Although Dalian bookstores have a few Chinese-English dictionaries with Pinyin (like A New Century Chinese-English Dictionary, put out by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press), I haven't been able to find any English-Chinese dictionaries with Pinyin. If you already know all the characters, well, OK, but if you're an English speaker wanting to go from English to Mandarin, then it's hard to communicate in speech without Pinyin. Of course, the dictionaries are designed for Chinese people, but there's a growing population of expats in the city, and it'd be nice if they could look things up. It's enough to make you wanna give up on paper.
So I'm geeking out tonight about MDBG's great offline dictionary, available for Windows and Mac. I especially like that the Mac version integrates into the OS's dictionary:
I've also been using KTdict for a while now on my iPod touch. It's the best app I have and the one I use most often.