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Slashback: Dry Mars, Wet Doc, Keyboard Teaser 159

Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including a possible release date for the long awaited Optimus keyboard, yet another extension in the Blackberry court case, lakebed theory on Mars possibly all wet, US-CERT statistics perhaps not all they are cracked up to be, stem cell investigation reveals papers were faked, the FTC objects to the Netflix settlement, and a new Crossover Office fixes the WMF exploit among other things. Read on for details.

Optimus keyboard may have a real release date? Jacket writes to tell us that the much talked about Optimus keyboard has a suggestive message on their website. With "Good things come in small packages February 1, 2006" could it be possible that this holy grail (for some) keyboard could be available in our near future?

Yet another delay for Blackberry court case. ahsile writes " is reporting that 'NTP Inc., the company suing Research in Motion Ltd over the Blackberry e-mail service, wants more time to respond to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's preliminary rejections of its patents.'

Lakebed theory on Mars all wet? Sensible Clod writes "The Meridiani Planum region on Mars, long believed to have been covered with water millions of years ago, may not have been so wet after all, according to a new study from the University of Colorado at Boulder. From the article: 'The new study indicates chemical signatures in the bedrock, evidence for widespread, intermittent water at Mars' surface, may have instead been created by the reaction of sulfur-bearing steam vapors moving up through volcanic ash deposits. Known as Meridiani Planum, the region may have been more geologically similar to volcanic regions in parts of North America, Hawaii or Europe.'"

US-CERT statistics not all they are cracked up to be? jtshaw writes "Tectonic has an interesting article about the latest US-CERT stats. The actual vulnerabilities for a hand full of OS's after wading through the data: Microsoft Windows - 44, Apple Mac OS X - 21, IBM AIX - 21, HP-UX - 15, SCO Unix - 9, Red Hat Linux - 7, Suse Linux - 12, Debian Linux - 10, Gentoo Linux - 5, FreeBSD - 13, NetBSD - 2. It appears to me that commercial unix systems and open source *nix systems did pretty well compared to Windows on the vulnerability front."

Stem cell papers, confirmed fakes. An anonymous reader writes "The committee created to investigate stem cell researcher Hwang Woo Suk has confirmed that his first and second papers were faked. 'dashing hopes that his work is a breakthrough in treatments for diabetes and Parkinson's disease. [...] The panel backed Hwang's claim that he cloned the world's first dog.'"

FTC objects to Netflix settlement. AtariDatacenter writes "Although some question the validity of a recent lawsuit against Netflix, many users were up in arms about the terms of the settlement, which seemed like more of a marketing gimmick. Today, we learned that The Federal Trade Commission agreed, and asked the judge to reject the terms of the settlement."

New Crossover Office fixes,among other things, WMF exploit. ubuntuincleelum writes "Just on the heels of the announcement of new WMF security vulnerabilities Codeweavers is releasing Crossover Office 5.0.1. A bugfix release, this release features a fix for the original WMF bug. Among the changes in this release: Improved support for Gnome, improvements in Debian packaging and improvements in general for operability on Debian and Debian Derivatives."

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Slashback: Dry Mars, Wet Doc, Keyboard Teaser

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:11PM (#14450285)
    It is software, but gives you the same functionality as the optimus keyboard for (f/F)ree... []

    Windows only at the moment :( maybe they'll create a nice Gnome version in the future...
  • Optimus (Score:2, Informative)

    by ACME Septic ( 936684 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:13PM (#14450296) Homepage
    If you click on the Answers link on that page for the Optimus keyboard, it says: It's in the initial stage of production. We hope it will be released in 2006. It will cost less than a good mobile phone. It will be real. It will be OS-independent (at least it's going to be able to work in some default state with any OS). It will support any language or layout. Moscow is the capital of Russia. Each key could be programmed to produce any sequence. It will be an open-source keyboard, SDK will be available. Some day it will be split (and made "ergonomic"). It will most likely use the OLED technology (e-paper is sooo slow). Our studio is located two blocks from the Kremlin. It will feature a key-saver. Keys could be animated when needed. It has a numeric keypad because we love it. There's no snow in Moscow in summer. It will be available worldwide (why not?) OEM is possible (why not?)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:16PM (#14450313)
    There we go, I found the links again:

    Note: I don't even know if these work. Avery reported that he couldn't get any exploits to actually run on Win 98. Use at your own risk.
  • US-CERT faulty stats (Score:3, Informative)

    by gbobeck ( 926553 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:17PM (#14450316) Homepage Journal posted a nice rant about this on 1/2/2006. []

    Likewise, good ole /. users made quite a few comments about the US-CERT line of BS at 2210&from=rss []
  • by amightywind ( 691887 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:17PM (#14450322) Journal

    The new study indicates chemical signatures in the bedrock, evidence for widespread, intermittent water at Mars' surface, may have instead been created by the reaction of sulfur-bearing steam vapors moving up through volcanic ash deposits.

