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Slashback: BlackBerry, Cloning, Smart Hotels 378

Slashback tonight brings some correction, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including more news from the BlackBerry case, a follow up on the South Korean Cloning pioneer, China promising a strong continuation in space exploration, a behined the scenes look at Smart Hotel technology, a change in direction for the Massachusetts OpenDocument war, and a slightly different approach to the intelligent design in schools question. Read on for the details.

BlackBerry closer to a shutdown. WebHostingGuy writes to tell us MSNBC is reporting that Research in Motion Ltd, the company who makes the BlackBerry is nearer now to a shutdown of their US mobile email service than ever due to the recent ruling handed down. From the article: "U.S. District Judge James Spencer Wednesday ruled invalid a $450 million settlement between RIM and NTP Inc., a small patent holding firm of McLean, Va., that maintains the technology behind the popular BlackBerry infringes on its patents."

Cloning pioneer admits to wrongdoing and resigns. moraes writes "The first research group to clone human embryos ran into some ethical difficulties concerning the source of the eggs - allegations were made indicating that the eggs were taken from junior research assistants. The South Korean pioneer, Hwang Woo Suk, has since resigned his official posts and apologized for lying about the sources of eggs used.."

China on the moon by 2020. IZ Reloaded writes "China will send its astronauts to the moon by 2020 according to the Deputy Commander in Chief of China's manned space flight program. Hu Shixiang said that the goal is subject to the government's funding and their ability to build a rocket with 25 tons capacity."

Behined the scenes with Cisco. molotov writes "Cisco installed the system described in the recent Slashdot article about Smart Hotel Rooms in New York City and has a great video about the technology used in a similar project for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel."

Massachusetts gives Microsoft a second chance. An anonymous reader writes "CNet is reporting that Massachusetts is considering adopting the MS Office XML format as a standard to be used to store the state's documents now that it is under review as an ECMA standard. From the article: 'The commonwealth is very pleased with Microsoft's progress in creating an open document format. If Microsoft follows through as planned, we are optimistic that Office Open XML will meet our new standards for acceptable open formats.' Microsoft still does not intend to support the OpenOffice standard." IBM also took the time to weigh in on the issue with a recent letter to Thomas Trimarco.

University sued for supporting evolution. Hikaru79 writes to tell us that two parents are suing the University of California-Berkeley based on the contents of a website aimed at educating teachers. From the article: "Jeanne and Larry Caldwell, the couple bringing the suit against the site, claim that the site delves improperly into religion. While most debates center around whether or not Intelligent Design is "religion in the classroom," the Caldwells are looking to spin it the other way."

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Slashback: BlackBerry, Cloning, Smart Hotels

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:04PM (#14152229)
    "Look, we're using a document format that abuses an open standard! That means we're using open standards too!"

    Groklaw's dissection of MS's "open format" is a lot more thorough than mine. Go read it.
  • by vasanth ( 908280 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:20PM (#14152340)
    whats so good about blackberry when you have generic mobile devices which can access email though a browser and supports most trivial tasks you already do on a desktop...
  • Re:Stupid NTP!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:35PM (#14152438) Homepage
    Don't forget that RIM sued several companies over the years, enough to get the nickname "Lawsuits in Motion" on theregister.co.uk.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.
  • by OzPhIsH ( 560038 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @09:09PM (#14152631) Journal
    Most people here seem to agree that this whole Blackberry fiasco is rediculous. From the article:

    "NTP, inc. a small patent holding firm of McLean, VA., that maintains the technology behind the popular blackberry infringes on their patents" This is a textbook case of the abuse occuring in our patent system. NTP doesn't make stuff. They're a patent holding firm. Did RIM steal resources and technology from NTP? NO. Was the idea of a wireless e-mail device a non-obvious one? NONo. Did NTP really create any kind of technology? No. Did RIM come up with the idea independently of NTP, and actually execute on it, actually spending the money to engineer an actual device? Yes. If NTP wants to bitch, I think they should at LEAST have a fucking PRODUCT on the market. Instead, they sit on a non-invention and decide to sue when someone else thinks of it as well, because they think they can just prfit from everyone else's hard work. This is complete bullshit.
    What REALLY gets me, is that congress practically runs on Blackberry. Just this past Thanksgiving I happened to be sitting on an airplane right next to my state senator Mitch McConnel. He's blackberrying away like the whole time from Louisville to Philadelphia. (I couldn't help but think of that American Dad episode where they steal Cheney's). But it is pretty well known that almost all of these senators and representatives are using blackberries for their wireless communications. So why aren't they speaking up about this. When a product they they use and rely on daily is threatened out of existance in the US, because of the laws that THEY have enabled, I mean, shouldn't this send some kind of wake-up call that patent law is serious FUCKED UP? I have actually read (please correct if wrong or confirm if really true) that blackberry service would shut down for everyone in the US except except for high ranking government officials, because they rely on the devices so much. Isn't this a huge double standard? Can they really say that our laws outlaw this technology for everyone except for them, because while it infringes patents, it is just too important for us political elite to not have. Obviously this should show that patent law in its current form is NOT contributing or encouraging the progression of science and useful arts.
  • by LabRat ( 8054 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @10:32PM (#14153085)
    At the 1967 Wistar Institute Symposium, top-level evolutionary biologists and mathematicians met to mathematically test the idea of evolution by mutation/selection. When the super-computers finished crunching their numbers, it was obvious that the answer was 'impossible'. It was reported that when someone very cautiously (maybe even rhetorically) asked whether this meant that perhaps one should look at special creation as an option, there were loud cries of 'No!' 'No!' from the floor.

