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Slashback: Wikipedia, Netwosix, GooglePC 196

Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including Why the media can't get Wikipedia right, Linux Netwosix author follows up, Hwang Woo-suk defends himself, Plasma thruster verified by the ESA, and Google dispels PC rumors. Read on for details.

Why the media can't get Wikipedia right. Ruff_ilb writes "David Weinberger has published a quite down-to-business look at Wikipedia, the media, and what they have to say about each other. From the article: 'When the mainstream media addressed the John Seigenthaler Sr. affair -- he's the respected journalist who wrote an op-ed in USAToday complaining that slanderously wrong information about him was in Wikipedia for four months -- the subtext couldn't be clearer: The media were implicitly contrasting Wikipedia's credibility to their own. Ironically, some of the media got the story fundamentally wrong, in tone and sometimes in substance,' he writes. 'Wikipedia has been a continuous state of self-criticism that newspapers would do well to emulate. It has discussion pages for every article. It has handled inaccuracies not defensively but with the humble understanding that of course Wikipedia articles will have mistakes, so let's get on with the unending task of improving them. Wikipedia's ambitions are immodest, but Wikipedia is not.'"

Linux Netwosix follows up. LinuxWorld writes "Vincenzo Ciaglia has authored an article that describes his Linux Netwosix release, and answers many questions being posed by developers. He reiterates much of the information that he conveyed in a recent interview with LinuxWorld, but also added some new information. From the article: 'The installation is simple and with the new release, Linux Netwosix 2.0-rc1, there's a new setup tool based on the Crux one that really help every user because it is simple and user-friendly for a security/network oriented GNU/Linux distribution. The Setup script will show a simple list of available 'base' packages you can choose to install on your system.'"

Hwang Woo-suk defends himself. JonN writes "The Korea Herald is reporting that 'disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk recently defended himself insisting he has the technology to produce patient-specific stem cells and that he had been the victim of a "long-planned" conspiracy. An investigation panel at Seoul National University has concluded Hwang did not produce any embryonic stem cells individually tailored to patients as claimed in a paper published in the journal Science last year. Hwang stood by his work in an interview with a local Buddhist newspaper Saturday.'"

Plasma thruster verified by the ESA. JonathanGCohen writes "Researchers at The Australian National University have developed a plasma engine to provide spacecraft with thrust, with implications for future Mars missions. Their design was recently verified by the European Space Agency and will go into full-scale testing next year."

Google dispels PC rumors. JamesAlfaro writes "Google has spoken, and the rumors were merely that. According to a Google spokesman, the company won't be releasing a PC, Internet appliance, or web-enabled toaster anytime soon: 'We have many PC partners who serve their markets exceedingly well and we see no need to enter that market,' a Google spokesman told Times Online. 'We would rather partner with great companies.'"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Wikipedia, Netwosix, GooglePC

Comments Filter:
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:01PM (#14396827) Homepage Journal
    The media were implicitly contrasting Wikipedia's credibility to their own. Ironically, some of the media got the story fundamentally wrong, in tone and sometimes in substance
    Which the mainstream media takes with a sly wink -- getting things wrong and then burying retractions or simply moving on to the next big scoop is a time honoured tradition. Wikipedia would do well to learn from the example, it is InfoTainment, after all.
    "Coming up, a hard look at the pharmaceutical industry, brought to you by the makers of Damitol"
    The installation is simple and with the new release, Linux Netwosix 2.0-rc1
    Meanwhile, charges that Linux naming convention is too arcane for the common clod abound. Why not call it View?
    disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk recently defended himself insisting he has the technology to produce patient-specific stem cells and that he had been the victim of a "long-planned" conspiracy.
    Senator Hillary Clinton on line One.
    [Plasma thruster verified by the ESA] Their design was recently verified by the European Space Agency and will go into full-scale testing next year.
    Alas, no Engineering Officer Montgomery Scott to man them.
    'We would rather partner with great companies.'
    In the meantime they'll partner with AOL.
    • Which the mainstream media takes with a sly wink -- getting things wrong and then burying retractions or simply moving on to the next big scoop is a time honoured tradition. Wikipedia would do well to learn from the example, it is InfoTainment, after all.

