Category Archives: reviews

Nothing Like a Good Faucet

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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I love kitchens. I don’t know what it is about them, but I love great kitchens. It’s not because I’m some wunder-chef (far from it!). I just love the ambience of a good kitchen. Whenever you go to a party in someone’s home, isn’t that where people congregate? Or just on a daily basis, think about how much time we spend in our kitchens.

But there’s one thing in particular that I really appreciate within a kitchen and that’s the faucet. I have this thing with faucets. Here’s my favorite:

Dornbracht Kitchen Faucet with Sprayer

It’s made by a company called Dornbracht. You just have to feel this faucet in your hands. It’s extraordinary. Someone once told me that they’re the company that all the other faucet companies copy. This one (pictured above), the Tara Classic, won a couple of awards for design and quality excellence.

They also do faucets for bathrooms.

Dornbracht Bathroom Faucet

Speaking of bathrooms, I have the same attraction to faucets in bathrooms, particularly in restaurants. If the bathrooms have a great faucet, I’ll leave with a smile on my face. They can be so cool, you know? Sometimes substantial and strong, stylish and gorgeous.

Aaaah, there’s just nothing like a good faucet.

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Filed under design, family, photos, reviews

Free Rice – A Site with a Purpose

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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I’m so excited about a website our friends told us about last night.

It’s called Free Rice and it looks like this:

Free Rice Home Page

It’s great for your (older) kids, but don’t be surprised if you join in and try it, too. But be warned: it might be hard to stop.

Here’s how it works:

They give you a word and four other words beneath it. Then, you choose which of the four words most accurately defines or describes the first word. The site tracks each right answer and increases the degree of difficulty to keep you (or your kids) at the right level.

But here’s the best part: for each right answer, they’ll* donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Wanna try it?

Just click the picture (below) or go to freerice.com.

Free Rice - A Site with a Purpose - for Your Kids!

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*The rice is paid for by adverstisers/sponsors of the Free Rice website. So you don’t have to contribute a cent. It’s fun! Give it a try! And I’m not getting anything for telling you about it either. I just think it’s cool and worth a look!

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Filed under Children, Education, Entertainment, family, Fun, reviews

Best New Web Community – cre8Buzz!!

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Well, at least that’s what I think…

And I hope you do, too! Cre8Buzz has been nominated for a Mashable Open Web Award in the category, “Best Niche or Miscellaneous Social Network.” So, please support this wonderful community by clicking on this button, scrolling down until you see that category and voting for cre8Buzz. It’s that easy!

Mashable Award Button

If you haven’t heard about cre8Buzz yet, it’s a community of interesting people who are not primarily young folks in college. It includes moms & dads, political pundits, talented writers, photographers, hobbyists and so much more.

Cre8Buzz has opened up a whole new world to me as a blogger. It’s a world of supportive, funny, interesting people who are interested in the substance of my blogs and who will tell me what they think (good or bad) about what I have to say. I can count on the members of that community to comment on my posts, listen to my radio show and just ask me how I’m doing on any particular day.

I’ve seen nothing like it on the web. I’m so grateful to have become a part of cre8Buzz and would love to show my support in any way I can. If you have something to share, check it out and see what you think. If you’d like to join, let me know and I can hook you up with an invitation. Or, if you don’t want to join but you like what you see, please vote (just click on that button!).

Thanks for your support!!

For more info and a better description of the Buzz, you’ve got to click here to read Piper of Love’s post on her blog called, “Bliss in Bloom.”

12 Comments

Filed under Awards, Fun, reviews, Thoughts

Responding to iPhone Criticisms

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Go to the end of the post for an update about the iPhone (as of 1/16/08) or click here to view the Keynote Address given by Steve Jobs at the Macworld Expo 2008.

I’m surprised to hear some moms criticizing the iPhone, saying that it doesn’t have enough features.

Are you kidding me??

It is a phone, after all, and some people want it to do everything that every other device can do. Talk about demanding.

It might not have video capability, but please! You can take fairly decent photos with it. You can also, by the way, use the photos you take as the photo identification in your contacts – cool! Okay, many phones do that now, but with the iPhone’s large screen, I can actually see these photos, unlike my old tiny little cell phone.

Another comment I heard is that someone wanted to be able to read books in it (i.e., to have it function as an e-reader, too!). Come on now. I think that’s absolutely unreasonable. The audiobooks are sufficient for me.

Let’s talk more about what it can do!

It has a beautiful-to-look-at calendar that is just as good as (if not better than) my Palm. I can include detailed notes, birthdays, anniversaries, and even a to-do list at the top of my hour-by-hour day page. I can flip through it with a gentle flick of my finger and it’s visually more appealing than my gray screen Palm. It syncs with iCal on a Mac, so the whole family can use the always up-to-date calendar.

I can also watch You Tube videos (by the way, speaking of YouTube, if you’re considering an iPhone, you really need to check out David Pogue’s/NYT video).

David Pogue’s “I Want an iPhone” Movie

Well more accurately, my kids can watch You Tube videos while we’re waiting in line or on a long car trip or whatever. Or they could watch one of my many downloaded movies, tv programs (from Sponge Bob to The Office), music videos and more.

