Golden Bowl exterior - Mobile, AL
Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Gift Shop

Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Gift Shop

We recently visited the hidden gem that is Golden Bowl, located at 309 Bel Air Blvd Mobile, Alabama, 36606. Restaurants that are hidden gems are one of our favorite finds, especially when we’re hungry. Golden Bowl is a hiding in plain sight in Mobile, Alabama just across from Bel Air Mall. Compared to all of the other Chinese buffets in town, and arguably across the entire state, Golden Bowl has them beat. This fine Asian restaurant serves Cantonese, Hunan, Thai, Japanese (yes, there’s sushi on the cold bar), and Szechuan. This is genuine Chinese food when you order from the menu. And we haven’t ever had Chinese food this good outside of Chinatown.

Their hours of operation are 6 days a week, Tuesday-Thursday: 11:00AM to 9:00PM * Friday & Saturday: 11:00AM to 10:00PM * Sunday: 11:00AM to 9:00PM. They are closed on Monday. They can be reached by telephone at (251) 470-8033 and Fax at (251) 470-8030.

General Tso's Chicken with Fried Rice

General Tso’s Chicken with Fried Rice

The outside of Golden Bowl is markedly deceptive: It’s in a building that’s been around forever that was a Chinese restaurant 20 years ago when Bel Air Mall was the biggest deal around — long before Amazon had ever been conceptualized. When you walk past the golden lions and enter the front door, you will find yourself inside a very interesting Chinese gift shop filled with lucky cats, real bamboo, jade Buddha statues, and stress balls. Very shortly after, you should be greeted and brought into the main dining room where you can have a regular table or Hibachi any time of the day.

Once you’re seated (and if you’re new to Golden Bowl) one of the employees may give you a very thorough walkthrough of the menu. You should also be alerted that there’s a hot and cold bar that includes ice cream when you’re done with your meal. If you’re doing take-out, the hot and cold bar isn’t available, so there’s a perk to dining-in. There’s a large variety of different items that you’d expect from a Chinese restaurant such as Pepper Steak, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Sweet & Sour Chicken, and everyone’s favorite General Tso’s Chicken.

Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Hot Buffet

Golden Bowl Mobile, Alabama Chinese Buffet

Most of these full entrees, plus the hot and cold bar, are available for $9.95. This also includes white or fried rice. Lunch is just $6.95 during the week and $7.55 on the weekend. That’s honestly a steal considering what a large Whopper Value Meal at Burger King costs. Hibachi starts at a modest $6.95 at lunch and $8.50 for dinner.

You’d think that with prices this cheap that the quality of food is going to be poor, but you’re very wrong if you do. Golden Bowl serves extremely fresh food that’s made to order. If you’ve put off Chinese food in Mobile, AL since you’ve gotten burned by China Chef or Golden Dragon, Golden Bowl is the best place to go in, arguably, the entire state and Gulf Coast.

Don’t forget to like Golden Bowl on Facebook or check in to “Thai Fountain” since they have a Pokemon Go PokeStop at their location! Golden Bowl also has an amazing new website at http://goldenbowlmobile.com. Enjoy!

Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant

Eating out every once in a while is an experience that most of us appreciate. Sometimes making a decision on where to eat and what to eat might be the elephant in the room. For all the food lovers out there, trying out new recipes or tasting exotic food is one of those things that make life worth living. There is something about Thai food that is simply breath taking. I do not know whether it is the unique combination of essential ingredients or the kind of passion and emotions behind making the dishes. But one thing is for sure – Thai food is fantastic. If you live in Mobile, Alabama, and you have been wondering where to take that special someone on a first date, Benja’s Thai and Sushi is the place for you.

Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant - InteriorThe ambiance is inviting, and the aura brings this exhilarating feeling that assures you that you are in the right place. There is a touch of beauty in the simplicity of the decor but at the same time hidden behind the simplicity is a wave of sophistication that only an artistic eye can decipher. The hangings on the wall are the perfect stimulant, and they are just right for this kind of setting. On the contrary with a theme color of blue and somewhat orange or peach, there is something warm about Benja’s Thai and Sushi that makes you fall in love at first sight.

Benja’s Thai and Sushi is in Tillman’s Corner area of Mobile. The feeling of being treated like the king or queen that you are is not only rewarding but it makes you understand that indeed this is value for your money. There are no regrets walking into a place like Benja’s Thai and Sushi. On that note, even your date may get the impression that you have indeed gone out of your way to make them feel special.

Benja’s Thai and Sushi is a family restaurant. There is something for everyone, and you can tag your kids along for that long awaited dinner and believe me they will have the time of their life. There is so much to appreciate about Benja’s Thai and Sushi. It brings a sense of authenticity and belonging. This restaurant is merely a glimpse of what real Thai cooking has to offer.