      And it's not with Wikipedia? Getting things wrong and then changing them over and over again seems to be the big thing...
      But on the other hand, they don't bury their retractions (nay, they archive them), and since it's not an online newspaper, they don'

    • Which the mainstream media takes with a sly wink -- getting things wrong and then burying retractions or simply moving on to the next big scoop is a time honoured tradition.

      That's hardly accurate.

      News media answer to, in rough order: their editor, the ombudsman, the readers, and the civil court system. If a reporter continuously produces inaccurate reports, they're fired...and they're in a very visible profession...getting a job at another paper or station can be quite the challenge if they're a liabli

      • Lemme see here:

        Cars that were rigged to explode
        "The Wall Within" that wasn't
        The Killian documents

        Those were just off the top of my head. Sure, they found a few scapegoats for those really big ones, but no one important got canned. Hell, Dan Rather got away with crappy journalism for decades before they finally cut him loose. (And even then there's still some question as to whether he didn't just retire.)

        Like another poster said, I've been interviewed by reporters a couple times. It almost always leaves a ba
      • ... And on top of everything else that's been said, they aren't just different mediums, they are intended for different things.

        newspapers distinguish between FACT and OPINION.

        So does Wikipedia. Fact goes in the main page. Opinion goes in the discussions. If you really think the main page is too boring, go read the revision history or the discussions.

        nothing one paper loves more than pointing out the mistakes of another paper.

        Except sucking up to the government, at least until recently.

        Anyway, back to my
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They make you wait until your next life to get the answers to the crosswords.
  • Hwang woo-suk (Score:4, Insightful)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:06PM (#14396860) Homepage
    Ok, so if the guy's the subject of a "long-planned" conspiracy, why step down? and why the apology? [yahoo.com]
    • Because in some organizations the implication of wrong doing is enough to warrant a "Retirement" or "stepping down".

      Also, an apology may be required as well.

      This happens in government a lot.
    • I smell a conspiracy in the making.
    • You have to understand how the Korean culture works.

      This guy is our equivalent of a rock star there -- paid very well, etc. Koreans hold technological advancement in high esteem as a source of national pride.

      So his position is not only a scientific one like we're used to seeing... Academics here in the States are generally just left alone to do their work and publish papers... he is a political figure, and a symbol of "Korean intelligence".

      Add in the generally Eastern philosophy that you never ever dishono
  • The only way that can end honorably is by having the esteemed researcher committing hara-kiri or something to that effect, stem cell research has been dealt a tremendous blow, and this will surely have it's effects on the real researchers abilities to perform their job.
    Especially those that will have their funding cut.
  • I got it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:07PM (#14396869) Homepage Journal
    Google will release an OS based on Nettwosix and Wikipedia that will be used primarily for stem cell research.
  • Yeah, well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:08PM (#14396887) Homepage Journal

    This is the same media that's been pooh-poohing blogs for over a year now, not to mention at it's also the one that nowadays covers only the most politically insipid stories it can find, and rushes to air and to press the instant there's a tragedy, screwing up the facts for hours.

    Sure, Wikipedia wouldn't compare well to actual journalism, but where do you find that nowadays?

    • Re:Yeah, well... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Upsilon Andromedea ( 835075 ) * on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:45PM (#14397111) Journal
      Sure, Wikipedia wouldn't compare well to actual journalism, but where do you find that nowadays?

      It may wax and wane but I wonder how much "actual journalism" ever existed.

      When I was studying journalism and writing for the college paper in the 80's, I used to delight in correcting stories in the local papers. After all, the facts had been wrongly reported--things like chronology, technical or legal process, impacts or consequences--and I felt a responsibility to correct those wrong facts in my story if it were going to press at a later date. :)

      It wasn't just the facts. Sometimes the fairy tales my role models wrote simply stunned me and left me gapping like guppy.

