Happy birthday!

birthday cat
Happy birthday to marykaykare and mplscorwin -- hope it's a good one for both of you!
IKEA cat
This is a two-part question, because my Internet is in two parts.

A. I've had ADSL from CenturyLink (originally Qwest) since the mid-1990s, pretty much as soon as it came available. The speed gradually increased, but at this point it's throttled to 1.5 Mbps, because they don't allow outside vendors to provide Internet via fiber optic, only via copper. Which brings me to part B.

B. I've been with the same ISP and its successors since I started using the Internet. Wavefront was acquired by Visi, Visi was acquired by T-something-don't-remember, and the T-Company was acquired by OneNeck. Mostly the service has been good, with occasional glitches. Lately, the glitches have been considerably more annoying. The site (or portions of it) keeps getting blackballed, and mail is blocked without notice by intermediaries.

As a result, I'm looking for a change. I want the following:

  1. A provider that will support fast speeds (at least 5 Mbps speed, ideally more).

  2. A provider that will support the weird retro needs I have -- specifically, POPmail and the ability to do vacation forwarding to another address essentially invisibly.

  3. A provider that gives decent customer service.

  4. A provider that isn't going to be hypervigilant about my torrenting habit. The stuff I download is mostly in the gray area (like already-aired TV shows) rather than pirating of commercial material, and I don't want to get little nastygrams every week or oftener.


I've heard good things about IPHouse, but my understand is that it mostly does web hosting, which is not what I need.

What about old-style providers like EarthLink or Panix?

Am I better off with something seriously mainstream like using CenturyLink as my direct provider, or Comcast? What's fast, good, and not hideously expensive? Note that I don't live in Minneapolis, so the city Internet isn't an option for me.

Happy birthday!

birthday cat
Happy birthday to mplsfish -- hope it's a good one!

AKICILJ: Sales tax

Farthing photo
If I sell something in Wisconsin that in Wisconsin is taxable, but in Minnesota (where I am rezident) is not, do I need to collect sales tax?

If so, where would said sales tax be paid to.

I'm selling my handspun yarn at Wiscon, but in Minnesota, clothing (and by extension, yarn) is not taxable.

Sometimes life is too weird

Beth spinning
Frustratingly, there's no way to tell this story that doesn't foreshadow the ending. But it's probably worth telling nevertheless.

I'm a spinner, as you probably know. I don't spin all that much silk, but last year I dyed some silk fiber (orange, red, and yellow) with the help of Mia McDavid, and spun it up. Some of the silk was plied with angora rabbit fur, and what was left I plied with itself. It turned out decently, though these days I would have plied it more tightly.

Last November, I entered a bunch of stuff in the Weaver's Guild Fiber Fair for sale, and about 2/3 of what I entered sold. One of the things that sold was the skein of orange, red, and yellow silk (so did the skein with the bunny fleece). In fact, the pure silk skein never went on display, because as it was being checked in, one of the volunteers said she wanted it, if we could make it work (the place wasn't set up to take money yet). I told her I'd trust her to pay the next day, and I know she did, because the computer system later marked it as purchased.

Fast-forward to today. I spent my day at Shepherd's Harvest (a local sheep and wool festival), going from booth to booth, asking for donations for the door prizes at a spinner/weaver/knitter conference in October. At the very end of the day, I stopped at the Rach-Al-Paca booth. The vendors there had been very generous last year, and (after I made my pitch) were almost as generous this year. I almost walked away after I'd packed it away, but then I remembered to ask the vendor what the value was of the skeins she'd donated ($60, it turned out). As I did that, I noticed a very familiar yellow, orange, and red skein of yarn around her neck. I asked if it was silk, and she said yes.

"I think I was the person who spun that silk," I said. She said no at first, but then I said she'd bought it at Fiber Fair, before it was even put on sale, and she agreed it was mine -- I've cut my hair since then, changing my appearance somewhat. She said she's been wearing it in the skein as a decorative thing and getting all sorts of compliments for it.

It's weird enough that she's wearing my yarn as adornment instead of knitting or weaving with it, but I'm totally boggled that my skein was recognizable to me six months later, totally out of context. I wonder how much more I'll have to spin before the finished products become anonymous to me.

Happy birthday!

fairy catmother
Happy birthday to akirlu -- hope it's a good one!

Happy birthday!

birthday cat
Happy birthday to cakmpls -- hope it's a good one!

I'm in the wrong 50%, I guess

Farthing photo
So last night I fell asleep around 1 am (the new normal), and woke up sometime later. I have a bad habit of discovering that I've pulled off the APAP in the middle of the night and waking up much later without it, so I looked at the clock. It was 3:30 am, so I left the APAP on, and tried to get back to sleep. That was when I realized that I'd woken up because I was having abdominal pain, and it was really pretty nasty. I dozed a bit, but never really got back to sleep.

In the morning, I did a few work-type things, then told Bruce I was taking a sick day and crawled back to bed. The pain wasn't letting up, and it did feel better when I was lying down.

Around 3 pm, I decided this wasn't going to stop on its own, and called the Park Nicollet nurse line to see what they recommended. The nurse said that for pain of this location and duration, for someone my age, I should go to the emergency room.

So I did, for the second time in two months, after over 30 years of avoiding such an experience. I got there around 4:30, and didn't have to wait at all to be seen. The doctor tried me on something called a GI cocktail, which if it relieved the pain immediately, would be indicative of a stomach problem. It made my mouth and throat numb, but didn't help the pain at all.

Next I was sent down for an ultrasound of the pancreas, gall bladder, kidney, and liver. Then I waited for the doctor to come back with the results. He said they were all negative, which I guess is good, but didn't help with the pain. That's when the doctor told me that 50% of all abdominal pain goes undiagnosed.

He gave an injection of Toradol, which is a non-narcotic NSAID, and that did help, plus prescriptions for Zantac and an anti-nausea drug.

At this point, I guess the only thing to do is treat the symptoms and see what happens.

Happy birthday!

fairy catmother
Happy birthday to naomikritzer -- hope it's a good one!

AKICILJ: A few unrelated queries

Farthing photo
1. On Windows 7, in the Windows Explorer (not to be confused with Internet Explorer), I have a bunch of folders in the Favorites section. This, as it says, gives quick access to the most-used folders. A couple of days ago, the version of my Downloads folder in the Favorites section started acting as if the only contents of said folder were music: it displays Name, Track #, Title, Album, etc. -- but not file size, date of file, or the other things I actually want to see. There are some MP3 files in this folder, but mostly it's other stuff.

The "actual" folder (c:\users\[realname]\downloads) is displaying the files properly. I tried the obvious step of deleting the Downloads folder from my Favorites, then adding it back in again. This failed to fix the problem. It was fine until just a few days ago, but I have no idea what I did to change it, and Google is failing me. Any idea how to get it back?

2. There is some university that every year does a reality check for faculty: the new students have never encountered a world without cell phones or the Internet or whatever changed about 18 years ago. I think it's an annual list. Where can I find this?

3. There is an SF (or fantasy, depending on how you define such things) story that claims that any group of people falls silent at 20 after the hour. The narrator theorizes that people are listening for something, and the final line of the story (without major spoilers) has the listeners being rewarded. I believe I read this in an SF anthology, but I can't remember which one. I'll post to whatwasthatbook if no one has it handy, but I suspect this is one of the queries that someone reading this may know offhand.