Restaurant review: MOD Pizza

Mod Pizza imageToday, as I was leisurely strolling on University Way NE (The Ave, as most college students refer to it), I came across an unassuming place called MOD Pizza. Since I was hungry, and in the mood for some good pizza, I decided to walk in and take a look.

Finding the entrance was the hardest part. It was on a run-down side street, instead of being in the front as one would normally expect. Once in the restaurant, though, I felt invited by the relaxed atmosphere brought about by the architecture and lighting. What really distinguished MOD was the customizability of the pizzas. For no extra cost, I added 15 of my favorite toppings from the 28 available toppings, which ranged from pepperocini peppers to Canadian bacon. Using a bit of math, choosing any of 28 available toppings produces over 268 million different pizzas!
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Get the color code of any pixel on your screen with a simple widget

Many a time I’ve stumbled across a fantastic-looking web page and wondered, “wow, what color/color scheme is that page using? I’d like to use it in my design.” Now if only I could stop wondering and start finding out…

Fortunately, the guys at SpiceBrains.com have come up with the perfect tool — Instant Eyedropper. It’s a Windows application (more like a widget for its diminuitive 415-KB size) that goes right in your system tray. It’s out of the way when you don’t need it, and ready to use when you do need it. And unlike browser addons, Instant Eyedropper worksanywhere on your screen; your color-picking isn’t limited to your browser window.
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Introducing Paint.NET: Quality meets affordability

Many a time I have come across an app, and said to myself: “That sounds like a great app! If only it didn’t cost so much money.” Of course, that sends me out looking for free alternatives, which lack in quality.

That’s why I was so glad when I came across Paint.NET. It was free, so I was initially a bit skeptical about it. As with all things though, I gave it a try. My first reaction: Looks like Photoshop, with all its sub-windows and endless menus and miles upon miles of configuration controls. To be honest, it seemed complicated.

I was willing to give myself some time to monkey around with all the buttons. Paint.NET turned out to be a really fun image editor to use! Although there were so many buttons and functions, the controls are actually quite intuitive. Everything is neatly organized, and after a while, I was no longer overwhelmed by all the features.

Some of its best features, in my opinion, include:

  • The History box which records every single one of your actions, allowing you greater control over undoing/redoing your edits
  • The countless number of cool effects in the Effects menu, such as Gaussian Blur, Oil Sketch, and … well, I’ll leave it up to YOU to explore
  • Layers
  • The ability to add new effects with plugins

There’s so much functionality built in to Paint.NET, that I give it a solid recommendation for anyone looking for a Photoshop alternative. Try it yourself, you’ll love it!

Website: http://www.paint.net/

Price: $0

Why Five Guys makes the best burgers

Though I don’t eat out much, I am a fan of burgers. Some of my friends call me weird; because I’m Asian, I’m supposed to like rice and noodles, not burgers and pizza. While there are times when I want dim sum, there are also times when I crave for a burger.

Last year, my friend told me about this place called Five Guys burgers. I thought, “oh great, another burger place.” McDonalds makes burgers and they’re good. Burger King makes burgers and they’re good. Heck, Subway makes delicious sub sandwiches. What’s the big deal with this Five Guys Burgers you’re talking about? Nevertheless, he pestered me about it almost daily, so I said to him and two other friends, “let’s go there one day for lunch.”
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Review: SamePlace Instant Messenger

Integrated clientThanks to the wide availability of Firefox addons, I can customize my browser however I want. One such addon is for instant messaging, and can be found at http://sameplace.cc. It is a sidebar addon to Firefox that is very convenient. Some services that SamePlace supports include: Continue reading “Review: SamePlace Instant Messenger”

Magic Mouse Review: Part 2

 

After testing out the Magic Mouse, I must revise what I said before. The Magic Mouse is like any regular mouse gone through Apple’s minimalism factory. It works as well as any other mouse, and there are actually buttons. In fact, the mouse is just one button. This would invalidate my comment about how there are no buttons. The click sound is also as fresh as ever.

