* played around some more with the oneplus one phone * mother told me she sold 7 hats today, went home early to continue knitting more * went to market basket around 3:00 for some groceries (including a gallon of fresh apple cider) * upstairs neighbors put a christmas wreath on my door without asking first * amazon informed me my new nest thermostat arriving tomorrow * didn't turn on heat tonight because wearing norwegian wool thermal underwear pants * making some no knead bread * prosciutto cheese ravioli with spinach pasta sauce

around 6:00 i felt like making some no knead bread so i went into the kitchen to whip up some bread dough: 3 cups of bread flour, 3/4 tsp of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp of yeast, and 1-3/4 cups of lukewarm water. recipe only called for 1/4 tsp of yeast but the yeast i have in the fridge is old so i decided to double the portion. and the recipe asked for 3/4 tbsp of salt but i misread the instruction and only added 3/4 tsp. finally, recipe said only 1-1/2 cups of water, but the dough looked awfully dry so i added another 1/4 cup of water. after i mixed everything, i covered it up with plastic wrap and put it on top of my fridge (the warmest spot in the house at around 68°F) to ferment.

i started working on replacing and upgrading my thermostat wire at 10:30 this morning and didn't finish until 2:00.

step 1. pulling out all the old fasteners for the old thermostat wire: not sure when the wire itself was installed. the old honeywell thermostat was from 1998, but the wire and fasteners seem to be a bit older. i used a large pair of pliers for the grunt work, and a smaller needle-nosed pliers to pry out some stubborn fasteners.

step 2. pull up the new thermostat wire: with the old thermostat wire now free, i attached the new wire onto the old wire with some electrical tape. the trick is by pulling up the old wire, i can piggyback the new wire as well. but when i went upstairs and pulled, it seemed like i was pulling for far too long without seeing the new wire. so i went back down into the basement and saw that there wasn't much left of the old wire, that i'd pulled most of it upstairs. i pulled the old wire down again (making sure not to yank it out completely) and reattached the new wire. on my second try i finally managed to pull up the new wire, the electrical tape in tatters from getting caught on something inside the wall.

step 3. strip the new thermostat cable: i'm not an expert at wire stripping and my greatest fear was accidentally cutting the wires themselves. i first removed the outer sheath, revealing 5 color wires on the inside. i gently cut the outer sheath of the color wires, shearing off the protective covering with a simple flick afterwards. it actually wasn't all that hard and kind of fun, i could strip wires all day!

step 4. plug hole in the wall: i used a crumpled up piece of brown paper bag.

step 5. reattach nest baseplate and attach wires: with wires properly stripped, i screwed the baseplate back onto the wall and attached the wires to their respective slots. W and R are for the heater, C is the common (the whole reason why i'm switching out the wires to begin with), and G is for the fan. i didn't attach the Y because it's for switching on an A/C unit which i don't have.

step 6. secure the new thermostat wire: back downstairs, i attached the new thermostat wire to the wooden beams of the basement ceiling with new staple fasteners. i didn't want to cut the 50 ft wire to length because i didn't know how long i needed, so when the wire had to go through or over pipes and other wires, i had to pull all 50 ft of wire.

step 7. strip the other end of the thermostat cable and install: since i already practiced upstairs, stripping this end of the cable was easier this time around, after first cutting the wire to the proper length. installing it into the circuit board of the furnace was easy too. there's actually a slot for a Y cooling wire, but like i said, since i don't have an A/C unit, it's pointless to attach it, so i left it loose.

step 8. turn on the thermostat to test: i attached the nest thermostat to the baseplate and tested out the new wiring. the thermostat recognized the new wiring configuration and asked me to verify the change. because i now have a fan wire, i can turn on the furnace fan by itself without activating the heat. i checked the technical info and confirmed that thanks to the new common wire the lin now has 100mA (instead of 20mA when it was power sharing). unfortunately, the common wire didn't seem to fix the high temperature issue. i decided to wait, but after half an hour the thermostat was still reading at least 2 degrees higher than actual temperature. well, actually, the thermostat temperature readings are very accurate, because the thermostat itself was heating up a few degrees higher than the surrounding, thereby skewing its temperature reading.

