My App Addiction: Mint

My App Addiction: Mint

May 31, 2017

Making ends is very important, but managing the made money is almost more important. In an electronically mobile world, real cash takes a backseat to binary data, and it is quite important to know how things shake up.

For those of us who started working before direct deposit became standard, making the switch from physical checkbook to digital ledger might not have been instinctive, but it was necessary.

I cut my digital teeth on SplashMoney; that program was fantastic on Palm OS, and gave me the baseline for what to expect from mobile financial management software. By the time I worked my way to connected smartdevices and on to Android, I was in need of something pretty strong.

I found Mint: Budget, Bills, Finance.

With Mint, I’m able to figure out what’s where when with a high degree of certainty. It tunnels in securely to my relevant accounts, and updates quickly when accessed. It can be secured with PIN, and even with fingerprint authentication on devices so equipped. It is made to work with financial instruments from several banks: BoA, Wells Fargo Chase, Amex, and a whole lot more. PayPal, Loan originators, investment firms… it is harder to find an institution that doesn’t work with the service.

One thing that keeps this application useful is how often Intuit updates it. Recently, it added some great features; expanding the Bill functionality was great. Now, you can keep track of bills right within the app, and the added interoperability with Google Calendar is a big plus.

Mint is a full-fledged web app, so it can be accessed from any computer with web access.

I haven’t been in a physical bank for years. My main institutions are thousands of miles away. No sweat… an app like Mint leaves me very un-tethered.

Just the way I like it.

You can now make photo books directly from Google Photos

You can now make photo books directly from Google Photos

May 31, 2017

If making photo books is still somewhat of pleasurable tradition, Google Photos’ latest update will be quite welcome.

WHAT’S NEW

Create and print photo books
• Beautiful hardcover and softcover books—perfect for every occasion.
• Make it in minutes, not hours, with automatic photo curation and easy customization.
• Made in the USA from premium, responsibly-sourced paper.
Archive photos
• Hide photos from your main photos view, like receipts, screenshots, and notes
• Archived photos are still visible in search, albums, and in the new Archive view

Photos remains free on Google Play.

Gmail adds smart reply feature

Gmail adds smart reply feature

May 31, 2017

Gmail is making it easier to reply to emails on the go.

The latest update adds “Smart Reply,” which allows you to start a reply from a few short templates.

Per Google Play:

WHAT’S NEW

• Save time with Smart Reply: Tap one of the three options to start your response — hit send when done.

The app remains free on Google Play.

Upcoming management sim ‘Airlines Manager: Tycoon’ set for June launch

Upcoming management sim ‘Airlines Manager: Tycoon’ set for June launch

May 31, 2017

Playrion has quite a knack for airline management simulations, and its latest offering, Airlines Manager: Tycoon is set to drop on Android next month.

Airlines Manager: Tycoon puts players in the CEO seat at a fledgling airline where they must take care of marketing, research and development, finances and growth. Starting with just $300,000,000, players purchase aircraft, schedule flights, manage services, and attract passengers.

Using powerful reports and analysis tools, they can determine how to maximize profits and fuel expansion via over 7 million destinations worldwide.

The game will be launched at the International Paris Air Show, which runs from June 18 through June 25.

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf gets a whole new campaign

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf gets a whole new campaign

May 31, 2017

HeroCraft’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf is getting a major content update, headlined by a new campaign.

Here are excerpts from the press release.

HeroCraft are delighted to announce the big content update for Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf, which is delivering a new PvE campaign – The Saga of the Great Awakening, where you fight against a new, powerful enemy – the ancient and mysterious Necrons!

There are different ways to unlock The Saga of the Great Awakening, depending on how far you are into the game. Veteran Space Wolves (those who successfully completed mission 3.7 in the main campaign) can unlock the new chapter with in-game currency for 20,000 credits.

They can also get unique Legendary cards and some in-game resources for $5.99 and unlock the new campaign as a bonus. New Space Wolves recruits (those who just downloaded the game and haven’t completed mission 2.1) will be able to get either Rare ($7,99), Epic ($29,99) or Legendary Packs ($49,99), with a big pack of in-game resources (including in-game currency, boosters, cards) and to unlock the new campaign as a bonus.

