michael's sister called me this morning wanting to learn how to backup their data using time machine. she called me later and said that their machine was acting up. i told her i'd stop by and take a look. i quickly went to the garden to water my plants, when my father called me. he was at my place, and wanted to take the espresso machine. so i went home so we could put the final pieces together. we gave it a test run, everything seemed to be working.

after my father left, i biked down to see yulia. earlier, when i went to the garden, i noticed the new bike chain was skipping off the rear cassette. i took a quick look at it before i left, the cable seemed really loose, i'd need to tighten it. as for the computer issue, it was an easy fix, parallel desktop wasn't running in coherence mode so windows 7 was visible. i swung by market basket on my way home.

curious to know if they were using the fixed espresso machine, i called my mother at the cafe. she said as soon as they plugged it in it sparkled and my father quickly pulled the plug. it was bad enough that it actually killed the circuit breaker in the basement for that outlet. my father came by to pick me up because it looked like it might rain. i could've taken the bike, but my trek had that chain skipping issue and my fuji had a loose rear wheel light that couldn't potentially be broken. we stopped by the cafe to pick up my mother before heading to belmont.

later my father and i went down to home depot to buy a new circuit breaker ($10, 15amp). he also got some brackets for a wall mounted shelving unit. finally we checked out the water pumps. he's been toying with the idea of a solar-powered rain barrel pump. they don't sell anything like it off the shelf, so we had to come up with our own DIY solution involving a solar panel, a car battery, and a DC powered transfer pump (the cheapest one we saw was still $90; harbor freight sells them for $35).

my father had brought home the sparking espresso machine so we could open it back up to take a look at it. the point were it short-circuited was obvious, as evident by the ring of soot on the machine cover. one of the wires got caught in the lid when we reassembled the machine. it didn't malfunction when we tested it at my place, but by the time it arrived at the cafe, the wire had been sheared off which caused the small internal explosion. the wire was too crushed to try and save by wrapping it back up, the only option was to cut the wire completely, strip out new leads, then reconnect the wire. in the past we would've just used electrical tape, but i had some (pink) heat-shrink material from one of the butt connectors and my father wanted to use that, even though i was opposed to it because i was afraid heating up the heat-shrink would transfer dangerous amount of heat down the wires and into the machine. in the end it all worked out. we reassembled the machine one more time and managed to make a cup (bowl) of espresso. i also used the steamer attachment to froth and heat some milk.

yulia called me, which i knew was going to be bad news. she said that her computer crashed a few times, and she had to do a hardware restart to get it to work again. i told her i'd swing by her shop tomorrow to take a look.

while my parents and i were having dinner, we started getting reports of a terrorist attack in nice, france, on the night of bastille day celebration. something about a truck running people over. what seemed like a small incident at first became something more significant and far more tragic, as the death toll started mounting.

after dinner i got a ride back to cambridge.

on my doorstep was a box from amazon. inside was the new 1-by-one amplified HDTV antenna ($22.99) i ordered. the antenna itself is a lot heavier than the one i have, made from a hard plastic. i hooked everything up and tested it by going to the one channel i could never get with my old antenna, telemundo 27.1. there was nothing there. even with an amplified antenna with a supposed range of 50 miles, i still can't get this spanish-language channel (which has an antenna in new hampshire). so i tried some of my usual channels, which came in great. but after watching it for a while, noticed i'd still get the occasional pixelation. there shouldn't be any pixelation with this new antenna.

playing around with the positioning, i discovered i could make certain channels really pixelated depending on where i put the antenna. i switched to my old antenna, and the perform was the same. no, actually, the old antenna seemed to work slightly better. so now i'm of the opinion that the amplified antenna really isn't worth it. it costs more, uses electricity, and i don't notice any improvements over a regular non-powered antenna. i will be returning it next week.

i just have to accept that fact that living on the first floor surrounded by other 3-4 story tall structures and even taller trees, i will never be able to receive telemundo over the airwaves. it's not a big loss since i almost never watched it even when i had it (via cable), more out of curiosity when i channel surf.

i brought in the fuji bike so i could take a closer look at why the rear wheel lights were dimming. i thought maybe the wires were damaged, but turns out it was just the batteries. however, i still need to reattach the battery packs, as both of them are loosely tied to the hubs now.

it got progressively hotter in my house, with temperature rising to 82°F. i had 2 fans running, then 3, finally 4, to try and circulate the cooler air outside into the house. it didn't seem to work, maybe it was because of the stifling humidity. i think i finally reached my breaking point, i'll install the air conditioner first thing in the morning.

it never did rain overnight.