i took a break to eat some lunch (some leftover pork and rice my mother gave me from last friday and some sichuan paocai) before finally deciding to call nest technical support to ask them what was up. the guy i was with on the phone had some problems hearing me, and he didn't seem to be all that knowledgeable anyway. when he heard my problem, his solution was to just return the unit (to amazon) and get a replacement. i thought i'd have to send it back to nest but they only do that once the return grace period is over and then everything falls under their 2 year warranty.

fortunately amazon has a great return policy. the only catch was i had to reinstall my old honeywell thermostat. i went downstairs to turn off the power before removing the nest. back went the old honeywell: may not have any frills but at least i know it's reliable. i packaged up the nest (fortunately i was good about keeping all the original packaging, for fear of having to return it), threw it into a box, printed out the mailing slip, and sealed everything up.

the mailman was supposed to delivery my oneplus one phone, but he didn't knock on my door when he came by to drop off some letters at my house. i was going out to drop off the returning nest, but i tracked down the mailman and asked him if he had a package for me. "yes!" he said, and pulled a package from his van, which i signed for. this saved me from having to go down to the post office and ask them about my shipment. i went to the UPS store on mass ave to drop off the amazon return, then biked to belmont for dinner, with my unopened oneplus one in my bag.

i was imagining the oneplus one (OPO) arriving in a box, but it was just a shipping envelope. however, the box was inside. 2 boxes actually, one for the phone, and one for the charger. there was also a screen protector i'd purchased as well. the packaging the phone came in was a sealed cardboard box with a ripcord you'd pull to open it. inside, another box (white), which contained yet another box (red) which slid out. impressive packaging, although a bit wasteful.

the OPO wasn't as big as i'd imagined. at 5.5" it's bigger than my 5" phone, but it seems smaller because it's actually much thinner. i turned on the phone which still had more than 40% battery life. OPO runs cyanogenmod, which feels a lot like android's stock OS, just with a lot more customization. looking at phone, i realized i was unlucky enough to receive an OPO that had a slight yellow tint at the bottom of the screen. it doesn't bother me too much, it's only really noticeable when i pull up a webpage that uses a lot of white. the back has a nice sandpaper like finish. the phone had that new gadget smell. i was curious about the camera performance. photos seem very bright and sharp, but i think that has more to do with the larger and higher resolution screen. the gps seems to be very responsive, finding my position right away on google map (but this may also be just a functionality of the OS; compared this with my V975, which 99% of the time can't pinpoint my location).

after dinner i quickly hurried home so i could play with my new phone.

it's ironic i got a GSM phone when i can't even use it because verizon is my carrier. i'm actually under a family plan with my parents and sister and aunt. there was a time when we were no longer under contract, but my sister in her infinite wisdom mucked everything up when she decided to upgrade her blackberry to an iphone and signed a 2 year contract. that wouldn't be a big deal except her phone broke at one point so she signed another 2 year contract using my mother's name for a new iphone, and then last year she lost her iphone and used my aunt's name to sign another 2 year contract for yet another iphone (but she eventually found her lost phone). we may have to wait at least another year before we can switch to either AT&T or t-mobile, and the account is under my sister's name, but she doesn't want to switch because verizon has the best nationwide coverage (and the most expensive).

first thing i did when i got home was to test and see if the OPO worked with the HTC Re camera. the app was able to see the camera at least, but couldn't establish a connection after that point. so i have no choice but to return it, or maybe try to get an exchange if they can do that. i really like the camera, i just wish it'd work with my phones/tablets!

cyanogenmod's launcher - trebuchet - seemed a little boring, so i installed the google now launcher (GNL). i didn't have to jump through hoops like i did when i installed GNL on my hisense sero 7 pro or the teclast P89 G3. once i downloaded GNL, the OS gave me the option to choose which launcher i wanted to use as my default. the only real good reason to use GNL is the voice activated searching.

