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    1. Seven days in the North Island of New Zealand

      Hey folks, My wife and I saw a great flights deal on Delta and bought tickets for March 2025. We know that we have day 8 in Hobbiton just before we leave (which is a solid 50% of the reason she...

      Hey folks,

      My wife and I saw a great flights deal on Delta and bought tickets for March 2025. We know that we have day 8 in Hobbiton just before we leave (which is a solid 50% of the reason she wants to visit New Zealand), but we wondered what else we should plan on for the first 7 days! I bet we spend a couple days in Auckland on the way in, and a bit of the evening of the 8th day, so anything local is great too.

      We like a mix of (moderate) outdoorsy things, cultural/historic things, nice city things, etc. We definitely at least one day at the beach (preferably with a nice restaurant nearby) and are taking advice about where to do so. We will have a rental car beginning on Day 2 or 3, and would love to explore as much of the North Island as we can!

      Any "can't misses"? Any local/regional museums or zoos/aquaria that are exceptional? We are absolutely willing to drive even as far south as Wellington, but prefer more days of smaller driving, so we don't just have a full day of driving in the middle there.

      Much appreciated!

      3 votes
    2. DuckDuckGo seems like a significantly worse search engine than Google despite SEO bloat, and I think community discussions mislead people by omitting that

      In the recent months I started getting dissatisfied with Google the company in general, but also with its search engine due to privacy reasons, and SEO bloat affecting certain searches. A few...

      In the recent months I started getting dissatisfied with Google the company in general, but also with its search engine due to privacy reasons, and SEO bloat affecting certain searches. A few weeks ago I switched to Duckduckgo from Google. Some searches are fine but there are three main issues I've been experiencing with Duckduckgo since the switch.

      • The search "fails" and shows me results that are tangentially related to the query. Happens quite often and for various topics.
      • It shows me a semi-related search results instead of the one I searched for, because it says there are not enough results for my query. Then I have to click again on the small text to search for the actual query.
      • The automatic prompts that complete your query are scarce and unsatisfactory.

      Because of this I've been switching back and forth between Google and Duckduckgo lately. I don't want to use Google, but Duckduckgo is definitely the worse option in general in my experience. It's better in some searches and shows useful results instead of big site bloat, but my overall experience was one of getting heavily downgraded.

      This led me to a criticism about the discussions around this topic. People talk a lot about SEO bloat affecting search results, and it's definitely a real issue. It's especially a problem for some political searches, as it results in you getting propaganda results. However, recommending people Duckduckgo without mentioning its significantly worse search quality seems misleading.

      I am of course not against using or recommending Duckduckgo. In fact, I wish them greater success in market share and development, as I think their policies are much better. But I think mentioning Duckduckgo's downsides is important to adequately inform people. I expected a noticeable downgrade, but I didn't expect it to be this worse because nobody mentioned it. As a result, I felt misled, and I definitely didn't know what I was getting into. Being adequately informed would have prevented that, as I would adjust my expectations.

      So, this seems to be largely unaddressed in discussions around this topic, and I suspect the echo chamber effect around anti-Google discourse and privacy issues might be to blame.

      What are your thoughts? Has anyone experienced something similar?

      56 votes
    3. Struggling with nihilism and the inability to enjoy things

      Preface #1: I know the first response with something like this will be "go see a therapist" - I have been in therapy for over a decade now. There are a lot of things it has helped with...

      Preface #1: I know the first response with something like this will be "go see a therapist" - I have been in therapy for over a decade now. There are a lot of things it has helped with (specifically trauma-focused), but nihilism is not something I've been able to get help with. The help has ranged from things like "focus on the micro over the macro" (which I think is probably the best advice, but also can be boiled down to "don't think" and I can't not think), to "find religion" (for me at least: religion doesn't breed hope, hope breeds religion), to "I don't know how to help, I can't relate to that" (...not all therapist are good).

      Preface #2: I know the quick response to "life is meaningless" is "so make your own!" but I absolutely despise that logic. If everything is meaningless, than that means making your own meaning is meaningless. It's self-defeating in and of itself. That said, I don't really care about "meaning" anyway. I personally view things as "irrelevant", as if you dig deep enough you get to a point where everything is relevant to nothing. And the conclusion to draw from that is: "it's irrelevant that everything is irrelevant" - similar meaning, but checks out logically significantly better to me. But this has it's own problems that I will go in below.

      Preface #3: I know the quick response to the inability to enjoy things is "you don't enjoy things because you are depressed." What I'm positing is the inverse, "I no longer enjoy things, and it's causing me to be depressed." I'm very much not saying the former doesn't happen and I've gone through time periods like that. What I am saying is that the latter is also true, and I'm sure that other people who have dealt with depression for decades understands both "My depression is causing this to happen" and "This is causing my depression to flare" happen.


