Feb 25, 2006

Wiki extras, copyrights info nuggets and trivia

I found some off-wiki wiki-friendly tools that I think are definetly worth checking out.

Qwikia is a search engine that not only searches through non-en wikipedias, but trnaslates the entries. Considering that there is still a lot entries on pl wiki that I know of that are so far untranslated, I'd estimate that this nifty tool in practice increase Wiki database by a third.

WikipedizeText can imbede any text with hyperlinks to related Wiki articles. Great for any kind of online papers/assignments you have to turn in - or for blog posts :)

Some copyright/copyleft related articles:
* UK official terrifies with copyleft Firefox - how can you give your software for free and allow others to sell it? LOL.
* BBC notices some benefits of non-pernament copyrights. About time...

Also, interesting stuff happening over the net:
* Google launches it's own 'Page creator', which supposed to be a kind of WYSIWYG editor, allowing you to quickly create your own homepage.
* a guide on how to get your personalized tv station with RSS and BitTorrent. If only the media industry would embrace this concept instead of fighting it. I would be happy to ditch the cable (which I am not watching anyway, I just need the Internet...) and pay some kind of tax (or other form of payment) for the ability to use such tools legally.

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Feb 22, 2006

More Wikipedia news: The work is going on

More news from the wikiworld out there:

Wikipedia Signpost has an interview with Jimbo Wales, founder of Wikipedia
. Some of my favourite parts"

WS: Raul654 asks: "Where do you see Wikipedia in 10 years?"
JW: I don't know. My favorite answer to this is to say, the real question is: where will the world be after 10 more years of Wikipedia. :)

WS: David.Monniaux asks: "The Foundation receives daily accusations of libel from semi-well-known people who have an entry on Wikipedia or are mentioned in some Wikipedia entry. What do you propose? Would a strict application of the rule of citing controversial claims suffice, in your opinion?"

JW: Yes. I think that our current systems do a good job of addressing these sorts of complaints, although it is very time-consuming for us here in the office. What really works wonders is a very strict application of the rule of citing controversial claims particularly relating to biographies of living persons. The new policy on biographies of living persons is a very strong step in the right direction.

In related news:

China Wiki-censorships attracts media attention. Good - but China is known for caring little about western public opinion. Wonder if it will do any good.

Some people still think that their topic deserves special treatment...now, some concerns raised are of course valid - but they affect many other topics. And the end effect is quality improvement. Just consider the entry on 'Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy' today and 2 weeks ago. Isn't it better? QED.

Now this is a better description of the 'propaganda wars'. And in the end, we will end up with a better article. Anybody wants to bet against me that in 2 months that article will be 1) more NPOV and detailed then today 2) more stable?

Paul Saffo: "Wikipedia is a researcher's dream". Amen to that.

And more stories on Signpost...

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Feb 16, 2006

News from Wikipedia: defamation of a Wikipedian?

The Times falsely accuses an innocent Wikipedian of being a 'saboteur': One saboteur, codenamed Thruston, changes the same sentence in Blair’s entry on an almost daily basis to accuse him of setting out to “destroy” civil service neutrality.. One can easily see that Thurston hardly edits Blair's article and that his single edition was not vandalism at all.

Most likely stemming from journalist misunderstanding that the user in question reverted vandalism, not initatied it. I wonder if they will apologize?

In other news, Wikipedia Signpost reports following stories:
* Wikipedia hits Top 25 sites
* new external peer review gives Wiki thumbs up (mostly).
* and others - check Signpost for other news!

With Wikipedia approaching the millionth aricle (975,000 now and growing at about 1,000 per day), my bet on 20th June 2006 in the Wikipedia:Million pool seems to have been two pessimistic. Me - too pessimistic. Who would've thought. If Wiki growth can suprise even me... it's a good day to live on :)

There is still time to vote in the 2 million pool though :)

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Feb 13, 2006

Movie advert 3

Polish Student Alliance
in Pittsburgh, PA

invites you to the
Movie of the week
: With Fire and Sword (Ogniem i Mieczem) (part 1)

When? February 23 (Thursday) 8:00PM-10:00PM

Where? 4130 Posvar Hall (University of Pittsburgh)

Movie genre: Historical, action, romance

Year: 1999 Duration: 175 minutes Other: Color, Polish with English subtitles
Directed by Jerzy Hoffman. Starring Izabella Scorupco and Michal Zebrowski

With Fire and Sword is based on the 19th century novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz (a 1905 Nobel Prize Winner in literature). The setting is the 17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, then the largest European state, torn apart by the civil war (Chmielnicki uprising). A historical war epic on a grand scale, with many battles and duels, excellent costumes, props and scenery recreating this forgotten setting, the end result is a picture that looks like it was beamed straight from the 17th century, and the level of realism really adds to the immersive nature of the story.