5.5in screen means less eye strain. i'm not actually getting anymore information on the screen, it's more like everything is scaled slightly larger. in a perfect world, maybe i would've gone with a 5in screen if they had that option.

the thing with OPO and cyanogenmod and GNL is that they're nothing new, i've already played with a lot of the features when i upgraded my sero 7 pro tablet to android 4.4.2. just that now i'm playing with it in a smaller but more portable size. my V975 phone is still on 4.2 and there doesn't seem to be anymore upgrade hopes for that device.

i decided to go back to the cyanogenmod trebuchet launcher, just to see if there was anything else i could play with. what i didn't realize this before, but there's a whole suite of customization options hidden on the wallpapers-widgets-themes panel. things like hiding the search bar, changing the scroll effects, removing icon labels, adjusting the grid layout, altering the icon size, etc. that's when i fell in love with cyanogenmod. and i couldn't believe that this was a free android distribution! it's so polished and functional, i'm really surprise it isn't already a part of google. once you've experienced cyanogen, you'll never want to go back to plain vanilla stock android ever again.

OPO has other fun things as well: in the built-in camera app, i can make the power button into a shutter button. unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any way to turn off the shutter sound, but it's an easy fix (just turn off the volume). speaking of the camera, it can also be activated when the phone is off by drawing a circle gesture on the screen. likewise, making a v-shape turns on the flashlight; photos are geotagged, not sure how i feel about that. cool when i'm out and about, but not so cool for strangers to find out where i live; the cyanogenmod camera app is très cool, but that doesn't mean i'm giving up the google camera. for one thing, the CM camera doesn't do panoramas as well as the google camera. google camera also has neat camera tricks like photo spheres; the OS comes with 2 themes (stock android and cyanogenmod), with the option to add more except none of them are free (is this a oneplus store?); customization options on CM is pretty sweet. i can pretty much tweak everything to my heart's content; the order of the physical navigation buttons on the OPO is reversed to what i'm used to - prefs-home-return - instead of return-home-prefs. i thought this would mess me up but i hardly even notice. besides, if it really bugs me, i can deactivate the physical buttons and enable on-screen buttons instead - in which case i can rearrange the navigation buttons in whichever order i want.

it was weird being back on a manual thermostat. i do miss the ability to adjust the temperature and to check my detailed heating history. i also had the nest thermostat long enough that it already learned my routine and was adjusting the temperature on its own. i really hope the replacement nest will work, but even if it doesn't, if it's off by just 2 degrees, i think i can live with it just for the convenience of having a wifi-enabled self-adjusting smart thermostat.

* installed the rear bike light bracket with the screws and nuts i purchased yesterday, discovered that the wire braces of my rear basket had come undone * patriots overrun the dolphins after a slow first half * a check of my oneplus one package revealed it's already at the cambridge post office, waiting to be delivered tomorrow * SM tells me she already found a new job starting in march, working for korean conglomerate SK group at the free trade zone district of greater chongqing city

i rode my bike down to boston for my dental follow-up appointment. it was cold enough that i wore my puffy winter jacket with a hooded sweatshirt on the inside. once i was within the city limit, i noticed the increased police presence everywhere. it must be in anticipation of some kind of weekend protest event, but i didn't notice anything. even in the sky, there were several helicopters buzzing overhead. when i got to lincoln street, a crowd of cops were crowding around the entrance to the underground expressway.

there was two receptionists at the oral surgeon office, the pretty blonde who's usually there, and an asian girl. a nurse whom i've never seen before brought me to an examination room. i was there to just my stitches taken out. the collagen layer had already fallen out (the dentist warned me about that), first in little hard crumbs, then finally a large soft glob that completely dislodged on thursday. doctor chan easily removed the stitches in one long painful pull. "all set!" he told me. i asked if i could go back to my regular diet. "stay away from carbonated drinks for another week," he said. he also told me to come back in 4 months to check on the progress of the bone implant.

i went to the chinese supermarket across the street before going home. the strap to my cambodian-purchased north face knockoff bag finally broke. i'm just glad it didn't happen while i was riding, even though there was nothing in the bag. fortunately i could put everything into the rear racks of my bike, although i made sure to pad some of the vegetables with my hooded sweatshirt.

to get from chinatown to across the longfellow bridge involved a detour that took me over beacon hill. i noticed the police presence again, but in front of the state house things were pretty quiet, and across boston common i could see people casually ice skating on frog pond. were the police just being caution just in case?