What’s on the Menu

A good chef understands his or her clientele especially when serving a population like those living in Alabama; it is important to comprehend the need for diversity. This is exactly what Benja’s Thai and Sushi offers-variety. There is no limitation to what you can get. As a matter of fact, the minute you skim through the menu you will be spoilt for choice. There is an array of dishes to choose from based on preference. For lunch, you could try the chef’s special. Thai fried rice with Chicken or Pork.

Pad Thai Chicken from Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Mobile, AlabamaFor the vegans, some broccoli or carrots will serve a worthy accompaniment. To any observer or reader for this matter, these might sound like your usual combination of main dishes, but there are certain times when you let your taste buds be the judge. The Chicken is cooked just right, not to tender but with a burst of natural ingredients that leaves a lasting impression on your tongue.

If your heart points towards exquisite Thai food, I would recommend the Pad Thai Shrimp. Seafood, when not done right, can turn out to be wanting. However, this is not the case at Benja’s Thai. From the name, you get the impression that seafood is their specialty. The Pad Thai Shrimp is one of the best dishes that you can try out. It will give you the whole Thai experience and without a shadow of a doubt, it will keep you wanting more.

I must commend Benja and her team for their culinary skills. The servings portray a lot of creativity with lots of attention paid on the presentation. The goal is to stimulate naturally your visual senses, which will only be complemented by the amazing taste. Many have presented their great testimonials about the Spicy Tuna Roll or the Thai Boxing Roll. The Alabama Roll has also received commendable recognition from the customers.

If there is one thing that pre-determines a judge of a good main course is the kind of appetizer served. The soups at Benja’s are scrumptious, and they have a touch of elegance, you might think they are made out of a secret recipe. On the other hand, the deserts are also mouth watering. I would recommend that you try out the Table side banana foster for dessert. The taste of this particular piece is purely heavenly.

It is impossible to talk about a good restaurant without a mention of the kind of drinks that they offer. There is something creative about the cocktails served. The wait staff go out of their way to ensure that you get the perfect saki. Such little things that point towards customized service are some of the things that keep this restaurant afloat amidst the growing competition in Alabama.

From the chicken nuggets to French fries, even the kids have something to delight in. If that sounds cliché, the crispy corn dog with some French fries is what your children may eat on their day out.

Angel Roll from Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Mobile, AlabamaSushi is not just the usual sushi at Benja’s Thai and Sushi. It is interesting how they can work their way around and create so many different types of rolls from the very necessary ingredient. From the Dragon Roll, to the Angel Roll, to the Mexican Roll, every single roll makes the sushi delightful. If these doesn’t fancy you, the Bama Roll might catch your attention. Well, this is not before you start off with an assorted five-piece sushi appetizer. Just the thought of these sushi rolls brings an awesome feeling that makes you want to visit this place. If you are one of those people who likes going all natural, the California Roll might be exactly what you need. With some crab, cucumber, avocado, and Masago on top, the taste is refined. It might be a little confusing at first, but it gives a perfect blend at the end of each bite.

The bottom line is that the menu at Benja’s Thai and Sushi offers an array of different food options. To some extent the options can be quite confusing but the fact remains that every option is viable, and it all depends on your preference. If by now you are not convinced that this place might give Hell’s Kitchen a run for their money. In my opinion, it is simply pitch perfect.

The Prices

Every restaurant owner understands that although the business must be successful, denting people’s pockets is not the way to make your restaurant attractive. It is fundamental to accommodate clients from various walks of life without a compromise on the quality of services and the touch of class. Good food is not the only thing that keeps the customers coming back.

Bama Roll from Benja's Thai and Sushi Restaurant in Mobile, AlabamaCan you imagine having a sushi appetizer for as low as $4.00? This looks insane but at you can get the Sashimi appetizer at this price. This is entirely fair for such a restaurant. To scale it up a little bit, the crispy calamari appetizer goes for $7.95. These are just examples of the high prices at Benja’s. An unfamiliar customer might imagine it is one of those days when everything is on offer. Most of the entrees might cost a maximum of $12.95. Simply put these are great meals for awesome prices.

With only $2.95 your kids can have themselves some Thai donuts for or with $5.95 they can enjoy some fried ice cream for dessert. The chef’s special for lunch or dinner also attract an average of fantastic prices. One of the things that put Benja’s Thai and Sushi on top of their game is the fact that the prices are customer friendly.

Each and every day we seek convenience and to narrow it down, there is nothing better than having good food delivered at your doorstep. If you love thai food, all you have to do is call and place an order and they will deliver right to your door within 15 minutes of the restaurant. Need I say more? Thai food is excellent and so are home deliveries. Check Benja’s website for their delivery menus. These attributes take popularity of local restaurants a notch higher.

If you have not had the chance to wine and dine in this elegant restaurant, go to Benja’s Facebook page and like their page. You can also leave a comment behind right now, and this automatically earns you a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate or a free Sushi roll. In other words, there is no excuse for not dining at this Thai restaurant.

