Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Yahoo! Answers was killed in its first incarnation as Yahoo! Experts and has been brought back but still hasnt taken off like Wiki's have.
They are both repositories of communal information and with a good user base can both have answers to the little questions that it is hard to find other places.
So why are Wiki's popular and the Answers format not?
1. No way to know which is the right answer on Yahoo! Answers. Often when you look at a question you get different answers and there is no way to know which is right. If you knew, you wouldnt have asked. In a wiki there is only one answer and you are taking it on faith that it is correct but there is a trust in the community that you assume when you find the information. Granted that trust may be misplaced, but because you dont have to question it, it seems more reliable (and quotable).
2. Your part of the solution - On a wiki whatever little bit you add feels like your making a contribution to a larger database of information. This may be partly due to the media attention or the fact that it is related to an encyclopedia. But when you answer a question that is one of a jumble of 100 other questions asked about Mickey Mouse, Days of our Lives, or particle accelorerators it doesnt become part of the main body of knowledge like in a wiki and seems less important. If you edit the Mickey Mouse wiki, something you wrote might come up in result #3 on a search for that term!
3. You dont have to do all the work. If one person lays out the main body of a wiki other people can add little bits or change little bits later. It seems less daunting to get in there and contribute.
4. Your helping everyone, not one person - When I started using Yahoo! Answers in its first incarnation as Yahoo! Experts some of the questions would be very involved in researching or explaning and it was hard to make time to write to some random person when someone else might ask the same question 3 weeks later because they didnt search past questions. In a wiki when you add information or correct information it is there for everyone to see (and there is no nagging for your time/expertise).
Answers does have the advantage that if you cant find it anywhere else you can ask there. Also, the different format lets it house information that would not be found in Wikipedia. For example, I found a question and a fwe answers on how to get out of traffic tickets. Unfortunatly the answers were as varied as you would find if you asked 10 people at a party and about the same quality.
Both of these sites are trying to bring together information locked inside peoples minds to form a larger communal knowledge base. But Wikipedia has taken the next logical step and organized and presented this information better. As nice as FAQs are they are not a very useful repository of knowledge. You may find an answer but it is usually not exactly what you are looking for. And you cant explore it.
You will never get lost and fascinated in an FAQ like you will in an Encyclopedia and its "(See Vol.4 Ch.19 Pg.877)" references or the more immediate satisfaction behind the underlined blue text leading you to more knowledge in a Wiki.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
So I have been watching the original Star Trek while I have been editing photos from my trip.
In the episode I watched last night they introduced Khan Noonian Singh also known as Khan.
This was extra fun since I know where this will lead. Also, finding out his full name made me wonder if there was a connection to Data's creator Noonian Soong. I very exciting prospect since TNG is my absolute favorite.
After a little Wiki research here is what I found out:
In the Eugenics wars Khan Noonian Singh was one of the (and the most successful) supermen who took over the world. For more info on him go here). People revolted and Khan and 72 other supermen escaped in a hibernation ship where they slept for 200 years.
During his sleep is when all the Arik Soong stuff happened on Star Trek: Enterprise.
Next, Khan was thawed out and left on a dangerous planet by Capt. Kirk.
Because Arik saw Khan as a pinnacle of human development the Noonian name was passed down (supposedly).
Now I have to put my fear of bugs in ears away and watch Star Trek II again.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Check them out on the Hype.
I also found a great 5 minute NPR interview with them. From the interview:
Gypsy musicians is always invited to top the party and kinda make it the ultimate haywire. Go nuts, bonkers, buckwild... I always wanted to take it farther to more people. To make it feel like they been stricken by lightning.(really, you have to hear it with his accent)
And for the ultimate in modern fun, here is a YouTube video of my favorite song of theirs "Start Wearing Purple"...
If they showed stuff like this on MTV, I might actually watch!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
NPR had a great segment with the author and Neil Conan discussing the war as if it had actually happened and the callers played along. I kept having to tell myself, wait this isnt real. Great radio in the tradition of War of the Worlds.
A sample question from a long time listener, first time caller:
"Im wondering about the possible threat of international terrorist forces joining with the zombie hordes creating an unstopable Islamo-zombie threat."
Its worth it just to hear Neil ask a caller if he is ready to "do what needs to be done" and kill his brother-in-law.
Monday, September 11, 2006
I went to Oakland this weekend to see one of the great jazz pianists, Oscar Peterson. Check out his Wikipedia entry for a little history and a list of some of his co-horts.
Oscar is 81, he needed help getting to the piano but when he did he didnt need any help at all. He played from about 8-11 at Yoshis. He played one song twice accidentaly. Apparently there was some guy complaining about it in the bathroom because when I walked in there was some other guy at a urinal saying "So you got to hear Requium twice. Shut the fuck up you're lucky to be here."
It was a lot of driving and a hefty ticket but we dont have many of the old great jazz artists left and I decided this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was worth it.
This vid really does not do it justice but here is a little corner, of a little snippet, of that night, take it Oscar...