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Wikipedia Goes Mobile 118

Posted by kdawson
from the what's-that-in-your-pocket? dept.
eldavojohn writes, "Webaroo has added Wikipedia to their services on mobile devices. There have also been open source efforts to deliver it to the iPod (also check out the wiki) or a PDA. I guess if I were still a bartender, this would be a necessity in solving bar disputes before they escalate to fisticuffs." Wikipedia requires 6 GB of free space, 10 GB recommended. And remember: Don't Panic.
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Wikipedia Goes Mobile

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  • Finally ! (Score:2, Funny)

    by ATAMAH (578546)
    Finally i'll be able to download the intraweb to my harddrive!
    • Just the entirety of the world's knowledge, idiot.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ATAMAH (578546)
        "Just the entirety of the world's knowledge, idiot" -- Well, that will obviously exclude any of your input :)
    • by notthe9 (800486)
      Finally? Not finally.

      You've been able to take wikipedia with you for years. Lots of people do it with Tomeraider, but I get the impression there's a number of options. I first did it 2003ish and I got the impression it had been around a while then.
  • by creimer (824291) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:14AM (#16449453) Homepage
    Wikipedia requires 6 GB of free space, 10 GB recommended.

    Damn, I got to get myself a bigger PDA. Having 32MB isn't what it used to be!
  • by blang (450736)
    I would imagine it would be compressed, and since much of the wiki is text it would shrink a lot.
    I'm thinking at 2 GB would do it, which would easily fit on today's flash memory. And for multimedia content such a pics, they cold convert to smaller and lower quality jpeg's saving at least that much.

    • by DittoBox (978894)
      However decompression would likely drain your battery much faster. If you've got an 80gb iPod, 10gb is fine, especially if it increases your battery life by a substantial amount.
    • Re:6 GB? (Score:5, Informative)

      by EPAstor (933084) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:24AM (#16449755)

      Sorry, but I actually know something about this... My job this summer revolved around this issue, and seeing how much of Wikipedia we could cram into about 10 MB. (Hint: OLPC [laptop.org] is using a subset of Wikipedia as its primary out-of-the-box reference material.)

      The images on Wikipedia as of this January are about 76 GB in size. Now, assume we can switch to low-quality JPEGs and cut the size down to 5% of its current - about the size you'd get from switching all the images to black-and-white, in fact. Making that jump is a big assumption, but even that only gets you down to about 4 GB.

      Text-wise, the Wikipedia database containing all current article info (no discussion pages, no history, etc.) is 1.7 GB - compressed. It's significantly larger when uncompressed.

      There - 6 GB total. And that's an achievement...

      • _Very_ interesting. Is the sub-set available somewhere?

        In the past, I've copied ``Wikipedia-CD'' onto my pen slate (got tired of coping w/ Encarta 2003 constantly badgering me to up-date it) and enjoyed using it:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia-C D/Download [wikipedia.org]

        William
        • by EPAstor (933084)

          I presume it will be available once the selection/cleanup process is finished - after all, all software on the laptop is open-source.

          The other offline versions of Wikipedia have a lot going for them, too - if you're interested, take a look at Wikipedia 1.0 [wikipedia.org], and lend a hand if you care to. They're a very worthwhile effort, fully backed by Wikimedia and Jimmy Wales, and they're more specifically targeting CD- and DVD-sized versions.

        • by h2g2bob (948006)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WP:DUMP [wikipedia.org] has all the info on downloading wikipedia. A .bz2 of the .xml for articles (no talk pages) is 1,5 GB; while all pages, talk and history is a snip at 45,9 GB.
      • by griffjon (14945)
        I think for most PDA apps, you could drop the images entirely. Not necessarily what you want to do for OLPC (I'm presuming y'all are still considering a community server to host it?).

        Are you filtering for only images which the pages you have include, or is that 76G all the images total in wikipedia?
        • by EPAstor (933084)
          The figures I gave are for the entirety of the English Wikipedia.

