Wires Crossed #44 – July 8

Timberlake to Save MySpace
In what appears to be a dance of the desperate, pop singer Justin Timberlake might just turn social networking pariah MySpace into a viable platform to discover new artists. Before its two-year decline into oblivion – and going from the top dog in the social networking kennel to the pooper scooper – MySpace tried to reinvent itself as a place to share music. Specific Media, which bought MySpace for $35 million, has Timberlake as a shareholder, who wants to pursue a similar avenue of making the URL a hub of entertainment. Timberlake’s star, like the site, has been on the wane for a while now, with his last hit of note being back in 2007. Maybe the site and Timberlake need each other to reinvent themselves and make it back into the spotlight.

Hands Up Who Didn’t See This Coming
Dutch Sat Nav company TomTom has issued a profit warning as sales figures over the past year will be lower than predicted. Why? Well it’s not because they make crappy gear because TomTom makes top-notch GPS devices. However, as well as there being an overall slow down in European economies, TomTom is feeling the pinch from similar, but cheaper, products out of Asia. Add to that the number smartphones that now have the technology onboard, then the company will have an uphill battle trying to keep, let alone regain, marketshare. They do have an app for the iPhone and this kind of lateral thinking could be its saving grace.

Hacker Causes SWAT Turnout
It’s bad enough that hackers cause disruptions that can cost time and money to companies, but wasting public resources, like police time, is a new low. Yet, that is what happened in Florida when a Canadian hacker managed to get access to Hunter Gelinas’ Xbox. Not only did the hacker hijack the console, he or she then called the police saying that Gelinas and his family were being held hostage. You can imagine the surprise of the neighbours in the usually quiet Florida town when armed police turned up toting shotguns and flak jackets ready for action. Police were not amused.

Fake Band Member Makes Debut
Talk about taking technology to the nth degree. Pop music fans in Japan were taken aback when it was announced that the latest member to join massive girl group AKB48 was in fact a digital creation. Aimi Eguchi was supposed to be a 16 year old from a town north of Tokyo, but it turns out she was an avatar created from an amalgam of six other girls of the 58-member group. You would think with 58 members they wouldn’t need to make one up!