today was just a few degrees colder than yesterday (depending on whether you follow fahrenheit or celsius). unlike yesterday, i would be going out today, to meet my former roommate WCH for lunch a week before she returns home to nanjing after a year long stay in boston. we agreed to meet at 11:30 in front of desi dhaba in central square for some indian buffet.

i arrived 10 minutes early by bicycle, and had no choice but to wait outside for the restaurant to open. it was cold but in an exhilarating sort of way. not so much for my eyes, which were tearing up, and my goatee was wet from my condensing breath. my ears were hurting despite having a hat, so i pulled up my hoodie for some double insulation. i brought both my cameras, hoping i might be able to capture some cold temperature photo opps, but hardly anyone was walking around outside in this freezing weather. while waiting by one of the metal park benches, i saw WCH going into the restaurant.

WCH never had indian food until she came to america. she visited a chinese-canadian friend in seattle during the thanksgiving break, who happened to be married to an indian man, who took them out for indian food every night. the food at desi dhaba wasn't bad ($8.95 buffet), but some of the stuff were definitely leftovers. they had goat curry which i'd never seen before at any indian buffet and which was quite good (i had two servings). they had indian rice pudding for dessert (my favorite) but i didn't recognize it and though it was salad dressing so i didn't get any (next time i'll know what kheer is).

i was curious to hear WCH's thoughts on america after having lived here for a year. she said she'd gotten used to her life here, but was eager to get back to china to be with her family. she said we definitely have more informational freedom here, that we rarely have to worry about government censorship or not being able to say what we feel. i asked her about the weather, and was surprised when she told me she didn't think it was that cold, and told me that nanjing is much colder, despite winter temperatures never dropping below 40°F. neither was she impressed with the amount of snow we'd gotten this winter, which has already exceded last year's snowfall total. maybe i'll send her some photos the next time we have one of our big blizzards.

after lunch WCH headed to the MIT library while i biked home. i stopped by harvard square, parked on the outskirts, did a quick tour around the block, didn't see anything particularly photoworthy, so decided to finally go home.

in the afternoon my latest amazon.com package arrived via USPS. it was supposed to arrive yesterday (according to the tracking data) but there was some unknown delay. one of the things that came was a new transcend 32GB class 10 SDHC memory card. i loaded it into my 60D camera and gave it a test. not once it did give me a buffering indicator nor did it stop recording prematurely. so the transcend card is definitely the card to get for the 60D, over the more popular brand sandisk ultra. i was curious to find out just how fast the transcend really was, so i ran it through a speed test:

transcend 32GB class 10 SDHCread (MB/s)write (MB/s)
random read 512KB19.3205.208
random read 4KB (QD1)3.4400.961
random read 4KB (QD32)4.0071.302

here are the numbers for my other SDHC memory cards:

sandisk 32GB ultra class 10 SDHCread (MB/s)write (MB/s)
random read 512KB18.94910.462
random read 4KB (QD1)3.4881.629
random read 4KB (QD32)3.4601.759

sandisk 32GB ultra class 10 microSDHCread (MB/s)write (MB/s)
random read 512KB18.01411.216
random read 4KB (QD1)3.3591.274
random read 4KB (QD32)3.3321.415

ridata 8GB class 6 SDHCread (MB/s)write (MB/s)
random read 512KB17.8001.397
random read 4KB (QD1)2.8930.016
random read 4KB (QD32)2.9770.027

so here's the funny thing: the transcend card only has a slightly faster sequential write speed (compared to the sandisk ultra), which is all i really care about when it comes to saving photos and videos on the memory card. the transcend was 13.270 MB/s, while the sandisk ultra was 12.687 MB/s. that small speed difference shouldn't matter, so maybe something else is going on. the transcend is actually slower than i expected, because from the reviews i saw online it was supposed to around 15-18 MB/s. nevertheless, it seems to work well with the 60D with my buffering delays, which is all i care about.

the sandisk ultra would be a good card for a mini-PC platform that uses a SDHC card as a hard drive and needs one that has very good random write speeds. however, that's not enough for me to keep it so i ended up returning the card in the early evening, dropping it off at the nearby UPS store.

the other thing that came with my amazon package was a wasabi battery kit for the ZS20: 2 spare batteries, a charger, a car-charging extension cord, and a US-europe plug adapter. the car-charging cord and the plug adapter are 2 things i don't need, and i already have a set from when i bought spare batteries and a charger for my 60D.

these new ZS20 batteries seem to work fine. they actually have more charge than the original lumix battery which is only rated to 895mAh (these wasabi batteries are 1200mAh). i was also worried that these batteries might not work because panasonic cameras will only work with their own chip-encoded batteries, but i didn't have any problems (only reviews said they worked fine, so it was too big a concern).

i made myself another turkey sandwich for dinner (have to use up my turkey before it spoils).