One cool feature about the Magic Mouse is that you can scroll with momentum. It’s more like inertia, where an object keeps moving when forces stop acting on it. It’s great for applications like Safari (and it has a nice natural feel to it,) but I prefer it off since on applications like Google Earth the zoom continues even if you stop scrolling. As a side note, I like to take my hand off the mouse completely while zooming; it’s just easier that way although it causes the mouse to move just a bit. However, it’s really amazing how it’s so touch responsive; i barely have to use any pressure to operate it and i can use the zoom feature anywhere.

There was only one major bad thing. The scroll “wheel” allows for 360 degrees of freedom, but scrolling diagonally causes things to be shaky. It’s more of a combination of walking up/down stairs really fast then it is a smooth movement.

Other touch motions include swiping to go back/forth, and rotating, which didn’t appear to work. I also wish that the Magic Mouse had a pinch zoom-in/out feature, although my friend claims there’s not enough space.

However, touch technology for the price of 69 dollars still isn’t worth it. The concept is cool and it works, but not the price. I give the Magic Mouse an 8/10 but do not recommend it unless you’re one of those rich peoples.

My take on Apple's "Magic" mouse

Apple's Magic Mouse, side view
Apple's Magic Mouse, side view

When I first looked at that, I thought the thing was a base for one of the new MacBooks. It turns out that it’s a mouse or an iPhone casing. Here’s how Apple puts it:

It began with iPhone. Then came iPod touch. Then MacBook Pro. Intuitive, smart, dynamic. Multi-Touch technology introduced a remarkably better way to interact with your portable devices — all using gestures. Now we’ve reached another milestone by bringing gestures to the desktop with a mouse that’s unlike anything ever before. It’s called Magic Mouse. It’s the world’s first Multi-Touch mouse. And while it comes standard with every new iMac, you can also add it to any Bluetooth-enabled Mac for a Multi-Touch makeover. (source: http://www.apple.com/magicmouse/)

Obviously, the Magic Mouse’s main goal was to transfer touch technology first developed for the iPhone and iPod Touch to a computer mouse.

It is basically a touch-screen mouse, replacing having to click a button with just tapping the mouse.

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Honestly, the only thing I like about this mouse is its futuristic seamless design. However, it looks nothing like a mouse but more like something you would see from Star Trek or a sci-fi movie.

The disadvantages to such a mouse is that people who are fidgety tend to tap their fingers on their mouses while working. On a touch mouse like this, that can cause inadvertent clicks.

I can imagine that the mouse would also look extremely confusing. One possible scenario that derives from it’s perfect symmetricality is that a user could be holding the mouse upside down and not even know it.

I see the fact that buttons are absent as a disadvantage. It’s not all that bad, considering that you aren’t confined to a scroll wheel, but the mouse no longer simulates the clicking that users are used to. Many of us use audio clues to tell if we’ve done something or not. With the Magic Mouse these audio clues are gone.

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The Magic mouse also has a lesser curved surface than most mouses. This makes your hand flatter and thus slower at moving the mouse. Piano players, we all know that a curved hand contributes to faster movement of fingers than a flattened hand. But then again, if your hand is too curved, that can cause muscle strain. My opinion: too flat, but it just had to be that way.

Last but not least, the price is 69 dollars. That’s a bit on the pricey side, and you’re paying about 30 dollars more just to get touch features. Apple likes to call all this “life-changing,” but haven’t we lived just fine with regular mouses?

Here’s what Apple needs to do: raise up the curvature, put the buttons back, and make it more clear which side is up or down.

I give the Magic Mouse a 6/10, and I do not recommend it. Stick with the Mighty Mouse. It follows the standards more closely.

Oh, and before you go, I must mention this: I’m basing this knowledge from what I’ve seen, not what I’ve tried. I hope to go out this weekend to test the Magic Mouse to see how Magic it is.