The game is available for free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Dawn of Titans update brings tweaks and improvements

Dawn of Titans update brings tweaks and improvements

May 31, 2017

Dawn of Titans refuses to rest on its laurels, as evidenced by its latest update; the new build brings a host of improvements, bug fixes and more.

WHAT’S NEW

Titans rejoice! This update provides a collection of bug fixes, stabilization and performance improvements including:
– Troops can no longer be hurt by SPELLS after the battle has ended
– Improvements to the scoring for future SURVIVAL events
– Improvements for usage of network data
– Restrictions for going to battle with a full RELIC INVENTORY has been removed
– The issue which meant players could not leave their Alliance members tab has been resolved
See you on the battlefield!

The game remains free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Love Wonder Woman? So does Injustice 2; new update available

Love Wonder Woman? So does Injustice 2; new update available

May 31, 2017

Injustice 2 is catching Wonder Woman fever, per its latest update.

WHAT’S NEW

Relive the Excitement of the Wonder Woman movie with two brand new Wonder Woman cards based on the cinematic experience! Gold Tier Mythic Wonder Woman and Silver Tier Amazon Wonder Woman are now available in the game. Powered Supergirl and Entangling Poison Ivy cards are available through Challenge Mode, with a second Poison Ivy card showing up in Premium Chests. Update 1.4 introduces several bug fixes,fine-tuning, and language support for Japanese, Korean, and Simplified Chinese.

Injustice 2 remains free on Google Play

Word Cookies gets improved dictionary via update

Word Cookies gets improved dictionary via update

May 31, 2017

Fun word game Word Cookies is getting an improved dictionary via an update.

The game remains free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Operate Now: Hospital arrives on Google Play

Operate Now: Hospital arrives on Google Play

May 31, 2017

Operate Now: Hospital is here.

This one looks to remind you of your favorite hospital show, and lets you be in charge.

Operate Now: Hospital, is a drama inspired medical journey, where you experience being a surgeon, building a medical team, and managing a hospital. In this realistic simulation game, your objective is to assemble a highly skilled medical team to perform operations on patients and to put your medical facility at the number one spot in the world. Scrubs and gloves at the ready!

SURGICAL FEATURES
• Drama-filled storylines
• Realistic surgery simulation
• Perform complex medical procedures
• Become the best surgeon
• Manage and optimize your hospital’s facilities, budgets & staff
• Assemble a top notch medical team

It’s free with in-app purchases.

Checking out the iClever Wireless Keyboard

Checking out the iClever Wireless Keyboard

May 31, 2017

I love my mobile pieces.

Smartphone, tablets, handhelds… I enjoy having access to information, work and pastimes on the go. Thing is… when it comes right down to the nuts and bolts of it, it boils down to connectivity, doesn’t it? I mean, I enjoy tablets of differing sizes, but for a lot of tasks, tablets are only as good as the interwebs they are tunneling into.

I am not averse to data plans for tablets, and wi-fi is becoming more ubiquitous, but with both of those solutions, one is still beholden to cell towers and/or poentially insecure public wi-fi.

Point? For a lot of mobile productivity, my smartphone tends to be my most reliable unit. It’s almost always connected, and a lot of the work I do can be performed (or heavily prepped) on it. As such, I tend to build out mobile solutions around my smartphone daily driver first and foremost.

And that’s where the iClever Portable Wireless Keyboard potentially fills a gap. It’s a bluetooth keyboard first and foremost, yes, but unabashedly hopes its design and resultant portability lends itself to indispensability.

And about that design… out of the box, it’s a sleek device, coming wrapped in a simple carry pouch. It aluminum finish is quite becoming. In hand, prior to unfolding, it is barely bigger than your regular flagship smartphone. It feels very well fused, with the folding mechanism and hinges hidden.

It is a bluetooth keyboard with a tri-fold design, and opening it up reveals the full product: full mostly black keyboard with number row/function keys, plus specialized keys for Windows, iOS and Android. The crown jewel (in my opinion) is the incorporated touchpad with dual buttons on the right. Mouse control on a portable keyboard? Oh yeah. When folded, it comes in at 2.4 x 3.5 x 0.7 inches, and uncoils to 11 x 3.5 x 0.2 inches — a speck or two within the size of, say, an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard, for comparison. It also weighs under 8 ounces and is charged via micro-USB.

