my mother called me this morning while i was still asleep, asking about how to fix the broken cafe wifi. she knew about the trick with pulling the plug, but after having done it twice the internet was still done. i told her to turn off and on the whole power strip - including both cablemodem and router. a minute later she called back to let me know that seemed to fix it.

and with that i started this wednesday. i knew it was supposed to snow overnight, the question was how much. i opened the blinds to see the accumulation. there was maybe about 2 inches of some wet snow. it was still snowing at that point but would soon stop, transitioning to rain later in the day.

a fresh snowy landscape is the perfect opportunity to go out and play around with my new camera. unfortunately by that point the rain had begun and snow was falling off of trees and houses in slushy clumps. i decided to stay indoors instead.

i wanted to see if i could get the GPS function to work on the ZS20. unfortunately no matter where i was - out by the living room window or under the porch in the backyard - i couldn't get a signal. i did load approximately 6GB of detailed maps onto the memory card. it covers the entire world apparently with one exception: there are no china maps.

i did a little research and not only are there no detailed GPS maps for the PRC, but the GPS is actually disabled when you're inside that country. it has something to do with china government paranoia and panasonic kowtowing to communist interest. it's not just panasonic though, a lot of GPS-enabled cameras don't work in china. either functionality is completely disabled, or there's manufactured inaccuracy, like maybe your position reads a few hundred feet off course.

GPS functionality on a camera is still a novelty. it takes a bit of time to acquire a satellite signal, and only if you're outside with a good view of the sky. it also drains the battery a lot faster. in practice, i think most people turn off the GPS on their camera. so not being able to use the in-camera GPS in china isn't too big a deal. if you're serious about geolocation, the best option is to have a dedicated GPS (like a garmin dakota 20), which will work in china, and designed to sip power so you won't have to worry about draining the camera battery.

i shot some HD videos (1080p 30fps) with the ZS20, using MP4 format this time which OS X does recognize and will import during downloads (the only reason to shot in the other format of AVCHD is it can record in 1080p 60fps). because the LCD screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio but HD movies are 16:9, the camera does this thing where for a brief second it dims the top and bottom of the LCD before it begins recording the video. i'm not sure if the ISO value can be adjusted for video recording because the few instances where i shot in my dimly-lit bathroom the videos came out really dark. outdoors though, with the diffuse sun, there was no problem. the ZS20 records stereo audio.

after playing around with the GPS and the video, i managed to drain about 1/3 of the battery (2/3 power left). this after i gave it a full recharge last night. i shouldn't be surprised that a little battery could only hold so much power. my canon 60D battery on the other hand is this big brick, and i can go weeks before i need to replace it (dSLR use less power anyway, since you normally use the viewfinder to focus, not the LCD).

another day spent working production for client N. i've managed to import a work set of graphics, which gives me enough to start writing the code. once i have it working for one section, i can import the rest of the graphics. the lingo isn't too bad, a lot of traffic tower stuff, moving elements on and off screen, fade in and out. i have a lot of leeway on this, i have a good opportunity to really do some snazzy. no work for client R, not until they give me additional content, which i heard will be arriving at the end of the week, so basically i won't do any panama stuff until next week.

the watch batteries (energizer 364/363) i ordered arrived today. they're for my casio MQ-58, a cheap analog watch i've had since the 90's which by now has sentimental value. it stopped working a while ago, and when i replaced the battery i discovered the ones that i had had already discharged. so i got these off of amazon, which was $2.55 for a blister pack of 5 batteries. the batteries seem to be fine, but i think the watch itself is broken because it still wouldn't run. i still have a digital timex watch but i like to wear an analog every once in a while, give my mind a workout.

i had some yogurt with granola for lunch (11:00), a simple turkey + cheese sandwich as an early evening snack (5:00), then some leftover spaghetti for dinner (8:00). i don't feel as bloated as i did last night.

i'm only now discovering that 2 of my favorite shows this season might get cancelled. first there's tron: uprising, an animated disney show based on the tron franchise. i don't usually watch animation but this is really good, with some great voice actors (elijah wood, bruce boxleitner, mandy moore, emmanuelle chriqui, paul reubens, lance henriksen, tricia helfer - total scifi nerd fantasy line-up). it's on disney xD which i don't even get, so i normally just download the episodes. disney recently moved the show to a monday midnight time slot, which shows its vote of no confidence on a 2nd season. then there's happy endings, a show that critics love, and probably the funniest show on television right now. but ABC has decided to burn off the episodes with biweekly runs on sunday and tuesday nights, which may be a bad sign. i think happy endings has a better chance of returning, because people definitely watch that show. i don't know anyone else who watches tron: uprising, even though it's pretty good.