Conclusion

The testimonials regarding Benja’s Thai and Sushi are remarkable. It is not enough that they offer more than just the ordinary, but having something for everyone puts them at an advantage. This restaurant even saw itself make it into the finals of the Nappie’s “Best Ethnic Restaurant” category in in the first year open. This is evidence enough that they more than what meets the eye when looking at this very simple yet catchy place to wine and dine. With an extensive international clientele network it goes beyond just any other place to have lunch or dinner but it also a great avenue to network and hold meetings. Benja’s restaurant is an awesome choice for that anniversary dinner or maybe if you want to pop the question this is the perfect place, right after trying out their Pineapple curry with steamed curry.

The authenticity of the Thai culture portrayed by the nature of the food served makes it imperative that people should head out to Benja’s and get a taste of what Thai food is all about. The truth of the matter is that the Chef has outdone himself. The staff has a mastery of words and refined service, and the interior designers knew very well that appearance speaks volumes.

Benja’s Thai and Sushi is not just your average corner restaurant; it is one of those places that leaves a lasting impression. Regardless of what your mood was for the day, you can be sure that there is only one feeling that you can take out of this restaurant- fulfillment.

Pick your coat and walk to Tillman’s Corner area in Mobile, Alabama and get a firsthand experience. Tell your story about your most recent escapade which is eating out at Benja’s. Better still, take a friend with you or show that special someone the other side of food which can only be found in a Thai restaurant. There are no regrets, and there are disappointments. Benja’s Thai and Sushi is by far one of the success stories that are yet to be told. Truth be told, if you have never had a meal at this excellent restaurant, you have yet to discover what you have been missing.

It’s finally out… the demo of Final Fantasy XV, aptly called Episode Duscae. Many have been waiting for the release of this demo, bundled exclusively with Final Fantasy Type-0. While we’ve played EVERY Final Fantasy demo (and game) that’s ever been on the market, we can’t help but notice that the demo of the fifteenth iteration of Square-Enix’s headliner …lacks. We’d really like to focus on what we didn’t like about this game.

1) The music. The music, to us, is disappointing. We’ve attended Distant Worlds and we’ve met Uematsu… Disappointing. Yes, we know that Uematsu is not doing the music officially anymore. But, the branded music that we’ve all come to know, such as the opening theme, the level up/XP screen and the game over screen are now represented with pillowy piano music and zero semblance of their very well known ancestors. We’re reminding ourselves again, this is the demo so maybe it will be different at actual launch (whenever that may be…). As is, no bueno if they’re not going to play the right music — let alone the right THEMED music — for the right scenes to their core fanbase. We don’t care if you make an improv version of the Opening Sequence/Prelude. Just make it the actual Prelude and not fluff.

2) The environment. SquareEnix has had PLENTY of time to get zone creation right. If you’re avid fans of the series like we are, you know about Final Fantasy XIV and 1.0’s copy/paste failure. Lots of us were disappointed to find that we couldn’t go pet the huge thing in the lake because there was an apparent zone line restricting us from going farther. Or the fact that some of these boulders became absurdly similar as we started running around. No real place to hide or climb. Perhaps they will put a jump accessory in the game. And perhaps SquareEnix will actually use the knowledge they’ve learned from FFXII and FFXIV to make a truly open-world, Non-MMO, offline game again. There were some things that we really liked, but this article is about what we didn’t like.

3) The narrative. We felt disconnected with the story they were trying to tell. We’re not all Japanese-esq twinks who have a kingdom to inherit (see the game for reference of Noctis being a prince). At least in the Final Fantasy VIII Demo, there was an apparent story to connect to with a sense of urgency and understanding. We did not feel compelled to go fix a car, instead that very purpose of playing gave me more of a reason to want to go explore.

4) These supposed hints at “something coming soon.” The ending of the demo says so. Please: kill me now. Also, this. Are we supposed to be happy they’re going to put the summons they should put in any Final Fantasy into the game? Are we supposed to be happy they’re going to respect their beginnings of the series? Are we supposed to be happy that it’s apparently a big deal for SquareEnix to do right by the series and provide an experience that satisfies new AND old gamers? No. No, We’re not supposed to be happy because we EXPECT this already — otherwise, it’s not really a Final Fantasy game and only another X-plus-Z:A5C weird numbering story of Final Fantasy that we never wanted to really play.

5) The (seemingly) pointless item collection. We’re sure that picking the items up had something as a reward — and it would be unsurprising if there was not any reward — but the only thing we truly HAD to pick up was the Behemoth Horn. Anything beyond that was, we guess, for Potions and Antidotes to be restocked with.

