Wires Crossed #2 – August 13

Google Raid

Google Raid
Google’s offices in South Korea were raided by police, as law enforcement agencies looked for evidence that the company’s mapping cars illegally captured and stored data from wireless networks as they did the rounds. While the jury is out, and Google says it will cooperate fully, Wires Crossed wonders why Google would want to collect such information. It would be random at best, unless they are collecting a database of addresses and the ISP’s they use – but to what purpose?

EA, who has brought gamers such popular fare as FIFA, The Sims and Rock Band, is being sued by 6,000 former NFL players over the company’s Madden NFL franchise of American Football games. While not on the radar of most gamers in Australia, Madden NFL is huge Stateside, where American Football is as much a religion as Aussie Rules is to Victorians or Rugby League is to New South Welshmen. Some smarty pants at EA decided that minor changes to a players’ profile and their physical attributes was enough to get around licensing laws. The players disagree and are hoping for their pound of flesh. They just might get it, too.

Dell’s Shareholders Revolting
Michael Dell faced a shareholder backlash about the compensation he received from the company he founded versus the share price and the company’s performance over the past year. In an email sent to shareholders, stockholder the AFL-CIO labour federation urged shareholders to kick Dell into touch. With Dell being a major shareholder the likelihood of the Texas-born entrepreneur being sacked was always unlikely. Dell survived the revolt but still has to answer some sticky questions with regard to Dell pumping up the company’s profit with the help of undisclosed payments from microchip manufacturer Intel. Although being worth an estimated US$13.5 billion, his ego will probably suffer more than his bank balance.

Google Fired ‘Fuddy Duddy’?
Google is also having troubles stateside. A legal dispute that started in 2004 is being heard in the Californian Supreme Court. Former Googlite employee Brian Reid claims one of the reasons he was fired was due to his age – an almost geriatric 52. Google – of course – disagree with that summation and say they are looking “forward to demonstrating in court the legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons why Mr Reid was let go. It will be interesting indeed to see why Reid – who helped develop the AltaVista search engine – was given his pink slip. He was allegedly called ‘fuzzy’, a ‘fuddy duddy’, ‘slow’, ‘lethargic’ and ‘too old to matter’ by a senior vice president at the company. We think maybe the vice-president was talking about Windows Vista.

Big Players Sued Over Price Fixing
It seems to be a week of sending out legal letters and Samsung, Toshiba, LG, Sharp and some other minor players are being sued by the State of Illinois for price fixing. Products in the firing line are those that require LCD technology including televisions, mobile phones and PC monitors. Illinois attorney general, Lisa Madigan, filed the 34-page suit in Chicago alleging that between November 1998 and December 2006 the companies colluded to keep prices higher than they should have been in a truly competitive market.

Smile, You’re On Facebook
What did staff at the St Mary Medical Center in Long Beach California do when William Wells, aged 60, came into the emergency room with a slashed throat? Stem the bleeding? Get him prepped for emergency surgery? No, some staff allegedly took pictures of the dying man, and then put them up on Facebook. The end result? Four staff members fired and three faced disciplinary action. Seems some folk need to bone up on a little piece of text called the Hippocratic Oath. Not too sure what is worse – taking the pics and putting them on Facebook, or thinking that people would want to see them

Capping the Cap
In a case of “why didn’t they do this before?”, Telstra decided to cut access to those who breach their data cap on their mobile phones. Apparently the telco giant was ‘forced’ into the move after finding it hard to recover bad debts from those who owed screeds on their phones after going over their limit. Sounds like a good idea to us. Once going over their monthly limit, users will not be able to connect to the internet until the next billing cycle. And the problem with this idea is…? Um…nothing. Especially if you have suffered from bill shock. h

Woman Is Boy Then Meets Girl
We’ve heard all sorts of sordid liaisons being had via MySpace and Facebook – old men posing as young men, young men posing as studmeisters, older women posing as younger women, all in order to meet other people and form a relationship. Now, in Utah of all places, a woman posed as a boy on MySpace, in order to start a relationship with a girl. The woman, aged 31, ‘groomed’ a girl, aged 16, into believing she was an 18 year old boy. She eventually started a relationship with not one, but two teenage girls. When one of the girls found out about the other in the troika, she went to the police and the 31-year old was arrested for five third-degree felonies. Whatever happened to the good old fashioned asking somebody out on a date?

Tweets Get Wheelchair Fixed
In what should turn out to be a PR nightmare for Air Canada, good Samaritans came to the rescue of a terminally ill boy after the airline busted his wheelchair. Ten year old Tanner Bawn has a particularly aggressive form of muscular dystrophy, which in all likelihood means he won’t live to be a teenager. One of his wishes is to visit the Big Apple from his home in Toronto. This he did, but upon arrival at the airport, his mother found the airline had broken it. Instead of being helpful, the airline decided to be obstructive and said they could not deal with the matter for a couple of days. Bawn’s mother Chrissie, decided to Twitter about her dilemma, which lead to a whole array of folk helping out – no t thanks to the airline. What about customer service Air Canada?