back at home, i took a few minutes to cool down, before grabbing my things and headed out to belmont on the bike. that was 4.5 miles into boston, and then 4.5 miles back, followed by another 3 miles to belmont (carrying a heavy backpack by that point), for a total of 12 exhausting miles. as soon as i got in the house, my mother told me they lost power.

i tried calling belmont electricity a few times, but just got an earful of muzak. i knew the blackout was pretty widespread because all the wifi networks in the area were missing when i pulled down the network services menu on my phone. my mother was knitting in the living room, reading instructions from some patterns she managed to print out. my father was in the bedroom reading on his phone. i was looking over the video i shot with the HTC re camera of my bike trip back from boston. later i helped my mother empty out the jar of sichuan paocai i gave her on thursday.

what a relief when the power finally came back on an 1:30 later.

out of curiosity, i logged into the oneplus website to check the status of my phone order. i was surprised to see it had already shipped, from california no less, the city of industry. weren't they supposed to contact me when this happened? i wasn't too disappointed though, since it meant the phone would be arriving soon.

later i found out on the news that there was a protest in boston today. demonstrators tried to get onto the expressways in order to block traffic but they were stopped by the police. i'm not sure if the protesters are enduring people to their cause with these civil disobedience acts. even though they didn't manage to get onto the highways, the fact that they blocked the exit ramps caused lengthy traffic jams coming in and out of the city.

after some turkey rice noodle soup for dinner (coupled with some sichuan paocai), my father and i went down to the watertown home depot to look for parts: i was searching for some nuts and screws to attach my rear light bracket, my father was looking for faucet connector hoses. he also bought some new fluorescent tube bulbs for the cafe.

back at home i tried to find a suitable ROM for the teclast P89 G3 8-core tablet pc + phone i bought in china. unfortunately it's not very popular, and i was only able to find one ROM. the tablet itself has some pretty amazing specs, but there's something wrong with the OS that prevents google services from working correctly. i may try rooting it first, that make fix the problem without having to reinstall a new ROM.

i was down in the basement investigating how my old thermostat cable is connected from the thermostat on the first floor down into the furnace. i noticed on the control board of the furnace that there are actual additional connectors for Y2, G, and C cables. if i go ahead and upgrade my thermostat cable to 5 cables instead of the current 2 cables, that means i'll be able to take advantage of these extra connections. i think at the very least i can switch on the furnace fan without turning on the heat, kind of like a poor man's central air conditioning during the summer months.

i was going to ride my bike up to the somerville home depot, but my mother wanted to get more yarn from ac moore so she could give me a ride in the afternoon after work. she brought along my 2nd aunt as well so we could individually use a 50%-off-one-item coupon.

i went to home depot first, my mother and aunt waiting in the car. i was going to buy some nuts for my bike light bracket but i forgot to bring the screw for a fitting. a package of 50ft 18/5 thermostat cable was $21.58, more expensive than the $15 price i saw online (later i checked, the online price was a web exclusive, but the item wouldn't be available until the end of the month). i also got a 100pak package of wire staples for $2.91

after a yarn run at ac moore, we went next door to the christmas tree shop to do some browsing. they still had those bormioli rocco fido jars, but fewer selection and placed on a high shelf in order to make way for holiday items.

as my gum is still healing from the tooth extraction, my dentist told me i couldn't drink anything carbonated. that even rules out seltzer water, my usual favorite if i want something cold and refreshing. i ended up going to star market and buying a carton of almond milk on sale ($2.99). i've never had almond milk before, it's actually not too bad. i drank that while having the rest of my leftover fried chicken for dinner.

i finally finished the hollow book i'm giving my sister as a belated birthday present. i was very careful with the cutting, going through a total of 4 x-acto knife blades. i also starting cutting from the back as soon as i reached the midway point of the book, so it'd finally meet in the center. it took me just little over an hour to cut through final half the book, so i wonder why it took me so long to get through the first half? i glue-sealed the inside of the pages and attached it to the back cover of the book.

it's been more than 3 weeks since i last contacted next step living about insulation work for my walls. my agent stella said she'd get in touch with me in about a week with a contract to sign to get the service started, so that's long overdue. they finally got in touch with me: apparently stella left the company, and my account went into limbo. they apologized and assigned me a new agent. she called me later, said that a new contract would be drafted next week.