To be followed:

March 16 (Ogniem i Mieczem, Part 2 of 2) (1999)

Room opens at 7:00 p.m, so if you want to practice your Polish, feel free to arrive early and talk with us!

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Feb 10, 2006

The Wikipedia Muhammad Cartoons Debate

Well, well, not only is the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy one of the most edited pages in Wiki recently (with Wikipedia founder, Jimbo Wales, even stepping in to moderate the discussion at one point), but the very Wiki article (not issue!) had been described by an Iraqi ebook: The Wikipedia Muhammad Cartoons Debate: A War Of Ideas.

See also recent Wikipedia Signpost story on this subject: Controversial cartoon leads to fierce debate.

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Feb 6, 2006

Lego - embracing the new open source culture

Gotta love Lego.

Within weeks of the original Mindstorms debut, a Stanford graduate student named Kekoa Proudfoot reverse engineered the RCX brick and posted all of his findings, including detailed information on the brick's underlying firmware, online. Several other engineers quickly used Proudfoot's revelations to design their own Mindstorms tools, including an open source operating system (LegOS) and a C-like programming alternative to RCX-code (Not Quite C, or NQC). Lego's Danish brain trust soon realized that their proprietary code was loose on the Internet and debated how best to handle the hackers. "We have a pretty eager legal team, and protecting our IP is very high on its agenda," Nipper says. Some Lego executives worried that the hackers might cannibalize the market for future Mindstorms accessories or confuse potential customers looking for authorized Lego products.

After a few months of wait-and-see, Lego concluded that limiting creativity was contrary to its mission of encouraging exploration and ingenuity. Besides, the hackers were providing a valuable service. "We came to understand that this is a great way to make the product more exciting," Nipper says. "It's a totally different business paradigm - although they don't get paid for it, they enhance the experience you can have with the basic Mindstorms set." Rather than send out cease and desist letters, Lego decided to let the modders flourish; it even wrote a "right to hack" into the Mindstorms software license, giving hobbyists explicit permission to let their imaginations run wild.

Soon, dozens of Web sites were hosting third-party programs that helped Mindstorms users build robots that Lego had never dreamed of: soda machines, blackjack dealers, even toilet scrubbers. Hardware mavens designed sensors that were far more sophisticated than the touch and light sensors included in the factory kit. More than 40 Mindstorms guidebooks provided step-by-step strategies for tweaking performance out of the kit's 727 parts.

I think there is bright future for LEGO. And a lesson for some dinosours out there. Read the original story here.

Update: Lego community has created some great resources online. Below are a few pictures of my childhood...

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Feb 3, 2006

Movie advert 2

Polish Student Alliance
in Pittsburgh, PA

invites you to the
Movie of the week
: Rejs

When? February 9th (Thursday) 7:30PM-9:00PM

Where? 4130 Posvar Hall (University of Pittsburgh)

Movie genre: Comedy

Year: 1970 Duration: 1 hour, 0 minutes Other: Black&white, Polish with English subtitles
Directed by Marek Piwowski. Starring Stanislaw Tym.

Rejs (The Cruise) is the mother of all cult films in Polish cinematography. Shot in a quasi-documentary style, with a cast featuring few professional actors, it is a perfect parody of the People's Republic of Poland, reducing a weekend river cruise to a hilarious parody of the entire communist system.

A stowaway (Stanisław Tym) sneaks aboard a ship departing on a cruise down the Vistula River. The captain takes him for a Communist Party cultural coordinator (KO) and the intruder gladly adapts to his new role, immediately setting to work at manipulating the passengers and crew into silly and vaguely humiliating games. Before long, Tym has got everyone under his thumb and created his own comedic dictatorship.

To be followed:

February 23 (Ogniem i Mieczem, Part 1 of 2) (1999)

March 16 (Ogniem i Mieczem, Part 2 of 2) (1999)

Room opens at 7:00 p.m, so if you want to practice your Polish, feel free to arrive early and talk with us!


Singularity update

From epaper to hibernation, new breakthroughs are paving the way towards the Singularity. This amusing piece about Google future may not be that far from reality, actually...

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Voice of the Prokonsul by Piotr Konieczny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.