What we’ve seen with all of the fanfare and social media hype, and based off of our own experience, the demo is truly not that promising. Right now, this is a rental title and not a midnight launch title. But, let’s be fair. It’s just a demo and the main title is only 60% completed. We’ll see…

Noctis_Broods

The PlayStation Vita, the successor to the PlayStation Portable, has released firmware version 1.80 which allows PSOne Classics to be played on the device. The list from SCEA shows the following games to be playable once the PlayStation Network Store updates:

  • Arc the Lad
  • Cool Boarders 2
  • FINAL FANTASY VII
  • Hot Shots Golf 2
  • Jet Moto
  • Syphon Filter
  • Tomb Raider
  • Twisted Metal 2
  • Wild Arms

Sony PlayStation VIta 1.80 Firmware Update

So we’ve been waiting on this for 6 months now. The really unfortunate news is that despite the compatibility of this short list of games for North American (SCEA) players, the list of games for European players, SCEE, is exponentially longer. Here it is and what you can expect, at least, in the future:

Cool Boarders SCEE
Cool Boarders 2 SCEE
Crash Bandicoot SCEE
Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back SCEE
Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped SCEE
CTR: Crash Team Racing SCEE
Destruction Derby SCEE
Everybody’s Golf 2 SCEE
G-Police SCEE
Jet Rider SCEE
Jet Rider 2 SCEE
Jumping Flash SCEE
Kula World SCEE
Kurushi Final SCEE
MediEvil SCEE
Motor Toon Grand Prix 2 SCEE
Rally Cross SCEE
Syphon Filter SCEE
Syphon Filter 3 SCEE
Twisted Metal SCEE
Wild Arms SCEE
WipEout SCEE
40 Wink ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
A Bug’s Life DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
A Bugs Life and Monsters Inc bundle DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Abe’s Exoddus ODDMOBB INC
Abe’s Oddworld Oddysee ODDMOBB INC
Airboat XS GAMES LIMITED
All-Star Boxing MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Arc Arena: Monster Tournament MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Arc the Lad MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Arc the Lad II MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Arc the Lad III MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Arcade Hits: Shienryu MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Arcade Hits: Sonic Wings Special MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Atari Anniversary Edition ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Atlantis DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Atlantis and Hercules Bundle DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Bishi Bashi Special KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GMBH
Blockids MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Bugriders ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Centipede ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Cho Aniki MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Constructor SYSTEM 3 SOFTWARE
Critical Depth ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Dezaemon Plus MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Disney’s Action Game ft. Hercules DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Dodgeball MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Driver UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT SA
Eagle One: Harrier Attack ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Fear Effect SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Fear Effect: Retro Helix SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Fighting Force SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Fighting Force 2 SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Final Fantasy VIII SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Final Fantasy IX SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Final Fantasy V SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Final Fantasy VI SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Final Fantasy VII SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Front Mission 3 SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Gaiaseed MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Galaxy Fight MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Gex SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Gex 3: Deep Under Cover SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Gex 3D: Enter the Gecko SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Grandia GAME ARTS CO., LTD.
Gubble MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Guilty Gear SYSTEM 3 SOFTWARE
Gunship ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Hardcore 4X4 URBANSCAN LIMITED
International Track & Field KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GMBH
Jigsaw Madness XS GAMES LIMITED
Judge Dredd URBANSCAN LIMITED
Junior League Soccer PS1 XS GAMES LIMITED
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Lilo & Stitch DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Little Mermaid 2 DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Little Mermaid 2 and Winnie The Pooh bundle DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Metal Gear Solid KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GMBH
Mickey’s Wild Adventure DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Miracle Quad Racer MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Miracle Space Race MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Missile Command ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Monsters Inc DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Motorhead URBANSCAN LIMITED
N20 URBANSCAN LIMITED
Namco Heritage bundle NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE S.A.S.
Pandemonium SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Pandemonium 2 SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Parasite Eve 2 SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Peter Pan DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Pong ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Pooh’s Party Game DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Rageball MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Rainbow Six UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT SA
Rascal Racers MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Rayman UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT SA
Rayman 2: The Great Escape UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT SA
Reel Fishing NATSUME INC.
Re-loaded URBANSCAN LIMITED
Resident Evil 2 CE EUROPE LIMITED
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis CE EUROPE LIMITED
Resident Evil: Director’s Cut CE EUROPE LIMITED
Ridge Racer Type 4 NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE S.A.S.
Sheep EMPIRE INTERACTIVE EUROPE LTD
Silent Hill KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GMBH
Snowboard Racer MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Sorcerer’s Maze XS GAMES LIMITED
Spin Jam EMPIRE INTERACTIVE EUROPE LTD
Sports Superbike MIDAS INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT LTD
Streak ATARI EUROPE S.A.S.U.
Street Fighter 2 Alpha CE EUROPE LIMITED
Super Star Dance Club XS GAMES LIMITED
Tarzan DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Tekken NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE S.A.S.
Tekken 2 NAMCO BANDAI GAMES EUROPE S.A.S.
Tomb Raider SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Tomb Raider Chronicles SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Tomb Raider 2 SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Tomb Raider 3 SQUARE ENIX LIMITED
Toy Story 2 DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Toy Story Racer DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Toy Story Racer and Toy Story 2: Woody and Buzz bundle DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS, INC.
Vagrant Story SQUARE ENIX (2009) LIMITED
Alundra MONKEY PAW GAMES INC.
Urban Chaos SQUARE ENIX LIMITED

