Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Mods and Rockers

MIT news: "Residents of Italy's capital will glimpse the future of urban mapmaking next month with the launch of "Wiki City Rome," a project developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that uses data from cellphones and other wireless technology to illustrate the city's pulse in real time."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wikigroaning is funny and/or embarrassing depending on your outlook, but is it a problem? I agree that the serious articles should be better, but in these comparisons there seems to be an implicit theory that the fan topics are somehow sucking the life out of the serious ones.

But really, do we want somebody obsessed about [[Optimus Prime]] to spend a lot of time on [[Prime number]]? And even if we wanted them to, would they do it and do it well? I don't think so.

From what I've seen, the fan stuff is not a particularly big maintenance burden. Maybe I've missed it, but I don't see a lot of vandalism, a lot of dispute resolution, or a lot of AN/I requests over the stuff. So it seems like the net cost of keeping it is relatively small. And I see two big benefits that come from it.

First is that the more editors we have involved in Wikipedia, the better. People identify with things they've contributed to. That gives us all sorts of positive effects, including less vandalism, more donations, more person-to-person promotion, and more public support.

William Pietri, on the mailing list

Monday, September 03, 2007

Google Wiki is going to launch soon -- or rather, google is re-launching jotspot as part of google apps.

As far as interface geekry, I'm more excited about Apple's wiki software -- but that's just going to run on Leopard Server. Does anyone use apple servers apart from apple itself? It's like sun office.

6 secret languages

A cryptolect is a secret language used only by members of a group, often used to conceal the meaning from those outside the group.

Here's the SIX SECRETIST LANGUAGES! (Kidding. I figured lists are good for traffic.)

1. Thieves' cant was a secret language which was formerly used by thieves, beggars and hustlers of various kinds in Great Britain and to a lesser extent in other English-speaking countries. The classic, colourful argot is now mostly obsolete, and is largely relegated to the realm of literature and fantasy role-playing, although individual terms continue to be used in the criminal subcultures of both Britain and the U.S.

2. Shelta is a language spoken by parts of the Irish Traveller people. It has been suggested that the word "Shelta" itself derives from the Irish word "si├║lta", meaning "of walking". This refers to the nomadic lifestyle of the Travellers, and the fact that they were commonly called "the Walking People".

3. Carny. Note: Though these terms are traditionally part of Carnival jargon, it is an ever changing form of communication and in large part designed to be impossible to understand by an outsider. Thus, as words are assimilated into the culture at large, they lose their function and are replaced by other more obscure or insular terms.

4. Barallete is employed by the traditional knife-sharpeners and umbrella holders (afiadores e parag├╝eiros) of the Galician province of Ourense. (Yes, those words are real.)

5. Klezmer-loshn (Yiddish: Musician's Tongue) is an extinct derivative of the Yiddish language. It was used by travelling Jewish musicians, known as klezmorim (klezmers), in Eastern Europe prior to the 20th Century.

6. Leet (written as 31337, 1337, and l33t), is used primarily on the Internet, but becoming increasingly common in many online video games. It uses various combinations of alphanumerics to replace proper letters.