Speaking of car trips, I can also check weather for the week in a variety of cities of choice. Once again, I can do that neat finger-flick action to look at the attractive, colorful pages.

Curious about stock activity? Check. It’s got that capability.

Texting? Sure. In the most stylish way I’ve seen.

Music via iTunes (just like any iPod)? Absolutely. Steve Jobs has said it’s the best iPod ever made (to date). I especially love cover flow (the ability to flip through the album covers with a gentle flick of a finger).

Short example of cover flow in action

Internet searches? YES! (admittedly, it has no Flash player so that means you can’t play Webkinz, but still…). Check today’s headlines or find out the online price of a book while you’re standing in a bookstore which wants to charge you full price. Apple may upgrade sometime in the future to allow Flash to function, so I’ll keep my hopes up. Oh, and the cost of surfing? Included in your monthly AT&T bill (which really is not very big (in terms of pages), though some folks have stated otherwise…).

I also love the e-mail feature. You can check messages from several accounts (e.g., AOL, Gmail, Yahoo). And the iPhone notifies you (with an ear-pleasing, gentle buzz) when you receive another message.

Okay, now on to the phone features. Right, it is a phone after all! Your list of contacts can include the standard home phone, work phone, mobile phone, various e-mail addresses, birthday, spouses’ names, kids’ names, and more. But here’s the feature I love. If you touch the address listing for one of your contacts it takes you immediately to a map of the location! Then, if you need to drive there, it can provide directions (there and back!) and show you the current traffic on major arteries.

Does your old phone do that?

Oh, and if you’re on vacation and you want to find the nearest Starbucks? Type in “Starbucks” and the map will provide locations, indicated on the map with tiny little red-ball-tipped pins, along with the phone number and address right in your contacts. Just touch the phone number and it will call the location you selected. Think about how that could work to call ahead to get take out on your way home.

If you like maps as much as I do, you may want to take a moment to view this brief demo by Apple:

Great map demo

Assignable ringtones are more fun than other phones, too, including a barking dog and an old fashioned phone ringer.

UPDATE – Now you can hand pick measures from selected iTunes songs and design your own ringtone! I did that with John Mayer and I love it!

The Apple folks are excited about the visual voicemail feature where you’re given a list of all your voicemails and can scroll through to select only the voicemails you want to listen to at that moment. Very, very handy — especially if your child’s school called with an urgent message, or if you have six messages from someone you don’t need to talk to (or who leaves long messages) and one from someone you need to speak with urgently. You don’t have to listen to six other voicemails to get to that one urgent message. Just touch it and it plays.

Everything loads, syncs and charges through iTunes in your computer, so you just put the iPhone into the dock (included) and all the information is transferred (back and forth). That feature also means that if you (heaven forbid) ever lost your device, you could get a new phone and upload everything into it and continue right where you left off. So you have no worries about losing all your information forever (a concern which I’ve heard some people express).

Overall, IMHO the iPhone is well worth the investment. It lives up to the hype and makes my life easier and a whole lot more fun!!

UPDATE (1/16/08): On Tuesday, January 15, 2008, at the Macworld Expo 2008, Apple announced a new update to the iPhone. Now you can move your icons around on the home screen, create a few different home pages and create icons. For example, if you have a favorite blog (ahem) you can just call it up on Safari, then touch the plus sign at the bottom of the screen and choose “Add to Home Screen.” It produces a new icon for that particular website and instantly displays it on your home page screen. Fantastic! Now I can quickly go to my favorite blogs with one touch of a finger. Other options include mailing a link to the page and adding the page as a bookmark.

You’ll find over 600 Web apps (including some games like Mahjong) that you can add to any of your (up to) nine home pages.

Apple also improved upon the map features. View the video by clicking here.

All of these updates are free for iPhone owners. They just sync their iPhones and click on “check for update.”

I still feel passionately positive about my iPhone and think it’s the best phone out there for moms!

6 Comments

Filed under Apple, Culture, design, family, iPhone, reviews, Steve Jobs, Technology

The iPhone is great for moms!

UPDATE:

As of February 10, 2008, the Being a Mom is Great blog has moved here (www.soapboxmom.com). Please visit Soapbox Mom to read more articles by this author (bmg mom is now Soapboxmom).

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Yes, I have to chime in and say that this device is absolutely, positively ideal for stay at home moms (and everyone else, for that matter!)! I used to have a Palm Pilot, mobile phone, and a big clunky paperback map book in my car. Now, with one device, I have all of those inside one well designed stylish tool of beauty — the iPhone. In addition to all of those features (phone, calendar, map), I’m treated to an iPod (best one ever made), all of my email, Internet access at my fingertips and so much more…

I recently saw a fun video that captures the passion some people have about the iphone.

It’s David Pogue‘s (the New York Times technology reviewer’s) YouTube video. I just can’t get enough of it. So fun…

The bottom line?
If you can swing it…
GET an iPhone!

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For more info, check out my other post, Responding to iPhone Criticisms.

Endnote of thanks:

I hereby finally acknowledge and accept that all things Mac/Apple are brilliant, well designed, easy to use, gorgeous to look at and super efficient. I give full credit to my sisters who have been trying (for decades!) to make me see the light. Thanks!! You were right all along!!

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Filed under Culture, reviews, Technology, Thoughts