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The Longest Now

Socrates Jones: Wow. “There are no limits on the extent of smiting!”
Thursday August 22nd 2013, 2:53 am
Filed under: chain-gang,Glory, glory, glory,knowledge,metrics,poetic justice

Noted game designer Chief Wakamakamu writes:

So, guys. I’m pretty sure that, whenever you played Phoenix Wright, you thought to yourself “Man, this game would be so much better if it was about moral philosophy instead of high-stake courtroom arguments.”  

Well, I have come to make all your dreams come true. I’m currently looking for play-testers for Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, so that we can make it as awesome as it could possibly be before we unleash it on … a starved market.

Sate your hunger.  Interrogate antiquity’s moral philosophers for yourself.


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On Miranda’s Rights: Intimidating the press through their families
Wednesday August 21st 2013, 6:04 pm
Filed under: Rogue content editor,Too weird for fiction

Lord FalconerMark WeisbrotBen Daniel comment on the surprising 9-hour detention of Glenn Greenwald’s husband David Miranda, on a layover through Heathrow, under  the unironically-named “Terrorism Act 2000“.

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A New ‘Pedia: planning for the future of Wikipedia
Saturday August 10th 2013, 2:58 am
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,Uncategorized,wikipedia

Wikipedia has gotten more elaborate and complex to use. Adding a reference, marking something for review, uploading a file or creating a new article now take many steps — and failing to follow them can lead to starting all over. The curators of the core projects are concerned with uniformly high quality, and impatient with contributors who don’t have the expertise and wiki-experience to create something according to policy. Good stubs or photos are deleted for failing to comply with one of a dozen policies, or for inadequate cites or license templates; even when they are in fact derived from reliable sources and freely licensed.

The Article Creation Wizard has a five-step process for drafting an article, after which it is submitted for review by a team of experienced editors, and finally moved to the article namespace. 7 steps for approval is too much overhead for many.  And the current notability guidelines on big Wikipedias excludes most local and specialist knowledge.

We need a simpler scratch-space to develop new material:

  • A place not designed to be high quality, where everything can be in flux, possibly wrong, in need of clarification and polishing and correction.
  • A place that can be used to build draft articles, images, and other media before posting them to Wikipedia
  • A place where everyone is welcome to start a new topic, and share what they know: relying on verifiability over time (but not requiring it immediately), and without any further standard for notability
  • A place with no requirements to edit: possibly style guidelines to aspire to, but where newbies who don’t know how the tools or system works are welcomed and encouraged to contribute more, and not chastised for getting things wrong.

Since this will be a new sort of compendium or comprehensive cyclopedia, covering all topics, it should have a new name. Something simple, say Newpedia. Scripts can be written to help editors work through the most polished Newpedia items and push them to Wikipedia and Wikisource and Commons. We could invite editors to start doing their rough work on Newpedia, to avoid the conflict and fast reversion on the larger wiki references that make it hard to use for quick new work.

Update: Mako discussed Newpedia (or double-plus-newpedia) in his panel about “Wikipedia in 2022“, and Erik Moeller talked about how the current focus on notability is keeping all of our projects from growing, in his “Ghosts of Wikipedia Future“.  I look forward to the video and transcripts.

What do you think?  I started a mailing list for people who are interested in developing such a knowledge-project.  I look forward to your thoughts, both serious and otherwise 😉

OLPC’s new XO Tablet is up for grabs, now on Amazon
Tuesday August 06th 2013, 6:15 am
Filed under: popular demand

The XO Tablet is now available for purchase on Amazon, for $150. It’s a beautiful little device, and worth having to play with for children of all ages.

This combines the joys of the smaller ipads with those of the XO design and experience; though it’s roughly half the experience of each — it runs an Android build with a number of constructionist activities and content; and you can install any other Android apps you like on it. It is based on a stock tablet; while not as brilliant and robust a design as the original laptop or the XO-Touch, it is still a real pleasure to walk through its paces.

Give it a try, or borrow your friends, and let me know what you think.

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Electricity and the body electric [robot counterpoint]
Saturday August 03rd 2013, 3:50 am
Filed under: fly-by-wire,gustatory,unfinished draft

a quick aside while travelling, remembering also the Horowitz lab printer that printed a strange page while powered off, after I slept next to it

I like to get the lightest machines I can, and slide them into thin bags. Currently using: a $170 Samsung chromebook, which suits me just fine. That’s both because I heartily support the concept – a 2-lb machine that can survive droptests [if not the XO’s dropkick-test!] – and because I tend to destroy drives.

Recently, the faults tend to be electrical. And now that I have switched to SSD, these are harder to recover from. It seems to be controller death — and I still have a recent frotzed drive so I can find out, if I find someone who can debug Sandforce controllers. At any rate, I’ve lost two SSD’s on my Macbook Air in the past 2 months. All of which makes me even happier about one aspect of Chromebooks that some deplore: the lack of permanent on-disk apps or data.

Meanwhile, I wonder if it’s becoming easier to find customizable tempest cases for laptops – shielding works both ways!

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