      To give quick context for myself: I had become a nihilistic atheist by the time I graduated elementary school; I had a rather traumatic childhood and my official diagnosis is (C-)PTSD and all the offshoots that come from it like depression and anxiety (Bringing up as I recognize myself these are thoughts that, according to the DSM/ICD, would be from someone with mental disorders). This led to things like dropping out of high school and becoming a mute hikikomori. To make a long story short, in my late teens I got to a point of either suicide or completely revamping my life with the belief that enjoyment could be found via actually being social (friends and dating) and proper self-sufficiency/money. I chose the latter for one simple reason: there was nothing to lose, so just trust the process. It took over a decade of constant self improvement, but I became a sociable person part of different clubs and hosting my own parties/gatherings with a very active dating life. I also got my degree in comp sci and have done quite well for myself with that. And a lot on top of that just in terms of trying to make the most out of life.

      Unfortunately, none of that actually helped. Having to mask to be able to be social/date is exhausting and frankly people suck, and wasting life working 9-5 one of the most depressing things to me. The reason I bring this up is because I did really fucking try, I tried the stuff that everyone says brings happiness - but it don't. And it's all just so irrelevant.

      Over the last half decade or so, I just can't bring myself to care about anything. And I mean anything, even super simple things. I'll talk to people or listening to a song and think "why do I care what you have to say?". I'll watch a movie or read a book and can't keep focus because seriously who cares about these imaginary things some person thought up? People I know die and I'll just think "yeah that happens." And the absolute worst for me was when it came for knowledge. Because knowledge was the thing I always cared above all else. But what does "knowing things" matter if "things" don't matter to me?

      Which brings me back to preface #2. Everything is irrelevant, but it's irrelevant that it's irrelevant. Except that society demands relevancy to justify ones own existence within it. It's not possible to live an irrelevant life and be part of society. I personally really only see two options: reject society or embrace absurdism.

      Speaking strictly personally, I do not see rejecting society as a means of living an enjoyable life. Mostly because I know it will lead to me living out of my car again, spending my time embracing hedonism via drugs and alcohol to fuel escapism until the end comes. And if in the end I'm just going to fuel escapism, why not just escape to begin with?

      Absurdism is mostly what I fed into while "turning my life around". But I do have issues with it. One is how much it feels like the "this is fine" fire meme; it recognizes the problem but then rejects that it's a problem. This is fine if "life" itself is not a problem and you are able to enjoy your time regardless (after all, the problem itself is irrelevant so yeah just reject it as a problem), but then that gets to my second and main issue: if you don't enjoy life, what defense against suicide does absurdism have? Yes there is the whole thing of "suicide just adds to the absurdity by claiming meaning is needed" but that's only if you are committing suicide because life has no meaning. I don't care that life is irrelevant, I care that life fucking sucks. Suicide then is not rejecting the lack of meaning, it's rejecting time spent unenjoyably.

      I've been able to get through things being both meaningless and unenjoyable with the belief that things would become enjoyable. Now I'm nearly 40 years old, things have played out, and I do not buy into it anymore. Either life needs to be enjoyable, or there needs to be some relevancy to it. Which, I reject the later as even being knowable as a human. Which leaves the former.

      Which then comes to the silly question, how do you just enjoy things?

      I am able to recognize one of my issues with enjoying things: In order to raise my emotional floor, I have embraced being stoic. Things happen that are out of our control. Things are lost, hardships are had, people die. They are simply facts of life. The problem is that it also prevents enjoying things - enjoyable things are also out of your control, so do not embrace them for they will be gone. Which, moments in time then neither "good" or "bad", they simple are just moments in time. Every moment is simply some indefinite, irrelevant moment in time.

      Which, kind of tied to that as well, but another issue I recognize: as I have understood my own trauma and how it's affected me, I've really understood just how much is deterministic in life. Which is especially sad in the case of trauma responses, and how much society basically double downs on the trauma (just easy eg of how "hysterical women" have been treated throughout history, but look at the overlap of BPD and traumatic childhoods).

      But now these are not just moments in time, but determined yet irrelevant moments in time.

      But that still doesn't preclude enjoying things. And I guess that's mostly what I'm for the search for in life, to figure out what things I actually enjoy/how to actually enjoy things I want to enjoy. Because enjoying life is certainly enough, but that requires life to be enjoyable.

      And it's actually part of why I'm even posting this. With all the different ways I've changed my life and such, I've tried to look back at what was actually enjoyable. And long-form text communication is definitely the way I prefer to communicate (oh do I miss when 'social media' was forums). I also recognize the importance of being part of more smaller, tighter-knit communities compared to being a blob in a mass. So it's part looking for help, and part just trying to get back into posting on smaller communities.