The lineup for SCEE is quite nice and includes a majority of Square Enix Limited Final Fantasy games, including Final Fantasy VII. We’ve tested it out personally on games we’ve copied on to our PS3 before the PlayStation Store update and see the ability via Content Manager to copy many games on the list as well as games not on the list. We’ll keep you posted via Twitter @TurkReno.
20120828-091002.jpg
Personal thanks goes out to @Eramo88 for letting us know as soon as the update was live.

Pinterest Logo ipad release

Pinterest, a very interesting way to share images and small thoughts with those images, today released an iPad capable app. Prior to this, only the iPhone version upscaled was viewable to iPad users. The improvement, although terribly overdue, is a tremendous step in the right direction. We logged in and took some screenshots of the new interface.

TurkReno Pinterest Profile

The crispness of the retina display for the newest version of the iPad really stands out. Worth taking a look on older iPads as well.

IMG 0211

If you’re looking for the link to the iTunes store to update your iPad, go here. Enjoy and happy Pinning!

The PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation Vita

After watching the PlayStation UStream today and in much anticipation of the PlayStation Vita, we were very disappointed to find out that the PS Vita being sold as a console capable of playing PSOne Classics won’t play PSOne Classics on day one. We covered this as a potential leak, but now it’s much more. Now you may disagree with our position, but we’ve got plenty of proof that what the sales ad Amazon displays for the PlayStation Vita is false advertising:

Vita can play PSP titles, minis, PS one classics, video and comics from the PlayStation Store

As I understand it, and I’ve consulted legal aid about this, the Vita should be able to play PSOne Classics as advertised. And as you can correctly assume, we’ve invested quite a bit of money into purchasing Final Fantasy and other Squaresoft / Square Enix PSOne Classics to play. All of them except for Legend of Mana and Chrono Cross.

We decided that this wasn’t fair. And it isn’t fair. You should complain. We did. To the FTC. What did we say to the FTC? Glad you asked.

I purchased the PS Vita First Edition Bundle with the anticipation that the console would be able to use PlayStation One Classics as it is advertised on this link: http://www.amazon.com/PlayStation-Vita-3G-Wi-Fi-Launch-Bundle/dp/B0071NH8B8/

Today Sony announced on their webcast that the PlayStation One Classics feature was “coming soon”. This, as I understand it, is false advertising. As stated on the LA County Department of Consumer Affairs, “If they say it will do it, it should do it. If the advertisement says a product can do something, it must be able to do it. For example, if a manufacturer advertises that their product can cure cancer, then it must be able to cure cancer.” I have made a significant investment into PlayStation One Classics on the PlayStation network that meets or exceeds the amount of money that I am paying for the PlayStation Vita. I feel ripped off as I have traded in my PSPGo to Amazon in the trust that the PSVita would do what it said it would do on Amazon.

Want an FTC Complaint Number to go look up our complaint? Sure. 35014256. Want to make your own FTC Complaint? Go ahead, make our day. And you should too because IT’S FALSE ADVERTISING. Need to see why? Here’s a link to the Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs website in which they state:

If they say it will do it, it should do it. If the advertisement says a product can do something, it must be able to do it. For example, if a manufacturer advertises that their product can cure cancer, then it must be able to cure cancer. The next time you’re at the grocery store, look in their vitamins section. Most dietary supplements won’t tell you what the product does unless they can find evidence to support it.

Sure. Get mad at us, call us “Microsoft Fanboys” (that was a really funny tweet, thanks), don’t alter the Amazon site to make our claim even more legitimate. It just sucks that we relied on a retailer and Sony to say one thing and then they promise it as a soon “eventuality”. Yeah. Eventually the Mayan calendar may be right too. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what Amazon and Sony does because they have TWO DAYS to fix this before it turns into a legitimate legal claim.

GoDaddy sucks. Period. If it isn’t obvious to you from the smutty campaigns with Danica Patrick, supposed President and former CEO “Bob Parsons” having ‘secrets’ like, “The SECRETS to finding and hiring GREAT employees. + 2 Smoking-Hot Go Daddy Girls!”, while being totally sexist and a general creeper, poor advertising in general or the absolutely crappy hosting plans they over-sell hosting nodes on, then we need to talk. This has been a long time coming from us as timing is everything. We wanted to make sure that we took proper precautions to protect ourselves, our intellectual property and free speech as what we’re pissed off about is far from acceptable and borders on near to criminal on Go Daddy, Inc.’s behalf. So to make it crystal clear, this is an account of our experience and not some random slanderous prose on who to hate.

