i just can't help myself: last night i got in touch with two craig's list sellers: one with a free 20" samsung (cambridge), the other a free ikea antifoni desk lamp (brookline).

the lamp dealer (a woman) e-mailed me this morning, and we set up a time tomorrow afternoon for me to pick up the antifoni.

in the late morning my father came over to drop off the emerson remote. i went with him to market basket to get some groceries. today was the first time this week that it hadn't been raining. but now instead of being cold and wet, it was hot and slightly humid.

i fixed myself some scrambled eggs with the leftover kielbasa sausages and a glass of fruit smoothie. just when i was about to eat, a man called me about the free tv. he lived in cambridgeport, which wasn't too far, but i told him to give me 30 minutes. so i quickly swallowed down my lunch, then got on the motorcycle and went to the cafe to borrow a car so i could drive down to magazine street.

i actually forgot the house number and had to call in order to find it. a young couple was moving out. i asked them if they were returning to school, figuring they were graduate students of some sort. in fact, they were actually moving out to california. i carried the large and heavy 20" television down 3 flights of stairs, navigating a set of doors and a swinging picket fence. i drove home to drop off the tv first before going back to the cafe to return the car.

out in the parking lot, i saw the neighborhood black squirrel, along with a regular grey squirrel. i seemed to have interrupted a territory dispute.

back at home, i had to decide which 20" i liked better. the emerson set was okay after 2 nights of viewing. the colors seem to have a red shift, which i managed to fix once i got my hands on the remote. i also turned on the closed captioning. i just didn't like the VCR component, which made the tv seem like a million years old.

so i swapped out the emerson EWC1902 with the new samsung TXG2045. the colors were good to begin with, no corrections needed. it also had stereo sound, which i couldn't really tell, but assumed as much from the dual left-right audio ports. 2 things i didn't like: 1) the closed captioning font was in a serif typeface. i prefer sans-serif, which is what i had before with my panasonic, as well as the emerson; 2) no numerical values for the volume display, just a thermometer bar. i'm used to setting my sound at 10, so i felt a little confused.

i tried finding a pdf manual for the samsung, but apparently it was manufactured prior to the advent of pdf's, so no such manual exists. the closest thing i found was a schematic diagram, in case i ever wanted to resolder a circuit. checking the product label, i was surprised to discover that the samsung is actually older than the emerson: 1998 versus 2002. but here's the kicker: the samsung is rated at 90 watts, while the emerson only uses 80 watts (i guess that's where the energy star logo comes into play). since i'm an electricity miser, i began to have serious doubts about the samsung.

i ended up swapping the television one more time, the emerson over the samsung. besides being shackled to the outdated technology of VHS (more of a cosmetic issue), the only other bad thing about the emerson was the red color shift. that's what originally compelled me last night to look for another free television set. that problem was easily remedied via the remote controller. with that fixed, the emerson is the clear winner, as well as being more energy efficient.

now i just don't know what to do with my surplus 20" samsung television. i wouldn't throw it away since it works perfectly fine (just eats up a wee bit more electricity and has weird serif closed captioning). maybe i can save it as a backup in case the emerson decides to die. but hopefully by then i'll have converted all my sets to LCD HDTV's.

i went to the bank in union square to deposit some cash (another temporary loan from my mother until i get paid by my clients). afterwards i climbed up to the summit of prospect hill via bicycle to take some photos.

i've been using google's chrome browser since yesterday and i have to admit that i actually like it. i've resisted for a while because i didn't want to be complicit in google's slow domination of the world. i played around with a buggy earlier version, when OS X support was still in its infancy. but since v5.x, chrome is now a viable browser option. i like how the URL field is also the search field; it's so intuitive, i'm surprised other browsers don't do the same thing. chrome uses the same webkit rendering engine as safari, which is what i'm used to. i actually think it does a better and faster job at it too. i know it's a gimmick, but i also like the swappable skins, gives my browsing experience a more custom feel. i wish the bookmarks bar could be made more compact, by getting rid of the icons (the way it is in safari). chrome also caches the source files so even after i update a page, it still pulls the previous source (most people probably don't need to worry about this). one last thing: i don't like the icon. it reminds me of those simon memory games from the 80's. i always sucked at those!

talking to my roommate tonight, she listed the most popular american tv shows, according to pirated chinese video streaming sites. just so you know, the chinese love prison break and friends. one big surprise? growing pains is huge in china as well! that's primarily because the lives of the seaver family was one of the first american imports when china began opening its doors to foreign goods. i challenge you to find a single growing pains fan here in america though.