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10 years

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Jan. 15th, 2011 | 01:23 pm
mood: awakeawake

Happy anniversary to Wikipedia — the project is ten years old as of today. Here's a wiki dedicated to this anniversary; there's lots of events all over the globe, just in case you're still looking for something to do today. *s*

For those curious, here's a (read-only) copy of Wikipedia from the 20th of December 2001, too. And (just because I like to brag about being an early adopter), here's one of my oldest edits. It's really quite interesting to compare it to the current article — it's come a long way. *s*

Here's to the next decade!

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Comments {8}

steele_the_wolf

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from: steele_the_wolf
date: Jan. 18th, 2011 03:15 am (UTC)
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What an excellent resource for the world. Wikipedia is definitely one of the best examples of the Internet working for the good of human kind. It sure has come a long way since it first came out.

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Schneelocke

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from: schnee
date: Jan. 18th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC)
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It has, hasn't it? Alas, it's also lost a certain innocence and playfulness that it used to have; the earliest known revision of "Africa", for instance, contains a sole external link, described thusly: "An Irish anarchist in Africa provides a readable and compelling, but biased, introduction to today's western Africa". Can you imagine something like that lasting more than five seconds in today's Wikipedia? I can't.

Still, it's a great resource, and those who recall the time before it would be well advised to remember what it was like to search for information on a topic and having to worm your way through an endless array of half-finished Geocities pages, university-hosted pages focussing on specific details that really addressed other specialists rather than the general public, and so on. In a way, it's comparable to the change in the Internet that came with Google's rise; we tend to see the bad sides of both Wikipedia and Google, but we simply take the good sides for granted because they're so ingrained in today's Internet that we don't even recall what things were like before anymore (unless we consciously think back).

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steele_the_wolf

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from: steele_the_wolf
date: Jan. 20th, 2011 05:39 am (UTC)
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Also very true. I was thinking about that recently with my reading of the latest Intel and AMD chips and how they've just gobbled up integrated graphics and put them on the same core with amazing performance. Pretty soon every PC is going to have the same capability as every console.
I know consumers are impressed when they first see the latest technology but it seems that their unknowing knowledge of moores law has become part of their expectations. They seem to expect something better without an appreciation for how big of an advancement it really is. Maybe I am being a little cynical but in ten years when computers are 100 times faster, will they still just see it as plugging away at a box with a few more features?

One of the tech guys (i think from engadget) went on a talk show and talked about how they *JUST* came out with a way to use the internet on the airplane. As he told it, they had just got onto the plane and the crew was having difficulty getting it to work and said its availability would be delayed for a while. The guy sitting next to him uttered "GOSH!" in displeasure, immediately after the announcement.

My response is along the lines of his complaint. How can you already complain about a brand new advancement in technology that you haven't even had a chance to use? Are we becoming spoiled and unaware of how amazing this stuff is?

Twenty years ago, had the sum of information and software from wikipedia or google busted onto the scene as it is today, they would be hailed as the pinnacle of human achievement. To most people, "Google-ing" is just an action, behavior or just like another button on the way to the webpage they are looking for. Sci-fi books would have predicted a person walking through towering servers that reached far into the sky and across the horizon to access the sum of all knowledge at a single terminal.

That seems to be the flaw with human perspective. When those towers of servers are hidden in secret and secluded places and massive amounts of information amasses and organizes at a consistently increasing pace and people only see a small percentage of it, its harder for people to put into perspective how large of a scale these things are.

Wikipedia is just one example of that, especially, as how you described, the web being mostly populated with geocities accounts.

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Schneelocke

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from: schnee
date: Jan. 20th, 2011 10:44 am (UTC)
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Aye, very good point. Indeed, I agree that the fact that the complexity (and complicatedness) of things that appear easy on the outside is hidden from people contributes to their being unaware just how amazing it actually really is; but I also think that people are looking at things in terms of the availability of something being the default, assuming that it's the situations where that thing is not available that are the remarkable ones, rather than the ones where it is.

Take Internet on planes, for example; people who don't know anything about how the Internet (or any electronic communication network) works and who complain about how the Internet isn't working on a plane right after it was announced that it'd be available for the first time are presuming that it should be available "by default", that it really doesn't take any special infrastructure etc., and that the gearheads must've messed up somewhere if it's not working.

(This is something that's evident in other areas, too, such as politics; quite a few people will have their pet economic theories, for instance, and say that if only THEY had been able to implement what they thought about for perhaps five minutes, the economy would be booming, there'd be no unemployment, and everyone would be dancing in the streets (and then go back to work). Sometimes, you have to have a certain amount of education and knowledge just to appreciate how complex a problem actually is, and that's definitely true in the case of the Internet.)

Of course, in a way, we take many things for granted that previous generations didn't (and couldn't), from roads to running water to electricity, TV/radio, the modern money system (e.g. credit/debit cards) and the never-ending availability of a vast array of fresh food in practically limitless amounts.

But yeah, I think the Internet is still different insofar as that to laypeople, there is literally no difference between a private page on Geocities and Google. The latter may look better, and it certainly will DO different things, but in both cases, you type in a URL and are presented with a "webpage" (I'm putting that in quotes because people have internalized the concept as a fundamental building block of reality that does not require further explanation) that does a certain thing. How it works, how much infrastructure there is behind it, how it can be made to work at all... all these questions simply never arise.

I think it'd do us good to actually go back to the basics every now and then, just so we won't forget what it's like. But of course, even when spending some time in the wilderness, chances are we'd bring all sorts of hi-tech equipment without which we couldn't survive, all the latest gadgets; and also, while this may be personally satisfying, it'd be a logistic impossibility if the majority of society actually decided to do it, so it's not a practical solution on a social (rather than an individual) level.

I recall a story relating to this from Werewolf:The Apocalypse about a Glass Walker and a Red Talon; I'll have to dig it out, as it's really quite relevant.

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steele_the_wolf

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from: steele_the_wolf
date: Jan. 24th, 2011 04:31 am (UTC)
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I would absolutely love to read that. Being a huge Apocalypse fan.

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Schneelocke

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from: schnee
date: Jan. 24th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
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I hope I'll be able to post it soon. I've actually been trying to find it again, but to no avail so far — Google is no help, and it doesn't appear to be in my own collection of WW:TA books, so chances are I got it from a book that I checked out at the store but ended up not buying. Worse, White Wolf's own forums have not been of help so far, either. :/

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Schneelocke

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from: schnee
date: Jan. 20th, 2011 10:50 am (UTC)
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Oh, very interesting video — rather visually busy, but neat. And it was interesting to actually hear Jimbo's voice; I don't think I have before.

Heh, Nupedia "wasn't quite taking off", though? That deserves an Understatement Of The Year™ award. ^_~

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