          Community server - I'm not sure what you mean, but since we can't always count on the laptops' having network connectivity, we're packaging a small (10-50 MB), static subset of Wikipedia directly on the laptops' storage, updateable on connection to the network (meaning Internet and/or local school server).
          • by griffjon (14945)
            There's been off and on talk about a "server" / central node in some places that would provide a more reliable gateway to the Internet, storage space, and so on, see http://wiki.laptop.org/go/System_Software#Distribu ted_Filesystem.3F [laptop.org] , for example. I'm out of the loop, so this may've been a pipe dream that wandered off.
            • by EPAstor (933084)
              No pipe dream - unless I'm mistaken, the current OLPC ideal is to have a server in every school. However, the server won't act as a Wikipedia repository any more than each laptop will - except in that it may store additional Wikipedia "bundles" (groups of articles packaged as e-books) locally.
              • by griffjon (14945)
                We should take this offline, well, online, but off of /. ; I'm interested (being in IT and Dev myself) at how exactly OLPC is intended to get distributed, how training/diffusion of the new tech is expected/planned/hoped to happen? A million laptops is a lot to deal with for a recipient country, especially as they'll be largely new (open hardware and software, yay, but this specific combo hasn't been seen before). my email is (oh god I'm about to post my email on /.!!) my_slashdot_username @ my_slashdot_us
      • Text-wise, the Wikipedia database containing all current article info (no discussion pages, no history, etc.) is 1.7 GB - compressed.
        Aw, nuts. I was hoping for some mobile edit-wars action. It'd be more fun than any Game Boy game, I tellyawhat.
      • Ehi, if you can squeeze wikipedia in ~2Gb You could fit it in a PSP!
        A memory stick can hold 4Gb and imagine telling your mum that you are taking it to school 'cause it's a pocket encyclopedia!
        (not that it'd matter to me, I'm a little older, but still...)

        Now I'm really waiting for someone to port wikipedia to my PSP.
      • by AxelBoldt (1490)

        There - 6 GB total. And that's an achievement...

        You didn't compress well enough. The Wikipedia-on-TomeRaider project gets the English Wikipedia (January 2006) down to 2GB with "many images" and to 4GB with "all images". See here [infodisiac.com]. Maybe you should look into producing an open source TomeRaider viewer that would work on your Linux OLPC; TomeRaider is by far the best e-book format around, so this would benefit the OLPC project in many ways.

        • by EPAstor (933084)
          *ahem* You'll note the figures I gave aren't for the OLPC implementation, but the raw Wikipedia database dumps... I promise you, we're doing a bit better than that.
          • by AxelBoldt (1490)
            You find me confused. First you say 6GB compression of all articles and pictures is "an achievement"; when pointed that it isn't that good, you claim that you can of course do better than that. So give us the numbers: how small do you get the full Wikipedia with all pictures?
      • Why is nobody noticing the elephant in the room? Webaroo is an ASTONISHINGLY bad idea. Clutter up your drives with gigabytes of "stuff" on the off chance that you might do the occasional search offline which, as actual results, uses a vanishingly small percentage of that "stuff". And aren't we all connected wirelessly nowadays anyway? As for the even worse "feature" of automatic resynchronization: the mind shudders at the storm of pointless bandwidth to update the "stuff". I can't wait for them to go p
    • Okay, so I asked around on the Wikimedia IRC channel.

      Ashley`: Is that how big it is? I would've thought it would be humongous.
      RealGrouchy: someone is saying "I'd expect it to be compressed since it is text, so you coudl probably get it down to 2gb"
      RealGrouchy: ...I would suspect, though, that it is already fairly compact
      TimStarling: it depends on how they are distributing it
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by indraneil (1011639)
      But then we would need swap space to unzip it on the fly and extract the page we are looking for!
      I shudder to think of how to go about doing that in real time with minimal memory
      All your base are belong to us!
  • by A Wise Guy (1006169) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:22AM (#16449487)
    I own the zaurus S-3200 running application Zbedic. Files are compressed to no more than 400mb total and fits in my 6gb internal hardisk of my pda just fine. the project location for the zaurus http://sourceforge.net/projects/bedic [sourceforge.net] Look under english wikipedia and you can use it on a zaurus. http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group _id=51673 [sourceforge.net]
  • by arun_s (877518) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:24AM (#16449497) Homepage Journal
    While one of the basic strengths of Wikipedia is its updatability, I would question the point of storing all the articles offline. Admittedly, TFA does say it'll sync up the data the next time you go online, but it'll practically eat up all your disk space eventually.
    I think I'll stick to just checking it online quickly on my humble Motorola A780.
    • "While one of the basic strengths of Wikipedia is its updatability, I would question the point of storing all the articles offline."

