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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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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Meet graph.tk, a great utility if you forgot your graphing calculator

Website: graph.tk.

It does nothing more and nothing less than you’d expect it to. Simply put, it graphs functions of all different kinds!

The interface is beautiful not because it has a thousand buttons, but because it is so simple and straight to the point. Here’s what you see when you load up the website:

In case you're wondering what that function in the right hand top corner is, it's a derivative.

You can add almost an infinite number of functions, and toggle their display via the colored checkboxes. And this isn’t your ordinary Cartesian coordinate grapher; it can even handle polar functions and inequalities! The controls are very intuitive: use your scroll wheel to zoom in and out, and left-click + drag to pan around. There’s even a screenshot option built-in to the page so that you can take a picture of your beautiful graph! The equations are displayed as you would expect to find them in a mathematics textbook (with LaTeX), and for you tech geeks, it’s built with HTML5 and it’s open source.

The only caveats to this otherwise awesome web app are that you can’t find points of intersection or roots of a function so easily… but that’s where your high school/college algebra skills come in!

I would give this app an overall rating of 9/10 (10/10 if only it had tools to find intersections/roots), and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a quick graphing calculator because they’re too lazy to go downstairs and get their backpack.

For more information, visit their about page.

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,400 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Quick Look: Über Twitter really sucks

I installed Über Twitter last night on my BlackBerry and began using it. Pardon me, but it took FOREVER to load all the tweets. I would have gotten them faster if I went to mobile Twitter. Favoriting, mentioning, and replying don’t come in a convenient toolbar at the bottom, instead, they’re crammed into the application menu along with thirty million other things. Plus, there’s ads on the top that take up a lot of space. Then, it freezes constantly and the only way to exit the app is to remove the battery and wait patiently for a 10-minute restart.

Of course, there are some good things to say about Über Twitter. It has a lot of cool features, like tweet shortening, URL shortening, and DM vew in your timeline.

Über Twitter is good for viewing tweets, but nothing else. It deserves a fine 3/10 so DON’T GET IT.

Review: Stellarium 0.10

Stellarium is a great planetarium program available at stellarium.org. In fact, it’s such a good planetarium program that it could be used with planetarium projectors. Of course, planetarium projectors have to get an image onto a dome, but Stellarium has a built-in projection method for doing that. Like the different methods to draw a map, Stellarium has a variety of methods to draw the sky, including gnomonic projection, perspective, stereographic, and a lot more.

It’s not just the projection methods that make Stellarium so versatile. Stellarium comes built in with a catalog and images of 13,226 NGC (New Galactic Catalogue) objects, art for 85/88 constellations, constellation lines, and an extensive catalogue of stars from the Messier and Hipparcos catalogues, which can be expanded, but these would be nothing without the advanced effects Stellarium has. These effects include super-realistic sunsets, sunrises, and even solar eclipses. Stellarium does a superb job at making sunsets look realistic.

In addition, this program is also very customizable. You can turn the atmosphere off and walla, the Earth’s atmosphere is taken away, allowing you to see the sun and the stars in the daytime at the same time. There’s also a setting for fog, which appears as a thin haze around the ground. You can even simulate light pollution on a scale of 1-10. Other customizations include sky culture, where you can select different constellations by cultures around the world (e.g. Chinese constellations, Maori constellations, Inuit, etc.)  You can set a custom date and time and speed through time at a minute a second or go backwards at comparable rates. You can set your location almost anywhere in the Solar System, be it at Seattle, Washington; at the south pole; in the crater on Phobos; or at Pluto.

Other cool features include:

  • Twinkling stars
  • Meteor shower simluation
  • Different landscapes
  • Find an object, which includes search suggestions
  • Scripts, which allow Stellarium to run a “mini-program”
  • Fog effects, atmosphere on/off
  • Convenient keyboard shortcuts

Stellarium is a simple and yet powerful planetarium program. It deserves a 10/10 and I recommend it to everyone.