GoDaddy

Might as well preface this with: A) It’s technical, B) It’s personal, and C) We gave them ample opportunity to make this problem right before we had to take the issue into our own hands. And in light of recent SOPA problems with GoDaddy, we hope this testimonial is even more of a reason that you don’t use their service. Speaking of, their real CEO, Warren Adelman, put out a statement about SOPA stating that because the Senate couldn’t come to a consensus that GoDaddy was no longer supporting SOPA. Read that again if you need to figure out why we’re astonished or read the whole article about SOPA and GoDaddy sucking. Now, on to the show!

We affiliated ourselves with GoDaddy, a.k.a. GoDaddy.com or Go Daddy, Inc., as an ICANN domain provider back in 2006 before we went public and as a reseller in 2008 to offer competitive pricing and an alternative storefront when we did begin offering public services. As a reseller, they take one of their other companies, Starfield Technologies as well as Wild West Domains (remember this name, it’s key to what went wrong) and have your WHOIS/Registration information pass through them. Since then, we’ve obviously learned that there are just as viable alternatives to domain acquisition and purchases than dealing with GoDaddy, often for pennies more or less. And our network continues to grow.

Looking for a way to keep costs the same or lower and provide the same if not better service, we looked at integrating what was called GoDaddy’s AnyCast DNS now called ‘Premium DNS’. We suspect that they stopped calling it ‘AnyCast DNS’ because you can’t serve DNS from one datacenter and honestly call it AnyCast… sort of a technical oxymoron. This was to be used as an extension of our services and as an alternative to running solely our own network of DNS servers. We didn’t jump in with both feet, but we were deep enough to start losing air before it was too late.

We called and spoke to a sales representative about their services a long time ago, long before our trust was broken and our issue ever occurred. At the time, we declined moving forward with their DNS service because there was no way to CNAME or create a hostname for the servers that matched a domain name of our own as we said a moment ago. When GoDaddy added the ‘vanity name servers’ bit to the DNS service, we were more interested. We called back several months later and spoke to a sales representative that we had make sure with her supervisor her statement was accurate and ordered the Premium DNS service because we were able to not hand out a string like a CDN does. At the time, we had been hosting our own servers and wanted at least one extension off of that for even more redundancy. Since we already had our .com at GoDaddy at the time with the core hostnames coming from GoDaddy, it was easy to say yes to testing out something for like $2.99 a month since we were paying much more than that per DNS server.

Before I get too far into this, a very important part of hosting relies on DNS. DNS to the layman is a server or network system which broadcasts the IP address or location of a server by converting the name of a top-level domain like turkreno.com into an IP address. DNS serves out usually every request that goes through a network and it also plays a very large part in the latency, or speed, in which content is found. There are times when a network is undiscoverable or slow just because of routing issues with backbone service providers. Those providers in the United States, such as AT&T, Global Crossing, Layer3 and others actually run the flow of the Internet and usually own the fiber optic cable on which it runs. So, when a DNS server does a query, the response or reply may tell your traffic to go to Washington first, because that’s where the first router is between you and the domain that resolved and the server you’re asking for, then further “hops” to other locations until your request reaches its destination. Having multiple servers, or an AnyCast-type network, that are within multiple datacenters around the world where those backbones are routed through provides what’s known as a Point-of-Presence (POP) and will decrease latency since the answer is locally cached to that router. In a worst cast scenario, the traffic where a network client requests a site that isn’t cached by the ISP, which is the usual case, the router may have to search or query the router ahead of it to search for a resolving DNS server, thus creating latency. Speed is of the essence and maybe that explains why this improvement is important for any network.

Digressing back to what happened is most likely easier if we just put it into a handy mind map and bullet out the entire issue here for those who don’t want to view a huge PDF. For months this issue was up on the whiteboard in the office and it took precisely that long to fix all of the screwed up issues that happened. We ended up making a mind map chart of what went wrong and we’ll go from there.

GoDaddy Network Failure Mind Map

GoDaddy Network Failure Mind Map

 

PDF of the Mind MapMP3 of the Voicemail

We spent hours on this with them. Hours we want back from our lives. Maybe we can save you some time. Switch hosting to us, we’re not on GoDaddy’s crappy 4GH Network or whatever they want to call it. Or maybe you want to contact the Office of the President for GoDaddy. No problem, here’s all of their contact info:

E-Mail: president@godaddy.com

Phone: 408-505-8828

CEO: Warren Adelman

Alt. Numbers to GoDaddy Corporate Offices: 408-505-8800

So, when you think of DNS hopefully GoDaddy won’t be the first that comes to mind. We’ve got an awesome platform setup to accommodate multiple types of needs, including those of web masters using Linux or WHM/cPanel. Contact us if you’re interested. It’s private for the time being, but will be live soon.

