Monday, August 11, 2008

Now I can retire...

Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.My image of Taliesin West
(from Wikimedia Commons

Previously, I have written about how Encyclopedia Britannica introduced a free access scheme for bloggers. Nifty. But this flows both ways. EB is also moving to make use of resources available to it.

Point in case, the image at right.

As I am sure other people do, I periodically search for my own name using Google's search capabilities. Well, the other day, on the second page of the search (may not still return results) I found this link ... Turns out that EB chose to use my image to illustrate their article on Taliesin West! (Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and school in the desert in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA from 1937 until his death in 1959.)

So now I'm rich, right? Well no. That image, as you can see, is freely available on Commons, for anyone to use, as long as the license (in this case the GFDL 1.2) is honored. Which it is.

So am I upset? Nope! I'm delighted. This is how it's supposed to work. Free images are made free so that people can USE them. EB has properly atttributed the image and thus is free to use it as they see fit.

Maybe it's a bit ironic that EB is using a free image FROM a WMF site to illustrate an article which is supposedly better than the same article on Wikipedia. (which by the way, currently uses someone else's version of basically the same composition)... and, better or not, clearly is in competition.

But it's nifty! Got any other examples? I wonder who else has been honored this way?

By the way, here are both articles, you decide which is better:

  • Wikipedia's version is here.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica's version is here.
In all honesty, I have to say EB wins this one. What do you think?

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Saturday, August 9, 2008


Image at right is from Brickshelf...

I'm slow. This has been buzzed up already, and I'm late to add my raves. But for the benefit of my paltry readership, if you like LEGO at all, you need to go check this out. Read the LUGNET posting.

Shaun Sullivan of NELUG has built a LEGO based odometer for measuring distance that trains run on exhibition layouts.

Note that an odometer was used at the PNLTC Guinness record attempt but it was electronic.

This one is purely mechanical. It's testimony to Shaun's addiction that he chose to do it this way... but ironically used significant computer time to calculate the gear ratios needed to get to within 8 feet per mile of accuracy in his measurements.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Signal to Noise, part II

Kismet (robot) can produce a range of Facial e...Robot Moderator?
Image via Wikimedia Commons
A while back, in my post Attacking the noise, I described ROBOT9000, automated moderating technology introduced at one of xkcd's IRC channels as an interesting experiment. Apparently the idea has legs.

While reading a very interesting New York Times piece on trolling, The Trolls Among Us (which, by the way, "outed" several trolls, giving their real life identities or information sufficient for a determined person to track them down.... perhaps more on that later... the topic has come up on various WMF wikis and discussion groups) I ran across the tidbit (on page 7 of the piece), that ROBOT9000 has come to 4chan.

Sure enough, there is now a moderated subforum at 4chan called ROBOT9000 (or /r9k/ ).

Dan must be proud!

I for one welcome our new robot masters, if they can improve signal to noise...

Do you?

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Knol and Wikipedia

Wikipedia's Knol PageWikipedia's Knol page
Image by dannysullivan via Flickr
Fair use claimed for commentary
By now, everyone and their brother has blogged about Knol. If you don't know what it is, you've been under a rock, apparently (not that there's anything wrong with that)... follow the link. (which naturally leads to Wikipedia)

Probably half of those blogposts have to do with the relationship between Knol and Wikipedia. Again, go find them if you want to read them.

Some people are saying it's a new gold rush. I have an AdSense account so I decided to see what if anything in the way of gold there is to be had.

I've taken some content from Wikipedia and put it on Knol. The content I took is content I myself authored... I took my DYK articles, at the point of the last edit by me prior to the first edit by someone else, so all content was mine, and Knolised them. (why that edit? Because at that point the content is solely authored by me. That means I can relicense it as I see fit, granting GFDL does not take away the right to license under other terms as well)

The actual formatting leaves a lot to be desired, since they are paste jobs, if I see any signs of traffic I'll improve them. But for the most part at least so far, they are the only Knols on those topics. All their links lead straight to Wikipedia, at least for now.

I am not going to pimp them by linking... if you want to find them you can.

I'm curious as to how this all will play out... will these get any traffic? Will I get improvement suggestions? Will Knol itself complain? Most of these show high correlation to Wikipedia which is not unexpected.

What do you think? Have any of you done this? What will the long term effect be?

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