If you’re not using Mint to monitor your transactions, this tax season would be a good time to start. The app and companion website will collect your financial records from your bank accounts, credit cards and loans and categorize them into a big picture view that makes it easy to see where you’re spending your money and identify patterns that need to be flagged. It only collects this information, it can’t make changes, and protects it using 128-bit encryption and a 4-digit PIN.
From there it can help you put together a budget and send notifications when deadlines approach, when account levels are low, or when suspicious activity is detected. If you have the iPad version it can also put together graphs and visual reports.
The Android version has been updated for the new Tax Season so that it now refreshes your data every four hours, displays information a little faster, and allows you to manually categorize transactions with a swipe of the screen.
When a reference book is made digital it should present new ways to work with its contents. Dictionary.com has come up with the first Thesaurus to do just that. You can view results alphabetically or sort them by relevance, complexity, and length. It includes antonyms with the synonyms and audio pronunciations and short definitions for each. If you’re willing to pay $1.99 for some admittedly pricey upgrades, it can also pick out rhyming matches or sort results by the number of syllables.
Prices tend to be very high for dictionary and reference apps (both Oxford and Collins have apps for $20 and up) so I’m also mentioning this one because it’s on sale temporarily for $2.99
Star Wars Pinball
Pinball machines and Star Wars movies both share an exhilaration of sights and sound that make for an ideal combination. John William’s memorable score plays as the ball rides the rails and droids squeal when it careens off bumpers and targets. There are some pretty convincing sound-alike actors to perform favourite quotes and a pixel board display to recreate iconic scenes.
It’s a good simulation by Zen Pinball, although there’s just two camera modes and sometimes the ball can make surprise moves. Part of this is the fantasy element. Light sabers are used to pick up and move the ball while characters can enter the machine and destroy it using blasters or force powers.
There are three tables initially, but only the Empire Strikes Back table is included with the price. Tables devoted to the Clone Wars series and Boba Fett must be unlocked for an extra $1.99 each, with more tables to come later.
A neat idea is the option to pick a side before you play, such as the Dark or Light side of the Force, and your score is then contributed online to other players for a global total. Having the characters themselves rise up through platforms and hidden passages to interact with the ball is the best feature. The more they can do that with the rest in the series the better.