Don’t trust GoDaddy with your DNS, their SysAdmins know NOTHING of how to complete a ticket and they COULD be stealing your traffic, or worse, blocking it because their tech support knows NOTHING.

The great evil of the modern day Internet: SOPA. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or as it’s formally known H.R. 3261, which threatens Freedom of Speech and Expression on the Internet. The Bill titles itself with the very false objective – “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” – and it’s the “Other purposes” as usual we’re all worried about. Blocking a site at the DNS level is one of the primary concerns. The other concerns that we’ve heard and see online are the linking of one site to a site that is infringing against Copyright laws. With SOPA marked as it is now, the whole site would be taken down rather than the offending content. What ever happened to the DMCA? Wasn’t that good enough? Apparently not.

This Act, when read in further detail, not only pressures Internet Service Providers like TurkReno to make rather extraneous measures to filter content and national providers of ICANN services to block a domain that they blacklist from search engine results and beyond. If they passes it to the US Senate then you can expect more than one derivative of its kind following SOPA. You see, it’s failed before. And, like a bad cold, this is another variant. Here’s the best summary from Wikipedia that shows what it was and how it’s moving:

The PROTECT IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011.

GoDaddy

What’s disgusting about this is that GoDaddy, one of the largest ICANN domain registrars was, and under speculation still is, supporting the writing of this Act. They crafted it themselves. And then they release a press release today stating they would not further support SOPA, but we don’t trust it and neither should you. If they knew what they were getting themselves into, then it’s clear that their Executives are bluffing their way into keeping business. What really matters here is that they see the big picture. GoDaddy isn’t the only registrar.

And, with as much content as GoDaddy hosts, and over-sells (see Caption 1), they’d shut down 5,000 to 6,000, yes – THOUSAND, customers at a time per ONE (1) SOPA takedown order.

And here’s what they had to say:

GoDaddy No Longer Supports SOPA

Looks to Internet Community & Fellow Tech Leaders to Develop Legislation We All Support

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Dec. 23, 2011) – Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” currently working its way through U.S. Congress.

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

Go Daddy and its General Counsel, Christine Jones, have worked with federal lawmakers for months to help craft revisions to legislation first introduced some three years ago. Jones has fought to express the concerns of the entire Internet community and to improve the bill by proposing changes to key defined terms, limitations on DNS filtering to ensure the integrity of the Internet, more significant consequences for frivolous claims, and specific provisions to protect free speech.

“As a company that is all about innovation, with our own technology and in support of our customers, Go Daddy is rooted in the idea of First Amendment Rights and believes 100 percent that the Internet is a key engine for our new economy,” said Adelman.

In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.

“Go Daddy has always fought to preserve the intellectual property rights of third parties, and will continue to do so in the future,” Jones said.

Here’s the great crux in this Press Release: SOPA has not been introduced to the US Senate. And it’s a reaction, not something they’ve done after hearing the SOPA proceedings. As celebrities threatened to leave GoDaddy, they pushed this out to stop the bail out. It’s a House of Representatives Bill. As stated on the US House of Representatives Website under “How Are Laws Made?” this answer can be found (We’re at the In Committee phase):

Laws begin as ideas. First, a representative sponsors a bill. The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate. In the Senate, the bill is assigned to another committee and, if released, debated and voted on. Again, a simple majority (51 of 100) passes the bill. Finally, a conference committee made of House and Senate members works out any differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting bill returns to the House and Senate for final approval. The Government Printing Office prints the revised bill in a process called enrolling. The President has 10 days to sign or veto the enrolled bill.

Anyone with half a brain can see this is just a PR stunt on GoDaddy’s behalf. Maybe even the protection of the recent additional DNSSEC properties which don’t totally jive with their product offerings. And admittedly DNSSEC doesn’t really jive with SOPA either, but it’s their main point of pressure to go after when attempting to take down a domain aside from seizing the name registration itself.

And the kicker to both Go Daddy and the rest of the world? DNSSEC is all controlled by IANA, Verisign, the gTLD (Generic Top-Level Domain) registrar for ALL .com and .net domains, acknowledging these Zone directives. ICANN and the U. S. Department of Commerce. Don’t believe me? http://www.root-dnssec.org.

Either way, this is part one of a few more that will outline why GoDaddy is failing as a company and why we believe that it’s not in your best interests to continue to do business with them.

