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Everything posted by Mallia

  1. There are a lot of them around, with The Onion one of the best known. Unfortunately reality tends to catch up with some of the satire sites, making it hard to tell their stories from reality. Which ones do you find the most entertaining? Right now I'm reading newsthump, if only because it is funny, there's no danger of the stories being taken for real, but what they are reporting on is definitely based on real events. Where do you go online when you want to waste time and have a good laugh?
  2. Have you ever sat down with a DVD box set or netflix and just binge-watched a series, either from start to end, or the key components? It can be fun to do before a new season of your favourite show, or just to find out what all the fuss is about. The best excuse I've ever had for one was the sponsored watch we did for a sci-fi convention to raise funds for charity. 24 hours of Babylon 5, start to finish in key episodes, and you weren't allowed to fall asleep or leave. We raised quite a bit. Aside from Babylon 5, I did that with Air Crash Investigation before the 2016 season came out, which might sound depressing, but it really is a fascinating series. So what shows do you binge-watch, or don't you?
  3. Yes, I've built a couple of mine and it isn't that hard. The tricky bit, which I sometimes get someone to do for me, is installing the motherboard and processor in the case because different processors need different cooling etc. Basic upgrades like memory are easy to do, and can keep a computer running so you don't have to buy a new PC, which is a lot cheaper. If you know where to go for parts and check deals it can be a good deal cheaper to build your own, particularly if you already have a licence and install discs for the OS. The downside is there is no warranty if a part goes wrong.
  4. I'm not kidding. The anti-doping rules are here and they are 73 pages long, not including the banned substances list. I did ask a chess player once and he said most cheats' drug of choice was speed, or anything that can speed up the way a person's brain works over the several hours of a tournament, because play is timed. I would have thought the jitters from trying to sit still on it would have given it away...
  5. I'm probably the odd one out because I do use a tablet. I have an old e-ink tablet that runs linux, and that I use on trains because it is smaller than a laptop and better for my eyes for reading. I was very upset when they discontinued them, and I don't think I will buy a standard tablet when it finally gives up the ghost. I'll just stick with the laptop as the shiny tablet screens can be a real pain to read, and for some reason the touch screens never work properly for me.
  6. I don't do it. Text or voicemail can get my message across fast enough, and I'm not really a fan of video. My Skype has long been 'broken' if I am working from home (a.k.a. I'm not turning it on if I am in my jammies!) and I know I'm not the only one! If you mean sending a video by email I can see several problems. If the video is included, a lot of email systems will bounce it for file size. If it is embedded from somewhere like youtube, many antiviruses or firewalls will block it immediately, and if an email from someone I don't know turns up asking me to click a link to play a video, well, I like most people won't do it because of the virus risk.
  7. It does actually happen in chess tournaments, like the Grandmaster competitions where the rules are incredibly strict and there are anti-doping regulations. It is even televised. I have to say, I don't see the appeal, but then I'm not a good chess player. Mind Sports is an interesting term, but it is pretty new and none of the ones suggested really seem to be spectator sports. Speed Reading, for example? I can see the contest of skill, but not the appeal to an audience.
  8. You can lay the food out in faces etc to make them more palatable. From babysitting, I noticed children tend to like messes, so asparagus or sliced carrot and cucumber can be sold by offering dipping and dunking options. Just be careful they don't learn to flick the stalks, or food fights can result! I never had trouble selling them on pickled beetroot because of the really red colour. Mind you, I also ended up selling them on vegetables around Halloween by giving all the veggies disgusting names. Pickled Onions were yuck, but picked eyeballs were delicious!
  9. The video above might have gone, but there's also this technique which I have never tried: take two bowls, put the garlic in one and put the other bowl on top. Then shake vigorously until the sound changes and bingo, perfectly peeled cloves. I might have to give that a try because it contains the mess so neatly, and it looks like a lot of fun!
  10. In the UK, guns are very tightly controlled to the point where there are plenty of people who have never seen one in real life. While the murder rate is far lower than the US there are still violent crimes, knife crime, etc and I won't even go into football violence so bad the country's teams were banned from Europe for some years. By contrast Switzerland has a heavily armed population, compulsory military service, and much lower crime rates. There are some really interesting comparison stats on nationmaster. As far as I can see, it isn't necessarily the guns that cause the problem, it is the culture surrounding them.
  11. If you have any second-hand phone or electronics shops near you, they might be able to unlock it. It's something they often have to do for phones traded in to them. Otherwise it is worth checking google with the phones model and make and the phrase "unlocking" or "unlock code". Some manufacturers actually provide details on how to do this for their phones, for people who get stuck with a phone they can't use. Contacting the manufacturer was how I solved a similar problem when my old carrier ceased trading and my phone was left locked to them, so it was unusuable.
  12. I don't tend to listen to audio books on CD, but I have a few audiobooks as MP3s which I have listened to. I find CDs a little unweildy and they can get scratched so easily, while if I buy it on CD I can copy it to MP3, listen to it while I am out and around, and not risk damage to the CD. Audio books are a little different to reading a book because so much relies on the narrator being good. A flat voice can make the best book boring. The other thing is that they don't always have one narrator. Sometimes they convert the book more towards a radio play, and use different voice actors for different characters. I prefer books with only one narrator, but some people seem to like the multi-actor ones more. Which do you enjoy?
