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The Longest Now

Zvi Boshernitzan:Gee Willikers
Saturday July 14th 2007, 3:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Zvi has done it again. This time it involves Google Gears, MediaWiki InstaView, and serious sex appeal. Check out gearswiki at — you’ll have to have Gears installed; after that, you will be able to visit that url and access your new favorite wiki-reader and thumbwiki even when offline… and you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was the mediawiki rendering that was slow.

Everyone I’ve shown this to is in awe; so you’ll at least enjoy the experience. Go spend two minutes now to check it out. To fully experience the wiki nature, first

  • go to the “Dump” button in gearswiki, and follow the link to “MediaWiki dump”.
  • this takes you to Wikipedia’s Special:Export … export an XML dump of a category (enter “color” or “languages” into the category box at the top, and the larger textarea will automatically be prefilled with all pages in that category)
  • Save the resulting page (as XML, not as a “complete web page”)
  • return to gearswiki and upload the XML file you just saved
  • explore and enjoy. NB: pages are all editable.
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Intel and OLPC trade noogies for neckrubs
Friday July 13th 2007, 2:02 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,international,popular demand

Intel‘s Will Swope joined AMD‘s Arenas and others on OLPC’s board last night. Designs of our Gen-1 machines won’t change, though this gives them input, along with our other members, on future designs. Intel will also continue making and marketing Classmates… though the comparisons between the devices are likely to become more helpful and less marketing. This is not the first rivalry set aside on the board; my cynical side is always delighted to see companies which are rivals in other arenas able to come together around our educational goals.

We have an Intel group working just one floor above us in Kendall Square; it will be interesting to see what they think.

bv and bh

Gizmodo sez: “Hell freezes over“, with a delightful jesus diaz illustration (above). But I’d say it only got momentarily cool down there; Intel has been working with open source communities and on education projects for some time. Keep your eyes on the fiery gates, however. My acronymic archnemesis may start open sourcing his platforms one day… See also: slashdot.

Bouguereau remembered
Saturday July 07th 2007, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Glory, glory, glory,indescribable,Uncategorized

Today I stumbled across a luminescent painting, thanks to the fine taste of a fellow Wikipedian whose writing is so intimate and full of poetry that, despite never having corresponded, I imagine them an acquaintance. It was a portrait of a knitter, entitled Tricoteuse, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. I looked at it a few times, astonished by something about its honesty and quality of light that I could not quite place; and then astonished again by its unexplained orphanage — as it was included in no project pages save two user-space galleries across Wikipedia and her sister projects.

I inspected its central page on Wikimedia Commons to discover this last tidbit via the check usage tab… Commons also had a small descriptive page and gallery about Bouguereau and his works, where I found a second image similarly astonishing and underused. After marvelling on his works for a few long minutes, I realized I had found two extraordinary works in no time at all, and almost nothing of their origins; something was amiss.

It was no surprise to discover that his legacy had been somehow submerged for over half a century. Many compare him with Rembrandt, ignored for far longer and more actively in his own lifetime. Wikipedia had a short biography which alluded to this, and the first artsite I found with a page about him had a rant-like paean at once upholding his fine qualities and denouncing slanders that had kept him from public texts and encyclopedias and hidden his work from entire generations.
I then added his Tricoteuse and portrait of his future wife, Elizabeth Gardner, to the Wikipedia gallery dedicated to his works. Only as I was leaving that gallery did I realize I had seen — and bookmarked — one of his images before: a work of Nymphs and Satyr, again so striking that without remembering the artist’s name I had brought it to mind on a few occasions. And is this delightful piece entitled L’enlèvement de Psyché or Le ravissement de Psyché ? Rapture seems to suit it better.
At any rate, time spent with Bouguereau’s works is time well spent. Enjoy!

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