Category Archives: News

Xbox LIVE Marketplace Rebranded To Xbox Games Store

As products and services evolve, the branding is often reviewed by the provider in order to reflect changes. We saw a similar thing a couple of years ago when the Android Market was renamed to the Google Play Store, and as of today, Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE Marketplace is now known as the Xbox Games Store.

With the new Xbox One on the horizon, Microsoft’s model of selling games is changing, with all titles released for the console also being made available online for download. Thus, the switch to Xbox Games Store would seem more than suitable, helping consumers to adjust to the idea that games are a commodity that can be downloaded, and not just picked up from retail outlets.

Xbox Games

Reality Absorption Field: Apple Shrugged

Like other public companies, Apple is judged by financial analysts on its ability to maintain and improve unit volumes and revenues, market share and margins. But since it would be difficult for Apple to substantially increase its share and profitability in many of its categories, what Apple is really judged on at a macro level is its ability to disrupt, launch and capture the value in product categories.

In this, the company isn’t quite alone; Amazon and Google, for example, are also expected to be disruptive, but each flanks Apple. Since it has to run on the tight margins of an Internet retailer, the expectations of Amazon are not as broad as they are for Apple. Its current obsession, for example, seems to be trying to kill Netflix. On the other hand, much has been made of Google’s moonshots such as the self-driving car (and surely many more behind lab doors). These represent amazing, even inspiring, research efforts that may demonstrate Google’s commitment to innovation to investors. However, it’s impossible to tell when they may have an impact on Google’s short-term financial performance.

A possible fix for your Mac’s lost audio alerts

I’ve experienced this issue many times. A new email arrives, or some other such event that ought to trigger and audible alert from my Mac, but I get nothing but silence.

Until Apple decides to fix this long-standing problem, the Mac Observer has one possible solution. They suggest unplugging any external speakers that use the headphone jack, and then plug them back in. In some cases, it works. But not reliably. My Mac has failed to produce an alert noise after waking from sleep, and even without any external speakers connected.

Of course, it could be settings. In Mail>Preferences>General, check the box for “Play sounds for other Mail actions.” Then in System Preferences>Sound>Special Effects, turn the Volume for “Alerts” all the way up.

iPhone Trade-In Program Begins Today At Apple Retail Stores

We first heard a few days back that Apple would begin an iPhone trade-in program around the time of the release of the next-gen handsets, a move designed to boost general sales of the device from the company’s own retail stores rather than partners. Today, the service has come into full effect and now, consumers will be able to trade-in their old devices in part-exchange for a gleaming new handset.

Of course, there is, as ever, a catch. The consumer must agree to a two-year contract as part of the "iPhone Reuse and Recycling Program," so whatever your current iPhone is deemed worth in credit can be used against your new contract.

BioShock Infinite is the Mac game of the year

BioShock Infinite, one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, has come to the Mac via the Mac App Store. Originally released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in March, its mix of jaw-dropping graphics, first-person shooter action, story and social commentary regarding racism, American exceptionalism and religious fundamentalism has led many to call it the best game of this decade so far and earned it over 85 prestigious awards.

The game is the third installment in the BioShock series, but players don’t need any knowledge of the first two installments as BioShock Infinite stands on its own with new characters and storyline. You play as Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to the floating city of Columbia to find a mysterious woman named Elizabeth who has quantum powers. Though the city of Columbia floats in the sky, the game takes place in 1912. Yet many critics have noted that the themes in the game reflect the political, religious, plutocratic and populist divides in America running up to the 2012 elections.

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