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The Courts

Is RIAA's MediaSentry Illegal in Your State? 200

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Is Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG 'investigator' MediaSentry operating illegally in your state?. The Massachusetts State police has already banned the company, and it's been accused of operating without a license in Oregon, Florida, Texas, and New York. Similar charges have now been leveled the organization in Michigan. Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth, in response to a complaint, has confirmed that MediaSentry is not licensed in Michigan, and referred the complainant to the local prosecutor."

Nanaimo, The Google Capital of the World 227

eldavojohn writes "Time.com has up a story on Nanaimo, a British Columbia coal mining town of about 78,000 that has had everything conceivable mapped into a Google database. Citizens can track fire trucks real time. The results also include Google Earth data for Nanaimo. 'The Google fire service allows people to avoid accident sites by tuning electronic devices to automatic updates from the city's RSS news feed, says fire captain Dean Ford. Eventually, Nanaimo plans to equip its grass-cutting machines with GPS devices, so residents piqued by the apparent shabbiness of a particular park or grass verge can use Google to find out when last it was groomed by the city's gardening staff. And the city's cemeteries will soon be mapped to allow Internet users to find out who is buried in each plot, says Kristensen. A new multi-million-dollar conference center, opening in June, will have 72 wireless access points to allow out-of-towners to use their laptops to navigate the Google Earth version of the city.'"

What is the Best Bug-as-a-Feature? 861

Bat Country wonders: "The workflow system, at the department I develop for, was hand-coded by my predecessor in a rather short amount of time, resulting in somewhat unreadable code with a number of interesting 'features.' When I took over maintenance of the code base, I started patching bugs and cleaning up the code in preparation for a new set of features. After I was done, I got a pile of complaints about features that had disappeared, which turned out to be caused by the bugs in the code. So, that leads me to ask: what is your favorite bug that you either can't live without or makes your life easier?"
United States

Submission + - The BBC Explains the Phelps Family

yls07 writes: Remember the Fred Phelps clan? The ones who picket soldiers' funderals? The BBC calls them "the most hated family in America" — possibly true, and a good reason to wonder what keeps them ticking. An interview with documentarian Louis Theroux, who spent three weeks with them, elicits some observations that help us understand religion, group dynamics, and a piece of the strange milieu that is America. Too bad the streaming video will only be available in the United Kingdom.
The Almighty Buck

A Chinese Virtual Currency Challenges the Yuan 183

Radon360 writes "A Wall Street Journal article reports that China's fastest-rising currency isn't the yuan. It's the QQ coin — online play money created by marketers to sell such things as virtual flowers for instant-message buddies, cellphone ringtones and magical swords for online games. In recent weeks, the QQ coin's real-world value has risen as much as 70%. It's the most extreme case of a so-called virtual currency blurring the boundaries between the online and real worlds — and challenging legal limits. A Chinese Internet company called Tencent Holdings Ltd. designed the payment system in 2002 to allow its 233 million regular registered users to shop for treats in its virtual world. Virtual currencies are in use in many countries — but nowhere have they taken root more deeply than in China."

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