in the afternoon i went with my parents on a lengthy supply run: restaurant depot, chelsea market basket, everett michael's, costco. after dropping things off at the cafe, i went with them to belmont to have some supermarket-purchased fried chicken for dinner. i also left behind a fermenting jar of sichuan paocai (jar 1). i got a ride back to cambridge.

the nest thermostat was on the heating setting (70°) when i got back home around 8:30, but the temperature inside the house was 57°. did it somehow recognize there was nobody at home, and not turn on the heat on purpose? in any case, a few minutes after i got back, i suddenly felt the furnace kick in. i'm still not sure if the thermostat is working properly or not. i'll give it a few more days before i call tech support. i also need to get to home depot for some thermostat wires. i wanted to go today but didn't have enough time. if it isn't raining tomorrow, i'll bike up to the somerville store and get some.

my turquoise rocks arrived today. i bought it through ebay a few weeks ago, from a seller in china. i got it on a whim, based on the fact that i wanted to get some turquoise when i was in western sichuan, but they were all drilled for beading, none natural.

i rolled across the bed to casually check my phone 10:20 this morning. i noticed an e-mail from oneplus, and sort of had an idea of what it could be about: "starting today...purchase the oneplus one...no invite needed!...while supplies last." i'd already missed the black friday special because i waited too long before deciding to buy. this time around, one a few seconds of contemplation before i clicked to buy. the main thing that still bugs me about the oneplus one (OPO) is the 5.5" screen size. maybe i'll love it because i'm using a 5.0" phone already, and i've never had a smaller sized smartphone so i've only known 2 handed smartphone usage. but will a 5.5" fit in my pocket? 5.0" is already a struggle. will it look like i'm carrying around an awkward tablet pc in my pants? a 5.5" still isn't 6.0", and i've seen in practice, and a 6.0" phone is humongous (wangyan had one in china).

ordering the phone forced me to get out of bed. because the OPO phone doesn't have a microSD slot, i opted for the larger memory version of the phone, the 64GB black sandstone for $349. i also added a premium screen protector for $5.99. finally there was $14.34 for shipping; such a weird amount of change, so i think the order may be coming from overseas, as in china, because my paypal payment was to a da sheng international trade company.

it wasn't raining this morning when i pulled up the blinds in the living room, but soon afterwards it started again. nothing like the heavy rainfalls of yesterday, but still a nuisance, and still enough to keep me indoors.

i continued to play around with my newly upgraded tablet pc. the google camera app is one of my favorites. i tried the panorama, which is much better than on my ZTE V975; on that one, the panorama never makes a complete 360° and the final result is a very small image. google panorama does a complete turn and the photo is fullsize. i also tried lens blur, manufactured bokeh using some sort of photo trickery involving taking multiple versions of the same photo. google voice is also fun, although i've used it before on this tablet with the old ROM. i also installed some streaming video apps, like HBO Go. i actually forgot that i have an HBO subscription (part of my comcast package). i never use it before only a few channels are in HD, and i've grown so used to not having HBO, i always forget it's there. i'm happy to learn i can watch a lot of my favorite series, like game of thrones, true detective, and rome.

i went to go check my jars of fermenting paocai in the early evening and was horrified to realize that at least one of the jars was leaking from the built up of pressurized carbon dioxide. it leaked all over the counter and dribbled onto the rug. no! paocai juice is very pungent, but thankfully it only got to the edge of the rug. i spent some time scrubbing the rug with some bac-out odor eliminator solution and warm water, hoping to at the very least get rid of the smell. i then went ahead and uncapped the 2 jars of sichuan paocai - very slowly to prevent the releasing gases from exploding. this must be very good paocai because there was some serious fermentation happening, with each jars bubbling up like it was boiling. i tried a few pieces and they're ready to eat already, just 8 days after i first sealed them.

i let the nest thermostat drive itself tonight. around 7:00 it fired up the heater. it did that weird thing again where it stopped before reaching the intended temperature, even though it was still saying it was heating in the display. i went online to look for solutions, and saw a posting from a nest tech in one of the forums saying this was normal behaviour, just a way to protect the furnace from overheating itself by giving it time to cool back down. that makes sense, so i'm not worried about the heat stopping midway problem anymore (actually not a problem). the temperature still got to the intended target eventually. the 2 degrees higher than normal temperature issue though, that's still up in the air. that will involve a bit of rewiring work, i'll need to visit home depot to get the necessary wires. but the good news is i took a closer look at the energy rebate, and it looks like i should be able to get back $100, which means this thermostat only cost me $100 instead of $200 (still a chunk of change, but a 50% reduction).