      Interestingly, it is the generation of journalists who were predominantly college educated, starting in the '70s, that have generated the reputation of the hour for American journalism. I don't know that to be cause and effect. It just seems noteworthy. :)

      Claiming a standard isn't in itself anything more than a voiced expectation. To expect Wikipedia to be the final authority might be a mistake. Maybe as much of a mistake as expecting there to be a final authority at all.

    • by belrick ( 31159 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:36PM (#14397461)

      Sure, Wikipedia wouldn't compare well to actual journalism, but where do you find that nowadays?


      The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, of course.

      • Re:Yeah, well... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by nuigi ( 924821 )
        Sure, Wikipedia wouldn't compare well to actual journalism, but where do you find that nowadays?

        The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, of course.

        Don't forget that Steven Colbert has The Word.
      • Re:Yeah, well... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by relifram66 ( 899283 )
        I'm not sure that the parent should be modded funny. Insightful, yes. Disappointing, yes. But funny? The Daily Show is unfortunately just about the most reliable jounalism show on TV right now.

    • It's hilarious that these showed up in the same installment of Slashback. These two stories show an incredible contrast. Most of the discussion so far here has focused on the Wikipedia story, and how the "news" sites are criticising it for its innaccuracy. As someone pointed out, they are strongly implying that they don't have those kinds of problems.

      So, for our next trick, lets contrast the "professional media"'s attitude with what just happened with the Google PC story. Someone at the CES expo thought
  • I don't see why everyone was eating up that GooglePC story. The article posted on Slashdot clearly said it was only a rumor. They are an internet company. It will be a long time until we see them selling consumer electronics.
    • Google is a software & services company. Most of their services involve search, but some include hardware (like the google appliance) or have nothing to do with either (gmail & gmail advertising).

      Imagine if Google hooked up with some car-based GPS navigation company and offered to provide their maps and updates.

      Google recently tried to get into the print ad game. They bought a page and subdivided it for sale to advertisers. It didn't really pan out, so it doesn't look like Google will keep it alive.
    • Their stock (GOOG) immediately jumped yesterday from $420 to $445 at the point of the GooglePC news release on slashdot. Today the stock price plateaued right when MSNBC announced http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10708514 [msn.com] that Google will bust at a $600 stock price when it can no longer maximize that same revenue source. To be honest I see no sign of stopping at $600.

    • No way they would ever sell, say, a
      Google Mini [google-store.com]
  • Hate to break it to this guy, but he should've known what he was getting in to even in Korea. I'm not justifying the actions of those going against him, nor am I condoning his method of defense, but Stem-Cell research is probably most politcally charged research topic today. Still, I hope that the research can continue.
    • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <frogbert AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:16PM (#14396928)
      Yeah stem cell research is getting more bad press these days then that guy who was poisoning cats in a box, then claimed that he didn't even know if the cat was alive or dead.
      • No, a valid comparasion can't be made to "that guy", because he was both getting bad press and not getting bad press simultaneously until he unfurled his newspaper.

        Of course, there are still those that wish to know if the cat was alive or not; here's the truth: Schrödinger's cat was...

        *End Carrier: Everett Many-Worlds Decoherence Error. Please notify your ISP*
    • I have seen no indication of Hwang Woo-suk being persecuted due to the ethical controversy over stem cell research. Woo-suk's problem is he's a liar and a cheat.
      • Yup, could very well be seems like a 95% chance to me. We base our opinions on net-based news stories. On the other hand there is the story of Pons and Fleischmann, who it seems have in fact been vindicated if recent net-based news stories about goverment testing is correct.
  • by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <frogbert AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:12PM (#14396910)
    I learnt a long time ago to never believe anything at all that I read in the media. If you have ever had any personal experiance relating to a news story you will know that the resulting write up will be too brief, have glaring omissions and will most likely be inaccurate, if not flat out wrong.

    At least with with wikipedia I can change the mistakes when I see them.
  • by da5idnetlimit.com ( 410908 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:14PM (#14396919) Journal
    Damn, he says he can do it again and prove himself ?

    Give the man a lab, the original cell strains, and a month to prove himself under supervision.

    If he can do it, he gets the Nobel, Fame and excuses from the community.
    If he can't, he has to build shoes or licence plates in a prison until he reimbursed the experiment and paid his time. And he presents excuses to the community.