      To be fair, there's a plethora of historical data on Wikipedia that probably won't be touched much over the next year or so. Personally, one of the reasons I want a Treo is so I can hit Wikipedia from time to time. But if I could download a version of it today and update it once a year or so, I'm confident it'd be worthwhile even though it's not up to date.
    • by Richy_T (111409)
      The point of storing the articles offline is to be able to access them offline seeing as how you can't access them online when you're offline by definition.

      Rich
    • by ChibiLZ (697816) *
      I would think you could set up a filter of some sort, or require more human intervention while syncing...

      But would it really matter if it was constantly updated? If you have a good starting base of information, I think it would suffice. If anything came into question, you'd be able to check it later when you reach an internet connection.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jbarr (2233)
      We all don't have online access, so an offline solution is VERY useful. Obviously, it's just a dated snapshot, but it's certainly more useful than having nothing. I have an LG phone by Verizon (provided by work, so I have no choice as to model) and Web browsing is a MAJOR headache--it's simply not worth the hassle. Having an offline Wikipedia resource could be most invaluable. And besides, do we REALLY need to have the absolutely current, most recently updated version? No! It IS possible to live with Wikipe
  • Not really new news (Score:3, Informative)

    by CUatTHEFINISH (970078) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:24AM (#16449499)
    The Wiki addition to iPod Linux (WikiPodLinux I believe it was called) has been around for awhile. At least since I had installed iPod Linux back in March.
    • I apologize, that's the wiki name of the iPod Linux website. Boy do I feel stupid =X. But I know the module to put wiki entries on the pod has been around for awhile.
    • The Wiki addition to iPod Linux (WikiPodLinux I believe it was called) has been around for awhile.

      Likewise I saw a compressed version for smartphones about 18 months ago. Yesterdays news for nerds apparently.

  • that competition to compress Wikipedia down as much as possible for AI research? Have we made any progress on that or do I really have to upgrade my iPod?
    • by solafide (845228)
      You mean http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/13/200 254&from=rss [slashdot.org] ? Nope, no progress. Sorry, but I have tried and failed already :-).
      • by QuantumG (50515)
        I gave up trying to get a copy of that Universal AI book.. Asked Amazon for it, paid for the best possible shipping, they still wanted me to wait a month.
    • I don't think the iPod would be able to decompress whatever compression they wind up using, unless software is written for the iPod, which would be undesirable. I don't want to reboot my iPod just to read Wikipedia. Then there's battery life to consider. I don't know how much battery life it would use up to decompress parts of Wikipedia, but that might be an annoyance, too.
  • drinks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1.verizon@net> on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:44AM (#16449597) Homepage
    I guess if I were still a bartender, this would be a necessity in solving bar disputes before they escalate to fisticuffs."
    It would sure help with some mixed drinks you may not be familiar with. We have one around here called the 3rd Reich and some of the bar tenders don't yet know how to make it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by rolfwind (528248)
      As far as I can tell, neither does Wikipedia:)
    • Verizon offers (or offered maybe) DrinkNation as a 'get it now' app. Perhaps not the best resource humanly possible but I'd like to think it's at least on par with wiki.
  • by ggvaidya (747058) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:45AM (#16449605) Homepage Journal
    ... initial excitement died down after a major publishing house announced the release of a competing device. With a cheaper price, and the words "Don't Panic" written in large, friendly letters on the cover, the new version, tentatively called "The Guide Mk 1", is expected to dramatically outsell Wikipedia's own offering.
    • by quokkapox (847798)

      "Don't Panic" written in large, friendly letters on the cover

      Thank you, I really didn't get the "Don't Panic" reference until suddenly now. You geeks and your in-jokes and your fscking jargon...

