Wikipedia on the Go has arrived

Originally uploaded by bjortklingd

Just two weeks ago I was predicting the arrival of downloadable wikipedia for smart phones. Well it has arrived. The Series 60 Weblog has made available a downloadable wikipedia that can be installed to any S60 platform enabled smartphone.

This is happening to me a lot recently, ideas that I come up with are been invented or created not long after I utter it. Either I am hyper-intune with the current internet connected world or Dilbert writer Scott Adams is onto something when he suggests we are nothing more than badly programmed computer generated holograms. There was even an argument for the latter recently stating that it is statistically more likely that we are computer constructs than living beings.

“But my favorite theory is that I’m nothing but a hologram in a computer program built by my ancient self, before the planet was destroyed by some disaster. The reason I can glimpse my future is that I have all of the qualities of the real me who wrote my program. In other words, I can accurately imagine my future because it is playing out much like I would have authored it myself.”

It kinda reminds me of the type of logic used in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Specifically the case where the population of the universe is reasoned to be zero:

“It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.”

Apple / Nokia – Blood in the water

Originally uploaded by tnkgrl

“Comrades we sail into history”

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look at a big event before it happened. It is very easy to look into the past and pick out when political or technological change occurred, it is much harder the other way around. However one of those nexus points of history is upon us.

Apple finally has a competitor that can compete with it, Nokia. Apple has all but dominated the mp3/mobile audio space since the launch of the iPod in 2001 (yes that long ago) but recently Steve Jobs and his skivvy wearing brethren had the temerity to move into the mobile phone space with the launch of the iPhone. Apple have been successful because the have made stylish music players never had any competition from the likes of Microsofts Zune or Creative MuVo.

Nokia, however, have been playing the stylish mobile device game even before Apple launched their iPod, they had the express-on covers for the Nokia 5110 that came out in 1998 (and my first mobile) and they knew it was just providing the technology but also the humanity, and they made a lot of money with the 5110 one of the most popular mobile phones ever.

So if you cast your net out on the internet today it should be no surprise that on the same day that there are rumours of Apple launching a wireless iPod and associated wireless iTunes, Nokia have launched their online music website.

Apple has dominated mobile music for a long time and seemed unassailable with the DRM lock in that allowed then to sign up the 5 major labels they did. However following Steve Jobs magic letter on DRM in February there is now a move away from DRM which lowers the barrier for entry for competitors into mobile music.

Nokia has tried and failed to enter different areas of the mobile space it didn’t belong, the N-Gage for example was a miscalculation, (however they have ported N-Gage games into the S60 platform so it wasn’t for nought). However they have maintained their dominance as they are never afraid to learn and adapt to the new models. As Nokia’s Executive VP & General Manager of Multimedia, Anssi Vanjoki ,said, said when images of a Nokia iPhone knock were released “If there is something good in the world then we copy with pride.” Nokia may not win the new mobile internet/music race but by jingo they will give Apple a run for their money if they don’t. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Miss Teen USA – Perspective

The above clip of Lauren Caitlin Upton completely fluffing up a question at Miss Teen USA is currently doing the rounds of how stupid Americans can be. However on sober review it is obvious she didn’t listen to the question and was tying to trot out some rote answer she memorised, it reminds me of the wizards in school that would memorise some great piece of prepackaged prose and would attempt to turn any English essay topic to use that prose .

Standing in front of an audience can be a humbling experience and shouldn’t be knocked unless tried. Any one can tell a friend a joke however with that in mind I once a week will take the challenge at our local trivia night to jump on stage and compete against other people in a joke-off. What seems easy amongst friends is much much harder with a room full of people staring at you.

Apparently Lauren is taking it in her stride, she even came third at the event. People probably need to calm down and stop looking to Miss Teen USA for answers, but why oh why did she mention South Africa?. If google have got there act together they should sign up this chick to help promote google maps.

Check out the 2000 film Miss Congeniality for more beauty pageant absurdity.

Stan Fields: What is the one most important thing our society needs?
Gracie Hart: That would be… harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.
[crowd is silent]
Gracie Hart: And world peace!
[crowd cheers ecstatically]

Life on Mars meets Camberwick Green

Even though Life on Mars has been around for 2 years I have only recently come across it, it being an English TV show and me living in Australia might have something to do with that. I have to say it is one of the best TV shows I have seen in a long time. A lot of it comes from all the unPC stuff that DCI Gene Hunt gets away. However the show makes interesting and unusual use of TV from the 70s, be it as the Doctors in 2006 communicating through the Open University programs on TV or the Test Card girl leaving her post and stalking time traveler/mental case Sam Tyler as Death personified.
It’s major appeal, I think, is that even when the show is serious it still knows how to be fun. I’m only up to the fifth episode of the second season, but I loved the Camberwick Green knock off. Check out the nonce waving to the camera as he is getting kicked in my Gene Hunt.

