Wires Crossed #1 - August 6

Welcome to the inaugural Wires Crossed, where we take a look at some of the funny, quirky and downright strange stories with a tech bent that have hit the wires of the past week.

Double Trouble
Cleveland resident Lynne France had suspicions that her husband was cheating on her and thanks to Facebook those fears were realised. After looking up the name of her rival on the social networking site, she not only found pictures of her husband, but pictures of his ‘wedding’ to the new bride. Was husband John any way remorseful? Not likely. He pretended to reconcile, then up and left with the couple’s two kids and headed to Florida with his new bride. Nice bloke, eh?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
All Jing Hong Kang was hoping for was a job with one of the coolest tech companies going – Google. Instead Kang was shot to death by robber George Huggins in Oakland, San Francisco while heading to the interview. Kang, who was from out of town, had what could have been a career move of a life time turn into the ultimate nightamre. And for what? A measly $17.

What A Mug
Taking social networking to a new level, the US town of Boscawen in the New England state of New Hampshire has decided public ridicule is the best medicine to cure those inclined to break the law. The police department set up a Facebook page of mugshots of small-time offenders. Those appearing on the page are far from happy, however police chief Sean Sweeney says he won’t be taking it down any time soon. 

I Spy
We know there is some great camera gear out in tech land, but when the local council uses it to carry out surveillance on its rate payers, eyebrows are raised. Tim Joyce and partner Jenny Paton earned the wrath of Poole Borough Council in England for the hanging offence of possibly not living at the address they claimed to in order for their kids to go to a better school. Fortunately for the couple, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal agreed with their invasion of privacy issue, and said the Council had breached their human rights. No money changed hands, but a wrap over the knuckles ensued.

Look Who's Glowing!
Toshiba won’t be happy at the publicity it’s getting in the US. Two hospitals in California claim scanners manufactured by the Japanese CE firm allegedly caused overdoses of radiation in patients during CT brain scans. However, according to a ‘notice of violation’, those administering the doses are not blameless in the whole shabang, either.

Making A Splash
Google has received criticism over filtering issues in China and some Middle Eastern countries over the past 12 months, but now one of their services is being used a little closer to home to shop people to town planners. In the Long Island town of Riverhead in the US you have to have a permit to build a swimming pool. Town officials decided to see what info Google Earth might dig up on illegal swimming pools that have been put in the ground. The result? A whopping 250 had no permits - resulting in US$75,000 in fines.

You’re Having A Party
In similar news, British teens have taken things one step further. Cheeky kids are using the Google Earth service to find local houses with swimming pools and then inviting themselves over for a dip. Whether the residents want them there is a moot point, however with temperatures hitting the 30s, why wouldn’t they want to go for a few laps?

Say ‘Cheese’
Dell’s tech support in India has caused a little headache and heartache for Sacramento woman Tara Fitzgerald. Seems Ms Fitzgerald was feeling a little frisky and risqué and took some self-portrait shots of her in, er, somewhat interesting poses. Having thought she lost the pics, she contacted the ‘local’ Dell support, which actually happened to be in Mumbai, India. The help support person (who shall remain nameless) did recover the pics, but also decided to copy them and post them on a website for all to see. Nice guy. And Ms Fitzgerald is far from impressed.

Chilling News For Panasonic
Panasonic China has recalled a whopping 360,000 fridges in China due to a control valve defect. If left unfixed, the valves have the capacity to cause a fire. The company has promised free inspections and replacement parts to those units that need it. Meanwhile, and understandably, a hold has been put on the product by the Chinese government until the problem has been sorted out.

If you have any stories you think might suit the column, drop me a line at mike.wheeler@cbnmedia.com.au. Put the words Wires Crossed in the subject header.