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Old 08-01-2010, 07:37 AM   #1
Logseman
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Wikipedia anywhere- why is it worthwhile?

While I was reading the last thread about 3G, a user (ski_power) did mention this point in favor of 3G:
Quote:
Wikipedia ANYWHERE in the world... definitely want. Its pretty easy to imagine situations where you'd want to wiki[...]
I admit I'm not a very active contributor-reader of Wikipedia, save for a starred article I helped to create.
However, the bolded sentence has really puzzled me. Where is the usefulness of Wikipedia outside of a web-browsing context?
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Old 08-01-2010, 08:02 AM   #2
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Travel, for one. You're on holiday and want to find out more information about a place you're in, or going to visit. Wiki is an excellent source of such information.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:17 PM   #3
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Wikihood is a very cool app for iPad. It uses GPS to determine where you are and shows you info about all nearby sites of note. Works great for road trips, of which I'm very fond. I also use regular Wikipedia for a lot of stuff while traveling. The city entries often are robust, offering demographics, history and much more. I love to travel, explore new places without planning (that's part of the fun for me). 3G is great for that, and much else, including looking up unfamiliar things (any time, any place) as you read. I often read nonfiction and news and end up finding things on Wikipedia. Often, I'm just googling something unfamilar and will find a good Wiki entry. The info is not gospel, but it's generally good.

Last edited by Maggie Leung; 08-01-2010 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:19 PM   #4
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It's nice that both the iBooks and Kindle apps on the iPad have a built-in facility to highlight a word, and look it up in Wiki.
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Old 08-01-2010, 03:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logseman View Post
While I was reading the last thread about 3G, a user (ski_power) did mention this point in favor of 3G:

I admit I'm not a very active contributor-reader of Wikipedia, save for a starred article I helped to create.
However, the bolded sentence has really puzzled me. Where is the usefulness of Wikipedia outside of a web-browsing context?
I've used an offline copy of Wikipedia in all sorts of contexts on my iTouch and iPad. Most recently was settling a restaurant argument about whether coconut oil was liquid or solid at room temp. Useful for looking up ingredients/meals when eating out abroad. Also for checking history of buildings/people when sightseeing. To me it is the true wonder of the modern age that you can carry a distillation of pretty close to all human knowledge in your pocket.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:15 PM   #6
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It's good for:

- Cheating at crosswords and quizzes when you're on a train or in bed with the 'flu.

- Looking up an author's biography when you're about to start on one his/her books.

- Finding out more about the film when you're about to go to the cinema.

- Having something to read when nothing else is available.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
To me it is the true wonder of the modern age that you can carry a distillation of pretty close to all human knowledge in your pocket.
Agreed.

Only a couple of decades ago, it was a cliche in science fiction:

Take this silver tablet, my son. You'll find all human knowledge is contained within it. Use it only for good.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
Agreed.

Only a couple of decades ago, it was a cliche in science fiction:

Take this silver tablet, my son. You'll find all human knowledge is contained within it. Use it only for good.
Once the iPad gets cameras, it will be like the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer from Diamond Age!
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:08 PM   #9
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There is hardly a day of my life where something doesn't lead me to wikipedia. Being without access to google, wikipedia, and the imdb are to me little different than being transported back to the paleolithic. If I could get them implanted in my brain, I would.
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Old 08-01-2010, 05:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Logseman View Post
Where is the usefulness of Wikipedia outside of a web-browsing context?
Everywhere.
I look up Wikipedia articles more and more often.
I have somehow ;-) acquired a reputation of a person that ... knows ... stuff.
So, I am often asked for help. I am asked about computer hardware, networking, various software (such as AutoCAD, or Linux, or Regular Expressions, or Photoshop, or ...), mechanical and electrical engineering (this is what I have studied at the university), cooking. I help some people with homework from mathematics, physics, kinematics, structural analysis, geometry (up to University level stuff), and other technical subjects. I am also [professional] translator and interpreter.
To maintain such reputation, I have to cheat sometimes ;-). So from time to time I look things up on the net. And more and more often it means I head directly to Wikipedia to get a good starting point.

Another use for Wikipedia is looking up the authors and books.

Having a device for Wikipedia access that I could use anytime, anywhere is a dream come true for me.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:36 AM   #11
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Like Mike L mentioned in a few posts earlier, if you don't have anything else to read. I've borrowed my college kindle(K2) quite often (too bad they don't allow you to take it for more than a week, else I'd have it right now )and I think its one of the big draws of the kindle. I can already imagine myself in plenty of situations where it would be a definitely better way to pass time if you're tired of reading books on it
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:51 PM   #12
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On my Kindle, as on many ereaders, I can look a word up in the dictionary by moving the cursor to the word. However on the Kindle I also have the option to look the word up in wikipedia. I'll admit I use the dictionary all the time and that I use wikipedia less frequently but I do like being able to jump from a word in a book to a full article in wikipedia in just a few moments.
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:27 PM   #13
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Old 08-02-2010, 02:55 PM   #14
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Exactly. The Kindle actually becomes The Guide. Now only if wikipedia changed their homepage to those Golden Words.

Actually, its going to be a great idea to stick those words on its back side.

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Old 08-02-2010, 05:26 PM   #15
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Those that don't have 3G but still want wikipedia can download the whole system as html pages (a lot of them) and put it on an SD card. You'll have to be clever to get the search working but it will work fine for browsing. The version I set up on my Nokia N800 took less than 3GB. Search for "Wikipedia offline".
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