Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we're using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

IRL TK

It's about time you know what a Type-A person our managing editor Dana Wollman is (though a tendency to copy edit other people and benchmark laptops should have already been hints). In this edition, Dana makes a case for the personal finance app Mint.com, while Edgar (maybe a little Type-A himself) deals with a snap-on case for the sake of keeping his MacBook Pro scratch-free.

Incipio Feather for Retina MacBook Pro

IRL Incipio Feather case for the Retina MBPI have a feeling Jony Ive cringes every time an accessory maker sketches something that's meant to cover up his wonderfully designed products. But hey, no shame in trying to keep your sleek (possibly expensive) gadgets protected, right?

Here's where Incipio's snap-on Feather case has come in for me. After all, sharing the inside of a messenger bag with two cameras, a MiFi and a set of keys poses a little too much danger for my Retina MacBook Pro. Therefore, I decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to add some flair to my 15-inch laptop, in order to hopefully keep it scratch- and dent-free for the long haul.

My biggest concern was adding more weight to my setup, but, thankfully, the Feather does its moniker justice: it's lightweight, as advertised, which is an enormous plus when you're spending days at a trade show. Its light weight, however, doesn't make it feel cheap; it's actually held up quite nicely in the few months I've owned it. Perhaps this is all because of what Incipio dubs high-density, ultra-light Plextonium (a fancy term for polycarbonate), or maybe the stress I put my laptop through isn't nearly as bad as I think it is. Regardless, one thing is certain: the case's durability is without a doubt of one its stronger points.

Honestly, if I had my way, I would prefer to carry around the Retina MacBook Pro au naturel, but since keeping its aluminum chassis in flawless condition is a priority, dressing it with the Feather has at least been a solid alternative.

-- Edgar Alvarez

Mint.com

IRL Mintcom and Incipio's Feather case for the Retina MBPI've got a stupid number of banking apps on my phone. Chase. AmEx. Bank of America. Charles Schwab. Citi Group. If there's an institution with which I have an account of some sort, I also have the Android app. Most of that's tucked inside my finance folder, though, which I seldom go into -- not unless I want to impress my parents with my ability to deposit checks from my phone, anyway. Instead of all that, I've been using Mint.com, which I've connected to said bank accounts, and then some. I use it so much in fact, that it's not in my finance folder; I can't be bothered with that extra tap. It's even on my main home screen. That's how often I open it.

Am I obsessive? Probably. But it's just good for so many things. Sometimes I want to see if the check I gave at a wedding got cashed. Other times (read: on the 15th and 30th of the month) I peek to make sure my paycheck has cleared. I've also gotten in the habit of checking my credit card accounts daily to make sure all the charges seem right -- and if you think I'm crazy, ask about the time a car service company overcharged me by twenty bucks.

What's nice about all this is that I don't have to re-enter my bank passwords, so once I've logged into Mint itself, I can just see all my accounts at once. Also, unlike with other finance apps I've tried, like Manilla, Mint very rarely has problems connecting to my various banks. All told, just about the only thing I can't do is pay my bills from there but fortunately, I only need to do that a few times a month.

In addition to all that, I also get a surprising amount of use out of Mint's monthly budgeting feature (I will not spend more than $70 on a haircut), though it's sadly incomplete without all of my cash purchases accounted for (you could enter those items manually. Still, I'm happy enough seeing a record of how much I've taken out of the ATM). If I were really uptight I'd even set savings goals, or look at charts showing where my money is going. But even obsessive-compulsives have their limits.

-- Dana Wollman