Simon Willison’s Weblog

57 items tagged “askmetafilter”

My blog: Items tagged “askmetafilter”. I’ve imported all 55 of my answers to questions on Ask MetaFilter (to accompany my previous Quora import) going back to 2005. # 4th November 2017, 4:43 am

Late night dining near Great American Music Hall

Tommy’s Joynt is a couple of blocks away and is a San Francisco institution—great comfort food, inexpensive, crammed with personality and open late.

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Software or project management technique for DIY home renovations?

We’ve been using a Trello board for this. Free, flexible, fun to use and has good mobile as well as desktop support. You can model “this task requires this task first” by linking to other cards in comments.

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Free Afternoon in San Francisco with no car

My absolute favorite thing to do in SF is to walk up a hill. My favourite hill in the city is Corona Heights over in the Castro—it’s beautiful and the view is spectacular. It’s not part of the regular tourist circuit—you can think of it as a best-kept-secret of the city.

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A thing to do in London that is special, unusual and fun

London has some of the best cocktail bars in the world. I’m a big fan of this top 50 list, which is updated every year based on an international panel of bartenders. It looks like the American Bar at the Savoy is back at the top for London now—it’s been serving cocktails for over 100 years including keeping the American cocktail tradition alive during prohibition. Sure, it’s expensive but your budget should cover a couple of drinks each (which for me is absolutely enough for an evening). Or you could hit a couple of the bars on that list and have a drink at each one

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Podcasts for commuting to

The BBC world service Documentary podcast features “the best of BBC World Service documentaries and other factual programmes” and is absolutely spectacular. The quality is uniformly high.

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Looking for a modern day wiki for a group project

GitHub offers a wiki for each repository. It’s free for public projects (no need to upload any code, just create a repo and ignore the other tabs) of you can pay $7 monthly for private ones.

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How do I receive automatic updates from a Facebook group by email?

Facebook’s API does provide a feed of recent posts to a group: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/graph-api/reference/v2.8/group/feed

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Where do you like to eat in London?

I adore Ya Hala next to Paddington station—Lebanese food (so lots of veggie options), open until midnight, really good tea as well. It’s my first stop in London whenever I’m visiting, since you can get directly there from Hearhrow on the Heathrow Express train.

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Work process vs technology

Do you have a plan for what happens if you lose your hard drive, or someone steals it? I understand your need for offline access, but personally I’m terrified of losing my laptop to the point that I use cloud backup services (Dropbox, but I’ve used and liked Backblaze in the past) to make absolutely sure that I don’t lose any data should my laptop get lost or stolen.

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Podcasts to love and fall asleep to

Not technically podcasts but the BBC’s radio output is still free to listen to from anywhere in the world (no ads!) and helps me get to sleep most nights. I just hit play in the browser on my phone.

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Where to find well-balanced rationals behind Trump policies?

Reddit’s NeutralPolitics is a reasonably well moderated community that may be relevant for this.

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San Francisco Recommendations: comics, fashion, food, and more

I’m not a huge comics person, but that said I strongly recommend a trip to Isotope Comics in Hayes Valley on a weekday. Go on a weekday when the owner is running the store. He is incredibly charismatic and positively vibrates with enthusiasm about comics. He also has an incredible collection of toilet seats lining the upper wall of the store, each one illustrated by a famous comic book artist. Make sure to ask him about them.

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A guide to the guides to Paris

You can’t go wrong with Atlas Obscura. I haven’t used it in Paris (I’ve used it successfully in many other places though, including Mexico City) but from glancing over their listings it looks like there are some real gems there: http://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/paris-france. I’ve been to the Catacombs and they are astonishing.

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Help us plan a trip to the English countryside

The Mechanical Music Museum in Northleach in the Cotswolds is a hidden gem—definitely worth dropping in for their tour.

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Simple, delicious eating during long weekend in the mountains

My wife has had great success with this vegan 5 ingredient sweet potato black bean chili recipe—its pretty straight forward to make, scales up extremely well (we’ve fed 15 people using two pots before) and tastes even better if you reheat it on subsequent days.

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Wireless access points or mesh networking?

I recently acquired the Netgear Orbi based on this recommendation in the wirecutter and it provides excellent fast wifi across our whole apartment where our previous non-mesh router failed to do so (tested using fast.com)

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How to tell my bosses I’m bored

The magic word here is “challenging”. Don’t say you are bored—say you do not find your current workload challenging enough. Any good manager should be ready to respond to that.

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Off the shelf question database/management system for repeated surveys?

I’ve been using Airtable for some personal projects recently and I could not be more impressed with it. It makes building a relatively sophisticated database trivial, the collaboration features are outstanding (live updates, full history tracking on everything) and it’s fully cross platform—I’ve designed new databases on my iPhone!

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Best way to take shareable meeting minutes

Google Docs is a fantastic tool for meeting notes, because the collaboration features are second-to-none: in the meeting itself you can have multiple people adding notes and it Just Works. Provided everyone has a google account the sharing features for both during and afterwards are clear and easy.

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Good travel book for recently retired man?

The new Atlas Obscura coffee table book is worth a look.

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Generating interactive HTML charts from Python?

D3 is absolutely amazing but the learning curve is a bit steep. Totally worth the effort to learn it in the long run, but it’s not so useful if you want to get something done quickly.

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Tell me when to quit.

If you want to get into Person of Interest without having to wade through the less great monster-of-the-week episodes in season one, Io9 has an episode guide listing the season one episodes essential to the overall plot arc. I think it’s solid gold from season two onwards—by far the smartest fictional depiction of artificial intelligence I’ve seen anywhere.

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Practical gift ideas to positively improve a friend’s life and hobbies

I’m a big fan of the Dorling Kindersley travel books, which are chock full of photos, maps, diagrams and illustrations. Thanks to the internet there’s really not much point carting around a reference-style guidebook like Lonely Planet—TripAdvisor etc will always be more comprehensive and up-to-date. This makes guidebooks more important for general inspiration and browsing.

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Probably need to GTFO [another how do I spin leaving question]

It strikes me that the core problem here is that your current company’s runway is privileged information: your current employer doesn’t need rumors about their financial health to start spreading. I think your instinct to avoid straight out saying that to other companies is very reasonable.

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Where should we stay in Nashville?

For a delightfully unique Nashville experience, I suggest looking up Santa’s Pub. It’s a dive bar in a double wide trailer run by a man who looks a bit like Santa, and every night there is karaoke night. Aside from being a bit smokey it’s an enormous amount of fun.

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Japanese pantry staples?

These answers are fantastic! I’m so glad I asked here. Thank you all very much.

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Difficulty level: Eating dumplings

When I lived in Islington a few years ago I really liked New Culture Revolution for dumplings. It was never busy, not very expensive and the food was great.

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Need new noms

I’m in a similar space to you at the moment: looking to expand my cooking horizons with new adventures.

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Lovecraft-inspired fiction and cookbooks (unrelated!)

Have you considered the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross? They are novels about a secret UK government department which fights off lovecraftian threats while suffering through the typical burucracry you would expect from the UK government.

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