It comes ready to pair (to three devices, no less), and so we got to pairing. The keyboard works as expected, and the touchpad invokes a pointer, and works as expected. We were able to get different devices going with the switch when needed. Some folks might find the keys cramped, but I was able to get this going on it with no problems at all. It boasts 60 days of usage on a full charge.

Truth be told, this isn’t the first foldable keyboard we’ve seen; heck, iClever itself has shown a fondness for this particular form factor in previous portable keyboard models. What sets this one apart, perhaps, are the extras: keyboard response, full keys (including the aforementioned number row and function keys), and especially the touchpad. That touchpad is especially attractive to people like me, who group up using mice on computers, and might not instinctively look to touch the screen while using a traditional keyboard. Now, the touchpad doesn’t work with iOS devices, but does work with Windows tabs.

Altogether, a joy to use. Outside the need for a stand of some sort, and maybe a backlight it’s fantastic, and quite easy to fall in love with.

Kill Shot Virus Review

Kill Shot Virus Review

May 31, 2017

If you liked Kill Shot Bravo — and we certainly did — you’ll probably like Hothead’s latest, Kill Shot Virus. It’s similarly borne, uses a lot of familiar style, but now, players have to contend with dastardly, swarming, hungry zombies.

The basic storyline will be equally familiar to anyone remotely acquainted with the genre, and subsequently needs little introduction; there are a lot — a whole, whole lot — of zombies, and the core idea is to take out the zombies, complete missions and stay alive.

The action is perceived in first person, such that the entire device screen becomes the field of vision. One can intuitively swipe across the screen to pan around, and there is a shooting button that works in conjunction with the sighting mechanism and allows the player to take out the undead.

Altogether, the game presents an interesting visual framing for the game, with interesting colors and physics-based animations. It is bloody, but somehow not disgustingly gory, and the way the developer uses perspective to narrow down the playing area is well done. The game also adds in a slow-motion sequence which is quite engaging.

ksv3

As far as the the gameplay goes, the action is mission-based, and as shown by the intro/tutorial, there isn’t a lot of time to be had before the game just goes and gets into it: the zombies are coming, and we have to shoot our way out. Hey, there might be a friend or two lost in hat initial firefight, but at least we learn how to use the aforementioned system to destroy the enemy. As one goes on, the enemies get more challenging and more varied. Exploding zombies? Eew.

Getting through levels earns more missions and game currency. The game currency is crucial with regards to performing necessary upgrades, because at some point, the initial weaponry just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Simple concept, with a zombie backstory. Brilliant.


Guns of Boom Review

Guns of Boom Review

May 31, 2017

Some things are standard.

Seasons. Taxes. OS upgrades (no?).

No matter one’s creed or clime, there’s always space and time for a good, fun first person shooter. Game Insight looks to hold us down with its fun/serious release Guns of Boom – Online Shooter.

Yep, it’s time to run things…

The artwork is expectantly colorful; the animations are smooth at the onset, and the characterizations have a hint of the whimsical while remaining effective. The visual cues are familiar, and the fidelity to control is well done. The controls are virtual; by default, when can move around by gestures, and can look around intuitively by swiping across the screen. As hinted at earlier, this one is taken in in first person style and the controlled character auto shoots when a target is in his/her sights.

The game is kind enough to give the briefest of tutorials, and this one is straight-to-the-point; appropriately so, perhaps, because it is pretty easy to get into and find out how to play using dummy targets.

gob3

Actual play is equally as easy to get into. The game engine looks for a battle arena, and tosses in the players into a factioned battle. The main idea is to get as many points from dispatching the enemy group, just as they (the enemy fighters) are looking to do to you and your crew. Basically, roam around, and look to shoot. And yeah, avoid enemy gunfire.

Battle, battle, battle… and then some.

Now, if you do get killed by an enemy, you’re out… for a while. It takes time for the controlled character to respawn, but then you’re back in. The team with the most points at the end of the allotted time wins.

The game includes clans, awards that can be used to fine-tune stuff like protection, plenty of weapon choices and even leaderboards. Altogether, an exiting romp.