More and more police departments are entering the Internet world to apprehend criminals. Most of us might like to think this is primarily to track down terrorists, child pornographers and paedophiles but are you sure you are not making yourself a target?


With the advent of products such as Morpheus and Kazaa, users around the world have been sharing copyrighted materials such as songs, video files and software, which is strictly against the law. Recently, law enforcement personnel have been laying charges and substantial fines against persons caught sharing these files. Copying music CDís and movie DVDís fall into the same category but having been harder to police since it can be done in the privacy of your own home or workplace.


This doesnít necessarily mean that you will be caught downloading a single file which happens millions of times a day, but if you in turn share those files via Kazaa, you are leaving yourself open to apprehension as long as your computer is on.This can be partially avoided by turning off the sharing options in Kazaa, but as individuals are apprehended they in turn may allow police to monitor the identities of Kazaa users downloading files from their computers.


In the short term it seems that the police will be going after individuals sharing large collections of songs, videos and software as these people are seen as the equivalent to traffickers in this illegal marketplace.


Some legitimate vendors have sprung up to allow users to download files for a fee, of which a large part goes back to the copyright owner of the file. These however are in the minority and some are still not legitimate in spite of the fact that they charge fees and appear to be legit.




In the last couple of months, the prices of DVD-Writers have come down substantially with some units approaching $200. This is notable, because like the CD-Writer, this device is an excellent form of backup.


Blank CDís hold 550 to 700 megabytes of data. Blank DVDís can hold almost 5 gigabytes (5000 megabytes). This makes them an excellent form of media to make backups of very large data files or store multiple generations of backups on.


The downside to the increased storage is the price of the media as blank DVDís cost about 5 dollars as compared to 50 cents for blank CDís. If you need the increased storage however, the cost is not a problem. Compared to tapes and other high volume media, blank DVDís are still a bargain.


If you decide to buy a unit, keep in mind that there are different speeds available. The more expensive writers (4x) will backup data more quickly than the (2x) writers.


There are also two formats of DVD writers which require different media. DVD+ writers and DVD- writers require matching media.

You will see DVD+R,DVD+RW,DVD-R & DVD-RW disks. RW disks are rewriteable, R disks are meant for archival purposes.


Digital cameras have become fairly inexpensive lately and are very useful in business situations to record damages to products received and to document manufacturing steps and procedures.


Look for units with optical zooms and as high a mega pixel rate as you can afford. 2 to 5 mega pixel units are available from $200 to $2000 dollars based on features. All allow downloading of images to computers. From there, they can be printed or emailed.