Thursday, April 19, 2007

Temporary Blackberry Trouble

Sometimes there are funny coincidences... I was just about to write something about blackberries, the fruit, when I heared rumours about technical problems with BlackBerries, the gadgets. Clifford cites reports about yesterday's incident, when the BlackBerries temporary stopped exchanging emails.

Blackberry the gadget is, of course, the first wireless handheld organizer that was able to receive and send email. It's an invention of the Waterloo, Ontario, based company Research in Motion, and earned them a lot of money. So much, indeed, that RIM president and co-chair Mike Lazarides could afford donating $50 million to the University of Waterloo to help establish the Institute for Quantum Computing, and $100 million to establish the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

That's the reason why scientist working at the Perimeter get equipped with one of these gadgets once they take over their positions there. And from my somewhat limited experience, these BlackBerries can be quite invasive, as concerns your way of living, since it may happen that you are constantly disturbed by beeps signaling newly incoming emails you have to read immediately ;-).

What brings me back to blackberry, the fruit. Take, for example, this thicket of blackberries:

It is, actually, at the edge of the garden of my parents house. The shrubs provide great fruits in August, and they make a great, impenetrable fence against your neighbours. However, if you do not take care, your lawn is invaded without mercy by this species, and soon, you cannot access anymore the apple trees. It gives you a really cool impression of the hedge around the castle of Dornröschen. So, it's a good idea to peck out the blackberry shrubs entering the garden from time to time, and to make sure to leave no roots behind... That's actually how I spend last weekend, when I visited my mother and she had already prepared a quite a long list of things to do in the garden...

The lesson from this is clear: Blackberries are delicious, and BlackBerries are great. You just should make sure they don't take over your garden :-)

Figure Credits: Wikipedia


  1. Hi Stefen & Bee,

    Sorry 4 the distraction, but did you see the current edition of DW/tomorrowtoday? Some new insights to the physics about ball-lightning.


  2. Very nice :-) When I gave my public lecture on the weekend, I made a remark about being founded by certain kinds of technological fruits, but nobody really got it. I always forget that I shouldn't make jokes that are not completely obvious.

    Anyhow, I read at Clifford's about the BB problem, but I have to say, mine worked fine. Still does (and as you notice, our network is up and running again). Best,


  3. Gee, I just read through this article: "If you don't respond to somebody via BlackBerry within an hour, or an hour and a half, you're ignoring them," , so I want to take the opportunity to repeat what I've tried to say all my friends and colleagues over and over again:

    Don't rely on emails: If I don't reply to an email, it might be because I just didn't get it. Even if you don't receive an error message, and even though I have learned to check my junk mail folder at least once per week. If you really want to make sure I got the message: call! And DON'T bother leaving a message on my voicemail, coz I literally never listen to it (if the memory is full, I just delete everything. I never understood what's the point of voicemail, I mean, messages typically are: I didn't reach you, I'll call later.)

    I've learned my lesson when I moved to Arizona. The department had a spam filter that could not be customized by the users - I didn't even know about its existence. In addition, the firewall from my previous workplace wouldn't let me log in from the new department. I didn't know anything about the spam-filter in Arizona, just that I was really pissed off many of my 'friends' from Europe completely forgot about me once I moved to the USA. I only found out (by accident) after several months that the spam filter blocked a whole bunch of transatlantic routers COMPLETELY, with the ingenious justification that there comes lots of spam via this routers. True. Too stupid that almost all email from Europe has to go via one of these routers too. Not only was the email communication to friends as well as co-workers in Europe essentially disabled, I also missed a whole bunch of conference deadlines and stuff like this.

    On the other hand, my friends in Europe assumed once I moved to the USA I became to arrogant to even bother replying to their emails.

    Brave new world.



  4. btw, I think it's Canadian dollars, not US $. Still a lot though.

  5. Dear Bee:
    About blackberries in your garden. When I was living in Heidelberg and enjoying the wild blackberries in the forest in August, my German friends told me to be careful of the low-hanging blackberries which are usually feast-food for the foxes, who leave remnants of intestinal worms in return. I know from experience, that wild blackberries bushes in my previous home in California have poison oak interwoven amongst their stems too. So, while I agree that wild blackberries are great and delicious (mmm for pies and muffins!), take extra care. Maybe that advice could be similarly applied to the electronic gadgets, as well.

    Greetings from the EGU meeting in Vienna...(still summer weather here).


  6. Sorry, Stefan, I should have addressed the previous to you.. I wondered myself after I wrote it how Bee could have arrived in Frankfurt so fast!

  7. Dear Amara,

    yes, you are right. Where I grew up, blackberries (as well as strawberries) were growing everywhere, and when we were kids we would eat them all the time. Your advice is the first thing parents tell their children (we were told though its because the dogs pee on it ;-) ). The annoying thing with blackberries is that no matter what, you can't store them for more than 2 days or so. But they make a really good jelly :-)) Best,


  8. We have lots of blackberries growing around here, and I like to make jelly and cobblers (pies) with them. We also have wild black raspberries which are smaller and sweeter than the blackberries.

  9. Many years ago as a boy scout, the adults had us plan for a 50 mile backpacking trip. We picked out freeze dried food according to the manufacturer's suggested size of portions. Of course the manufacturers didn't give portions anywhere near sufficient for growing boys.

    While we did not approach starvation, we were so hungry that we ate everything within 50 feet of the trail. Especially the tiny but delicious wild strawberries that grow in the mountains of Colorado.

    It turns out that you should eat these without carefully examining them because a lot of them have huge worms growing in the center.

  10. Interestingly, I saw last week that my local grocery store sells 'golden blackberries'. It turned out they are called salmonberries: looks like this.


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