i decided to hit two places this morning: microcenter to claim a free complimentary 32GB microSDHC memory card, and haymarket to score some gold nugget oranges. i called my father to ask him if he needed anything, and when he was going to see the surgeon. he said he already went to the hospital this morning (mt.auburn), he's scheduled for his hernia surgery june 23rd. we thought maybe it would be done with some fancy new laparoscopic technique, but the outpatient procedure will be performed under 4-hour general anesthesia and invasive. instead of sewing up the tear, nowadays they apply a mesh, which is stronger and less chance of recurring tears. afterwards my father can go home.

i arrived at microcenter via harvard square and memorial drive. besides the free memory card, i was also there to pick up a red bear IoT pHAT. it's a board that combines with a traditional pi zero to give it wifi 802.11n and bluetooth 4.1 capabilities (which it otherwise doesn't have natively). the pi zero just has 2 microUSB ports, and one of them is for power, so it really only has one. typically in a headless setup i use a wifi dongle ($8-9/each) in that single usb port (which requires a micro USB OTG adapter, 50¢), but the IoT pHAT will free up that port. it's sort of involved, because it also requires header pins to be soldered onto the pi zero (which doesn't have them), so it's going to take some work to be able to use the IoT pHAT. but for $2.99 it was worth it, when the same board sells for $16.95 on adafruit. i was also interested in picking up another pi zero W (the new version with built-in wifi and bluetooth, essentially making the IoT pHAT obsolete), but the price has gone up to $10 (i bought mine for $5), which is going rate. they did sell a version with the header pins for $15, but i'm just going to wait for the next sale. when i went to go pay i asked the clerk if there was a sale on the IoT pHAT, since the price on the box said $4.99 (there was a sale).

to get to hamarket, i went up magazine street, then putnam-albany until i arrived in kendall square, then it was a simple matter of following the longfellow bridge into boston down cambridge street. i thought te bridge was supposed to be open, but there was only inbound car traffic. the inbound pedestrian path was closed, but bikes could still ride on the newly paved asphalt, though it was narrow in spots. sucks for tourists visiting boston (a large influx of visitors for graduations), because they can't walk across the longfellow to get that nice view of the boston skyline.

nothing noteworthy at haymarket. a lot of strawberries, which vendors were trying to sell by the case ($6, contained 8 1lbs. boxes of strawberries). the same vendor that sold me gold nuggets has week had them again, this time even bigger: i bought 15 (5/$2, $6 total). i also got: 2 boxes of strawberries ($2), a lbs. of long horn green peppers ($1), and 6 blood oranges ($2). no cherries yet but close, i expect to see them within the coming weeks.

coming back via longfellow, the outbound side of the bridge was closed to car traffic but the pedestrian pathway was opened for pedestrians as well as cyclists. this side of the bridge had been closed for a while, feels like they expanded the walkway because it seems wider than before, at least compared to the inbound side.

i went directly to the cafe to drop off the latest market basket haul. we tried one of the golden nugget oranges. though much bigger than last time, i didn't think they were as sweet, just so-so.

i came home with some leftover beef stew my sister had made and warmed it up over the stove. i usually hate her cooking, but this beef stew was pretty good (or maybe i was just really hungry, it was 1:50pm by the time i finally ate lunch): savory broth with vegetables, and chunks of tender beef.

i inspected the red bear IoT pHAT board. with the advent of the pi zero W, these boards are essentially obsolete, so maybe that's why there was a clearance sale. not only that, the pHAT takes up header space and i don't think you can access the rest of the GPIO ports when it's installed (unlike the pi0w). the only good thing i can see with the IoT pHAT is the option to use an external antenna.

steve and paul were back at home in the afternoon, but their tenants still hadn't arrived yet. i saw them coming in and out and i wanted to ask, but in the end decided it was none of my business.

i went to the community garden in the late afternoon, my plot already in shadows. i saw lynn there, working on her narrow plot (which formerly was my old plot underneath the mulberry tree because they paved it over to make a walkway and chopped down the tree while they were at it). we got to chatting, and was joined by an older fellow i didn't recognize but seemed to know lynn (her husband maybe?). i did some watering even though the forecast calls for rain over the weekend. i noticed some gardeners had already planted their tomatoes. that used to be me! i used to be one of the first people planting, not because i wanted early tomatoes, but because my seedlings were growing too tall for the closet and i didn't have anymore room for them.

