EU Data Law Draft uses Language Word-for-Word from US & EU Corporations

Cyrus Farivar, writing for Ars Technica:

[A] new European activist group has published evidence illustrating that significant proposed revisions have been introduced, nearly wholesale, via model legislation written by American and European corporate interests.


“The Customer Experience is Always Broader Than that Which can be Defined by a Simple Number.”

Speaking of bad experiences, Tim Cook has recently gone on record talking about how Apple treats specification checklists and why people buy products:

“In the PC industry over the years, the way that companies competed were in two things: specs and price. People would say, 'I've got the largest drive,' or 'I've got the most megapixels.' The truth is that customers want a great experience and quality—they want that 'a-ha' moment,” Cook said. “These [specifications] are things that technology companies invent because they can't have a great experience, so they talk about the specs of something. […] The customer experience is always broader than that which can be defined by a simple number.”

Jacqui Cheng wrote that article and it’s all worth a read. She covers everything Tim said at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference last week.

Help Design Ubuntu Mobile

Speaking of interface design, it’s pretty neat that Canonical (the folks behind Ubuntu) are taking public input on the design of the core applications for Ubuntu for phones:

Canonical is taking community input on what the core applications (e-mail, calendar, clock/alarm, weather, file manager, document viewer, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) should look like.

Designers looking to make a name for themselves certainly have an opportunity here. Check out the gallery for some interesting interface ideas. My two cents? Designers should stay away from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter apps. I wonder how “community input” will go down when Canonical shows Twitter the suggestions for their client. Probably not well.

More on Apple, Valve and Gaming

Kyle Orland writes a piece for Ars which I think has a few flaws, but is interesting to think about: Apple, the living room and gaming.

Kyle states:

Apple has now sold more than 10 million Apple TVs, but the 5-year-old streaming box has often been referred to as a "hobby" inside Cupertino.

I am reminded of this recent Tim Cook quote:

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years,” Cook told Williams. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

So the Apple TV has *recently gone from a “hobby” to an “area of intense interest”. Things are warming up.

Back to Kyle:

There are some things you can always seem to count on in the video game industry. Activision is always working on a new Call of Duty game. Ubisoft's Beyond Good and Evil sequel is always "just around the corner." The PlayStation 3 is constantly hitting its stride. And Apple is perpetually on the verge of releasing a living room video game console that will revolutionize everything.

I don’t think Apple is going to enter the console market in the same way Sony and Microsoft did. Apple is more of a general computing company: people can work and play games on their Macs, iPads and iPhones. Why would Apple restrict a living room product to just gaming? If the Apple TV sees an update soon (which seems likely), I see apps as the future.

I think what Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, is trying to get at with the quote included in Kyle’s piece, is exactly that: imagine the effects apps had on the smartphone business happening to the living room. It would be huge.

Here’s Gabe’s exact quote:

“The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform. I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed-down living room platform emerging—I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room?”

I think Valve has a chance to do well in the living room, but Gabe is just concerned Apple will take all the pie.

Microsoft and Dell, Sitting in a Tree…

Some interesting information about Microsoft’s involvement in Dell’s plans to go private have surfaced (pardon the pun). Peter Bright at Ars has the story:

According to one of the people involved, "under one scenario being discussed, Dell would agree to use Microsoft's Windows software to power the vast majority of its devices."

Given that this is how Dell already operates, it appears that Microsoft may be trying to prevent any radical reorganization or departure from the PC market. A desire to substantially alter the way the company does business, including breaking its dependency on PC sales, is believed to underpin Dell's desire to go private in the first place.

Looks like the rumours were partly accurate.

Nintendo Announces Crippling Wii U Numbers

Speaking of gaming’s future, it’s starting to look dubious whether Nintendo’s hardware division will be a part of it. Some tough numbers were announced recently:

Nintendo sold 3.06 million Wii U units worldwide from its November launch through the end of 2012. That's nearly as much as the 3.19 million units of the original Wii Nintendo sold back in the 2006 holiday season.

Less Wii U units sold, but six years later. So much for growth.