Update 1/5/2012: GoDaddy, in all of it’s uncanny glory, has released a statement from CEO Warren Adleman. They don’t support SOPA because the representatives could not reach a consensus. I like one of the comments that state that “transparency should be a two-way street and not a one-way mirror”. Here’s the statement:

Go Daddy opposes SOPA because the legislation has not fulfilled its basic requirement to build a consensus among stake-holders in the technology and Internet communities. Our company regrets the loss of any of our customers, who remain our highest priority, and we hope to repair those relationships and win back their business over time.

Still don’t trust them. Part two coming soon.

Final fantasy vi

It’s finally here! Final Fantasy VI, also known as Final Fantasy III back in 1994 when it was first released on the SNES, launched today on the PlayStation Network. Many reviewers, including us, have this RPG on their top 10 favorite games of all time.

Square-Enix had this to say about the Square (aka SquareSoft) classic: “Winner of numerous awards and a fan favorite, Square Enix’s FINAL FANTASY® VI role–playing game is now available for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system via the PlayStation®Network.

First released on the PlayStation® as part of the FINAL FANTASY ANTHOLOGY in 1999, FINAL FANTASY VI captured the hearts and minds of gamers and critics alike, and has been lauded as one of the best in the series.”

The PlayStation Blog cited that Final Fantasy VI has “made it all to #9 on IGN’s top 100 games of all time back in 2007. And in 2009, Game Informer went one better and named it #8, while G4TV named it #1 in their “Top 5 Must-Own RPGs.” The music, the story, the characters and so much more makes this a game that we’ve all loved and are so glad to be able to enjoy it yet again on a modern console.

For many of us as gamers, this brings back tons of memories. It may even be the reason we started loving the Final Fantasy series to begin with. Memories of the infamous Maria and Draco opera scene, the “octopus royalty” Ultros or the villain, Kefka, stand out most. Perhaps it’s the artwork from Yoshitaka Amano or the music from Nobuo Uematsu. The list of what’s to like about this game goes on and on. And what’s even better is that this is the Final Fantasy Anthology version so it has all of the updated full motion video (FMV’s) that were added to the PlayStation version.

Some more history on the game from Wikipedia shows: The game was known as Final Fantasy III when it was first released in North America, as the original Final Fantasy III had not been released outside of Japan at the time. However, later localizations used the original title. Final Fantasy VI was originally directed by series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, but he eventually stepped down as director after becoming Vice President of the company. The director role was passed on to Yoshinori Kitase and Hiroyuki ItoYoshitaka Amano, a long-time contributor to the Final Fantasy series, returned as the image and character designer, while regular composer Nobuo Uematsu wrote the game’s score, which has been released on several soundtrack albums.

Not only that, but at Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds, a large majority of the music can be heard live. Dancing Mad, Terra’s Theme and the Maria and Draco Opera – beautiful pieces. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. Don’t pass up the chance because it’s amazing.

Arnie roth final fantasy 6 opera distant worlds atlanta

For us, this makes our PSPGo even more enjoyable. We can now say that we’ve got Final Fantasy IV through IX on one handheld system. Hopefully they’ll launch Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII with the upcoming PlayStation Vita. That will be a good day. So go! Find yourself in the middle of one of the most enjoyable Role-Playing Games in history!

Final fantasy vi famicom box art

“Imperial Magitek Armor? Not even Narshe’s safe anymore!”

DC Universe OnlineSony Online Entertainment released in January of 2011 DC UniverseTM Online on both the PlayStation 3 and the PC. As of today it’s free to play. Even better news for Sony PS3 owners. Users can login to the PlayStation Store, grab the 122MB download client and begin installing the game immediately. Fair warning though if you’re a heavy media user – the game requires 18GB of free space to install. Despite the size, we’ve seen a lot of positive feedback on social media sites like Twitter. And it’s usually pretty entertaining stuff to read.

Here’s the rundown on DCUO:

DC UniverseTM Online is the only next-generation massively multiplayer online action game that delivers unparalleled physics-powered combat set in the DC UniverseTM. This genre-defining game puts the power of the DC Super Heroes and villains into the palm of your hands…The next legend is YOU!

DC Universe Online Gameplay

Key features:

  • DCUO is and action focused superhero game in a fully realized 3D universe
  • Players can experience the intensity of a 3D world created in the artistic vision of legendary comic-book artist Jim Lee
  • DCUO uses a state of the art physics engine that turns the world into your weapon
  • Players will be able to create their own custom hero or villain
  • Players will embark on story-driven adventures penned by famous DC writers
  • DCUO game play is optimized for PC and PS3
  • DCUO’s depth spans the entire DC Universe

DC UniverseTM Online is being developed by Sony Online Entertainment LLC for the PLAYSTATION® 3 computer entertainment system and PC in collaboration with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

DC UNIVERSE ONLINE software © 2010 Sony Online Entertainment LLC. All other elements © 2010 DC Comics. All other trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

DC UNIVERSE and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.
WB GAMES LOGO, WBIE LOGO, WB SHIELD: TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.