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      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2011

    I had a girlfriend who stretched for about five minutes every night before she went to bed. I asked her why she did it, and she told me it was a very good means of training her body to relax - after the first few times doing it, she'd start stretching, and then instantly feel calm and sleepy. Supposedly, she says, it also kept her from rolling around in bed, which can wake you up if you do it too often.
  1.  (10224.42)

    I had massive sleep issues and then I found out I had sleep apnea (like snoring, but where it wakes you up, not just the other person in your bed). It caused drowsiness all day long, until it's time for bed, and then you can't sleep.

    Suffered through two terrible sleep studies.

    Once I got my machine, I sleep like a baby. I'm out immediately, and I stay asleep through the night, barring outside interference. Occasionally, I do get claustrophobic, similar to when you wake up in the hospital with tubes in you and you freak and rip them all out, but instead it's just a breathing tube sitting on your nose.
  2.  (10224.43)

    How many times do I need to "save" the setting that I don't want to use fucking Google Instant???

    A gajillion?
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2011

    As someone who has recently gotten into a nasty pattern of flailing round the bed and disturbing my girlfriend, I totally agree with Alan's ex on the merits of stretching before sleep. It's sorted me right out.
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2011
    #video @allana

    I, too, need a decent free software that will render still frames into video

    I haven't read the previous thread you mentioned, so I don't know if this has already been recommended, but try VirtualDub -- It's an open-source Windows application for all kinds of (relatively low-level) video manipulation, but it will definitely load a series of images as a single movie, which can be saved back to disk as an AVI.

    The user interface isn't particularly friendly, but if you don't mind poking around in menus to find the options you want, it's quite a useful piece of software.

    I'm using version 1.9.9 and the prodcedure looks roughly like this:

    1) Ensure your image files are named sequentially (ex: "test001.jpg", "test002.jpg" ... "test999.jpg")
    2) In VirtualDub select File > Open Video File, then make sure "Automatically load linked segments" is checked, then select the first image of your sequence and click 'open'. All your images should load.
    3) Select Video > Frame Rate, and select "Change frame rate to (fps)" and fill in your desired number (standards are 24 fps for film, 30 fps for north american television, 25 fps for european television)... Click ok.
    4) Select Audio > No Audio
    5) Select Video > Full Processing Mode
    6) Select Video > Filters > Add > "resize" > ok
    7) In the configuration box, adjust the "New Size" and "Aspect Ratio" to your liking... (standard def non-widescreen is 720x480). Set "Filter mode" as you wish ("Lanczos3" gives a nice sharp image). Select 'ok', and 'ok' again on the "Filters" box.
    8) Select Video > Compression, then choose your desired codec (the topic of codecs could [and does, in many places on the net] fill an entire article itself)... "Uncompressed" is readable by anything, but, lacking compression, makes correspondingly huge files. For standard def stuff, try to find a DV codec for a reasonable file size/quality ratio.
    9) Select File > Save as AVI

    ...and you're done!

    Hope this was somewhat helpful.
  3.  (10224.46)
    Bittorrent weirdness. When I try to download a torrent, it won't connect to any seeds no matter how many are available. It connects to peers just fine. Any ideas?
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2011

    Ok, hit Firefly while you're deciding because there's only 15 episodes (and a freaking awesome movie). For the long hall: Go the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis route. It took me many years to get on board with this 'cause the movie sucked oh so very much. But these two shows are possibly the best examples of TV Sci-Fi (with actual science in) ever.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2011

    Any suggestions for a good one to plug my windows laptop into for viewing and editing photographs? The built in one is ok for general messing but the contrast changes every time i move it. Shan't be doing professional stuff, mostly just posting on flickr and printing off at home so possibly better not to go with whaddaya call it? Wide gamut?

    I've had a bit of a look around on the interwebs so i have some small idea but i am still just a clueless clicky monkey at heart, so be gentle with me please!
  4.  (10224.49)
    #Historical Jesus

    A little while back (could be a few months, maybe as many as 18 months tops) I came across an article on the internet quoting a historian who claimed that the historical Jesus wasn't the messiah, but he was a really outspoken civil rights activist-type. Now, I've searched all the blogs in my RSS feed that seem the type to post that sort of story, but I still can't find the original source. Anyone with superior Google-fu or a great memory able to help me out? (Not interested in arguing about any sort of Jesus, the notion just stuck in my head as potential story fodder.)

    (And I swear that sometime soon someone will have a question that I can actually answer...)
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2011

    Right I have Firefly ready to go, I will then probably float between a few of the other popular suggestions to see which one grabs me most before commiting to watching the entire run of anything.