    The famed 'blueberries' present in the Martian sediments are concretions. On Earth they only form in the presence of water. They are very widespread in the sedimentary layers of Meridiani. The article gives no alternate explanation. Such concretions are not present in the fumurole-altered sediments of Solfatara Crater. That does not mean the Martian sediments are not volcanoclastic in origin, but the case for water immersion is still strong.

  • Re:Optimus (Score:5, Informative)

    by ecryder ( 851413 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:21PM (#14450339) Homepage Journal
    Check this FAQ on artlebedev s/ [] "...less than a good mobile phone"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @08:57PM (#14450547)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @09:08PM (#14450609)
    Indeed. The two studies that tried to refute the water theory were in the news weeks ago, and already refuted by Squyres by the time they hit the press. Not that they have to be wrong, but they didn't use all the data available (partly because it was still being released).
  • Re:US-CERT stats (Score:3, Informative)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @09:29PM (#14450719) Journal
    The original stats are not incorrect in the sense that they do not represent the data.

    True. They count as incorrect in that they duplicate entries in the data.

    if a kernel or major package vulnerability affects one distro, it affects them all (mostly). Do we count a buffer overflow in an abscure SCSI card driver once, or once per known distro using that driver?

    For a fair comparison, the recent WMF exploit affected all know versions of Windows at least back to Win95. Do we therefore count it 24+ or so times (three versions of Win95, three of Win98, one NT3.5, three of NT4, one(?) of ME, three of Win2K, five of XP, five of Win2k3 (and that doesn't even count the major "Service Pack X included" re-releases, but since US-CERT didn't include different version of RedHat, I'll grant concede that point)?
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @10:31PM (#14451013)
    After I had some time I checked my collection of old burnt CD's. I found 10 from 96 and 10 were good. I had 3 different brands of CD. While 10 CD's may not be any way statiscally indicative. If the things had an absolute max life of 5 years you owuld have expected at least 1 not to read. I also found a couple from 98,99 and 2000 all good as well. I have to ask what agenda does the guy promulgating the short CD life theory have ?? Is IBM starting to manufacture a new tape drive tech ?
  • Re:Optimus (Score:3, Informative)

    by shaka ( 13165 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2006 @11:38PM (#14451342)
    Can you imagine the power consumption? Not to mention possibly needing a cooling fan (the thing would need some kind of internal processor). The whole thing would generate quite a bit of heat, too. This is your keyboard we're talking about! It's hot, noisy, you have to reboot it every now and then, too.

    Very funny. I can imagine the power consumption. this OLED screen [] is about as big as I expect the Enter-key on the Optimus will be. The Optimus images show 140 buttons. Even if every button would be as big as the Enter-key, and they would all have 65k colors, and they would continuously show full screen white color, the power consumption would be ~50 watts. Calculating with an average size of a quarter of that (~14x14 mm) would give us a much lower number. Given that they will always show mostly black, I'd say an average of less than 7 watts is probable.

    The keyboard would need "some kind of internal processor", yes (as does any USB keyboard), but it would do with your average microcontroller, well maybe a couple of them. My guess is that the power dissipation of each would be 1-2 watts. No need for fans. No more heat than the keyboard I'm typing on now (it's a laptop). No need for reboots of the keyboard - it would obviously be driven from the computer, the keyboard won't need to know anything about what it's showing.
  • Re:Optimus (Score:3, Informative)

    by japhmi ( 225606 ) on Thursday January 12, 2006 @01:39PM (#14455803)
    So what's the point of this keyboard?

    Dynamic. For those of us that type in 3 different alphabets it'd be great (especially when trying to learn the key combos for different accents). Change for games, etc. I usually don't look at the keys when typing in the Latin alphabet either, but I seem to when typing in other ones (and trying to do the changes in my head).

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982