i actually didn't eat too much today. yesterday my father brought over some pastries, and i ate one for lunch and then one for dinner. i supplemented my evening meal with some pizza rolls (that's how i found out about the leak), then a bit of ice cream, followed by some rice pudding.

my father came to my house at 11:00 to deliver some food my parents bought yesterday on our flushing chinatown trip. of course i was still asleep at the time (went to bed at 4:00 last night), but got up to open the door.

today was a day of non-stop rain, which washed away the bit of snow that fell last night. not some drizzle, but a daylong deluge, hard cold rain. i heard it pelting the house all day, periodically checking my windows to see if any of the rain had seeped into the house.

all this heavy rain meant i couldn't go outside today. not that i would've gone anywhere except to the supermarket for my weekly food supplies. but i already had food delivered so a market basket run wasn't urgent.

it also got real dark real soon, and i already had the lights on by around 2:30. evening time quickly enough, and at 6:00 i turned on the heat. the nest did something strange though: at the midway point it just stopped at around 65°F when i had it set to 70°F. i didn't notice at first, but when i noticed it was still cold, i went to check the thermostat. the reading on display said it was heating, but the furnace wasn't doing anything. i played around with it a little bit before finally the furnace kicked in again. was it just my imagination? but it seems like this is the third time it's happened on consecutive days. last night when i got back i set it to 60° (it was already 50° inside the house), and like today, it just stopped at the midway point, before playing around with the thermostat got it to work again.

this nest thermostat seems to be giving me more headaches than it's worth. the company's been doing a publicity blitz recently, with tv commercials and print advertisements (e.g. all around south station), but every time i see one of their ads, i feel a little sour. the nest isn't all that great! i'm still debating whether or not i should return mine.

i finally replaced the ROM on my circa 2013 hisense sero 7 pro (M470BSA)1. at the time (just last year!) it was probably the best tablet for the money (just $149) that not too many people knew about because it was a brand2 nobody had ever heard before and only sold at walmart. the specs: 7.0" 1280x800, NVIDIA tegra 3 quad core 1.3Ghz, 1GB/8GB, 5/2M camera, microSD card, NFC, GPS, mini HDMI out, android 4.2. it shares a lot of similar guts with the nexus 7, but at half the price (and with a few extras, like an expandable microSD slot).

this would've been the tablet for anyone looking to hack around with android, except for one thing: hisense never released the kernel source (even though under the agreement of android usage they're supposed to), so without being able to see what's under the hood, it's difficult to create working ROM's for the device. nevertheless, i managed to find a stable ROM based on android 4.4.4 called dopa 2.6.

i had the installation instructions for weeks now, but just never got around to doing it. it was actually pretty painless, first flashing philz touch recovery tool onto the device by using fastboot on a pc (through bootcamp running windows 7 on my macbook pro) via an ADB USB driver. i actually got stuck a little bit because it was missing things like the AdbWinApi.dll, until i realized there were other parts to the fastboot.exe and i had to have all those additional files in the same directory. once i figured that out, it was a cinch getting philz onto the sero. i then made a back up of my ROM before erasing the device and installing dopa 2.6. i also tried installing google apps but it wouldn't install, something about needing to reformat the system partition, and how gapps had to be installed on top of preexisting gapps. finally, i installed a spoof that makes google play thinks i have a nexus 7 instead of a sero 7 pro. with that i rebooted and started up with dopa.

there were a few new things i wanted to try out. i went to the google play store and was able to download all the google apps i needed that i was otherwise trying to install via the gapps. i noticed the goggle camera app was available so i installed and played around with it. photosphere is one of the coolest features. i first saw a demonstration of it back in china, when lihui showed me on his nexus 5 phone.

