Archive for the ‘General’ Category.

Speech-to-Text Help?

I have good speech-to-text software and a very good noise-cancelling microphone. How do I tell the software, “Please only transcribe text from me, the loudest voice, and not anyone else in the room.” All the software is so eager to transcribe everything, it is useless unless I (or my students) am in a quiet room.

Details: I’ve got Read&Write for Google, and Dragon Naturally Speaking and neither are any help. I’ve contacted Nuance (the Dragon people) and they were less than useless, redirecting me to different business units. I contacted The Read&Write people were no help either. I’ve googled my fingers off and come up with very little. Maybe “noise gate” software could mute the microphone below a threshold volume.

I’m trying to make this speech-to-text system work for some of my occupational therapy students who have great ideas but can’t type or handwrite.

2020 Signatures

I just got a document notarized and the notary lady insisted that I write the year as “2020” instead of just “20”. It would be easy for a bad person to change “20” to “2019” or “2018” or whatever! Good point!

Abigail is 5 Years Old!

My dearest Abigail turned 5! What a wonderful party we had!



Please Help me with Food Storage

I want food storage like so: some big ones, some small ones, some plastic, some glass. It’s not hard. Big ones hold meals, small ones hold leftovers, and Abigail-size portions. Plastic is light enough to carry and it’s hard to break. Glass is sturdy, doesn’t stain, and is less likely to give me cancer or synthetic estrogen or however plastic is killing us these days.

I want stackable, I want snap-lids that stay on, I want one or two sizes of tops for the whole set.

It’s a big big big big world. Why can’t someone offer this for sale?

I started getting close… Snapware says their “Total Solution” food storage tops fit both their plastic and glass containers! But then I can’t actually find them for sale. Grrr!

Please tell me you have a solution! Help me Interwebs, please!


12-29-19 Update:

My friend Megan S wrote: I think I saw something like this at ikea. They sell each container and lid separately but I think the lids fit whether you get the plastic or glass. I saw it awhile ago, and don’t really remember what they had but it might be worth a visit!

I responded: OMG! “Ikea 365+” comes in glass and plastic, 34 ounce, rectangular containers, with snap lids! Check, check, check, and check! Megan, I might be going to Ikea tomorrow!  and


My friend Sarah K wrote: The 99 Ranch Market in Richmond has great Tupperware for good prices. I got a bunch of different sizes of glass containers with snap on plastic lids that create a seal capable of keeping liquid in. They also make a plastic version, not sure of the brand though.

Lisa K wrote Love our Rubbermaid Brilliance containers.

I replied: Lisa, the Rubbermaid Brilliance certainly come highly recommended! And I see that the “triton” plastic it’s made with has been thoroughly tested to be safe ( I might still have to pass on safety fears. I’ll call it more “fears” than “concerns” but I just don’t trust putting plastic containers in a microwave oven with it’s sometimes very hot hot-spots. I joke around the house about “being turned into a girl” by plastic but I wouldn’t joke about it if I wasn’t worried about it…
Thanks for the pointer, it looks like a really good food storage product!

Update 1-9-20: I got the Ikea storage containers and they rock. 1 lid for plastic, glass, small, and large containers!

Update 1-25-20: We’ve been using the Ikea “365+” containers for a month and we’re very happy with them! We have several 34 ounce clear containers in glass and plastic (polypropylene) and a few 61 ounce containers also in glass and plastic. It’s wonderful that they ALL use the same lid! I got some different colored seals for variety and they are a welcome splash of color!
It would be nice if there were some dividers for the 34 ounce containers so I could put a few different types of leftovers / items in one container; I see that Ikea has dividers! (here!) Though I didn’t see them at the Emeryville store. They may be in our future.
Megan mentioned the other day something like, “You know, I -do- like having more evenly rectangular shapes in the fridge. Megan Sadou, thanks for pointing me in the right direction and to everyone else who commented!!

