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  1.  (10882.1)

    Sorry, I saw this the other day and was going to answer then forgot... a friend of mine went blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa over a number of years. I lost contact for a while and when I caught up with him again I was staggered at how he'd adapted tpo use assistive technology; so I'd say get in early and start learning how to use tools to help well they still have some sight,

    He uses a programme called Jaws for the PC that acts as a screenreader, he's got a similar app on his smartphone. He's also now got a device that's an RFID reader, that reads smart tags and gives a voice note as to what they are - so he can add tags to CDs and DVDs etc and just scan them to identify them, He also has a guide dog, which transformed his life and gave him back a great deal of independence
  2.  (10882.2)
    Regarding that widescreen text problem, I have a Samsung SA850T monitor, great res, I use it in horizontal orientation for image editing, sound work and film work but when I've got something text-heavy to do I just rotate it on its plinth and set the orientation to portrait in the OS. I'm using a Mac Pro in the studio but it's just as easy to do the same thing with the same screen in Windows - I bought one after I saw it in action on a Windows 7 box.

    I have an 11" MacBook Air for portable use. It weighs virtually nothing but has a useable keyboard so beats out a tablet for my purposes. I mostly use that for correspondence, ideas notation on the hoof, making notes on whatever I'm reading, and last-minute panic tweaks to image files that are being submitted. The screen orientation is annoying in virtually all of those applications but it's still more convenient than a tablet and, as y'all say, there is no laptop that's designed for text use. It was on eBay cheap! It runs the same OS as my work monster! Does the job. Not complaining.
    • CommentTimeNov 13th 2012
    #Personal Email Archive

    I have a request from a friend to dump several years worth of emails out of their GMail account and turn them into some sort of manageable format in order to gift them to another person, as a sort of history of their involvement. Does anyone have a good solution for that? We're talking 10 to 20 thousand emails, so just dumping them all into a Word doc or PDF won't be suitable. I could turn them into an Outlook PST or other email folder format, but if there's something better and self-contained, perhaps built around an Access database, I'd love to hear about it.
  3.  (10882.4)
    #Best Tasting Sugar Alternatives
    I'm attempting (or trying to get in the direction of attempting) to do a sugar free diet to see if my energy levels will improve (both dairy and gluten have no effect by the way), but the usual sugar alternatives (splenda etc) taste a bit vile to me. So, are there sweeteners that don't leave horrible aftertastes? And actually taste good? Because I like to drink tea (a lot), and eat hot cereal for breakfast (winter), and so on.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2012

    I never found one that didn't leave some sort of aftertaste when I tried switching to fake sugars back at uni. In the end I found that the poor tasting alternatives eventually gave me the impetus to just cut sweeteners altogether. Coffee is actually so much nicer unsweetened anyway I found.
  4.  (10882.6)
    #sugar alts

    I'd second Flabyo, as a former sugar/salt fiend who's never been able to stomach sweeteners. I've recently cut a vast amount of sugar and salt out of my diet for the sake of my little girl though (then I snuck a whack of sugar back in by starting homebakes, but never mind). The biggest single reduction I managed after home-baked bread was from tea and coffee - experiment to see how little you can get away with without wincing. I'm down to sugar-free coffee and a half a spoon in my tea, saving me about ten or twelve heaped spoons of sugar every day. For breakfast cereal, porridge only takes five minutes or so to cook as well, and it's not bad at all even without sugar.

    The first week is kind of tough as your tastebuds adjust, but it's definitely worth it.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2012
    #sugar alt

    I'm a fan of stevia. It still has an odd flavor to it, but I don't find it vile like I do splenda and aspartame, and I find that once you get used to using it the flavor grows on you. You can get it in many forms but I just get the super concentrated powder form, and you just use like half a pinch of it when you need it.
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2012

    Look into agave. Sweeter than honey, lower glycemic index than sugar.
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2012
    I second the use of agave.
    • CommentAuthorFlxzr
    • CommentTimeNov 15th 2012 edited

    Sugar still rules supreme because none of the alternatives taste anything like as nice. Making something sweeter seems easy, but something that tastes nicer is hard.

    Anyway, I, and most people I know, drink tea without sugar and the thought of it is kind of repellent to me. I guess it's just a matter of getting used to it. Similarly most of the older generation round here (Scotland) would happily tell you that putting sugar in porridge is sacrilege, you should be using salt.

    Which seems really odd.

    Interestingly I remember reading somewhere that switching from sugar to sweeteners can have an oddly negative effect as your body gradually forgets to associate sweetness with calories so when you do eat the occasional sugary item it has a much greater effect than it would otherwise. Or something. I don't think you're talking about losing weight though so that shouldn't matter. (Found it: but take it with a grain of salt (like your porridge), it's just a report on research, not conclusive.)