the temperature today hovered in the upper 50's. though it was touch cold, it was actually kind of pleasant with a light jacket, and it was sunny occasionally, with a lot of diffuse clouds. i set out my seedlings in the morning, giving them one last dosage of natural weather before bringing them indoors for the weekend.

there was a reason why i got that free 32GB memory card: i was going to copy a new raspbian OS onto the card so i could run a fresh install on the pi3 and see if i can get LIRC to work. i think maybe it hasn't worked with the current pi3 install is because there are too many daemons and processes running in the background, causing interference. first i had to download the desktop image, which was 1.78GB zipped, and would take half an hour to complete (i went to the garden during that time). i then used the etcher app to write the image onto the memory card. etcher is good because it can read the image file without needing to unzip (otherwise that's 4GB+ worth of additional space). it took just a few minutes to finish writing the image to the card. i remounted the card and saw a boot partition. i created a blank ssh file to activate SSH, and copied over the wpa_supplicant.conf file from my current pi3, which contains the wifi network and password info. i also made a copy of the .bashrc file, because once i swap out the memory card, i won't be able to access it anymore; the .bashrc contains a few shortcuts i wanted to reuse on the new OS. i stopped there, will working on installing the new memory card some other time.


using etcher to write a new raspbian OS onto SD card

still need to download the OS image file, zipped format 1.4GB, took half an hour, raspbian stretch. etcher can flash from zip file (otherwise the OS image is over 4GB)

setting up headless raspberry pi: add ssh file to boot partition on memory card (44.5MB capacity, 21.8MB available, MS-DOS FAT32 format); create wpa_supplicant.conf with wifi network and password info (copied from existing rpi3); copying .bashrc file

ssh -p ## pi@##.##.#.###

default username/password: pi: raspberry; sudo raspi-config

in the early evening paul sent me an e-mail to let me know their tenants would arrive around 6:30pm and if i'd be home for an introduction. i didn't respond. even though they're the ones who're renting out their place, i feel like somehow i've been involved. like when steve casually asked me if i was going to be oiling the deck. or they wanted to replace the roof on their bay window ($6000) because they were afraid it might leak. and for the past 2 months i've had to deal with them cleaning the house, constant noises from both upstairs and downstairs. so forgive me if i don't roll out the red carpet for their renters. i'm sure they're nice people, but it's not really my job to welcome them, that's their job. so i hid in the guest bedroom, watching television on the small HDTV with the volume turned down low. nevertheless, i was curious about these new neighbors. i had their names, and when i got their e-mail address, that was enough info for me to do an internet search. impressively, both husband and wife have a wikipedia page. these people are famous! for both their academic and political work. now i'm curious how much they're paying for their 3 month stay. at the very least $2000/month.

today we had the 5th highest production for the month of may at 46.13 kWh, and it's the highest production we've had within the past 9 days. this is great because the weather this weekend looks to be terrible: rainy and cold on saturday, and hot and thunderstormy on sunday.

i heated up a marie callender chicken pot pie in the oven, took over an hour. for my money, i still like the swanson, even though they're not as refined and higher sodium content. i ate while watching an episode of life sentence on the CW. i kind of like this show (mostly because of lucy hale's performance as a terminally ill young woman discovering she was no longer dying), was sad when i discovered it was cancelled. putting it in a friday night timeslot was the kiss of death.

i'm pleasantly surprised by how quiet my new upstairs neighbors are. i was worried. i've always thought paul and steve were super noisy (blasting the television audio, paul's stomping feet), and wished i had different neighbors, but what if paul and steve were actually quiet, and new neighbors are even worse? but it seems like i have nothing to worry about. yes, i hear the occasional walking noises, or the rumble of water pipes when they flush the 2nd floor toilet, but otherwise there's nothing. true, part of the evening they were actually out (i'm assuming there's nothing to eat in the house), but even then, before and after they came back, it was still very quiet. maybe that might chance once they get used to living here, but so far so good.