it was cold enough in the house this morning (61°F) that i fired up the heater for the first time this season. of course now that i have a brand new furnace paired up with a nest thermostat, it was as simple as turning it on with an app on my phone. however, i used the thermostat dial because it felt more formal. my only regret is cristina must've woken up to a freezing house. that shouldn't have to be the case! once i got the room temperature up to 68°, i turned the heat back off. the insulation in my walls should be enough to keep the place warm for the next few days, before i need to fire up the furnace again.

i biked down to the cafe around noon to bring lunch to my grand uncle. i wasn't expecting to see my sister but she was there as well. if that's the case, why couldn't she take the lunch instead? but the reason is because i'm more reliable. i came via bike because my sister wanted me to drive her old car back to belmont so she could clean it, and if i put the bike in the SUV i can ride it back home. but i thought about it and realized why can't my sister just simply drive her old car instead? why does she need both of her cars at home? besides, if she keeps her old car there, come friday she'll need to get somebody else to drive it back to the cafe again.

instead of going home though, i went to belmont to do a little more work prepping the bedroom window. today was a warmer and less windy day, but i still managed to get dust everywhere while i was sanding. i was also in the backyard hosing off the barbecue grill; i set out the pieces to air dry. i returned to cambridge with 2 more plastic planters bungie-tied to the back of the bike. as huron avenue is undergoing street paving, the stretch from reservoir to concord is reduced to a single lane, meaning i have to hustle uphill with a line of cars behind me, the most stressful minutes of biking back.

i biked directly to market basket to get some avocados and bean sprouts for the cafe. it was nowhere as crowded as yesterday, just the typical afternoon crowd.

my raspberry pi zero case arrived. i forgot i'd ordered 2 (ebay purchase, 9/29, from shenzhen, $2.07 each). it's a simple case, 2 flat pieces of acrylic plastic and some screws, giving the pi zero board a little bit of protection.

i plugged in the newly encased pi zero in the evening to install wavemon so i could monitor its wifi activities. since i've been able to connect to my own wifi router, i figured at the very least i'd need to connect the public xfinity router. but the pi said it was connected so i tried apt-get and it managed to download and install wavemon without any problems. could my wifi be working now? i opened the chromium browser and pointed it to google.com. it managed to load the page after a short while, the slow speed was to be expected. i then went to my macbook and nmap the pi zero's ip address: to my surprise it found it just fine, told me the ssh port was open. this has never worked before! and now it was working! i was then able to ssh to the pi zero without any problems, and secure copy (scp) a file from the pi to my macbook.

so what happened? why was it working now when it never worked before, all the times i tried in vain? the only things different was now the pi zero was in an acrylic case and i used a shorter more robust length of USB-to-mini-USB cable to connect the USB hub to the pi (via the old OTG cable). i don't think the case had anything to do with it, so it must be the mini-USB cable. i'd need to test the pi zero with USB dongle alone to see if the case makes any difference. who knows, maybe it somehow enhances the wifi signal? i'm just glad it's working.

but i spoke too soon apparently: i left the pi zero on for a few hours, and then when i went to nmap its IP to check if it was online, it couldn't find anything. i turned on the screen to see what was going on and noticed that the zero was trying to vain to reconnect to the network after it lost connection. that's strange, but i figured it'd at least step down to the open free xfinity network. i'll have to look into that, maybe it's some setting i forgot to set.

cristina made some empanadas in the evening; not for dinner, but rather as appetizers for the closing presentation she'll give at the center tomorrow. she actually went to market basket and bought some vacuum-sealed pillsbury pizza dough sheets. i watched her cook, partly out of curiosity, partly to keep on a eye on her from creating too big of a mess. the most exciting part was opening up the 4 rolls she bought; i've never opened one up myself, as we used a spoon to pop the tubes. empanadas traditionally have a meat filling, but because cristina is vegetarian, she wanted to stick to strictly vegetable ingredients. she made two batches, one with blue cheese + tomatoes + zucchini, the other with eggplant + tomato sauce + oaxaca cheese. A for effort, but she never made empanadas before, and was trying out an improvised recipe on unwitting coworkers.