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Things could get even tougher for music thieves if a pair of Democratic congressman are successful in getting approval for a bill that would mean criminal charges, and even jail time, for people who copy music and other copyrighted files through services like Kazaa and LimeWire.

The new law operates on the assumption that every song being offered has likely been copied several times over, bumping the retail value of each theft past the $2,500 mark that separates a misdemeanor from a felony.


Donkey Kong record crushed

It took 20 years, but Redmond, Washington’s own Steve Wiebe netted a score of 947,200 points on Donkey Kong. It was good enough to beat a 897,200 score set by a New Yorker last year, which finally claimed the record from video game legend Billy Mitchell.

The game ends on Level 22, no matter how good you are, but, if you can remember that far back, scores pretty much rely on speed – wait too long on the ladder or spend too much time running away from barrels and you’ll never save the princess.

Incidentally, ‘Donkey Kong’ is actually the Japanese words for ‘stubborn monkey’. That has nothing to do with the story, I just found it interesting.

Wiebe verified his score by videotaping his game, something Mitchell considers cheating – his old video game high scores were set in competitions.

Wiebe, incidentally, also recently bested Mitchell’s old score on Donkey Kong Jr.

Gamers were so excited by the new record that they crashed the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard trying get more information. Twin Galaxies – www.twingalaxies.com – is basically the world sanctioning body for video game and pinball records.

I spent a little time clicking around Twin Galaxies, and I recommend it to anyone who ever asked for their allowance in quarters. Not only is the site a kind of museum for video gaming, with records for games you forgot even existed, it’s also amazing to see how many people out there never moved on!

Set up your own firewall

With two new flaws recently uncovered in Microsoft Windows that could potentially give an outsider control of your computer, the latest in a long list of security flaws discovered in various software programs, it might be a good idea to start thinking "firewall". This month’s PC World magazine, www.pcworld.com, has instructions for setting up a firewall for your home computer(s).