propaganda bike with loudspeakers and a small projector. Are there electric bikes with large rechargeable batteries that have power outlets on them that could power said PA systems and projector? Is there another option I should consider? In NYC, if that matters.
posted by history is a weapon at 6:19 AM - 9 answers

Technology and child adoption

How has adopting a child changed since the advent of the internet? I’m writing something about a family in Massachusetts, if that helps.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:09 AM - 7 answers

September 2

Writing while walking

A few years ago I attended a conference talk by a well-known science fiction writer who described how he would hike and record rough drafts of his chapters, which he would later have transcribed, and then revise while traveling, etc. I can't afford transcription, and was thinking of either using a Twiddler3 chorded keyboard or recording myself using Google's voice recognition on my phone. I have a three mile, one-way walking commute to work and need the exercise. Has anyone had any success with some form of writing while walking? [more inside]
posted by mecran01 at 3:39 PM - 8 answers

September 1

To label a cable as fast as I'm able

I need to label cables after an event. It would be really nice if the label machine could produce prefix + incremental value labels. Doesn't need to be industrial strength, but maybe 50-70 labels at a sitting with minimal input. What do I buy? [more inside]
posted by scruss at 10:26 AM - 13 answers

August 31

Help me choose a replacement computer!

My workhorse computer is a 27" iMac from 2011, and it's reaching the end of its life. I use it for cartooning, book design, audio editing and a little bit of video. What should I replace it with? [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:26 AM - 16 answers

August 30

A talk about counter-surveillance?

I have a memory of a person or people who did some research regarding drones. In the video I saw they ended up identifying a number of CIA agents via front companies and released photos of them at their homes, and (if I remember right) also did some work to identify the purpose of a single satellite in orbit. [more inside]
posted by jpziller at 12:40 PM - 1 answers

Live broadcast TV on my dad’s Roku? It’s more likely than you think!

My father, who lives in a very rural area with poor digital TV reception and almost no broadband access, just got a Roku and a WISP data connection, so he and my stepmom can watch movies. I talked him into Netflix and he already had Prime for shipping, but I didn’t realize how much he would care about live TV, and he didn’t realize I didn’t realize, so I never thought to check into it. [more inside]
posted by Alterscape at 10:14 AM - 16 answers

August 29

RetroSys: Scam or huge scam?

My Facebook feed is full of ads for the RetroSys video game system. So help me, I'm tempted. [more inside]
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:19 AM - 10 answers

How can I set up a "Help, I've been dropped!" alert for my Androi phone?

How can I make my Android phone make lots of noise of I drop it, by detecting that the Bluetooth connection has dropped with the fitness tracker that I always wear? (Or if someone takes it, I guess?) [more inside]
posted by monster max at 6:39 AM - 5 answers

August 28

Travel printer for standard documents?

Looking for a tried and true printer for a someone who needs to print standard 8.5 x 11 inch pages from a a laptop. Sometimes will be in a vehicle which has an inverter or a place with outlets. Small enough to fit in a backpack so the person won’t be lugging an extra carry case around. Color ink is optional
posted by ayc200 at 10:40 AM - 1 answers

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