    Modern attempts at computational investigation [caltech.edu] of evolution have proven just the opposite. While the results are of course restricted to microevolution...evolution by mutation/adaption is computationally model-able, as well observable. Even distantly related bacteria have been observed exchanging dna fragments...thus undergoing a type of mutation. Viruses routinely mutate through random processes as well as exchanges of RNA. If we can observe such radical changes in the behavior and structure of such organisms within the lifespan of a human...how can creationists seriously challenge the idea of what might have been accomplished over billions of years?

    I'll be the first to say that science can't discount that something or someone ultimately created the rules by which things that we observe behave. Well, others have said it before me...so I'll be the next. Even Stephen Hawking has commented that because we, and anything we create (including ideas) are contained within this universe, that by mathematical consequence of self-referencing systems we are incapable of completely describing the universe and all of its rules and behavior. However, we *can* see and describe discrete chunks of it, and to discount such behavior after we see it (as the creationist zealots do) is stupidity at its finest.
  • by TrumpetPower! ( 190615 ) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Thursday December 01, 2005 @12:31AM (#14153846) Homepage

    eosp wrote:

    As a question for thought, let's examine this situation. Imagine that 66 separate documents, which were written by 40 different authors over a period of 1500 years. Now imagine that there are no conflicts in these documents--that they have the same basic ideas. Here it is: http://www.netbible.com/ [netbible.com]


    Oh, my. Sorry 'bout that, but the ``no conflicts'' is just too much.

    Don't you know that Joseph had two daddies? (Matthew 1:1-17 v Luke 3:23-38)

    Perhaps you would suggest that it's Jesus's supernatural abilities that permitted him and Mary and Joseph to both flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-16) and to go straight home to Nazareth (Luke 2:22-40) after he was born?

    Tell me, where did Jesus go after he was baptized? Did he spend forty days in the desert fighting the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11 and Mark 1:12-13), or did he go to that wedding in Cana where he did the Bacchus trick (John 2:1-11)?

    Did Jesus come to abolish the law (Ephesians 2:13-15 and Hebrews 7:18-19) or not (Matthew 5:17-19 and Luke 16:17)?

    Who were the Apostles (Matthew 10:2 and Mark 3:16-19 v Luke 6:13-16 v Acts 1:13,26)? You know, the twelve dudes who spent the most important period of history palling around together with Jesus? Four of whom tradition says wrote most of the New Testament? I mean, you'd think that you'd be able to remember who it was you ate the Last Supper with, fer chrissake....

    Did Jesus remain stoically silent at his trial (Matthew 27:11-14), or did he wow the crowd with his eloquence (John 18:33-37)?

    What were Jesus's last words? (Matthew 27:46-50 and Mark 15:34-37 v Luke 23:46 v John 19:30)

    Then, when you get to the resurrection and the ascension, the contradictions are laughable. No two gospels can agree on much of anything, big or small. How was the tomb guarded? Who were the women who went there? When did they go? Where was the stone? Who else was at the tomb? Where did the actual resurrection take place? And the ascension, where and when? And why wouldn't Matthew think to even mention it?

    Do yourself a favor and stop drinking the kookaid. The Bible doesn't even pretend to be anything but a Paul Bunyan story. Talking snakes? Walking on water? Thousands of dead people roaming the streets--yet escaping notice until the gospels were written down a century later? Give me a break.

    Shit, for that matter, the gospels themselves don't even pretend to be authoritative or eyewitness accounts. Even the first four verses of Luke make clear that the person writing this all down is getting it from the people who got it from the eyewitnesses; in modern language, that's what's called, ``hearsay.''

    Still don't believe me? Then why are all the gospels written as third-person omniscient narratives? Why don't they even once say something like, ``And then I saw Jesus ascend to heaven with mine own eyes''? How could the disciples possibly know what Jesus said and did while they were asleep, or while he was fighting the devil in the desert, or anything else like that? If Jesus told them, why didn't they say, ``And then Jesus told me that, while we slept, he said such-and-such.''

    You're all grown up, now. Long past time to stop believing in Jesus Claus and the Easter Christ.



  • by Zro Point Two ( 699505 ) on Thursday December 01, 2005 @08:35AM (#14155736)
    Sorry, I forgot to mention that the prices I quoted were $CDN and not $USD.

    Both prices were taken from the only GSM provider here in Canada.

    I'm not too familiar with Good Technologys product, so I won't comment on that. If it can do all the same wireless stuff, then hey, that's cool.

    It's interesting that you bring up VNC, SSH, JAVA...cause I have all three loaded on my BlackBerry right now. But I'll let you keep on with your GPRS connection for VNC while I remote to my computer over EDGE (and I'll even pout when I see someone remoting in over EV-DO).

    Sure there may not be as much software for the BlackBerry as there is for any Palm OS, but there is more and more being written for it all the time. Palm OS has been out longer than the BlackBerry OS, so there's bound to be a bit more software out there. However, any piece of software that I load onto my BlackBerry is totally secure against any sort of virus or data mining. Every peice of software that runs on the BlackBerry must be digitally signed....so some script kiddie can't just write a program that'll copy my address book and email it to some spam house.

    Most of the reasons you have are probably not going to applicable to everyone to change. Sure they may be great reasons for you to change from a BlackBerry to a Treo, but they probably aren't going to be reasons for me to change. But people are going to read your reasons and because not all of them are going to be informed reasons (as the VNC, SSH, and Java ones were) they are going to rush out and get a Treo because they are misinformed. So instead of saying "The Treo is the best thing in the world for everyone" why not say "The Treo is going to be perfect for some people, whereas the BlackBerry is going to be better for others"?

    And I know I'm guilty of the same thing, but at least I try for the most part to be openminded and understand that they both have their own market and one is NOT going to be the best thing in the world for everyone.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.