    • I've compared Wikipedia to The Guide before ("...contains much that is apochryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate..."), so this is just eerie. I think I'll just stick with having H2G2 on my cell...
  • Dump troubles? (Score:5, Informative)

    by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:56AM (#16449653)

    Wikipedia regularly dumps the entire database, which is available to download [wikimedia.org]. However, It looks like they're having trouble getting them out lately (link is to a September 25 English dump, which hasn't yet successfully completed).

    The compressed dump files are huge, and I wouldn't want to even attempt downloading them without wget or unless a torrent were provided directly by Wikipedia (why is this not being done yet?)

    In 2009 slinging 100 GB data files across the net or between devices should be trivial, but not yet.

    However, I have a truly marvelous demonstration of how to compress Wikipedia, which the margin of this comment is just barely large enough to contain:

    Call somebody with Internet access and ask them. P.S. Wow, this also works for compressing Google... Hey, this margin is not as narrow as I thought.

    • by baadger (764884)
      Well, I find the fact that some of those multi-gig files have "xml" in the filename rather nauseating...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kripkenstein (913150)
      Call somebody with Internet access and ask them.

      But to do that I'd probably need to have friends first. Hmm, seems easier to download 6GB onto my mobile device.
    • Unless you are going way-out where there is no conectivity of any sort, why not just connect and get only what you need. If you trully need total access to Wikipedia offline you probably want at least a laptop just for comfortable use, most people arn't like me and happy to try and do everything though a Tungsen T5.
  • by Zouden (232738) on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:58AM (#16449661)
    Just connect to Wapedia [wikipedia.org] with your phone/PDA.
    Seriously, that's the only reason I ever use the internet on my phone.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Wapedia is just one of the 3 main sites to access wikipedia via wap - so if one service is down you can use others. see Wikipedia via Wap Access [wikipedia.org] These sites have all been available for a while so this thread is old news I'm afraid.
      • by wampad (976665)
        I like the one at wikipedia.7val.com for phones. I run a mobile search portal at http://wampad.com/ [wampad.com]. I had the site set to use google to transcode wikipedia.org but this 7val.com version works well enough that I switched my site over to it.
    • Maxpedia.org [maxpedia.org] offers a very similar service.
  • Try Opera Mini... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dimension6 (558538) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:10AM (#16449701)
    ...I've been accessing Wikipedia often on my phone, using the Opera Mini [opera.com] browser. If it will work on your phone (Java), then you can just view the normal site. It looks great.
    • by Poptarts (586182)
      I have tried using my OpenWave browser and overall it has worked well. However, I did run into a few minor problems, mostly because Wikipedia does not output the format in WML/HDML when browsed by a mobile browser. I submitted this to the Wikipedia's feature request list, but it got turned down. If you do happen to have problems browing Wikipedia on your mobile device, don't expect it to get fixed any time soon. Let's keep our fingers crossed that wikipedia will soon realize the importance of supporting
  • There's not really that big of a need to have the entire Wikipedia downloaded onto your PDA. I hope that most of Webaroo's users know that, as some of the links indicate, you can already access Wikipedia (or nearly any website for that matter) via mobile web on your cell phone / PDA. I suppose if I were going to be somewhere that did not have internet access, then downloading it would come in quite handy, but I've always thought the thing that distinguished Wikipedia from more traditional resources is th
  • A disadvantage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benzzene (755902) on Monday October 16, 2006 @02:40AM (#16449815)
    Say goodbye to Pub Trivia.
    • Not necessarily!
      Trivia is not trivialized by having access to authentic data!
      Infact, it can stimulate more such discussions!
      Gyan over beer may become the norm - if you can remember the entire argument the next day, that is!
      Interestingly, discussions in a pub lead to the most authentic source of trivia [wikipedia.org]! Who knows, wikipedia may benefit in some way by this as well!
    • by BenjyD (316700)
      My old local pub quiz in London was always full of teams using mobiles to cheat anyway, I doubt this will make it worse.
    • by maxume (22995)
      Nah. Playing games with cheaters isn't any fun even when you know they aren't cheating.
  • by Pi_r_ed (1003627) on Monday October 16, 2006 @03:23AM (#16449947)
    Why doesn't Wikipedia make their own mobile? It could be updated when connected to the computer, like an iPod, and I'm sure ads for it would replace any mentionings of donations...
  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 16, 2006 @03:28AM (#16449969) Homepage Journal
    for when they put Uncyclopedia [uncyclopedia.org] on mobile devices as well. I need access to the funny stuff as well.
  • by bmo (77928) on Monday October 16, 2006 @03:58AM (#16450063)
    When I can put Wikipedia on an HP48, then I will be happy.