all the apps i wanted i could download, with a few exceptions. i couldn't find the htc camera app, which i guess you need to have an htc device in order to use. that makes sense. what didn't makes sense was baidu map said my sero wasn't compatible with its app. it couldn't be because of the android version, because i managed to install it on my V975 running 4.2. that one was a weird one, but i managed to extract the apk from my phone and copy-installed it onto the sero without any problems.

i tried the htc re app (that was one htc app i could download). once again, it wasn't able to find the camera via bluetooth. it didn't work on the ipad 2 (iOS 8), it didn't work on the teclast P89 3G tablet (android 4.4), and now it doesn't work with the upgraded sero 7 pro. without the app, the re camera is sort of pointless. i love the physical design of the thing, but if it doesn't work, i may just have to return it.

for lunch and dinner i had some honey duck and bread from flushing chinatown. the duck was very good - a delectable smokiness. the only thing i didn't like was a bit of the fatty skin (would've been amazing if the skin was crispy, a la peking duck style). i finished the last of my vanilla milk (i added the leftover vanilla seed pod shell into a gallon of milk) but i think it must've gone bad because a few hours later i was in the bathroom with existential stomach cramps and a terrible case of diarrhea.

i played around with dopa 2.6 on the sero 7 pro the rest of the night. still bothered that i wasn't able to install the gapps from the installer package, even though in the end it didn't matter because i could install all the google apps manually via the google store. but i decided to re-erase the ROM and reinstall dopa again. i was also curious to find out the difference between a nexus 7 spoof device versus the authentic sero 7 pro. ROM re-installed without any problems, but the gapps still wouldn't install even though i made sure to format the system partition. i gave up at that point and rebooted into the tablet. i didn't apply the nexus 7 spoof this time so the store recognized my device as a sero 7 pro, but i didn't notice any difference, and i still managed to re-install all the apps i wanted. baidu map still didn't work for some strange reason, but i just installed it from an external apk instead, no problem.

dopa 2.6 is essentially the stock android OS 4.4. one thing i didn't like was there 5 pages in the launcher, and you couldn't erase the pages you weren't using (this was the case with the original 4.2 OS that came with the tablet). in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, missing was the screen capture button found on the original ROM. i don't think i'll miss it, i'd always accidentally hit it and take a photo of the screen. one thing i discovered was no easy option to save things onto the external memory card. for example, photos are saved in the internal memory instead. not sure how the original ROM handled this problem, but on my ZTE V975 phone, all my photos are saved externally. other than being able to install the camera and re apps, i didn't really notice too much difference than before. the dopa 2.6 comes with gravitybox. it didn't work at first, until i figured out i had to update and activate it in the xposed installer app. after a reboot, i could tweak the OS however i wanted via gravitybox.

later i switched the launcher to google go instead of the default android launcher. the problem i ran into was i didn't have a home option in my settings even though i was running 4.4.4. but after i downloaded a different launcher (MIUI emulation), it showed up, giving me the option to pick which launcher i wanted. i tossed the MIUI launcher, erased google go, reinstalled it, and got it to work finally. i like google go's minimalist approach, especially since it will only give me just enough pages for my apps (in my case just one page). i've always been very against google's domination of everything online, how it can target you with advertisement based on your browsing experience. but it seems like a lost cause at this point, and i finally gave myself up completely to the google ecosystem experience. there is something convenient about surfing on my computer, and then going to my tablet or phone and having those same pages opened. as much bad i think google's hegemony is, there are also some good as well.

1 the hisense sero 7 pro has been discontinued. there's currently a sero 8, which is a far inferior tablet in my opinion. it's just a smidgen faster (1.4Ghz), but on all other specs it's just less than the sero 7 pro: 2.0/0.3MP cameras, larger screen but same resolution as the sero 7 pro, missing NFC and GPS. it is however cheaper, at only $129, but new/refurbished sero 7 pro can be found online for less than that amount.

2 hisense is a chinese brand, which i occasionally saw in china in the form of HDTV's.

despite catching the 6am megabus to new york city, it took us 6 hours to get there because our bus broke down midway. that meant we only had 6 hours to roam around the city before catching the 6pm megabus coming back to boston. our bus didn't break down but we spent an hour and a half stuck in traffic because of an accident. we didn't arrive in south station until midnight, 6 hours after we left manhattan.