Monthly Archives: January 2012

There’s been a little bit of a storm on Twitter this afternoon about the privacy settings in Spotify, kicked off by an interesting blog post from Dr. Ben Goldacre taking the popular music streaming service to task for its incredibly cavalier attitude to sharing users’ playlists and other information. The theme has been picked up by Graham Linehan, who has also apparently written about this for the Evening Standard.

If you don’t use Spotify, or haven’t noticed the changes, then it goes a bit like this – you now have to connect Spotify to your Facebook account. When you do this, it goes about busily sharing every playlist you create, and updating your Facebook Music feed to show the world exactly what you’re listening to.

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Apple just had its most profitable quarter ever – in fact, the most profitable quarter any tech company has ever had. Apple’s doing okay.

That’s not really important, though, unless you’re a shareholder or an investor. What are important if you’re a developer, or someone who’s just interested in the tech, are the underlying sales numbers. To wit – 37 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads, 5.2 million Macs. It also sold 15.4 million iPods, the only area of its business that declined (for obvious reasons).

Here’s what I think we can take away from that, and what I hope is going to be injected into ongoing tech debates by these figures.

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There are too many social networks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t room for more. I don’t want anyone to make “the new Facebook” – Facebook, for all its faults, is Facebook, and it’s a site on which I’ve got pretty much everyone I’ve ever known and with whom I’d like to stay in contact listed. What I do want, however, is for people to make highly specialised social network sites and applications that perform a useful function very well, and interoperate with other networks nicely.

I can’t see myself replacing the big networks (Facebook, Twitter) with the Latest Big Thing, but I can certainly see myself using a “network of networks” – a constellation of networks that play nicely with each other, fulfil specific needs and together, give me a lot of control over who I’m sharing with and what I’m sharing.

With that in mind, I started trying out two new apps this week – Path and Pin Drop, both of which look like promising new stars in that “social constellation” (an utterly wanky term which I’m not honestly suggesting anyone else use, but I can’t think of anything better right now).

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I wrote a thing for about PlayStation Vita. I don’t actually have a Vita yet, but I’ve spent a pretty significant amount of time playing with it and I definitely like it. I was less sold on the 3DS at first, but it quickly became a solid favourite – unfortunately the silly region-locking that Nintendo have imposed means that I’ll probably not buy much more software for mine until I’m back in Japan. Vita has had an even shakier start than 3DS, but I’m hopeful that things will pick up for the console – even if Sony has to take a haircut on the price tag in the process.

As an aside, this is the first thing I’ve written for Eurogamer in ages. My weekly columns for used to get cross-posted onto EG on Saturday mornings, which I really hated – they weren’t written with that audience in mind so it’s unsurprising that they just ended up getting people’s backs up. It’s much better to be writing pieces specifically commissioned for EG – consumer games writing isn’t a major focus for me, but it’s definitely fun and interesting to occasionally work on something that talks about corporate, business-related stuff to a consumer audience.

On an unrelated note, isn’t creativity a peculiar thing? Last autumn I had over a month in which I did basically nothing – I had, perhaps, a day and a half of work to do each week, and not much in the way of other commitments to deal with. I didn’t feel the urge to write a single line of fiction. Right now, my desk is piled up with research books, deadlines for all sorts of things are looming, and I’ve taken on a lot of extra work for the next few months – so of course, now I’ve got all manner of stories and ideas swimming around in my head. I’m trying to write down as much as possible; I’m pretty sure that if I don’t, the next time I find some free time, I won’t remember a damn thing.