    --
    BMO
  • This would've worked well for those of us with dataplans. Just an easy to access search interface.
  • I have Wikipedia and the rest of the Web on my mobile phone, using Opera Mini [opera.com]. It works great, running on almost any phone [opera.com] with Java. Here's a screenshot. [wikimedia.org], and the Opera Mini simulator can be found here [opera.com].
  • If you can find out when they take their snapshots this sounds like a great way to get your chosen piece of misinformation or spam replicated to thousands of PDAs across the globe, some of whom will probably never bother to update.
  • by johneee (626549) on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:55AM (#16451535)
    "I guess if I were still a bartender, this would be a necessity in solving bar disputes before they escalate to fisticuffs."

    Which is exactly why Guinness, the brewery, started publishing an anual book of world records: To resolve bar disputes about the longest, fastest, first, etc... Perhaps you've heard of it?
  • I guess if I were still a bartender, this would be a necessity in solving bar disputes before they escalate to fisticuffs

    I use my Samsung SCH A950 (Verizon) and Google already. The local bar that I frequent has a daily trivia question. If you're the first to get it right you get a free drink. I'm currently disqualified because I "cheat". I can't recall the last time I haven't found the correct answer in under 10 minutes.
  • 5G Support? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by My Iron Lung (834019)
    Now I think this is a great idea, unfortunately it's not available for the latest model, iPod Video 5G. I'm not trying to be a troll here, but does anyone know why that is?
  • TomeRaider (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bookemdano63 (261600) <`bookemdano' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:59AM (#16452085)
    I have been carrying around Wikipedia on my PDA for years. TomeRaider has a "complete" version of Wikipedia, with some pictures, for about 1GB.
    And it is very good for settling bar bets.
    • by AxelBoldt (1490)
      And here's the link [infodisiac.com] to Erik Zachte's Wikipedia-on-TomeRaider project. Works on Palm and Pocket PCs and requires the $38 TomeRaider shareware and a 2GB (if you want many images) or 4GB (if you want all images) memory card.
  • I've been using Wikipedia on a PocketPC for at least a couple of years, thanks to Erik Zachte's project at http://infodisiac.com/Wikipedia/index.html [infodisiac.com] which turns Wikipedia dump files into TomeRaider (http://www.tomeraider.com/ [tomeraider.com]) .tr3 files. TomeRaider's also available for Palm, Windows and other formats. The Wikipedia file takes up 893Mb on my SD card and is probably the major reason I still bother with PocketPC. Looks like the download link's 404'd at the minute though, don't know if that's temporary.
  • Maybe I'm a little bit out of all these new technologies, but I thought that once I got my PDA online with GPRS/UMTS/WiFi I should able to reach ... the whole Internet.
    Or not?

  • Then I read the content, and realized I /still/ can't access a PDA-friendly online version of wikipedia. All I really want is to be able to browse it online from my mobile device (64MB) without it being ugly.
  • ...but you can see all of the plagiarism [wikipediareview.com] as well. A perfect gift for the misinformed and the ignorant to keep them that way!

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