    Thanks for all the amazing suggestions!

    also, related to #Sunsets, the old English phrase "Red Sky at night, shepherds delight, red sky in the morning, shepherds warning" has an element of truth - there is a useful wiki here
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2011
    #monitor I use a Samsung HD screen for all my works. Bonus is that it doubles great for watching things I download/stream.
    I believe this is the one I own:
    I do a lot of graphic design on it, so it seems to work nice for me.
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2011
    Does a program exist that will let me password protect one program?(ex:mozilla or any internet browser)
  5.  (10224.53)
    #Tablets for Photoshop

    I hear good things about Wacom tablets, and wonder about y'all's opinions on them (and any similar tablets). Which are the best? Are they useful for an abstract artist like myself? I don't draw in Photoshop that much, and mostly manipulate photos of work I make by hand. From what I hear, tablets seem like the best way to get greater precision than mouse work, which still feels awkward to me. My price range is ideally around $300, but I care about larger screen size, and could probably squeak more money if it's really worth it. Sorry if I sound like a complete newbie when it comes to this, but let's face it, I'm a newbie.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2011

    Good timing! I'm actually just about to whip out my Wacom Intuos 3 and sketch for a bit.

    Here's the thing - if you want a tablet, just ignore everything but Wacom. There are other companies that make tablets, but the quality is far, far below anything Wacom has put out, and not for a whole lot cheaper, either. I'm not a fan of monopolies in general, but Wacom is really the only player in the game right now. Accept no substitutes.

    The Intuos line I've heard nothing but good things about, and my own experience has been very pleasant. They're pretty tough to mess up too badly, and they will last for years. The one I have is 3 years old, and I haven't had any problems with either the hardware of the drivers. The only trouble with the Intuos (especially the new 4) is the price tag.

    Wacom makes a cheaper, typically smaller and not quite as sensitive, series called Graphire, and this is what I started out on. They're not quite as durable as an Intuos, but they're still pretty tough - I tossed mine in my bag, on the table, dropped it a couple of times, and did nothing worse that scratch the plastic coating. I used it primarily for coloring and vector work, and it worked very nicely for both of those.

    What I like about tablets is they FEEL like drawing, in a way that using a mouse just doesn't. I think it's better for your hand and wrist than using a mouse, and it's easier to get into the mindset of art when you're holding the stylus in your fingers - you're pushing and pulling a pen or brush, not dragging a mouse. It's a little thing, but it's very nice.

    Here's one word of caution, and it's one that I get all the time, and have subsequently started giving - the tablet is just like any other artistic tool, in that it will NOT make you better just by using it. It will make the work easier, maybe faster, and possibly a bit more fun, but it's not an instant level-up. In fact, I experienced a month or so, when I was still playing around and learning how the goshdarn thing worked, where my art was significantly worse than what I was doing with pencil and paper. It leveled out, and I've gotten significantly better with it since then, to the point where it's my primary art tool (well, it and a handful of programs), but I met SO MANY people in art school who thought that the second you got the hang of using a tablet and stylus, you were suddenly a professional. Couldn't be further from the truth. Not that I assume you're of this mindset, but it's just something I want to toss out there, because it is such an absurdly widespread idea.

    Also, being a newbie is FUN. You get to mess up all the time, and you've still got a good excuse! I think everyone should always be a newbie at something, should always be just learning a trade or craft. Enjoy it while it lasts.
  6.  (10224.55)
    Graphire, or even Bamboo will do a decent job for Photo manips, stitching etc. The intuos is overkill if your not painting, as a large portion of the cost goes toward the interchangeable nature of the pen nib.
    If you do go for Intuos, I would advise avoiding the Bluetooth variant, as it's frustrating to say the least, I spend about 90% of my time with mine plugged into the USB, as it's too slow to respond a lot of the time.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 28th 2011
    #Edible Flowers.

    Anyone know any good ones? Any to stay away from? Any good recipes which include flowers or flower parts? Even (and this would be AWESOME) anyone ever heard of someone using flowers to make wine or beer?
  7.  (10224.57)
    Nasturtiums have a light peppery taste and work well in green salads.
    • CommentTimeSep 28th 2011
    #edible flowers

    hibiscus, roses, jasmine, lavender, dandelions, violets & marigolds are the ones off the top of my head. Dandelions make a potent wine. I've had hibiscus & violet liquors, which are delightful, rose, jasmine & lavender teas are refreshing as well, especially blended into like, a green or black tea.
  8.  (10224.59)
    #edible flowers

    There's also an edible orchid that is used as a palate cleanser for fancy meals.
  9.  (10224.60)

    Thank y'all, Alan and Vertigo! I'll do my best to avoid both bluetooth and hubris, and will only look at Wacom. It's good to hear they're sturdy, because I'm a bit clumsy. My iPhone has survived this long, though, so hopefully I can keep a tablet alive as well. It's hard not to want a little overkill, but if y'all figure the Graphires are going to be a better fit, I'll look into them (especially since they're more affordable). I fear the Bamboo might not be enough, but that might just be because it seems to be aimed at a less serious market.

    It's the natural feeling of holding a pen that's the most appealing thing to me about tablets, followed closely by portability. Being able to change my environment when stuck on something has always been helpful in the past; working on the desktop makes me feel a bit trapped then.

    I'll try out this feeling of being a newbie you describe, Alan Tyson, it sounds much more fun than my current method of coping with inexperience (cursing and menacing my computer).