Low Orbit Pirate Drone Servers

Data Center Knowledge reports:

"Did April Fools’ Day come early for The Pirate Bay? The controversial BitTorrent site posted an odd announcement last night stating that it had decided to “build something extraordinary” with its server infrastructure.

“We’re going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air,” wrote “MrSpock” on the Pirate Bay blog. “This way our machines will have to be shot down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. We’re just starting, so we haven’t figured everything out yet. But we can’t limit ourselves to hosting things just on land anymore.”

…the first drone would be launched over international waters.

The Pirate Bay has relocated its servers on numerous occasions seeking a haven from authorities and entertainment companies. At one point it considered buying the “micronation” of SeaLand or another data haven.”

Whether this is a serious idea or not, the idea of low orbit as a haven from international law, populated by semi-autonomous server drones saturating the spectrum with illicit bytes, is fascinating.

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samsung sole iPad retina display supplier?
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Gravitational Mass

Industry publications are tracking the imminent arrival of the iPad 3 by the shockwaves it is generating in air shipping rates, like some invisible astronomical mass seen only by the gravitational pull it exerts:

One person who contacted AppleInsider said that changes to the price of air cargo through DHL have signaled a major planned Apple shipment from China to the U.S. Evidence of this can be seen in a “big change” in shipping costs, as Apple has taken up freight capacity on flights from the Far East to America.

The massive importation of goods is said to be taking up valuable space on the courier’s international flights, which has driven shipping rates up this week considerably.

The information was corroborated on Monday by MacRumors, who also spoke with sources in the shipping industry. They indicated that shipping rates rose as much as 20 percent in one week as Apple has taken up available capacity at “premium rates.”

Indications first arose more than a week ago that Apple’s assembly partner, Foxconn, was already gearing up to ship Apple’s third-generation iPad to the U.S. for an impending product launch. One shipping manifest that surfaced on a Chinese microblogging site showed major international charter flights originating from Chengdu International Airport carrying “Apple’s latest products.”

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"It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone, and the devices are essentially all handmade. It takes five days and 325 hands to make a single iPad."

[From the Nightline Foxconn report, via The Verge; the full report is online at ABC.]

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Foxconn on Nightline

ABC’s “Nightline” will air a report on Foxconn tonight — this will be, as far as I am aware, the first major video footage from inside the Foxconn factories. (This access was granted, of course, to contribute to the general advance of human knowledge, not to burnish Foxconn’s somewhat tarnished public reputation.)

"We land in Hong Kong in darkness and after a two-hour drive, arrive in Shenzhen. This was a tiny fishing village 30 years ago, but after the Chinese declared it a "Special Economic Zone," there are now more people here than New York City.

At the center is Foxconn City and we pull in at dawn, just in time for first light to reveal mind-blowing scale of the place.

As China’s largest exporter, only the government employs more people than Foxconn, and the company earns more revenue than their next 10 competitors combined. Apple may be their most famous customer, but Foxconn also churns out products for Sony, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Motorola, Toshiba and other major brands, keeping the details of each production line wrapped in total secrecy.

In order to make gadgets like the Xbox, the PlayStation and the Amazon Kindle this campus employs 235,000 people, roughly the population of Orlando, Fla.

And everywhere you look, on every factory and dormitory, in every stairwell and atrium, are suicide nets.”


"Watch "Nightline" anchor Bill Weir’s exclusive full report on a special edition of "Nightline," "iFactory: Inside Apple," TUESDAY, Feb. 21 at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT."

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Shrinking Telecom Footprints

The global telecom transition to HD voice and all-IP networks shrinks the footprint of required network equipment by as much as 90 percent. This liberation of floor space translate the $25 billion “buildings” line item on AT&T’s balance sheet into a $100 billion windfall. Generally accepted accounting principles require listing real estate at historic acquisition cost. AT&T’s portfolio goes back more than 100 years even as commercial real estate appreciated five fold since the 1970’s. All-IP networks require both less equipment and far fewer points of interconnection between networks. The transition of the AT&T’s core network to all-IP already started emptying buildings, but most of the benefits await adoption of the IP-IP interconnects necessary to support HD voice.

IP-IP interconnects allow AT&T to consolidate the vast majority of the company’s 5000 central offices into a handful of hub data centers. 

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Apple Lists Its Suppliers for the First Time

The New York Times reports:

Apple released a list of its major suppliers for the first time on Friday, bringing the company up to par with other big American corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Nike, which have released similar lists.

The list accompanied a report detailing troubling practices inside many of the technology giant’s suppliers. Apple said audits revealed that 93 supplier facilities had records indicating that over half of workers exceeded a 60-hour weekly working limit. Apple said 108 facilities did not pay proper overtime as required by law. In 15 facilities, Apple found foreign contract workers who had paid excessive recruitment fees to labor agencies.

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