Access denied: An agent inspects the Pirate Bay server farm.

Access denied: An agent inspects the Pirate Bay server farm.

Kickin’ it Anybody catching the World Cup in High Def? Been spending too much of my time (and money) down at Bella’s Bistro on Broadway during lunch watching the worlds best fútbol players sprint up and down the field on two large-screen HDTVs (plus a projection TV and three other monitors). It’s a wonder how I got this week’s Technobabble written at all.

iPod crash? Apple’s iPod is all over the news these last couple of weeks. Let’s start with its DRM woes. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France and the UK have all enacted legal action against Steve Jobs’ posse over iTunes’ and iPod’s Digital Rights Management, or DRM. The main issue here is they want to enable files downloaded from iTunes to play on other portable media devices other than iPods. Sounds fair to me. They might even sell more songs and movies from iTunes.

Mob alert On June 10 in seven cities across the United States, FlashMobs (groups organized via digital communication to quickly assemble for a cause and then disassemble) organized by protested outside Apple stores to alert consumers to the dangers of Apple’s DRM. These concerns include being locked into one file format and the inability to move your personal music to other playing devices. Protesters in neon yellow-and-green hazmat suits marched through Apple stores picketing and handing out material including instructions explaining ways to crack Apple’s DRM.

Not a good iLife The United Kingdom’s Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that some of Apple’s Chinese factory employees were toiling in sweatshop-like conditions, working 15-hour shifts, living in 100-person dormitories where nonemployees aren’t allowed and earning about $50 (U.S.) a month—terrible even by Chinese standards. Apple sent a statement to the magazine Macworld UK ensuring the public that it would not tolerate any violations of its “Supplier Code of Conduct,” which guarantees respect and dignity of all workers, environmental responsibility, safety in the workplace, compliance to laws of host countries, anti-discrimination codes, child labor laws and more. To read more, Google “Apple supplier code of conduct.”

Pirates sail the digital seas Swedish police raided the hugely popular BitTorrent (a peer-to-peer file distribution tool) tracking group The Pirate Bay, confiscating its servers and arresting three people. Protests were organized in Stockholm over the shutdown, Sweden’s national police Web site was shut down by an anonymous hacker and The Pirate Bay reopened in the Netherlands for a short time before returning to Sweden claiming to be homesick. Now it plans to distribute its servers across the globe to make it more difficult to get shut down. According to the Swedish Television news program Rapport, the Motion Picture Association of America and the White House were behind the raids. Search “thepiratebay” on YouTube to see video of the bust.