Archive for Sunday, May 1, 2005

Briefcase

May 1, 2005

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Turner plugging into classic video games

The company that helped revive old films is hoping to bring classic video games out of the vault.

Turner Broadcasting System Inc., operator of Turner Classic Movies and other cable channels, will let game aficionados get their fix on hundreds of mostly older games, including classics like "Pac-Man" and "Sonic the Hedgehog."

The GameTap service also will have such newer titles as "Tony Hawk" and "Splinter Cell," but not games from the current lineup of titles for GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles.

The on-demand service will require high-speed Internet connections and Windows PCs with at least 256 megabytes of memory and a 3D video card. The system will not work on consoles or Macintosh computers.

Players can use a keyboard, mouse or a USB joystick.

Gamers likely will pay monthly subscriptions of $10 to $20 to download an unlimited number of games, said Blake Lewin, vice president of product invention at TBS. The games will stop working once the subscription expires.

Personal finance

Tax refunds can be put to good use

It's the season of the tax refund and the money can be a perplexing windfall for many. The average return was $2,100 last year.

Do you save it or spend it?

One thought, if your check is amounting to thousands of dollars: You're loaning the government too much. Talk to your payroll department to increase your exemptions through the year. This will allow you to take home more, instead of waiting for Uncle Sam to send it back in the spring.

As for what to do with the money, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service has a few suggestions:

  • Start an emergency fund. The TV or radiator can go on the fritz, or your sister may need to borrow $1,000 for an emergency. Life is full of the unexpected.
  • Lose debt. Monthly finance charges are a complete waste. Get rid of credit card balances, or at least lower them.
  • College tuition. If you have children, a 529 savings plan is a smart investment.
  • Go half. If you have to blow some of the money, put away at least half and play with the rest.
  • Be charitable. Maybe you can't afford to donate to good causes through the year. But now you can.

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