      But I also feel like I'm all over the place and I do apologize for that. I think to try to summarize to bring the points clearer...like I said before, life either needs to be enjoyable or there needs to be some kind of relevancy to it. So either how do you find relevancy/where am I wrong on that, or how do you find enjoyment (and I don't mean "try new hobbies until you find what you enjoy!" kind of stuff - I've already ran that gauntlet. I'm not asking where to find enjoyment, I'm asking how to feel enjoyment; how are you able to care about things might be a better war to phrase it)?

      22 votes
    4. Tildes Minecraft Survival - Countdown and launch day

      Countdown - Server will go live at 4pm Pacific time. Connect your Minecraft clients to tildes.nore.gg once the countdown hits 0! If you didn’t play on our last map you will need to verify your...

      Countdown - Server will go live at 4pm Pacific time.

      Connect your Minecraft clients to tildes.nore.gg once the countdown hits 0!

      If you didn’t play on our last map you will need to verify your Tildes account to make changes to the map. The website for that is https://verify.tildes.nore.gg - but you’ll have to wait for the server to be up before you can use the form.

      Edit: If you would like to donate to support the server we have a Patreon page here

      46 votes
    5. Cheap phone plan with international service?

      I am going to be living in France for the next year. I want to keep my US mobile phone number, and I would like it to be somewhat usable while I am out of the country, but I can't find an...

      I am going to be living in France for the next year. I want to keep my US mobile phone number, and I would like it to be somewhat usable while I am out of the country, but I can't find an affordable way do set this up. I am hoping someone here has some more insight for me.

      I am going to be buying a French mobile phone plan (most likely through Orange) that will cover my data usage, along with a local number for calls and texts. I already have either whatsapp or imessage set up for calls and texts to/from my family in the US. Ideally, I would like to have my US number on a second sim on my phone. I wouldn't need any roaming data for that sim, just calls and texts, and my actual usage will be very small.

      Here are the solutions I have explored:

      1. Porting my number to Google Voice. This is probably the best solution, but I would like to avoid google if at all possible. This costs only $20 with no monthly fees. This would require me to use a separate app for this number. If possible, I would like to be able to use the iPhone system apps for calls and texts.

      2. Some MVNO with international roaming. So far the best I have seen is Ting mobile. It costs $0.30 per minute calls and $0.12 per outgoing text. This pricing would be perfect for my extremely low usage. However it requires a $10/month pay as you go plan which is more than I want to pay.

      3. IoT sims (although I am almost positive this won't work). These appear to be sms and data only, so for my usage they would be sms only. Telnyx is the service I found that actually supports esim (my phone has only esim). I am having trouble with the console, but I am trying to get an esim on my iphone. If this can work, it would be only $2/month plus usage, which would be perfect.

      Are there any other possible solutions that I should look into?

      8 votes
    6. Weekly US politics news and updates thread - week of July 15

      This thread is posted weekly - please try to post all relevant US political content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Extremely significant events may warrant a separate...

      This thread is posted weekly - please try to post all relevant US political content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Extremely significant events may warrant a separate topic, but almost all should be posted in here.

      This is an inherently political thread; please try to avoid antagonistic arguments and bickering matches. Comment threads that devolve into unproductive arguments may be removed so that the overall topic is able to continue.

      14 votes
    7. Save Point: A game deal roundup for the week of July 14

      Add awesome game deals to this topic as they come up over the course of the week! Alternately, ask about a given game deal if you want the community’s opinions: e.g. “What games from this bundle...

      Add awesome game deals to this topic as they come up over the course of the week!

      Alternately, ask about a given game deal if you want the community’s opinions: e.g. “What games from this bundle are most worth my attention?”

      Rules:

      • No grey market sales
      • No affiliate links

      If posting a sale, it is strongly encouraged that you share why you think the available game/games are worthwhile.


      All previous Save Point topics

      If you don’t want to see threads in this series, add save point to your personal tag filters.

      10 votes
    8. How should you prepare for the end of the honeymoon phase?

      I have been dating a woman for coming up to 4 months, after matching on Hinge. I am completely head over heels for her, as is she for me. Due to respective childcare obligations, our physical time...

      I have been dating a woman for coming up to 4 months, after matching on Hinge. I am completely head over heels for her, as is she for me. Due to respective childcare obligations, our physical time together is limited, but we text constantly, have frequent video and phone calls, and make an effort to find small, snatched windows to be together after bedtimes when geography and schedules allow.