    Anyway, I think my original point was that cutting back on sugar intake is perhaps not as hard as it seems. Of course this evening I've eaten numerous cadbury's roses, eaten a packet of skittles and extra strong mints as well as having drunk 500ml of Irn Bru. I don't want to even think about my calorie intake today...
  5.  (10882.11)
    I've been putting honey in my oatmeal for as long as I can remember. A while back I ran out of honey, and ate it plain... and was surprised to be reminded what oatmeal tastes like, and how much I liked it!
  6.  (10882.12)
    #sugaralt (sugartits!)
    Tried the stevia, and tried the agave. Stevia still tasted vile to me, agave tasted kind of like molasses. Going with the agave for now (it's a step in the right direction). I did see some other options at the local co-op but forgot to write down the names, but if I ever do remember to, it would be interesting to hear if anyone had heard of them. One of them started with an X. Thanks for the responses!

    @Flxr: Fascinating that you grew up not putting sugar in tea. I grew up drinking tea the "British" way, with milk and sugar, but perhaps it's different in Scotland?
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2012
    @Trini, xylitol? They use it for sugar free gum.
  7.  (10882.14)
    @dorkmuffin: That's the one! I remember looking at it and thinking... what the fresh hell is this? It was kind of expensive (comparatively speaking).
    • CommentAuthorFlxzr
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2012
    @trini: People do put sugar in tea round here, but nobody I know, really. I don't know why. There used to be a guy in my office who took sugar and I was always forgetting to put it in for him.

    Tea definitely needs milk, though.
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2012
    @trini, flixzr - coming from a very southerly part of Britain, I can report that few people around here take sugar in tea. Not taking milk, however, would be decidedly unusual.

    It's sort of hard to get a fix on the numbers for something like this but, after a bit of discussion, I'd speculate 1-2 in 10. Sugar in tea feels like a sort of old-fashioned thing, so it's possible that it exists as a relict British tradition elsewhere after it has begun to die out in Britain itself - which is really sort of interesting in light of the "the future is already here - it's just not evenly distributed" conception of progress and oh my gosh this is totally off topic.
  8.  (10882.17)

    Anybody else having problems with Photobucket at the moment? After the page loads, all I get is a bunch of empty boxes and non-functioning buttons.
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2012

    Are you going strict enough where you're taking out fruits and naturally sweet items? Or is it just refined sugars?

    I take my regular tea with cream, have been looking into alt fruit-flavoured teas for no sugar/no dairy. I have been crazy over drinking black currant teas (especially if it's mixed with a black tea, so it has proper caffeine in it) or anise teas when I don't need caffeine.

    I put maple syrup in my oatmeal, cocoa powder too. Agave I've used in teas and coffee with no problems. And honestly, as you cut back and deal with the initial cravings (and it will be a bitch, honestly) you'll eventually become more sensitive to sugars that you don't have to put as much in your foods/drinks anymore. I realized this the other day when my mother and I had the same iced coffee and to her it was just "a little bit sweet" and to me it was undrinkably sweet.

    I'm wary of the fake sugars, especially aspartame. A friend of mine had been sick for a long while, but when her nutritionist suggested she cut out the aspartame, all of her symptoms went away. It was crazy.
  9.  (10882.19)

    I'm assuming that the doctor meant refined sugars. I'm not generally that good about eating fruit, but I'd assume that my doctor would love it if I ate fruit on a regular basis. My mom and I actually have some black currant tea (which has the black tea in it), and it's great stuff.

    I think I'm going to go with Agave and see how that affects things, and then maybe try something stricter if the doctor tells me it's not good enough. I try my best to avoid fake sugars as a)They taste nasty and b)I've heard of how bad for you the fake sugars are anyway. Interestingly, another of the sugar alternatives at the co-op was straight up fructose and palm sugar. (Sugar derived from palm oil?)

    And I love hearing how people drink their tea, especially since in California, the number of people who were horrified that I put milk in my tea was actually kind of high. I guess since it's a little off topic, I could create a new hashtag for it? I suppose I actually enjoy it when topics get derailed, but I'm one of those people who enjoy meandering conversations.

    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2012
    #photobucketoffline - it's up for me, right now. I know they are/were shifting to a new platform, though, so that might be screwing with you. Try clearing your browser cache?

    #howitakemytea (tea and conversational sidetracks are two of my favourite things)

    Tea: M&S Gold No.2 Blend. Which I think is partly Assam? Maybe.
    Style: Bit of (full fat) milk, but not too much, no sugar.

    I also drink Earl Grey once a week, and I put milk in that too - I know you're not really supposed to, but I also know that Stephen Twining (yes, that Twining) takes milk in his Lapsang Souchong, and if that goes, anything does. It's pretty shitty to be honest, but it's a post-therapy ritual.

    Matters for further contention:

    If the tea is made in a teapot, should milk be added to the cup before or after the tea?
    If it's made in a cup, should the teabag be removed before or after the milk goes in?

    I say before to both, but opinions vary. Vehemently.