the big news today was i got a new used macbook pro. just $850, it was a craig's list seller based in waltham, and had all the specs i was looking for: 15" retina screen, circa 2013-2015 (these still have USB ports), 16GB of memory, 1TB SSD hard drive. this machine originally sold for $2799, but the 1TB option was an additional $500 ($3299), so i bought this laptop for about a quarter of what it cost.
the day started like normal, with me waiting for my roommate to leave (10am!) so i could go use the bathroom without worrying that somebody might need to use it. i made some scrambled eggs and kielbasa for lunch, used up the last of my bananas (now black) for a smoothie.
the latest belmont light utility bill came out today. once again my parents don't have to pay anything, and accrued a credit of an additional $23, putting their total electricity credit to $175. they'll probably dip into their electricity credit this winter, when the solar panels don't produce as much electricity versus the summer months. those credit, on top of the money they'll get from the SREC's, means never having to worry about their utility bill. in fact, the SREC's could offset the annual cost of heating oil, so both electricity and oil will be covered, and possibly even water.
in the early afternoon i checked craig's list again, something i've been doing for the past few weeks, looking for a 15" MBP with a 1TB hard drive. i could've sworn i've seen this ad before, but it disappeared suddenly last week, so i figured the machine was sold. but here it was back on sale, and i could've also sworn that it was $1000 before, but now reduced to $850, a very good price, considering the current street price for this machine (despite being from 2013) is still $1700-2000. i called my father asking for advice, but i already knew i wanted to buy it if possible. ideally i would've wanted a 2015 machine, but 2013 versus 2015 are practically the same (both 3rd generation MBP), maybe better graphic card on a model that's already very fast, but not much else. so i sent the seller an e-mail.
i went down to the community garden in the afternoon, the first time in 2 weeks. i've sort of neglected my plants during the 2 weeks that wangyang was here (only visiting the garden twice), and haven't been back since they left. i was almost afraid to see what i'd find. the whole community garden is now like a jungle, even more so with the uncomfortable heat and humidity. my plot wasn't too bad. there was a good size zucchini (probably the only one i'll get from my garden this year as the plant itself seems to be dying from vine borer damage), and a few small tomatoes. my tomato plants don't seem to be doing very well, compared to david's which are now taller than me. next season i have to totally revise my tomato growing strategy. there were a lot of striped mallows, but i might've come too late and missed the peak flowering period. there was some weeds along the edges (crabgrass, escaping spearmint, some kind of sedge grass) which i spent a good amount of time pulling up. i then watered my plot (which turned out to be unnecessary) before taking a few photos. by the time i left, the sky had turned dark and it was just beginning to rain.
sweat soaked and slightly rain drenched, i took a quick shower. stepping out, i saw my craig's list seller had replied to my e-mail. he agreed to meet tonight. as it was only 3:30pm, i called and asked him if it'd be okay to meet now. the man on the phone sounded middle eastern, never told me his name, but agreed to meet earlier, and sent me his address.
i called my father to ask him if he could give me a ride to waltham, which he agreed. what i wasn't expecting was for the sky to suddenly burst open and torrential downpours engulfing the whole area. still my father came, and i put on my hiking shoes and jumped across puddles with an umbrella to get into the car, which was cold from the air conditioning. it then took us 45 minutes to drive to the address, which was located close to the waltham market basket, just on the other side of interstate 95. we got there from the waltham costco and drove south down bear hill road.
i was supposed to call when i got close but only called when we finally arrived at the address, which turned out to be a gate community on top of a hill. i called my seller who said he would be there in 5-10 minutes. my father and i waited in the car, with me hoping it wasn't a scam and we didn't drive all the way out here for nothing. after a while an SUV pulled up and a man greeted us. he told us to follow him as he advanced to the metal gate which automatically opened for him. his house wasn't very far, he told us to come inside.
up inside the townhouse we were greeted by white shag carpet and a living room that was devoid of furniture except for a large HDTV leaning against one wall. my seller - igor - turned out to be russian. he was moving out by month's end, that's why he was in such a hurry to sell his stuff. he wasn't moving far though, just a house in wayland, two towns over from waltham. he worked nearby at some tech company (was he the owner? who knows), and had all sorts of computer equipment on the kitchen island, including bare hard drives in docking stations, and laptops on floating stands. he brought out the MBP while i gave him the cash to count. the laptop seemed immaculate, i checked to make sure all the internal hardware was as advertised. igor also had two friendly cats who were rubbing up against us. he said the cats belonged to his children but became his when they grew up. my father was admiring the place and igor told us all these houses were rentals only (he tried to buy unsuccessfully), this one (with a nice balcony view) was a 1000 sq ft. single bedroom with a garage parking spot downstairs and some storage space. they also had a community gym room and outdoor pool, not a bad place to live (we didn't ask how much). everything checked out, igor also gave me a charging cable, and we left with him following behind us. back at the entrance, the moment we got close enough, the gate automatically swung open.
it took us 40 minutes to drive back to the cafe, after i called my mother to let her know we were leaving, mission successful. so told us my aunt was there with some fish, and warned us to drive carefully, there was no rush. my aunt was still there when we finally got back. the fish she delivered was from a friend who caught it just this morning from the cape cod canal, a 42" 30 lbs. striped bass. she gave my parents several large fillet chunks. after she left, we soon left as well. all that rain we had earlier now transitioned to sun.
my parents steamed one of the fillets for dinner, with some salt, ginger, and scallions. striped bass is white meat, and the taste somehow reminded me of lobster, which wasn't too bad, not so fishy. i had the new MBP and was playing with it afterwards, loading up all my bookmarks the moment in logged into my google account via the chrome browser. i helped my father order the surecom SR-112 radio simplex repeater ($40) and corresponding cable for TYT interface ($7.50) from amazon before he gave me a ride back to cambridge.
i was excited to show GC my new computer, and to compare it with his brand new 2017 MBP. besides the touchbar (a feature i don't need), the 2017 MBP also has a much larger trackpad. the 2017 MBP is also a few millimeters thin because it only has USB-C ports (actually thunderbolt 3) and not USB/HDMI/thunderbolt 2/SD card ports. i was showing him how much a brand new MBP cost and was surprised he didn't know how much he paid for his computer. that's because he bought it in chinese yuan, at ¥20,000, which using an exchange rate of 6.5:1, comes out to around $3000, which is how much it costs here.
i planned on wiping the new MBP hard drive and installing a fresh OSX, but for some reason the installation failed and dropped me back onto the desktop. so instead i tried to recover my old user folder which i still have on the 2.5" internal hard drive i pulled out of my old MBP. using an IDE/USB converter dongle, i proceded to copy all 479GB worth of data from the external hard drive onto the MBP 1TB SSD drive. it seems to be taking forever, giving me an estimate of 12+ hours, so i'm just going to let it run overnight and hope that it doesn't crash in the meantime.
i also noticed while cleaning the retina screen that some of the anti-glare finish on the screen has come off. only on the top (where the webcam sits) and the bottom corner, it doesn't affect what i see on the screen, but it's a slight blemish on an otherwise pristine machine. i checked online to see if others have this problem, and turns out it has a name: staingate. as to whether or not apple will fix it for free, that i'm not sure. i called apple support later in the evening, the person i spoke with said unfortunately apple won't fix it anymore, but i made an appointment for the genius bar to see if they can give me a ballpark estimate as to how much it'd cost. i'm still hoping i might get lucky and apple will decide to fix it after all, but i'm not hopeful.