Tag Archives: favorites

Favorite Things: Mexican Coke

Mexican Coke

Seeing the words Made in America makes my heart swell with pride. I can’t help but think of the hard-working men and women who made this country great and the amazing goods we’ve manufactured right here throughout our nation’s history.

The words Hecho en Mexico, however, often conjure up different imagery—I think of cheap souvenirs and the gift to the world that is Mexican Coke.

Mexican Coke

I’m not a huge soda drinker and I usually prefer a root beer over a cola. However, there’s just something about that real (cane) sugary goodness of a Mexican Coke that I find undeniably refreshing. It tastes so good! That’s why a nice cold (glass) bottle of Mexican Coke is one of my favorite things.

The Most Interesting Man Drinks Mexican Coke

Have you ever had a Mexican Coke? No!?!? Stop reading this, go out, and buy one! What did you think? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

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Favorite Things: Mondo Solitaire

Windows Solitaire on Mac

Windows has shipped with a decent solitaire since time immemorial, but if you’re a Mac user you’ve typically had to go out and find one. When I switched from Windows to Mac several years ago I embarked on a quest to find (if not the best than at least) a decent version of the classic 52 card game for one.

Burning Monkey Solitaire was a cutesy collection of solitaire games, but it got annoying quickly. I also tried my hand at multiple variants of PySol, the venerable Open Source solitaire game engine, but they were too Linuxy (you know, ugly) for my taste.

MondoSolitaire

After years of searching, I finally found the perfect solitaire implementation for Mac—Mondo Solitaire by longtime Mac Developer, Ambrosia Software.

Mondo Solitaire Klondike

Ambrosia has been making quality Mac apps and games for nearly 20 years and they really nailed it with Mondo. The game is beautiful. The animations are effective without being distracting. Card decks are good looking and playing surface is too.

Preferences - Appearance

Mondo ships with hundreds of solitaire variations—not that you’ll be playing more than a handful of them . From familiar favorites like Klondike, FreeCell, Golf, and Spider to some more obscure gamestyles like Devil’s Garden, Miss Milligan, and Will o’ the Wisp there are plenty of options to keep you busily entertained.

Mondo Solitaire - Golf

Mondo Solitaire is available for Mac OS X and can be purchased via the Mac App Store or directly from Ambrosia Software and costs $9.99. A version of Mondo Solitaire is also available for the iPad and iPhone and sells for $5.99 and $4.99, respectively.

Mondo Solitaire - FreeCell 2

Forgive the hyperbole, but Apple should license Mondo Solitaire and bundle it with every Mac, iPad, and iPhone they ship. They’d sell a lot more devices to grandparents than they currently do.

What’s your favorite Solitaire game? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Favorite Things: iCade by Ion Audio

The iCade by Ion Audio started life as an elaborate hoax by the fine folks over at ThinkGeek. Real world demand was so high for this mini arcade wonder for Apple’s tablet that ThinkGeek paired up with Ion Audio to bring it to life.

I wanted an iCade even before I had an iPad. And after owning one for several months it’s become one of my favorite things.

DSC_0563

The iCade pairs with your iPad as a BlueTooth keyboard. It has an extremely authentic and functional joystick along with real, honest-to-goodness analog buttons. Best of all, they nailed it on looks—the iCade cabinet looks like it could have come straight out of your local pizza joint.

Touch controls have ushered in a whole new UI for gameplay mechanics. These new controls aren’t necessarily the best for platformers or traditional arcade games; they still work best with physical controls.

As for games, the iCade is no slouch in that respect. At present count there are over 400 games with support for the iCade with more being added all the time. A complete list compatible games can be found here.

DSC_0570

If you get an iCade your first download should be Atari’s Greatest Hits. It’s free and comes with a couple of vintage hits from their catalog. Classics like Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Breakout, and more can be purchased in-app.

Another must-buy, Midway Arcade, recently added iCade support. For a $0.99 it comes with 10 games including such arcade staples as Joust and Defender. I spent the extra buck via in-app-purchase to add Gauntlet and Gauntlet II (“Red Wizard needs food, badly!”) and Wizards of Wor.

I’m happy to say that the iCade works as advertised. It’s a retrogaming powerhouse that takes me back to a time when I couldn’t get enough quarters to pump into the local arcade.

As much as I’d like to, I doubt I’ll ever own an actual arcade cabinet. For under a hundred dollars (plus the cost of an iPad) the iCade is the next best thing. You can buy an iCade from ThinkGeek.

What games would like to see on the iCade? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Favorite Things: DODOcase for iPad 2

DODOcase Sticker

Sleek. Elegant. Sophisticated.

You could use those three words to describe the DODOcase for iPad 2, but then I’d be forced to call you a pretentious schmuck.

