MediaFile

Adele’s ‘stock’ hits new 52-week high after Grammy boost

If Adele was a stock you would definitely go long. The young lady from north London, England has been breath of fresh air for the music industry as an artist and a person but especially for being the one truly bright spot of music sales over the last year.

After picking up six Grammy awards on Feb 12, Adele’s album ’21′, already the year’s biggest seller, has sold 730,000 albums in its 52nd week of release (the week ending 2/19/2012). This surpassed its previous biggest sales week when 399,000 albums were sold in the all important Christmas holiday week last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan data.

Nielsen SoundScan said sales of  ’21′ were already up right after the Grammys thanks to the immediacy of digital albums selling 238,000 units in the week ending 2/12/2012. This was up from 122,000 in the previous week.

Adele’s debut album ’19′ has also had a post-Grammy bump with its biggest U.S sales week ever with 87,000 units sold.

Adele will probably get another sales boost back home after picking up best female artist and best album at the Brit Awards on Tuesday night.

Denzel Washington’s ‘Safe House’ grabs box office crown

The weekend box office title landed securely in Denzel Washington’s hands as his thriller, “Safe House,” beat love story “The Vow” over a long U.S. holiday weekend. 

“Safe House” took in $28.4 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters from Friday through Monday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. That lifted the movie to No. 1 from its second-place finish when it opened a week earlier. 

“The Vow,” last weekend’s winner, slipped to second place with $26.6 million over the four days.  

Cage, Witherspoon feature in box-office battle

Three new movies compete for filmgoers over the long President’s Day weekend in the United States. Nicolas Cage is expected to lead the pack of newcomers with Sony’s 3D action sequel “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.”

Box-office watchers project Friday-through-Monday sales in the United States and Canada could roar to $30 million for the follow-up to the original “Ghost Rider,” released over the same weekend in 2007.

Reese Witherspoon also battles for audiences with 20th Century Fox romantic comedy “This Means War.” Fox sees the story about two CIA agents (Tom Hardy and Chris Pine) trying to win over the same woman bringing in around $14 million over four days. Outside forecasters say it could go a few million higher. The movie pulled in about $1.7 million from Valentine’s Day showings.

Tech wrap: Google bypassed Safari privacy settings

Google landed in hot water over revelations that the search giant and ad companies had bypassed the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple’s Safari Web browser, using special computer code that tracked their movements online. Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer discovered the code. Subsequently, a technical adviser to the Wall Street Journal found that ads on 22 of the top 100 websites installed the Google tracking code on a test computer, and ads on 23 sites installed it on an iPhone browser. Google disabled the code after being contacted by the Journal, the newspaper said, and Google issued a statement, saying: “The Journal mischaracterizes what happened and why. We used known Safari functionality to provide features that signed-in Google users had enabled. It’s important to stress that these advertising cookies do not collect personal information.”

Apple’s share of China’s booming smartphone market slipped for a second straight quarter in October-December, as it lost ground to cheaper local brands and as some shoppers held off until after the iPhone 4S launch last month. While Apple regained its top spot as the world’s largest smartphone vendor in the fourth quarter and for last year as a whole, it slipped to 5th place in China. In the last quarter, Samsung knocked Nokia off the top slot, taking 24.3 percent of the market, more than three times Apple’s share, data from research firm Gartner showed.

A British student, who hacked into Facebook’s internal network risking “disastrous” consequences for the website, was jailed for eight months in what prosecutors described as the most serious case of its kind they had seen. Glenn Mangham, 26, a software development student, admitted infiltrating Facebook from his bedroom at his parents’ house in York in northern England last year, sparking fears at the company that it was dealing with major industrial espionage.

Facebook’s Timeline: A catalog of nothing

We have seen the past, and it doesn’t work.

Over the past few weeks, Facebook has been rolling out Timeline, its effort to remake its members’ profile pages into scrapbooks that, like nearly everything published on the social web, is told in a reverse chronology. While redesigns always inspire grumbling, the discontent seems particularly strong this time — 70 percent of users surveyed say they just don’t like it, and Facebook’s own blog page announcing Timeline is filled with complaints in the comments.

At first glance, Timeline looks interesting — a retrospective of an online life. But soon enough, there’s plenty not to like. And the biggest problem isn’t that Facebook scrapped the elegant sparseness of the old profile page for a cluttered interface, or that many users will — yet again — need to reset their privacy settings, or even that, once you switch to Timeline, you can never go back to the old page.

