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Jonathan Garro

Jonathan is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @MightyModest.

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In contrast to the common consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation, iOS devices have popularized a more casual style of games. Mac gaming has come a long way in recent years, but this trend towards a more relaxed gameplay has been clearly influenced by iOS games. The Mac App Store has seen a surge of these casual games, some even directly ported from the iPad or iPhone.

BombSquad, a game by Eric Froemling, involves using different types of bombs to blow up your opponents. It takes this simple premise and expands it into various game formats. It won’t be mistaken for a blockbuster console game, but its simplicity lends itself to a less serious iOS-like diversion.

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There is certainly no shortage of finance apps available for the Mac. For some odd reason, Intuit has shied away from offering it’s full-fledged Quicken software for Mac. They offer a watered-down version called “Quicken Essentials for Mac,” but as someone who has used it, I can tell you that they are using that word “essentials” loosely, and charging far too much for the app. It lacks even the most basic features that people expect of any software for tracking their expenses, paying their bills, and organizing their finances in general.

As a result, the field is wide open for competing finance apps for the Mac. Today we are going to take a look at Money Plus, and see how it stacks up against the competition.

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Since the advent of the App Store for iDevices, there has been an influx of apps that serve a very particular niche and perform a single, basic function. This trend has started to move towards the Mac in a very noticeable way, and the Mac App Store has facilitated the acceleration.

Many of these single-purpose apps serve a specific function, such as Caffeine, which allows you to temporarily deactivate your screensaver, or Boom, which squeezes more power out of your laptop’s wimpy speakers. Others don’t serve any real purpose, and are just for simple entertainment, and Mousterpiece certainly qualifies as frivolous app meant only for your amusement. Is it worth a download? Read on to find out.

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From his first appearance in comic books in 1939 to Christopher Nolan’s latest cinematic reboot, the Batman franchise has seen countless reinterpretations in print, TV, and film. Batman: Arkham Asylum isn’t the first time that Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting alter ego has shown up in a video game, but it is the first one in several years to be come to the Mac.

Originally released in 2009, Feral Interactive developed the game for OS X last year. The game received almost universal praise when it was reviewed for the major consoles and for Windows, but does the Mac version successfully replicate the original’s success?

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As smartphones have advanced over the last few years, their storage capacities have grown by leaps and bounds. All that space means more apps, music, and movies to use while on the go. However, transferring large amounts of media files can be a tedious and time-consuming task, (particularly if you sync over WiFi).

Fortunately, a simple solution exists that allow us to stream our media to phones, tablets and laptops, thus eliminating the need to sync to our various devices. But does the convenience of personal streaming outweigh the limitations inherent to such a solution?

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We live in a world where protecting our privacy isn’t just a matter of principle. Letting your personal information get exposed can harm you financially if your credit card information is obtained, and your credit rating can be damaged if someone steals your identity. Your emails and chat messages can contain sensitive information that you want to ensure only go to their intended recipients.

Our computers hold abundant amounts of personal data that most of us would rather not let get into the wrong hands. You might be surprised to see just how many applications are constantly sending data out of your computer, and it is important to be sure that all that stuff is going to places you trust. Fortunately, there are apps that help us monitor what our computers are sending out, and allow us to selectively block transmissions. Here we are going to look at two excellent apps called Little Snitch and Hands Off that aim to do just that.

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As more of our digital lives are transferred from our computers to the cloud, many have claimed that there is a declining need for local storage. As netbooks gained in popularity, manufacturers found that consumers were willing to sacrifice gigabytes for portability. As high performance ultra-portables like the MacBook Air have shown, high performance Solid-State Drives are ready for consumers and have begun to slowly replace the once ubiquitous Hard-Disk Drives in consumer machines.

However, we still love to pack our computers with music, movies, photos, and other space-hogging files. Unless mobile carriers suddenly reverse the current trend of limiting data consumption, cell phone subscribers will not be able to comfortably stream all the content to their mobile devices that they would like. That means that smartphones will need to continue to carry enough on-board storage for average users to conveniently pack enough entertainment until the next time they plug their phone into their computer. The same principle holds true for our desktops and laptops: While the idea of streaming all of your content from the cloud seems quite appealing, it isn’t feasible for many people. Until ISPs stop limiting bandwidth and the cost of renting space in the cloud for huge media libraries and miscellaneous documents becomes cheaper, most users will have to rely on local storage.

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For those of us who have trouble finding the proper motivation to make difficult changes in our lives, New Year’s represents a perfect opportunity to start fresh with some resolutions. There are dozens of great Mac apps that can help us to lead happier, healthier, and more organized lives.

This list covers some of my favorite apps for managing your workflow, organizing your Mac, and keeping your mind sharp and your body fit.

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