WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

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Strelnikov
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WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by Strelnikov » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:21 am

Found on Techmoan, a YouTube channel for obsolete/forgotten audio/video/computer technology like the 3M Cantata "muzak" machine from the 1960s. The WikiReader was a 2009 (introduced to Europe in 2010) basic tablet that had "all" of the text in en.Wikipedia articles in an 8 gigabyte micro-SD card. People today are making updates on 16 GB cards, selling them in the niche markets of eBay. The product flopped and what was 99 US dollars at the outset was being sold for $10 in less than five years.

Still "Globally Banned" on Wikipedia for the high crime of journalism.

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Re: WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by CrowsNest » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:06 am

:lol:

What bizarre review. For a product which was marketed for what he readily admits is the niche of people who want Wikipedia but don't have internet access (not even a smartphone), he wasted a hell of a lot of time whining about how it isn't as good as the online Wikipedia, or that the device isn't as good as a laptop or smartphone.

From what I can tell, when seen from the perspective of who it was for, it was an excellent piece of kit, well worth $99 (ignoring the elephant in the room that the data itself is junk, not remotely an encyclopedia). I'm intrigued as to how the parental control works, since AFAIK there is no support for such filters.

It is a good example of how private companies that perhaps believed the hype of the cult, got their fingers burnt when trying to monetise something that is over-rated even in its free state. If wasting money on this device caused the company's eventual collapse, they'd of course have no comebacks against the WMF. Just like any scam cult.

The reviewer seems to have either missed, or misinterpreted, the copyright symbol. You cannot of course copyright the content of Wikipedia, not with an all rights symbol anyway. One would presume that exists to cover the proprietary code.

Interesting that it is still being supported in terms of updates. I assumed this must be a wiki loving nerd, but having seen the update also includes a copy of ED and Unencyc, you wonder what is motivating him. Although that is one hell of a meta exercise in trolling, someone who carries water for those sites, making money out of Wikipedia. Christ knows what might be in the version he is distributing though.... :?

I wonder if the Wikipedians will be good enough to class this reviewer as an RS, so the article about the device can be suitably updated. They care about the world staying properly informed, right? :roll:

The reviewer missed the big story here though. Wikipedia in a box is still a thing these days, it's just funded using charitable donations obtained using the reflected glow of the Wikipedia brand, and organised by people deeply connected to the cult. That device is marketed to the exact same people this presumably was.

The major flaw in these scams, is of course the Wikipedia disclaimer. That states you cannot assume anything written in it is correct. Not a word. The Wikimedia Foundation, because it doesn't want to be sued into oblivion, market their encyclopedia as only even being usable if you have an internet connection, so you can read the contents of every footnote in an article. Hard to reconcile that with the fact today's Wikipedia in a box is marketed as a medical database.

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Re: WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by Dysklyver » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:38 pm

Curious device... I think there are apps which carry offline versions of Wikipedia, so the idea has continued a bit. This reminds me of pocket spellcheckers or dictionary devices, I can see why it has a niche interest.
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Re: WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by ericbarbour » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:10 pm

Various people are still offering captures of various language WPs on DVD-ROMs or flash drives.

From the "authoritative source":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia ... _Wikipedia
As of May 2015, the current version of the English Wikipedia article / template / redirect text was about 51 GB uncompressed in XML format.

That's a bit much for an offline copy, esp. without illustrations (sometimes they are needed). No wonder people often publish "excerpts" instead of full captures. Note that the charts there seem to indicate that English WP is "leveling off" in growth. That's really bad news--and something the insiders used to censor in the past.....

Also, please don't mock the Techmoan guy too much. He is literally the ONLY videoblogger I've ever seen who does many reports on long-dead media formats. All kinds of crazy shit was made before the Internet sorta-obsoleted it all. Younger people are fascinated by magnetic tape and phonograph records because they grew up not knowing or using them. I wish more online sources would cover this area. (Wikipedia does an awful job.)
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Re: WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by CrowsNest » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:26 pm

No mockery intended. But if you're gonna review something, especially something obsolete, at least keep in mind what it was built for. It felt as odd as it he were obsessed over the Amstrad Emailer's lack of the sort of features present on a standard PC.

The young people are apparently into Polaroid pictures now. Dumbasses. When they grow up, they too will know the horror of watching a prized picture long forgotten, literally crack before before eyes at the slightest movement. Scanners will probably be obsolete by then too. I'm convinced this sort of sliding back of the progress of humanity only began with the Wikipedia generation.

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Re: WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by Dysklyver » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:48 am

CrowsNest wrote:No mockery intended. But if you're gonna review something, especially something obsolete, at least keep in mind what it was built for. It felt as odd as it he were obsessed over the Amstrad Emailer's lack of the sort of features present on a standard PC.

The young people are apparently into Polaroid pictures now. Dumbasses. When they grow up, they too will know the horror of watching a prized picture long forgotten, literally crack before before eyes at the slightest movement. Scanners will probably be obsolete by then too. I'm convinced this sort of sliding back of the progress of humanity only began with the Wikipedia generation.


I believe these modern polaroid pictures are marketed as "better than the old ones". Re scanners though, smartphones can scan photos now, so scanners will definitely go by the wayside. Still weird to be printing paper photos, but consider how vinyl records somehow gained popularity again. It's "retro". :roll:
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Re: WikiReader, the dead offline Wikipedia

Post by ericbarbour » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:41 pm

CrowsNest wrote:The young people are apparently into Polaroid pictures now. Dumbasses. When they grow up, they too will know the horror of watching a prized picture long forgotten, literally crack before before eyes at the slightest movement. Scanners will probably be obsolete by then too. I'm convinced this sort of sliding back of the progress of humanity only began with the Wikipedia generation.

That's why the revival of Polaroid film manufacture ten years ago was called "The Impossible Project". They knew it was silly--but there was still considerable demand. Plus there are artists and professionals using Polaroid film for certain things.
https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/ ... t-imagery/

I recall that long ago Polaroid recommended against using its film for "archival purposes"; but then that was the old "responsible" company. People are spoiled by smartphone cameras, and love fast and dirty anything. Polaroid was once called a "dopamine marketing firm" or something like that. Now we have Instagram and Snapchat--even faster and dirtier (and stupider).
“It was the perfect camera and idea to fall in love with. It was this beautiful object, this accessible film. It provided immediate satisfaction.”

I feel sorry for museum conservators. They are stuck with trying to preserve photos that were NOT meant to last. Wikipedia is like that too. No digital memory format is "forever" and nothing people commonly use today (CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, flash memory, hard drives) is likely to still be readable in 50 years. The only way WP content will endure is if thousands of people make copies of it, so incomplete captures can be combined. Are conservators going to be doing that someday?
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