For reference, here is info about the 34 ounce size container from the Ikea website.
34 ounce: 8″ x 6″ x 3″ Hmm, the plastic one says its 21 x 15 x 6 cm which is 8 1/4 x 6 x 2 1/4″. But it’s the same lids :-/
61 ounce: 8″ x 6″ x 5″
There’s a larger one that uses the same lid but I can’t find it right now.



The snap-and-lock lid prevents leakage and protects the contents from frost damage, making it ideal for both transporting food and storing leftovers.

The food container is made of oven-safe glass and can be used as an oven/serving dish.

The container is made of glass, which does not absorb odors or discolor from tomato sauce, etc, so the food container is easy to clean.

The jar and the lid are both transparent, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for, regardless of where the jar is placed.

Wash this product before using it for the first time.


Sarah Fager

Length: 8 “
Width: 6 “
Height: 3 “
Volume: 34 oz
Food container






Leave lid ajar while heating to release steam.

Food container with lid

The lid is microwave-safe; heat food up to 212°F.

The container is microwave-safe.

The container is oven-safe, but the lid is not.

Food container:

No cadmium or lead added.


No BPA (Bisphenol A) added.


Food container

Heat resistant glass





Silicone rubber

Packages: 2

IKEA 365+



Width: 8 ¼ “

Height: ½ “

Length: 10 ¼ “

Weight: 5 oz

Package(s): 1

IKEA 365+

food container


Width: 5 ¾ “

Height: 2 ¼ “

Length: 8 ¼ “

Weight: 1 lb 10 oz

Package(s): 1

What’s Wrong With Lindt Chocolate

I finally figured out why Lindt Chocolate is weird.

He’s looking the wrong way! First, he’s not looking at what he’s working on, the chocolate truffle that is DOWN in front of him. And he’s not looking at the whisk either! He’s looking somewhere off into space to the left of it! WTF?

It’s fine chocolate but the packaging has always been a strong negative and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.

Whirlpool Dishwasher

We just got one of the better Whirlpool dishwashers, model wdta50sahz.

Here’s a local copy of the user manual: Whirlpool UserGuide-W10901523-RevA(ECO)

It was so disappointing to see so many little things wrong, right out of the box.

(I’ve got a recommendation for another dishwasher at the bottom of this post)

Here’s my review after 1 day using it:
Starting out, it came with a short, fold-out user manual. It was stapled incorrectly which is pretty insulting. They’ve been at this dishwasher thing for like 100 years and I had to tear the staple out to open the manual? Not a good start.

The User Guide opens with “In an effort to conserve natural resources, this dishwasher includes a condensed User Guide.” That sounds a -lot- like, “Spending $800 on a dishwasher doesn’t get you a manual. Ha ha! Let’s blame ‘the environment’ for that!”

The manual didn’t describe how to use the dishwasher correctly. Most importantly, it doesn’t say how you need to push the Start button twice to start the cycle. Since the way to start the device isn’t intuitive, that is the MOST important thing the manual should describe! Another weird one: it firmly implies that you should add the rinse agent every time you add soap (step 3 is “add detergent”, step 4 is “add rinse aid”)… whaa?

How does the “Extended Dry” setting differ from the regular setting? No one knows!

After running it unsuccessfully 3 times, I finally came across the correct incantation to run it (push “Go” twice, slowly). I’m now trying to figure out the right amount of soap and settings so our dishes don’t get white crap on them. Ugh. I miss our dishwasher in Berkeley!

In conclusion, when I saw that the very first thing I had to do was tear open a poorly stapled manual, I got this very “this is so unprofessional” vibe and became negative. After a hundred years of making stuff, I hoped they’d be able to offer a better user experience.

A recommendation:

In our last apartment, we got a Bosch Ascenta Dishwasher (Model SHE3AR76UC/22) in 2017. It was the top-rated Consumer Reports model and it was an absolute dream! From start to end it was wonderful! I definitely recommend it!

In our new place in El Cerrito, we had to get a Whirlpool because that is what the building management company knows how to fix. Ugh.