the temperature was barely at 20 degrees this morning. although not the coldest i've experienced this season, my father called to let me know he'd be willing to pick me up for dinner in belmont. i agreed because i was too tired to bike to my parents' place in this weather. he arrived in the early afternoon and i had a suffering-free trip to belmont. even though i was in the car, i still couldn't help noticing every pothole, or collapsing snowbank, or driver carelessly opening a car door.

some dogs are built for snow but that's not the case for hailey. besides her relatively short hairs, she doesn't even have any insulating fur on her stomach. nevertheless, she still enjoys playing in the snow, and once more wouldn't come back inside the house. even when she did, she bolted back outside when nobody was looking because we forgot to lock the door.

my parents finally decided to get another HDTV, putting an end to a search that began back in the fall. they had their eye on the samsung 46" LN46C530, which since christmas almost a month ago has dropped another $100 in price. this LCD HDTV doesn't have internet apps, but since they plan on connecting it to a PC (for an HTPC setup) it doesn't matter. my mother was reluctant to try samsung again since the 40" HDTV they got over a year ago has a power supply issue (it happened close to the end of warranty, so there's no way to fix it for free). but reviews all seem to indicate that samsung is still one of the best brands. another alternative brand was LG, but it was $50 more for pretty much the same thing.

i got a ride back to cambridge in the evening. it was nice not having to bike home in the cold, but that means i didn't get a chance to burn off all that excess calories i accrued during dinner. on my doorstep was the surge protector i ordered from amazon a few days ago (apparently there's still deliveries on MLK jr. day).

i brought home my father's kindle. he's sort of fallen out of love with it soon after realizing there are virtually no chinese novels to be found through amazon. he also discovered something potentially better, a chinese knockoff of the kindle called bambook which have been advertising in the chinese newspapers. even their website is a wholesale ripoff of apple's website. but since it's a chinese product catering to a chinese audience, there are far more chinese books to be had (not sure the exact numbers, but the china market is pretty vast). it can also read back text in mandarin, which is a feature my father has mentioned more than once.

i didn't think i'd have much use for the kindle at first (other than a novelty gadget), and took it just to prevent my father from giving it away to somebody else. but the kindle is a good place to store all my manuals for various gizmos and appliances. i also added a bunch of programming and history books. it'll give me something to do during bedtime now that the cartoon network isn't showing repeats of king of the hill late at night anymore (some 2011 programming schedule change).

finally, i found a good use for that 80gb hard drive julie gave me last week: i'm using it to test a clean install of OS X 10.6. i installed it from a thumb drive that had a restored image of the system disc. there isn't too much difference between 10.5 (what i use now) and 10.6, but i was thinking about a fresh OS X install anyway, and figured might as well upgrade to the latest system. i also wanted to make sure that my work applications can still be installed onto the new system. i'm hoping switching to 10.6 will make things faster and offer more stability. nevertheless, i won't be able to make the actual transition until i'm finished with my project for client E. it's crazy to do a massive system overhaul mid-project. the final end date is still weeks away, but in the meantime i can start backing up my files for the eventual transfer and making a list of essential applications to install after the move. a switch to 10.6 will also finally allow me to install windows 7 in bootcamp.

here's the crazy cambridge weather schedule for the next 6 days (get ready for the freeze-thaw-freeze):