Archive for July, 2011

‘Potter’ continues to cast global spell

July 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Foreign B.O.: Pic conjures $120 million in its second week overseas -- With the faceoff between Warners' teen wizard and Paramount's avenging superhero set to start this week, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" had one final relatively uninterrupted weekend at the overseas box office during the July 22-24 frame -- and it made the most of it.

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Put paid-for news in the open

July 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Business News: Since networks are buying, we might as well see the bill -- If sunlight really is the best disinfectant, there's a counterintuitive case to be made for broadcast networks giving up their silly tap-dance and shelving the ban against paying for interviews.

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Colombiana

July 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film Reviews: Luc Besson's latest may not be the brainiest of actioners, but fanboys will come away with a scrap of horticultural knowledge as well as a pretty good time.

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Golf in the Kingdom

July 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film Reviews: Susan Streitfeld adapts Michael Murphy's novel to sometimes laudable, usually ludicrous effect.

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‘Cowboys’ ropes in lead at box office

July 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: 'Smurfs' happily trails not far behind -- "Cowboys and Aliens" was trotting along with box-office expectations Friday, giving the Universal genre mash-up a good shot at the mid-$40 milllion range, while Sony's "The Smurfs" was la-la-la'ing its way to a $12 million Friday bow that could put it over $30 million for the weekend.

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MTV renews ‘Dance Crew’

July 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Cable net reups series for seventh season -- MTV has renewed ''America's Best Dance Crew'' for a seventh season.

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Airbnb’s Rental Nightmare Ends in Arrest and One Still Very Unlucky Customer

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The San Francisco Police department confirmed that it has made an arrest in the incident involving an Airbnb host who had her entire life turned upside down when renters ransacked her apartment and ultimately stole her property and identity. The San Francisco Police Department has issued a statement regarding the arrest. The statement, which Airbnb sent to me, confirms that on June 28 two people were detained but released pending further investigation. Later on that evening, officers say they arrested Faith Clifton, a 19-year-old white female of San Francisco. Faith has been booked into San Francisco County Jail on possession of stolen property, methamphetamine and fraud charges. In the statement, the police department says it has been in contact with the victim and has been in contact with the company (in this case, Airbnb), which “provided as much information as possible in this matter,” according to the police report. While the incident occurred back in early June, it only came out recently thanks to an emotionally charged blog post written by the victim . The woman, who wrote under the nickname EJ, blogged about how the apartment she rented to someone using Airbnb was completely trashed and vandalized. Her personal documents, her grandmother’s jewelry and various other items were stolen during a well-executed raid that lasted for roughly a week while she was gone. Airbnb, which just raised more than $100 million in capital, has been in the hot seat to prove it has done everything possible to remedy the situation. After numerous media reports, EJ wrote another blog post yesterday , saying that there is no end in sight to the nightmare, and corrected some of the company’s statements, including that she was not aware of a suspect that was taken into custody despite the company saying so in statements yesterday. Worse yet, she accuses one of the Airbnb co-founders of requesting that she “shut down the blog altogether or limit its access,” and “suggested that I update the blog with a ‘twist’ of good news so as to ‘complete[s] the story.’” According to yesterday’s blog post, she was also not aware of any arrests made. “As of today, July 28, I have received no confirmation from either the San Francisco Police Department or the District Attorney that any culprit is in custody for my case. One month ago an individual was apprehended, however as far as I know, this person was transferred to a neighboring jurisdiction for prosecution of previous crimes, and no charges or arrest warrant has been issued for my case within San Francisco County.” The company has since pledged to provide its users with additional precautionary measures, one of which is to provide insurance options. Those options continue to be under consideration. In a statement today, the company writes: “We were shocked and disturbed to hear about this unfortunate situation and since that moment have done everything in our power to assist EJ. We have offered assistance with accommodation, transportation, and financial support to help EJ find some sense of security in light of such tragic circumstances. We have also been assisting the police with their investigation and have confirmed with the SFPD that they have a female suspect in custody that they are investigating for vandalism and theft. Safety and security are our utmost priorities and we are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.” It’s unclear whether this incident will blow away, or if Airbnb’s reputation will be forever tarnished. HomeAway, which offers thousands of vacation rentals online worldwide through a number of sites, such as vrbo.com, says while they don’t focus on primary residences, it has never had a situation like this occur. Alexis de Belloy, VP of HomeAway, absolutely believes that it can be safe to both rent from and rent to strangers, but that it helps if the two parties have a chance to get to know each other beforehand

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AT&T’s “Unlimited” Data Plans Won’t Keep You From Getting Throttled

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

So much for AT&T’s grandfathered unlimited data plans. Confirming a report in 9to5Mac yesterday , the carrier said Friday that it will soon throttle its heaviest data users as part of an effort to alleviate congestion on its network. “Like other wireless companies, we’re taking steps to manage exploding demand for mobile data,” the company explained in a statement . “Many experts agree the country is facing a serious wireless spectrum crunch. We’re responding on many levels, including investing billions in our wireless network this year and working to acquire additional network capacity. We’re also taking additional, more immediate measures to help address network congestion.” And so, beginning Oct. 1, customers on an unlimited plan whose monthly use puts them into the top 5 percent of data consumption may have their data speeds reduced until the end of that billing cycle. Normal speeds will resume at the beginning of the next cycle. Just as T-Mobile did before it, AT&T insists the move will affect only a small subset of its customers, while improving service for everyone else. “These customers on average use 12 times more data than the average of all other smartphone data customers,” AT&T said in a statement. “This step will not apply to our 15 million smartphone customers on a tiered data plan or the vast majority of smartphone customers who still have unlimited data plans. … To rank among the top 5 percent, you have to use an extraordinary amount of data in a single billing period.” Something for users of Spotify, Netflix and Hulu to consider…

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Rupert Murdoch’s Disaster Is Already an E-Book

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

No surprise that News Corp.’s PhoneGate travails will end up in book form. But this one may be the first out of the gate: Vanity Fair is selling a compilation of 20 previously published stories about the life and times of Rupert Murdoch as an e-book. At $4 a pop — via Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes & Nobles’ Nook stores — “Rupert Murdoch, The Master Mogul of Fleet Street” costs less than a single copy of the print magazine. It’s also a bargain if you’re a fan of Murdoch biographer (and non-baseball expert ) Michael Wolff, whose work accounts for 20 percent of the copy here. In other PhoneGate news, News Corp. has told employees at its New York Post tabloid to “preserve and maintain” any documents related to phone hacking. News Corp., which also owns this Web site, has maintained that none of the systemic voicemail hacking that has come to light at its News of the World tabloid occurred in the U.S., but investigators will be looking into the matter, regardless.

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Did You Get Your System Administrator a Cake Today?

July 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Okay, so today’s Friday, which is always good, but did you know that it’s also System Administrator Appreciation Day? What? You didn’t get a cake or something nice for your sysadmin, your poor, hardworking system administrator who pulls all those crazy work hours to make things run smoothly? I mean that dude or dudette who cheerfully resets your password every few days because you haven’t the brain cells to remember it. Why, shame on you. Yes, System Administrator Appreciation Day exists and has since about 2002. Naturally, the folks in Google’s Enterprise division, the people who bring you Google Apps, have something to say about it . Google Apps, you see, are all about making the lives of sysadmins easier or more productive so they can focus on more important things than the mundane task of resetting passwords. It also frees them to come up with silly dances in response to the occasional Google April Fool’s prank. If I were a sysadmin, I’d rather have the cake, but that’s just me. Anyway, to all you system administrators out there: Happy System Administrators Appreciation Day! (Image from Wikipedia .)

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