Wires Crossed #68 – January 27

Five Years In Jail For Facebook Post?
That is a real possibility for Indonesian man Alexander Aan who wrote on his Facebook page that “God does not exist”. Indonesia is a Muslim country that takes its religion very seriously. Interestingly, it is a country that is reasonably tolerant of other religions, however it is illegal to be an atheist like Aan. He faces up to five years in jail, but is unrepentant in his beliefs, even though the ‘offending’ post has now been removed.

Microsoft Supports Gay Marriage
It’s not too often that a large company announces its position on a contentious social issue, but it looks like Microsoft doesn’t mind sticking its neck out. On its official blog site the company has said it believes that gay marriage is an equal opportunity issue, not a moral one. With legislation about to go before Washington State’s state senate, Microsoft joins Nike, RealNetworks and Vulcan Inc in its support of the proposal, which will give gay couples the same rights as heterosexual men and women. There is no word on what shareholders think of the company offering up an opinion on the subject, but kudos to management for putting a line in the sand.

The Ugly Side of Social Networking
Since their inception, Facebook  and Twitter have not only become vital tools of communication between friends and family, but also a platform for entertainers and sports men  and women to connect with fans. But there is also a nasty side. Just ask American footballer Kyle Williams, who is wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. In its recent semi-final against the New York Giants, whereby the winner went on to compete in the Super Bowl Final, Williams fumbled a return kick. The resulting field goal meant a win for the Giants, and whole lot of vitriol directed at Williams, including death threats. While Williams doesn’t seem too concerned about the controversy, it does show that there is a fine line between fans treating their players as heroes or has beens.

Kodak Sues Over Patents
As any regular reader of Wires Crossed knows there are literally hundreds of law suits going on between different tech companies at any one time. However, with Kodak filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States, the alleged inventor of the digital camera wants its pound of flesh when it comes to getting its fair share of monies it is owed with companies that have allegedly infringed on its patents. This includes such giants as HTC, Samsung, Research in Motion and Apple. There is some sympathy towards the company that once led the way in photograph technology, but there has also been some criticism that it figuratively missed the boat that was to become the digital revolution. It while it might be seen by some as the Dance of the Desperate – and with these types of lawsuits sometimes taking years to pan out, time is not something Kodak has got a lot of – it is also interesting to note that Samsang agreed to pay out $550 million to Kodak in 2010 to settle a patent dispute, which suggests Kodak might just have a point.