i biked down to downtown crossing around lunchtime to pick up my taiwanese passport. before i left the house i put sunblock all over my body. today was another 90+°F day, making it the first official heatwave in boston. although it was hot outside, the breeze from the bike felt comfortable, and as long as i wasn't riding too fast, it was actually pleasant. i also wore my contacts, which actually allows me to see better. i'm so used to wearing glasses i sometimes forget that glasses present an obstruction view of the world.

because i was in boston during lunch hour, downtown crossing was clogged with people so i ended up pushing the bike for several blocks to get to 99 summer street, home of the taiwanese consulate economic and cultural office. i'd forgotten what a terrible passport photo i'd taken (from cvs no less), where i looked sickly with puffy lids and oily stringy hair. i don't intend to use this passport a whole lot anyway, just to get into taiwan.

next i went to the AAA office on 125 high street. i started biking but pushed it the rest of the way through the financial district when i was going down one way streets. the area made me nostalgic for my screen house days, and i wanted to take photos but i felt out of place surrounded by the hum of business people. the last time i came to this office was back in january 2005, for the exact same reason, which is to pick up an international driving permit. i tried looking for my old one - which is just a thin paper booklet with my photo and some official looking words - but couldn't find it. not that it'd make a difference because i found out driving permits expire after a year. the cost was $15 and i waited a few minutes afterwards for the lady to assemble the permit for me. the permit is good in a bunch of countries, china not being one of them. it is however good in taiwan if i wanted to do some scooter riding (i rather much prefer bicycles if there are rentals and bike lanes, taiwanese drivers are pretty aggressive).

with new passport and driving permit in hand, my business in boston was done. since i only had a banana for breakfast, i decided to head over into chinatown to pick up some spicy salt and pepper porkchop rice for lunch. there was a small farmer's market and food trucks near south station and i stopped to investigate briefly before continuing onwards.

chinatown cafe was surprisingly empty at around 1:00 in the early afternoon. i made my order and waited ($7 for R45), also bought a bottle of water ($1.40) to stay hydrated (they have free hot water and tea but i wanted something cold). after securing my food to the back of my bicycle rack with my bungie netting, i proceded to bike home.

i went down the charles river bike path half way until the mass ave bridge, hoping to see some sunbathing beauties one last time before i'm shipped off to the more skin restrictive asia (where women go swimming in t-shirts). i then crossed the bridge into cambridge. at some point i began feeling some cold chills, which are the early signs of heat exhaustion.

back at the house, instead of relaxing, i went back out again, this time to go vote in the special election for senator (to take over john kerry's seat). word on the street is democratic congressman ed markey is a sure thing against upstart hispanic republican business man and former navy seal gabriel gomez, but i wanted to do my part. cambridge is not a democratic stronghold if the democrats don't go vote!

i finally returned home for good, taking a well-deserved shower and eating a more even well-deserved lunch. i felt exhausted and it's only tuesday. i wanted to faint. a few hours later i was better. it was hot in the house as well, and i wasn't about to install the AC (not when i'm leaving in less than 2 weeks) so i just had the table fan, which pretty much recirculated the hot air already inside the house.

it's been a bad week for new england sports fans. first there was the patriots aaron hernandez scandal, how he may or may not be a suspect in the murder of his friend who's body was found near his house. then news of celtics' coach doc rivers being traded to the los angeles clippers (can coaches be traded? apparently they can). then finally the bruins lost in the final minute of the game, when they were still up by 1 point.

i think i purposely put off selling those 2 old road bikes because i probably secretly still wanted to keep them, even though they're both too tall for me to ride, and need a little bit of work to get them in road shape. my excuse was always i wanted to spend some time to write a compelling post that will make people want to buy the bikes, but this is craig's list, not shakespeare, i don't need a masterpiece. so finally now with less than 2 weeks before i leave, i posted 2 ads for the schwinn and ross road bikes. not sure if anyone will bite, $80 a bike is kind of borderline.

after using the 10" dell mini screen and the even smaller 7" hisense sero screen, the 15" macbook pro screen feels utterly massive. i've never had so many internet-capable devices in the house before. when i want to go online, i can't decide whether to use the MBP, the dell mini, or the tablet pc. it's not a bad problem to have though.

before i even headed out into boston today, i was still busy tweaking the dell mini. after the 5th installation, OS X seems to be very stable. however i discovered one important thing: OS X 10.6.3 has no exFAT support, which only appeared in OS X 10.6.5+. so i needed to upgrade. fortunately i was already prepared for this eventually and already downloaded the standalone apple OS X 10.6.7 update combo. it's the highest version of 10.6.x i can install, since 10.6.8 will apparently break a hackintosh (i found that out the hard way in first install). so these are steps for updating a 10.6.3 dell mini hackintosh to 10.6.7:

  • ran netbookinstaller 20100616212351

  • ran apple standalone OS X 10.6.7 update combo

  • before rebooting, ran netbookinstaller 20100616212351 once more

  • reboot (no problems, my boot1h fix from yesterday still seems to be intact)

  • everything works except audio

  • ran netbookinstaller 20100616212351 again (3rd time)

  • reboot

  • audio still missing

  • reboot a few more times just to make sure audio won't magically reappear

  • ran netbookinstaller 0.8.4 RC1

  • reboot

  • audio now back, not no wifi, and slow graphic performance

  • ran netbookinstaller 20100616212351 (4th time)

  • reboot

  • everything works now! audio, wifi, graphics!

the more i try to get the dell mini hackintosh absolutely perfect, more complicated it becomes. now i'm thinking about creating a dual boot so the dell mini can actually boot into a windows partition (like it was originally designed to do). but now that the hackintosh is perfect, i'm afraid to mess around with it anymore. i can't imagine why i'd need to use windows on the dell mini. any work i use it for would probably be a word processor or spreadsheet, and those functions i can do with ilife.

i finally found the time to go through the 2000 photos i took from the mermaid parade and uploaded 200 photos onto my flickr account. maybe tomorrow i'll have time to do any actual writeup of my new york trip.

with my dell mini hackintosh adventure finished, it freed up the 8GB usb flash drive. i reinstalled OS X 10.6.3 (but without the netbookinstaller stuff and formatted as a GUID partition) onto the drive so i can use it to erase the MBP john gave me and reinstall the system. i was confused why the option key didn't work when i tried to restart from the USB, but then later i realized the option key is also fried like the spacebar. fortunately i could use the startup disk system preference to restart from the USB that way. i managed to install 10.6.3 just fine, and later updated the system to 10.6.8 (a genuine mac computer has no problems running 10.6.8). i'm going to have to disassemble the laptop at some point to check the keyboard and also take the opportunity to blow out the dust from the fans which is making the MBP run extremely hot.

i wasn't very hungry in the evening because i had a big lunch but i ended up heating a can of soup for dinner. the temperature outside got cool enough that i put the window fan in the living room and started to ventilate the air a little bit. markey ended up winning the election, 55% to 45%, with low voter turnout (voter fatigue, hot weather, who knows).