  13. I actually got one two years ago. I picked up a second-hand roomba through Amazon, and they really are great. They don't remove all the requirement for vacuuming, but they pick up enough that you only have to go round every few weeks and do the corners or spots they've missed. It is also really good at pet hairs and for this first time since we got the cat, the floor is not tabby! It's not so good at pets, as the cat hates it. The only annoyance is cleaning the brushes out. That takes forever, and if something wraps round the rubber brush, the brush blades tear really easily and then it doesn't pick up so well. I just wish it had been under warranty because it only lasted a year, perhaps because it was second-hand. I'm saving up for a new one.
  14. I've never had a problem peeling garlic, possibly because I've been using it in cooking since I was a child so I've had a lot of practice. I've never seen it smashed first though. I normally just peel it with a small knife, although I have found that using one with a thick, stubby, blade and blunt tip helps, otherwise the outer skin tends to shred instead of lifting away cleanly. If you start on the flat side of each clove, splitting it near the outer curve and get the knife flat between it and the clove, you can get the skin off in one piece, which saves on the mess because it is so crackly.
  15. I'm not vegan but I work with a few. I'd suggest starting by going vegetarian first, and then once you have a balanced vegetarian diet, see how easily you can move to eliminate the remaining animal products. Remember, going full vegan also means avoiding animal products in other parts of your life, like leather, etc. The main problem with supplements is making sure that they are also vegan. One popular multi-vitamin contains gelatin, from cows, as a bonding agent. You'll need to learn to check ingredients lists very carefully.
  16. With the loss of Terry Pratchett in 2015 and so many more over the last couple of years, which authors do you really miss? What about those who passed with their series incomplete or newly announced books? Do you think someone else should finish them, or should it be left? I really miss Terry Pratchett's work, although given the last two books, I think I was missing the author before the man passed. Altzheimers is a filthy disease, and his writing just was not the same. I don't think anyone else could really pick Discworld up, as Rihanna Pratchett has a very different writing style and sense of humour, and while some of the fanfic writers have the style and are very good writers, they probably wouldn't take Discworld in the same direction he would. Who do you miss?
  17. I've never seen the point in having someone ghost-write for me, as it is just another expense. There's not a lot of money in writing unless you are also prepared to market yourself and your book everywhere these days, and I'm really not good at marketing. I'd rather be writing. I did have some work published in anthologies when I was much younger, and on a trip to the British Library some years later I did get quite a kick out of looking myself up on their database and seeing my name on record as an author. There's something very permanent about it.
  18. I always enjoyed sci-fi anthologies. When I was younger the short story collections seemed a good way of getting a lot of stories for one book. When I was older and went back to look at them, I was amazed at how many of the stories I remembered had been written by authors whose names I had discovered later through longer works. Do you prefer collections written by one author, or selections of stories or poems by multiple authors? I tend to prefer the later just because it is amazing how many different ideas writers can have if they are given the same one-line prompt.
  19. Since Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, has just died I thought this might be topical. Watership Down was easily my favourite fictional book about animals, so what are your favourite animal stories or books about them? I'm into the classics, so Tarka the Otter and The Incredible Journey are two of my favourites. It's strange seeing them on film because Tarka had such a faithful film adaptation, but the Incredible Journey became the very different Homeward Bound.
  20. Amazon for MP3's or HMV for CD's/DVDs. HMV may be slightly more expensive, but there's a real feel to browsing the shelves, and I tend to find albums I didn't know existed and some real bargains in their discount bins. If I'm going to browse the music store, it is only fair to support them by buying there.
  21. ... or iOS or Android, which OS do you use most often? Please note I'm not asking which is better (that argument can get heated!) just what do you use? I use Windows on Desktop, Linux on Laptop, and Android on tablet, so I'm kind of split three ways.
  22. To get a book published by a major house. Financial security, I mean I don't know if anyone else had this through 2016 but it was just one nightmare after another and most of my savings went dealing with each crisis as it came up. I'd like to feel like a had a safety net again.
  23. The actual book, with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and Kotik the White Seal? That definitely counts! Those are definitely animal stories, and Mowgli is definitely not the only talking creature in the titular story. (Can you tell I love the book?)
  24. I was mainly into RPGs and strategy games. Shadfow Hearts, I think it was the "From the New World" game and Onimusha kept me a bit busy, and then it was Kingdom Hearts II and well, I was rather occupied for much of the next few months getting all the secrets. I will deny to my dying day being obessive about my 100%'s, but I do like seeing them.
  25. I used to play drums, before we moved into a flat and the neighbours complained! It is definitely musical, not just about beat, as each drum in a set has a different tone, and it can even change depending on how and where you hit the surface. You do need a good sense of timing though, especially when the drums are keeping time for the rest of an ensemble or you can get chaos.