No, the biggest problem with Timeline is that it feels like a mean prank Facebook is playing on its users. It confronts them with the unpleasant reality that the sum total of lives preserved by social media is not just mundane but inauthentic, devoid of what gives meaning to the very thing it’s meant to catalog: life.

Tech wrap: Apple teases “Mountain Lion”

Apple released details on the successor to its “Lion” operating system for Mac computers, due out late this summer. OS X 10.8, dubbed “Mountain Lion,” will inherit features already running on iPhones and iPads such as iMessage, Notification Center and AirPlay mirroring, according to an Apple press release. Game Center will give Mac users the opportunity to square off against gamers on iOS devices as well as other Mac users. A new feature called “Gatekeeper” is meant to give OS X users more control over what apps can be downloaded onto their Macs, further distinguishing Apple-approved apps from third-party ones. The plan to introduce more iOS functions to Apple’s desktop and laptop OS comes as Microsoft prepares to make its desktop applications more mobile with a rumored fall release of Windows 8.

Four months after one of Japan’s biggest corporate scandals, police and prosecutors arrested seven men, including the former president of Olympus and ex-bankers, over their role in a $1.7 billion accounting fraud at the medical equipment and camera maker. Three former executives arrested, ex-President Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, former Executive Vice President Hisashi Mori and former auditor Hideo Yamada, had been identified by an investigative panel, commissioned by Olympus, as the main culprits in the fraud, seeking to delay the reckoning from risky investments made in the late-1980′s bubble economy.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said that the company’s location-based service Groupon NOW will likely not be a material contributor to results in the next one or two quarters. Mason said customers of the company’s daily deals are using Groupon NOW too. However, he stressed that the new service will likely take time to grow. Groupon NOW is a relatively new service that differs from Groupon’s main daily deal business. Groupon subscribers can check on nearby deals that are happening in the next one or two hours, based on their location.

Microsoft’s msnNOW targets hot news, gossip

Microsoft’s MSN portal, like Yahoo’s, is finding it tough to compete with Facebook and Twitter as people’s first port of call on the Internet.

The software giant is looking to grab back some buzz and appeal to younger users with a new service that delivers a snapshot at any minute of the day on news stories, people and topics that are most popular on the web.

The product, branded ‘msnNOW’, launches on Thursday at now.msn.com, and will be integrated into items on Microsft’s main MSN site.

Tech wrap: Apple iOS apps to require “explicit” OK to share your contacts

Apple tweaked its policy on permission iOS apps need to access the contact information of users after legislators sought more information from the company regarding its privacy policies.

“Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines,” an Apple spokesman told Reuters. “We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.”

The announcement came after Path, a San Francisco startup, attracted widespread criticism last week after a Singaporean developer discovered that Path’s iPhone app had been quietly uploading his contacts’ names and phone numbers onto Path’s servers. In the following days, other tech bloggers discovered that iPhone apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare similarly uploads user data – without permission, in some cases. Later, blogger Dustin Curtis, wrote in a widely distributed post that “there’s a quiet understanding among many iOS app developers that it is acceptable to send a user’s entire address book, without their permission to remote servers and then store it for future reference.”

Users complain, AT&T blames data tsunami

AT&T took the opportunity to remind the world on Tuesday that is data traffic is doubling on its network every year, with all the growth adding up to 20,000 percent for  the past five years. John Donovan, a senior technology executive at AT&T,  said that the constant growth rate sounded like “a sign of stability”

“But when the year-end numbers show a doubling of wireless data traffic from 2010 to 2011 – and you’ve seen at least a doubling every year since 2007 – the implications are profound,” he said in a blog  where he likened growth rates to a “wireless data tsunami.”

Meanwhile an AP story about some of the measures the company is using to manage this tsunami — namely throttling back data speeds for heavy users on its unlimited plan– attracted much criticism on the on the Internet. 

OpenX opens kimono to reveal financials – prepwork for an IPO?

It’s the season for getting a peek at private Internet companies’ financial results.

Wall Street is still chewing over Facebook’s recently revealed numbers, and on Monday, OpenX Technologies, a private, venture-backed online ad company, served up some financial gristle of its own.

The company, which provides an online ad exchange as well as ad server technology, said that it is now on track to generate more than $100 million in revenue on an annualized run rate basis and that it became profitable in the fourth quarter of 2011.