Gene Hunt: I think you’ve forgotten who you’re talking to.
Sam Tyler: An overweight, over-the-hill, nicotine-stained, borderline-alcoholic homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding?
Gene Hunt: You make that sound like a bad thing.

Update : I have had to relink to another youtube version of the video as the BBC are pursuing the copyright. Don’t be surprised if it also gets suppressed.

Bill Bailey is Merlin

Bill Bailey is a great comedian who is famous for his stand up routine and as put upon Manny in Black Books. If you even find it on DVD or television his “Part Troll” performance is an excellent watch and excellent laugh (though it is impossible to remember one joke). However in his routine he makes fun of people who make fun of him that say he looks like some kind of wizard. At first I thought it was just some self depreciating technique to gain the sympathy of the crowd. However as I was out wandering wikipedia during the week I came across the picture of Merlin as played by Nicol Williamson in John Boorman‘s movie Excaliber. Isn’t the resemblance uncanny.

Messa Love you – I Don’t, Die Jar Jar Die!

Apparently some damn fool geek took a perfectly good replica of the Han Solo in carbonite and replaced Han’s head with his own. Muppet! However it did get me thinking who I would like to see in carbonite, unsurprisingly Jar Jar comes to the top of that list. The internet is a wonderful thing and instead of having to imagine it with my mind, it turns out it has been done already and there are loads of images of the final fate of Jar Jar. To find more great Jar Jar in carbonite google is your friend.

Blinged iPod Shuffle, Huh?

Engadget has a link to a website that is reporting the release of a diamond encrusted, gold trimmed iPod Shuffle. Apparently it will retail for 48,000 Norwegian Kroner (around US$40,000) as reported on this site. Engadget make an excellent point who would want to bling up $99 of plastic. If you should find yourself plopping down US$40,000 on something like this maybe you have more money than sense and I would appreciate it if you could remove yourself from the breeding pool of this planet as you have nothing of worth to add to it any more.

BTW it wouldn’t surprise me though if this turns out to be a hoax.

Dennis Miller on the Family Guy

I used to be a huge fan of Dennis Miller. In recent times it is a pain to see him prostitute himself on Bill O’Reilly‘s show, while he acts fairly cordial with “papa bear” on screen some times I feel as if he has a pained expression on his face as he knows he just has to put up with that crap to make a bit of coin.

However “No Spin Zone” non-withstanding I thought this segment from the Family Guy was spot on. Some times when watching Dennis Miller you felt as if you had to go back to college for a master in pop culture just to keep up.

Snowboard Gmail

Here is an attempt at the google mail video. We tried to have me pass holding the envelope on the snowboard but even at the slowest speed, the envelope was only visible on screen for about a second. So we were forced to go to plan B.

Trivia night destroyer – wikipedia on the go

In 1951, or so the story goes, the Guinness book of records was conceived when Sir Hugh Beaver realised that there was no reference book available to answer the question which is the fastest game bird in Europe, the golden plover or the grouse?

Nowadays the Guinness book of records has been superseded by wikipedia and the answer to all question current and arcane, “TO THE WIKIPEDIA!” is a cry heard all to often when a polite conversation degrades in to a slagging match. For the record glass is not a very slowly moving liquid and you can’t see the Coriolis effect in a toilet bowl flush (also dropping sugar into a draining sink does not help determine rotation).

However till now to answer a questions of this type required a computer and an internet link. Which meant that in the rarefied environment of Pub Trivia it has thus far been limited to what was been carried around solely in the competitors heads. This is slowly been eroded away, first mobile phones arrived, so you could ring a friend near a computer to get and answer. Then phones became GPRS enabled allowing internet access which will work, but is expensive. These are slowly been replaced by wifi enabled phones, but then this is currently limited as there may be no access point available (the rule rather than the exception in my experience). Thus far, even though the technology exists and has for a while it is patchy, cumbersome or expensive.

So the solution is simple, instead of trying to get to wikipedia over expensive or patchy infrastructure, why not just bring it with you? An enterprising gentlemen, ttsiod, has written a program that allows him to access a local copy of wikipedia on his laptop. No matter where he goes in the world he always has access, albeit to a static version of the people encyclopedia.

Not many people know that you can download the entire contents of wikipedia, it’s current compressed size is 2.9 GB. After hacking around with few open tools ttsiod is able to browse and keyword search his local wikipedia. Admittedly his current implementation isn’t for the faint hearted. However, how long will it take to port to an even more portable device, like the iPhone (with 8 GB of space) or other smart phone, the N95 for example has a microSD slot and disks sizes already up into the 4GB space.

It will only be a matter of time before all that knowledge can be bubbled down and people will be able to carry the font of human knowledge in their pocket. At that point in time any office argument will be solved in seconds and all trivia night questions are a predictive text search away. Can you smell the future? Are you excited? Are you scared?

Update : Imagine no longer, 2 weeks later, the future is here.