      I feel extraordinarily connected to this woman; our relationship has been characterised by laughter from the very first message on Hinge, and the time we spend together is both a) an unbridled joy, and b) doing that annoying thing where hours feel like minutes. I am fully aware that this is just a part of being in the honeymoon period, and that we haven't gotten into the more mundane parts of being in a long term relationship yet; but that they are inevitably coming down the line. However I could very much see this being the last relationship I ever have, inshallah. So I want to try and lay the groundwork for stability and security into the long term while we're still in the honeymoon period, with the idea being that when it ends we've got a strong foundation upon which we can move forwards.

      I know you can't plan relationships, that every relationship is different, and that life has a way of throwing enormous curveballs your way. But as best I can, I would like to ensure that when the magic of the honeymoon ends, we have built something that will enable us to transition into lasting love. We've already talked in broad terms about things such as when we would meet each other's kids; the vague direction of the relationship in terms of living together, marriage, additional kids, and so on, but without timelines; and a little about our respective love languages and attachment styles. That all feels like simply sounding out compatibility, so I would like to know, what are the other conversations we should be having? Are there specific things that you wish you discovered or realised about your SO during the honeymoon phase? Is there something that we as a couple should be doing now to make our lives easier and better later on?

      23 votes
    9. What have you been watching / reading this week? (Anime/Manga)

      What have you been watching and reading this week? You don't need to give us a whole essay if you don't want to, but please write something! Feel free to talk about something you saw that was...

      What have you been watching and reading this week? You don't need to give us a whole essay if you don't want to, but please write something! Feel free to talk about something you saw that was cool, something that was bad, ask for recommendations, or anything else you can think of.

      If you want to, feel free to find the thing you're talking about and link to its pages on Anilist, MAL, or any other database you use!

      3 votes
    10. Any other Tildes users posting from within the great firewall?

      It's nice having english language forums that don't require a vpn to access. Anyone got any other suggestions and any recommendations for vpns that work on mobile data reliably? I've found PIA,...

      It's nice having english language forums that don't require a vpn to access. Anyone got any other suggestions and any recommendations for vpns that work on mobile data reliably? I've found PIA, Nord, and Proton to not work but Surfshark does for now if intermittently (more reliably on wifi).

      50 votes
    11. What programming/technical projects have you been working on?

      This is a recurring post to discuss programming or other technical projects that we've been working on. Tell us about one of your recent projects, either at work or personal projects. What's...

      This is a recurring post to discuss programming or other technical projects that we've been working on. Tell us about one of your recent projects, either at work or personal projects. What's interesting about it? Are you having trouble with anything?

      5 votes
    12. Tildes Video Thread

      Find yourself watching tons of great videos on [insert chosen video sharing platform], but also find yourself reluctant to flood the Tildes front page with them? Then this thread is for you. It...

      Find yourself watching tons of great videos on [insert chosen video sharing platform], but also find yourself reluctant to flood the Tildes front page with them? Then this thread is for you.

      It could be one quirky video that you feel deserves some eyeballs on it, or perhaps you've got a curated list of videos that you'd love to talk us through...

      Share some of the best video content you've watched this past week/fortnight with us!

      2 votes
    13. What do you read/watch to keep up with new computer tech?

      Sorry in advance if this is kind of a ramble. Thanks for any thoughts you may have. This post asking about specific hardware made me realize that I have lost touch with major architectural changes...

      Sorry in advance if this is kind of a ramble. Thanks for any thoughts you may have.

      This post asking about specific hardware made me realize that I have lost touch with major architectural changes in PC hardware. Back in college (over 20 years ago), I was constantly upgrading and rebuilding computers, talking about them, reading about them. But that's probably par for the course in a EE program. I'm sure there must have been other online resources, but Slashdot is the thing that sticks out in my memory of that time.

      Then in grad school, my last set of desktops from college carried me through the first few years, and I had a series of laptops provided by school.

      Since then, I've always just bought laptops because they've gotten good enough to do everything I want, and with kids, it's much more flexible to be able to work anywhere in and out of the house. My latest (now several years old) has a high end I7 cpu, an NVIDIA GPU, two solid state drives (1.5TB total). It weighs just a few pounds and does everything I want, including things like Solidworks, zbrush, and older PC games.

      Since I can remember a time when I was excited about 90mhz processors and feeling like I was getting a screaming deal to pay $500 for a 500mb hd, sometimes it just feels surreal for this to be so normal.

      So, am I out of the loop? Or is this reflective of a more general shift? What do you read / where do you post to discuss hardware, hardware compatibility, etc. Are you still building desktops? Laptops? Cyberdecks? What are your thoughts on cost/value trade off of dell, etc. vs rolling your own?

      12 votes
    14. Fitness Weekly Discussion

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started...

      What have you been doing lately for your own fitness? Try out any new programs or exercises? Have any questions for others about your training? Want to vent about poor behavior in the gym? Started a new diet or have a new recipe you want to share? Anything else health and wellness related?

      6 votes