my mother has been in the market for a new tablet. she currently uses an aging ipad 2, which was a gift from our shenyang relatives back in august 2011 (they've actually presented my family with 3 ipads over the years, the last one in june 2013 to my sister). my 2nd aunt upgraded recently, going from an android china tablet to an apple-refurbished ipad air back in december 2015. what a difference 4 years can make between an ipad 2 and an ipad air. the air is better in every way: faster, lighter, clearer.

but i heard recently that apple would soon revamp their tablet line, and out of curiosity i checked the web and was surprised that it was introduced just yesterday. now just simply called "ipad," it replaces all other iterations of the ipads (not including the mini's or the pro's). it's essentially an ipad air 1 but with a faster chip (A9), a clearer screen (retina display), more storage (32GB) and touch id sensor. price? $329, which you know anything about ipad prices, is actually quite a bargain. and if you were wondering, how much faster is the new ipad? according to geekbench 4 iOS benchmarks, the ipad 2 has a score of 333, the ipad air 1308, and the new ipad has a theoretically score of 2344 (based on iphone 6s' similar A9 chipset). so 7x faster than the ipad 2.

of course my mother could upgrade to an android tablet instead. they're (usually) cheaper than an ipad, and the experience is about the same, especially if she's only watching netflix, surfing the web, and checking e-mails. if i was getting it for myself, i would go android over ipad just because of the flexibility. but the problem with android tablets is there are just so many of them on the market, you really have to be a tablet expert to find the best one. and now that apple has come out with their new ipad for just $329, it's hard to find an android tablet with matching specs for that price. sure, there are cheaper 10" android tablets, but they're always missing something: maybe it's a slower processor, or less memory, or a lower-resolution screen. the android experience is also slightly non-consistent, as each manufacturer tweaks the OS with their own skin and/or bloatware.

the only one that i can find that matches the new ipad in terms of specs and price is the asus zenpad 3S: 9.7" screen, 2K resolution (2048 x 1536, same as retina), 4GB/64GB, fingerprint scanner, microSD slot for memory expansion, and only 5.8mm (!) thick. it also looks good, a very sleek metal design. price? just $300. the only thing i don't like is the mediatek hexa-core chipset; i've had some bad experience installing custom ROM's with these brand of processors. verizon has a similar carrier-exclusive asus zenpad Z10 that has a snapdragon 650 chipset and larger battery. the best android tablet currently on the market is the google pixel c, but it sells for $600, twice as much.

the next 2 days will be unseasonably cold, with temperature in the 30's but strong wind chill making it feel in the 10's. it was under these conditions that i biked to market basket to pick up a few breakfast-related ingredients (yogurt, granola, fruit juice). when i returned home i had yogurt and granola for lunch, washed down with an almond milk fruit smoothie.

i went to belmont in the afternoon. i noticed this morning that karen didn't bike to work. i didn't see her last night, otherwise i would've warned her about the cold weather, but looks like she figured it out on her own. in fact, this morning when i woke up, it snowed a little bit, which was unexpected. i stopped on huron avenue by fresh pond to take a photo of the road debris. i noticed a bundle by the side of the road which i thought was rags at first until i realized it was a dead animal. from the looks of it, it could've been a cat, with a long body and a small round head, but i didn't see a collar. i also looked for the tail but didn't see one, but it could've fallen of. later i examined the photo some more and determined that it was a probably a dead rabbit, as it wasn't big enough to be a cat.

being in belmont was like being in taiwan, with all the different taiwanese food scattered throughout the living room and dining area. i spent the rest of the afternoon snacking. i found my father's PC and tried to up their vacation photos onto google photos, but i didn't know the password. later around 4pm i called to ask him, the on-screen hint had nothing to do with the password, that's why i wasn't able to guess it correctly. after copying about 2400 photos off of the memory card, i let google photos do the rest, slowly uploading. it was surprisingly slow, given their fiber-optic 50Mbps upload speed. at this rate, it probably wouldn't be finished until 10pm.

i read news about the first US endangered species of bumblebee, the rusty patched bumblebee. it looked similar to bees i've seen in the past - with a band of reddish brown across the abdomen. could i have seen this bumblebee before? so i began doing some bumblebee research. up until now, i only recognize two species of bumblebees: the common eastern bumblebee and the tricolored bumblebee. to my untrained eyes, i thought the tricolored bumblebees i've seen in the past might be the endangered rusty patched, but that's not the case. the united states department of agriculture has a handy pdf field guide of eastern bumblebees, and after looking over that document, i feel like i'm a bumblebee expert now, or at least more knowledgeable than before. bumblebees can be distinguished by the color banding patterns on its thorax and abdomen. once you figure out the different color coded regions of a bee's body, it's easy to identify them. i actually have a more thorough north american bumblebee field guide that i bought from the harvard book warehouse sale back in june 2016, but i never really studied it, but now i have more reasons to. with my newfound knowledge, i think that bumblebee that stung me several time back in july 2016 when i was helping my father replace a broken backyard fence was just a regular eastern bumblebee, nothing endangered, so i don't feel too bad smacking it.

my parents didn't get home until 6pm. nobody wanted to cook, so we decided to run down to the nearby burger king and get some whoppers and fries with coupons. the entire meal cost just $10. afterwards my father said he could give me a ride home because the temperature had dropped into the 20's, but i insisted on riding back. it was cold and i might've gotten wind burned on my cheeks, but it wasn't too bad.

when i came into the house i could smell the strong odor of greasy cooking. in fact, it smelled like fried fish, and i asked karen if she was eating fish, but she said no. talking with her in the kitchen, i tried very hard not to stare at the frying pan splattered in oil and god knows where else. she only cooks something oily maybe twice a month, so it's not too bad (although ideally she wouldn't fry anything at all).

i watched the latest episode of legion via streaming live tv on verizon.com. my connection kept cutting out and i missed the final few minutes of the episode.

later in the evening while working on my blog i had trouble getting my ftp to work. i was still able to ftp from my phone, so after restarting my laptop things went back to normal. i'm not sure why it did that. the computer has acted unusual on a few occasions. it also doesn't help that i have multiple browser windows, each with a dozen tabs.