after GC finished with the bathroom, he spent the next 45 minutes just taking his time in the kitchen, making lunch (which involves cooking) and whistling. he finally left by around 9:45am, marking the start of my monday.
i worked on fixing my father's coolpad F1 android phone, which recently found itself stuck in an infinite boot loop animation cycle and the only way to get out of it is to open the case and take out the battery. i tried a few things, like erasing the user data, but the bug seems to be deeper in the system, and the only way to fix it was to install a fresh ROM. good thing i could still get into the recovery mode (so the phone wasn't entirely bricked), and even better that the phone was already rooted (back when i was in china) with a custom recovery (CWM 18.104.22.168). all i had to do was load the zipped ROM file onto the external SD card and boot into recovery mode, erase some data and cache files, then install the ROM. i ended up going with AOSP v4 laek 17 repack v3 (the simplified installation instruction found elsewhere) which was the custom v4.4 ROM that i had on the phone before. i did back up some files beforehand but that wasn't necessary as all the data file on the external SD card were preserved. when i finally went to boot up i was a little nervous and thought it didn't work until it finally went to the main screen. i also had a zipped gapps package but it wouldn't install, something about not running a stock version of AOSP. i ended up installing all the google apps manually through the google store.
i sent a note to the logic board repair place on friday, they finally replied to me this morning. they said they do check the logic boards before shipping them out, and that they'd be happy to reexamine my board, with the caveat that i send them the entire laptop this time around so they could troubleshoot the whole machine. now if they told me this a month ago, i would've probably said no. send them my computer? how do i know it's not a scam? but since then, i know they can do repair work, and i already have a new laptop so i'm not so concerned about the old one. in fact, i was already ready to relegate that old MBP to the dust heap of my other defunct machines. my only concern is shipping a logic board is one thing, but an entire 2006 MBP is quite something else, and i wonder how much it's going to cost me in terms of postage. but i'm in no rush, i'm going to ship it out via USPS this time, as they seem to do the same (even though they suggest using UPS or fedex in their shipping instructions). i just need to figure out a way to package the MBP. if i'd only kept the original box instead of tossing it out last year! but good thing is i have some foam i saved from a while back, that should give me enough cushioning to keep my machine safe during transport.
i left for belmont around noontime via motorcycle as it was a nice day. i had plenty of bicycling yesterday, more than 14 miles of pedaling, i was due for a break. i didn't eat breakfast and had lunch at my parents' place, a bowl of xuelihong noodles.
afterwards i went with my parents on a supply run to the waltham market basket. it was an opportunity to test the range of the simplex repeater operating from belmont using the baofeng radio and a commercial car mounted antenna. we didn't get far - about as far as warrendale on the belmont watertown border - a straight-line distance of about 2 miles - before i couldn't hear anything back from the repeater. that's about the straight-line distance from my parents' place to my place in cambridge.
our main reason for going to the waltham market basket is to look for some jones zilch sugar-free black cherry soda for a regular customer. i'm sorry to report they didn't carry it either. we've essentially been to all the market baskets - burlington, chelsea, somerville, waltham - and came up empty, and i even went on a solo quest to the mcgrath highway stop & shop and had no luck. we did buy a small case of fiesty cherry diet coke, one of their new flavors, maybe the customer (allen) might enjoy that.
we dropped my mother back at the house before my father and i went to the cafe to drop off the supplies. we got a chance to test the baofeng with the chimney mounted DIY 2m ground plane anntena. it hit the belmont simplex repeater without any problems, both 2m and 70cm repeating back the signal loud and clear. so it's not the radio that's the problem (the baofeng is advertised as 5W but it's really 3-4W) but rather the antenna and location. my father also tried the quad band antenna mounted below the 2m ground plane: thought in close proximity, that one couldn't transmit on either 2m or 70cm. even with the baofeng stock antenna we could still reach the belmont repeater at 2m, something the quad band wasn't even able to do.
back at the house, there was nothing to do but wait for dinner. my father was in the bedroom reading/watching his tablet, my mother was knitting in the living room watching some netflix show, and i was surfing the web on my phone, before crawling onto the couch and falling asleep briefly. i had an appointment at the apple store to talk with an apple genius about the stains on my new used MBP, but i did a lot of research online and there's no way they'd fix a 5-year old computer for free; they do have a secret program to fix bad screens but it's 4 year from the purchase date. i'm fine with the screen for now, i don't see the faded areas at all when i'm working. i just have to remember that i paid $850 for a computer that should've cost $1500-2000 (even used), so i got a good bargain. a few smudges on the screen is a small price to pay.
even after having already bought a computer, i still lurk on craig's list, trying to find a better MBP deal than the one i got, and so far i haven't seen it. i still really hate the latest generation (4th) of MBP's: i think the touch bar is just a gimmick, lack of usable ports (only thunderbolts) can be frustrating, and the price is unnecessarily expensive because apple insists on using proprietary components and the name itself has now become something of a fancy name brand that can command a name brand price. i'm really starting to think the next time i buy a new laptop it's going to be a PC, just because of the selection and the cheaper cost. i'm no fan of microsoft windows, but these days of cloud computing, the user experience is mostly the same. i'm also not adversed to using a desktop machine, but once again, apple's really screwed over its traditional fanbase with strange looking circular devices that once again use proprietary components. i might think about building a desktop hackintosh though, if i can piece together something for less than $500.
after dinner i rode back to cambridge. GC has lived here for over a month and a week now, and today was the first time when he really stunk up the house with some kind of seafood stew. the smell made me gag as i quietly went through the house opening windows and turning on fans. now i'm counting down the days until he leaves, a bit over 4 weeks. it's not just the cooking smell, but also the trash, from all the shells and bones and bits of unwanted meats. last night it got so bad, i had to empty the organic compost bin. afterwards when i was rinsing out the bin in the sink, i found maggot pupae on the lid. tonight i had to do an emergency trash exorcism of the general trash, stuffed with several days rotting meats that've been cooking in the recent hot temperature. thing is he seems to be kind of immune to the terrible smells his daily cooking is producing. it makes me wonder what his alabama apartment is like.
i also broached the subject of the bathroom urine situation, asked him if he could be more careful. he apologized, it was awkward, i returned to the living room as quickly as i could while he stayed in the kitchen, watching some show on his laptop.
with the remaining daylight i went outside to water the front yard, just to get away from the fishy smell in the house. while i was at it, i also got out the step ladder from the basement and clipped off the newly emerged suckers from the middle of the locust tree outside the house. these branches emerge every summer, and if they don't get clipped eventually they block my view of the street from my living room windows.
on this second to last day of july, we narrowly avoided earning a full SREC point, less than 2kWh shy at 1248.53 kWh. we'll definitely hit that milestone tomorrow, even if it's cloudy and rainy all day (which it won't be).