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Apple Store’s search engine has come under scrutiny recently for favoring Apple’s company created apps in its results.  Scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States forced Apple to change its search algorithm in July. The New York Times had analyzed the search results for six years and found that Apple’s own apps ranked first with at least 700 search terms used in the store. According to the newspaper, the analysis since 2013 included a ranking of more than 1,800 specific apps for 13 keywords. The Wall Street Journal confirmed The Times reporting with its review that found similar results; Apple’s own apps often took priority. Before changes to the algorithm, when one searched for common terms such as “music” or “podcast,” Apple Music or Apple podcasts would come up and you’d see unrelated Apple apps, forcing Apple’s competitors down the lists. This is a natural result of the company’s tight control of the process.  iPhone apps can only be installed from Apple’s Store and Apple’s software competes with many of the independent developers in the store. Newspapers get involved when governments get involved.  This issue is the subject of a civil lawsuit in the US and the US Department of Justice is considering an Apple investigation. The Dutch are looking into it as well. Apple told The Times that it has made changes to help users better find the apps they are looking for.  After the changes, it appears that fewer of Apple’s own apps appear at the top of search results.

October is right around the corner. Dust off the Halloween decorations, put the final touches on the costumes and get ready for all the scary movies coming to television and streaming services. While the common Halloween activities are fun, there’s nothing quite like playing a scary video game. The interactive unpredictability of a scary video game is unmatched compared to watching a scary movie. Ever had a zombie sneak up out of nowhere and bite you in Resident Evil?  If you have, you know what we mean. In honor of Halloween, we take a look at the top 5 scary video games and series.

1. Resident Evil Series

Long time no see! This series is the epitome of an interactive scary video game. You’re fighting off challenging zombies with various weapons you’ve picked up throughout your survival adventure and you’re finding herbs to heal wounds. Tip: Be careful when walking around corners.

2. Read Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

A little twist from the regular Read Dead series, this edition features zombies … what else?! The zombies are incredibly real looking even though zombies technically aren’t real. These zombies have serious speed and make crazy sounds. Enjoy with the lights off if you dare.

3. Blair Witch

You saw the movie, now you get to play the video game. Travel through the rigors of Black Hills Forest with your trusty steed as a police officer named Ellis.

4. Silent Hill 2

Sequels are rarely better than the original, but in this case, Silent Hill 2 challenges that belief. It’s an old game, but it never seems to get old. Spooky scenery, disturbing characters, creepy sounds, tricky puzzles and mazes, Silent Hill 2 will keep you up late for all the right and wrong reasons.

5. Call of Duty Series (Zombie Mode)

Zombies seem to be a common across this list and why not, they’re scary! The zombie game mode of this first person shooter can go on forever depending on how well your squad sets up. The scariest part might be when you must start back at level one after hours upon hours of work / play.

Spotify is among the top three applications for streaming and sharing music, having grown significantly in recent years. That makes being associated with it appealing for other applications.  Instagram and Facebook already have options for users to broadcast the song(s) they’re currently jamming to.  Now Snapchat is joining the party.

Spotify is happy with the new relationship saying, “With Spotify, you can listen to your favorite music and podcasts anytime, anywhere. With Snapchat, you can share what you’re up to instantaneously. Soon you’ll be able to combine the two seamlessly and share what you’re listening to in a Snap story.” Here’s how it will work: Users will share their songs to Snapchat via Spotify. To begin with, there will not be a reverse share feature like Instagram has. Users will load a Spotify song into their Snap story and viewers will see the song thumbnail that links to the song on Spotify’s platform. There have been several third party hacks that let you share Spotify songs on Snapchat, but this one will be the real thing.

If you have been following along with us this summer, you know that Lil Nas X, week after week, has had his name in the middle of something popular.  It has all been driven by his giant summer hit “Old Town Road,” which has been staring down at the competition for over four months.  Now with it’s 17th week atop the list, it surpasses Mariah Carey’s 1995 hit “One Sweet Day” for the longest time spent on the Billboard top 100 list. Pretty wild when you think about how quickly all this has transpired for the young country singing rapper. Mariah handled the situation with class and respect. Holding the record for nearly 25 years, she put up an Instagram post that showed her with a torch passing it to Lil Nas X in front of a Billboard backdrop. The post’s opening line reads “Sending  love and congrats to @lilnasx on breaking one of the longest running records in music history!” Well said, very gracious. Summer 2019 belongs to Lil Nas X.

Nintendo is close to delivering on last year’s promise to put Mario Kart on mobile devices.  The game is already being played on PCs, but it’s time for Nintendo to follow its audience to the phone where they increasingly live and breathe. Just how they adapt this well known game to the mobile medium will be interesting…what elements will they keep and what will they drop as they live within the phone’s restrictions.  The fun will be playing the new versions of Rainbow Road or Koopa Troopa Beach on your phone.

The beta version is said to be close to release, but in a break from the past, it will be available on Android devices first, which puts iOS users at the back of the line.  While nothing quite beats the classic N64 version of Mario Kart, having the ability to compete with this timeless title on your phone will be a fresh experience. Check back in for more updates on Mario Kart as the beta release unfolds.

Many new music and unexpected collaborations have been coming out of the woodwork as of recent. This week we saw exactly that, and the results were pretty jarring. Zedd and Katy Perry have teamed up to create the overwhelmingly average “365”. Around this time last year, Zedd released “The Middle”  with country pop singer-songwriter Maren Morris. Is he expecting “365” to carry the torch the Grammy nominated “Middle” lit up? “365” is far from a disaster, but it borderlines generic pop as opposed to the grandiose and creative electronica Zedd used to wow us with. We’ll have to see if it lives up to the success “The Middle” generated. Oh yeah, and there’s the overtly weird and creepy themes of obsession Katy throws in the lyrics. Yikes.

(Listen to “365”- Zedd & Katy Perry here).

Shockingly, Avril Lavigne partnered up with Nicki Minaj and released “Dumb Blonde” from Avril’s new album Head Above Water, released February 15th (Yes, you’re reading that sentence correctly). Many suspected Avril died after internet memes and various fans stated she was replaced by a clone named Melissa. She’s proving us that she’s here, in the flesh, with an extremely bland and unseasoned song. This song is very much Avril trying to revisit her old school Canadian punk rock chick era, which she proves on this track she’s far outgrown. The lyrics have been done before, and its style is attempting to mirror Avril’s 2007 banger, “Girlfriend”, which simply cannot be recreated. And Nicki Minaj is practically lifeless in this, her presence isn’t bad but doesn’t really do anything to enhance this track.

(Listen to “Dumb Blonde”- Avril Lavigne & Nicki Minaj here).

In the world of pop music collaborations this week, one song took the cake and managed to be bearable. Cardi B and Bruno Mars released “Please Me” which once again showcases Bruno as a ladies man, being wooed by girls in the club. We already know these two have amazing chemistry and they’ve proven this with how successful the “Finesse (Remix)” ended up being. This, much like “Finesse” highlights Bruno’s cockiness and magnificently powerful vocal range. This mixed with Cardi’s wit and bubbling personality is what makes these two unstoppable. Both Cardi and Bruno deliver amazingly, and give us something new to grind at the bar to.

(Listen to “Please Me” – Cardi B & Bruno Mars here).