As soon as I got my iPad 2 I knew exactly which case I wanted for it—the DODOcase. I’d read the glowing reviews about it on blogs like Engadget and TUAW, but (more importantly) it fit my own personal criteria. I wanted an iPad case that would do the following:

  1. Look great
  2. Protect the front and back of my iPad
  3. Not announce to the entire world that I have an iPad

I’m happy to report that the DODOcase succeeds on all counts.
For the uninitiated, the DODOcase looks like a large Moleskine notebook.

DODOcase Front

DODOcases are made using traditional bookbinding processes right here in the good old US of A. The do a fantastic job of telling their own story here.

For about six months I’ve been extremely satisfied with my DODOcase purchase. The other day, however, I noticed that the bamboo frame of the case had a large crack in one of the corners and was precariously close to falling off completely.

I wrote a quick note to customer service describing the issue and explaining my concern that the case hadn’t lasted longer. I also and attached the image below to my note.

IMG00124-20120103-1733

One minute later, I had a response. That’s not a typo. That’s not an exaggeration. Let me say it again. One minute later, I had a response.

The email was from a real, live human being who apologized for the problem, thanked me for sending them the picture and provided full resolution in their first communication.

The customer service agent advised me that super glue might work, but also offered to send me a replacement. I chose the latter and three days later I had my new DODOcase.

DODOcase Bookplate

DODOcase Bookplate

Ever since advent of overseas call centers fueled by large corporations’ rise in apathy over the care of the people who buy their products and services we have come to expect poor customer service. Sadly, a company that cares about those who pay its bills is the exception and not the norm.

DODOcase is that exception. They are the Nordstroms of iPad cases. They sell fine products at a premium, but not only are you getting an excellent product, more importantly, you know that they will stand by their products and treat you right.

I’ll warrant that my DODOcase gets at least as many stares as my iPad itself. Everyone compliments me on my handsome notebook and if when they get the chance to look inside they’re even more impressed.

Are you willing to pay more for a premium product or premium customer service? Have you found a company or product you like that offers both? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

The Good Word: Mahalo

Plumeria Waimea
Plumeria Waimea via Tropic-7‘s flickr.

We just returned from a week in paradise on beautiful Waikiki Beach. In what will surely go down in history as one of our all-time favorite vacations we swam with fish and sea turtles, visited the Polynesian Cultural Center, and lounged around some of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever seen.

Before I’d ever been to Hawaii I always thought that their word was Aloha. And it is. But, now I know that they have another word (they have an entire language, I know), Mahalo, which I like even more.

Mahalo means “thank you” in Hawaiian, but it has much more feeling than that. I don’t know what it is, but to me it always sounds like a more sincere, but cheerful thank you.

mahalo-logo2
Logo for Mahalo, courtesy of Business Insider.

And so, Mahalo joins a growing list of non-English words that I use in everyday conversation. I love the way it sounds and feels.

So, to my family I say Mahalo for joining me on this adventure.

Mahalo, to my grandparents for lending us their fantastic condo.

Mahalo, to the fine folks at ABC Stores for selling me milk at $10 a gallon and bananas for a buck each.

Mahalo, to anyone who has read this far into this post.

Mahalo, to those of you who will leave a comment.

Swimming with the Sea Turtles
Image via my flickr.

If you’re one of the over 300 million Americans who have never been to Hawaii, there’s time to change that—make plans to go! You’ll give me a big Mahalo when you get back for sure!

Are there any non-English words you use? If so, which ones? What do they mean? Sound off in the comments below.

Favorite Word

Evil Spock

Doppelgänger might just be my favorite word ever. I’m always looking for excuses to work it into conversation. This is no small feat, mind you. In order to say it, you not only need to know what it means, but you usually need to have seen one.

Not sure what a doppelgänger is? Here’s what Dictionary.app has to say about it:
Dictionary.app Doppelganger
But, according to Wikipedia, it has also come to mean “any double or look-alike of a person.”

So, why am I so crazy about this word? I’ll sum it up in three reasons:

  • Quite simply, I like the way it sounds.
  • You know the two little dots (¨) above the ‘a’? They’re called an umlaut. Everything rocks a little bit harder with an umlaut—just ask Motörhead, Hüsker Dü, or Mötley Crüe,
  • Finally, because doppelgängers themselves are cool, they can be a fun story–telling device. Mario has Wario. Mr. Spock, Cartman, and Bender each have their very own “evil twin” complete with a warped sense of reality and the requisite goatee. Superman has Bizarro, and Jerry Seinfeld has wait for it) Bizarro Jerry

Now you know my favorite word. If we ever have a conversation and I use it, know that I am enjoying it and that I took great pains to work it into the discussion.

What’s your favorite word? Why? Sound off in the comments below.