Archive for November, 2011

Social Networking Users Say They Want More Control Over Their Info

November 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Online privacy is not just for wonks any more. Lots of people say its important to them — especially when researchers come asking. Not everyone is turned off by complex privacy settings, or so they say. Sixty-one percent of social networking users interviewed by Harris Interactive said they’d share more if they could control who could see what they share. And a significant portion — 20 percent — said they currently opt to share all their photos by email instead of on social networks because they’re worried about privacy. That study was paid for by the privacy-focused social network and blogging tool Posterous and included about 2,000 respondents. It’s timely given Facebook just agreed to 20 years of privacy audits . Meanwhile, an Alcatel-Lucent-sponsored study of about 5,000 Americans found that 70 percent of respondents had ignored friend requests in order to limit who could see their online posts. That “ Identity Shift ” study broke out particular age groups. For instance, 85 percent of “empty nesters” and retirees said they’re comfortable sharing information if they have control over who sees it. Amongst teenagers surveyed, 58 percent said they’d posted statuses, comments or photos about themselves or their families that they later regretted. The Alcatel-Lucent study found 75 percent of people said they interact with people online that they’ve never met. Meanwhile, participants in the Posterous study said they’d only met 55 percent of their Facebook friends in person. Image via Shutterstock / Péter Gudella .

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Yahoo Bidders Come in at $16.50 to $17.50, With Plan to Keep Jerry Yang on Board

November 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Last night, Yahoo’s board gathered for a pre-meeting dinner, a precursor to a day-long meeting today to weigh several bids from private equity firms to buy part of the Silicon Valley Internet giant, including Silver Lake and TPG Capital. Among the thorniest of issues will be the low price that the firms want to pay for a 19.9 percent stake in the company. Silver Lake has offered $16.50 and TPG a dollar more. In the past year, Yahoo! share prices have seen a low of $11.09 and a high of almost $19. It closed yesterday at $15.70 — a price that is mostly due to sale rumors — making the offers not much of a gain on current market valuation.

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Path Tries Again, Now as a Mobile Journal App

November 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Personal photo-sharing app Path has reshaped itself as a sort of mobile blogging tool for users to tell their close friends where they are, what they’re listening to, who they’re with, what they’re doing and even when they’re sleeping and when they’re awake. Path 2 feels like one of the most lovingly crafted apps I’ve used, with nifty animations and careful attention paid to quickly surfacing what information a user is likely to include in a post. For instance, the app has a spring-loaded composer button for creating and sharing content that’s just a really cool and efficient experience (pictured below, but you’ll need to use it to see what I mean). When it first launched a year ago, Path wasn’t much of a social network — users could only share with 50 people, there were no comments or even ways to share photos to Facebook — and it didn’t do anything as a mobile photo app that was different from the zillions of other options. It wasn’t a failure, but it only got about a million users, less than might be expected for such a high-profile app . The new version of Path (for both iPhone and Android) also doesn’t offer any feature that you can’t get from other tools like Foursquare, WakeMate, Facebook and Instagram, but it combines them all into one sleek interface for telling people what you’re doing. Path has smoothed some of its awkward friending stuff out — now you can connect to 150 people, and you can friend them instead of just sending them your content. But the new app adds some more implicit and automated interactions that make it so you’d really only want to use it with your closest friends and family. In fact, Path CEO Dave Morin says he prefers to call users’ Path connections “loved ones” rather than “friends.” For instance, if you open Path in a place you don’t usually use the app, it will automatically send out a location update about the neighborhood where you’re located. Or if you visit other users’ profiles, they each get an in-app notification saying you came by. If you click on a song someone’s shared, you see who else has ever played it. And yes, you can even tell the app each night when you go to sleep and then reach for it first thing to show it you’ve woken up, and all that is dutifully recorded on your profile. (Eventually Path wants to integrate with more precise self-tracking tools.) This is the kind of sharing that would only be OK with loved ones; for anyone else, it would be more like stalking and/or inviting yourself to be stalked. In multiple ways, the new Path echoes the latest features announced by Morin’s former employer Facebook. Each Path user now has the option to set a “cover photo” as the background of their profile, and all this automated sharing has a parallel in Facebook’s new “frictionless” tools for developers like Spotify. Do we really want to automatically spray out updates about everything we do? Morin thinks so — but he argued it makes more sense in a private and mobile setting like Path than on Facebook.

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The Take

November 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV Reviews: "The Take" offers the simple pleasure of Tom Hardy at his brutish, glowering best.

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Weed Wars

November 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

TV Reviews: If half the battle in reality TV is unearthing colorful characters, "Weed Wars" already looks like a winner.

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Awards season: And they’re off

November 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: 'The Artist' sets early pace in kudos race -- Yes, a silent, black-and-white film starring French actors really is a contender this year. Absolutely, Brad Pitt's portrayal of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball" should be taken seriously. And three pics -- "Take Shelter," "Beginners" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" -- put themselves on the map in the early goings.

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Asa Butterfield locks ‘Ender’s Game’

November 30, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Producers discussing veteran thesps for adult lead, including Harrison Ford -- "Hugo" star Asa Butterfield has closed a deal to star as the title character in "Ender's Game," Odd Lot Entertainment's adaptation of Orson Scott Card's 1985 sci-fi novel, which won both the Hugo and Nebula awards before spawning a series.

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Facebook’s Phone Revealed!

November 30, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

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AFTRA spokesman to 42West

November 29, 2011  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Film News: Christopher de Haan heads to PR firm -- AFTRA's public voice Christopher de Haan is ankling from the performers union to join PR firm 42West in the strategic communications division.

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AT&T Tries to Retool Fading T-Mobile Bid by Boosting Leap

November 29, 2011  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

With the FCC apparently ready to let AT&T withdraw its application for approval of its T-Mobile acquisition while it does battle with the Justice Department, the company is hard at work on an eleventh-hour revamp to try to salvage the deal. The plan, according to the New York Times : Sell off some of T-Mobile’s assets (customers and spectrum) to Leap Wireless International. Such a move would make Leap Wireless the fourth-largest carrier in the nation, while allowing AT&T to keep only those T-Mobile assets it really needs. But will it win AT&T the regulatory approval it needs to proceed? Seems unlikely. Transforming Leap into the nation’s No. 4 carrier doesn’t do much to preserve competition in a market in which AT&T and Verizon hold a clear duopoly. But at this point, AT&T’s evidently willing to try anything, even risking a $39 billion merger on a deal with a company that does around $700 million in revenue per quarter. And given the circumstances, who wouldn’t be making last-ditch efforts? If the deal fails to garner regulatory approval, AT&T will owe T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom $3 billion in cash and $1 billion worth of spectrum .

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