i knew the chromecast could automatically switch the HDTV input, but this morning i learned it can also automatically turn on the tv. the secret seems to be powering the chromecast not from the television's built-in USB port, which get turned off when the tv is off as well, but rather from an external power supply. however, despite being able to automatically turn on the HDTV, it only displays a blank screen. only when i stop casting does the blank screen revert back to the chromecast home screen.

when the chromecast is powered from the HDTV USB port, something else i noticed: i no longer get the chromecasting icon in my various video streaming apps. only when the chromecast is powered does the app senses the ability for casting, and thereby showing the cast icon on casting-capable apps.

i can use my google photos as one of the chromecast backdrop options, but only if the photos are arranged in albums. once an album is selected though, there's an option from the chromecast devices panel to view the album on the backdrop as a manual/automatic slideshow.

i still haven't been able to cast from my google photos app itself. when i do so on my android phone, all i get is a blank screen on the HDTV. out of curiosity i tried the google photos app on my iphone (they share the same photos after all, pulled from the cloud), and to my surprise it works fine on the iphone. so it must be the google photos app on my oneplus one that's not working. later i discovered the problem is specific to cyanogenmod 12 (on the oneplus one phone) and casting from google photos. it's a known bug that hasn't been fixed yet. in the meantime, i can at least still cast a slideshow from the iphone.

playing with the chromecast has piqued my interest in setting up a personal streaming media server. that way i could stream my collection of videos and photos. it'd also be awesome if i can set up my own cloud server and backup photos onto it whenever i'm out traveling.

i transferred another one of my domains from godaddy to namecheap. i forgot what the controversy was over godaddy, but there was a campaign a year back or so getting people to leave that company. i've been slowly switching over to namecheap whenever one of my domains is about to expire. namecheap is not only cheaper (only slightly) but it's also a more responsible corporation. the first transfer i did was kind of scary (afraid of downtime), but it's pretty effortless despite taking 4-5 days for the switch to be complete. now that i've done it a few times, once my remaining domains have expired, i will be 100% divested from godaddy.

for lunch i ate a pair of peppered pork buns. i began watching the syfy miniseries childhood's end, based on the book i read when i was in the 8th grade (mr.topham english class). i ordered a bunch of things online, including another sandisk ultra fit flash drive (128gb this time, $28, part of amazon's lightning deal), a set of resistance bands (you know, to work out my flexibility), some children's toys for anderson, an ipad air cover for my 2nd aunt, and a 2016 black diamond cosmo headlamp for my sister ($25 directly from the company, free fedex 2-day delivery).

in the late afternoon i went out briefly in the rain to pick up a santa hat for alfonso (he said he needed one for a photo project he was thinking about doing) from the dollar tree (along with some snacks), then a short trip to star market. i ate dinner around 8pm, the rest of my leftover tortellini. alfonso came home around 9:30pm soaking wet; apparently he doesn't own an umbrella, nor bothered to ask me if he can borrow one of mine. he came back from the supermarket, and along with a six-pack of samuel adams, he also bought a santa hat as well! the one that he got ($5) is a lot better quality though, so not sure which one to return, or just keep both. never know when we might need a santa hat.