    Problem solved. Next Case, quick, I don't have all day...
  • by Nick Fury ( 624480 ) <massengillm@ncssm.edu> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:15PM (#14396925)
    "We have many PC partners who serve their markets exceedingly well and we see no need to enter that market," a Google spokesman told Times Online. "We would rather partner with great companies."

    They haven't denied anything. They have stated that they aren't going to be making a PC. That doesn't deny the OS or a machine that could be backed with the Google Brand name. I'm going to wait until Friday and see how this turns out with CEO-guy's keynote at CES.
    • They haven't denied anything. They have stated that they aren't going to be making a PC. That doesn't deny the OS or a machine that could be backed with the Google Brand name

      Give it a rest, will 'ya?

      TiVO is losing ground to cheaper cable service-branded PVRs, every attempt to sell the middle class on the Network Appliance has ended in failure, a bloodbath of red ink.

  • by LinuxDon ( 925232 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:18PM (#14396945)
    There are discussions about even the smallest details in Wikipedia's articles!
    From my point of view, when you read both the article as well as the discussion, you get a -very good- view about the subject.
    A lot of articles will never be 100% finished since there are more ways to look at the same thing.

    But can't blaim the press for their stories though... they're always trying to get a story out of -anything-.. Owww.. so does slashdot...
    • Yes - though the problem is there's not yet any easy way to hilight the relevant or interesting parts of the discussions -- if you look at the first page of a discussion with several archives you are only getting the last week of discussion or so, which may be a silly rehash of an annoying revert war rather than anything useful. It would be nice if there was a moderation system in the discussion forum that allowed readers to use the discussion area to learn more about a topic rather than to just see what e
    • I also think perhaps the biggest benefit of Wikipedia is that, by reading both the article (and its history) and the discussion, you can actually get an idea of the various sides of the issue. Or at the very least -- assuming the article has a discussion -- perhaps where the person who wrote it is coming from and what sort of bias they might have.

      I read a lot of stuff off of the Google News aggregator, and sometimes it's difficult when you read an article from some random small-town newspaper's website, to
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:20PM (#14396960) Journal
    The News is expected to be foggy. Reporters can only report what they thought they heard and their editors can only correct what they know a priori.

    But the Wikipedia should be "better", right? Thousands of eyes peruse and revise it every hour.

    And yet, it's about as useful as an opinion column in a major-city bulldog tabloid.

    Blame its lack of real leadership.
    • I disagree, the information there is very accurate overall.
      I think it is hitting it's goal of providing a source for education very well.
    • Blame its lack of real leadership.

      I think the point was its lack of leadership.

      Unless that leader was an impartial robotic AI supercomputer that also happens to be Buddhist that can be impatial and have NPOV to all topics of mankind, then those leaders are going to have POV.

      And with those opinionated leaders you are going to get opinionated articles. It is human nature. I hate to be a libertarian here, but you have to let the wiki market decide the articles produced and have no regulation other than the wik
    • But this kind of editing is what will make Wikipedia strong. Well, to some degree. granted, we can't know everything from one internet encyclopedia, but the main authorities on those subjects, plus the few outside the box thinkers that 'help' edit these subjects, will be the true ones opening the future for the rest of us. If we keep true and high-power knowledge secret, we're just dooming ourselves to slavery of some sort or another. We might as well break the mold and update what we know NOW, instead of l
      • Your acquaintances from Oak Ridge could redact the articles on the Manhattan Project, and within a year their edits would be superseded by layers of entropic cruft.

        Wikipedia is designed to encapsulate the error rate nascent in human conversation.

        And worse, because its control structure (the admins) drive away honest people (by treating them like vandals at random intervals), the Wikipedia incapsulates even more error.
  • by hhr ( 909621 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:21PM (#14396970)
    Perhaps Wikipedia articles should start off clearly marked as "opinion, unreviewed or unedited" and only after several rounds of review would they be promoted to the encyclopdia proper.

    Most of Wikipedia's problems stem from the fact that it calls it's self a free encyclopedia and when people think of encyclopedias they think of "A work containing factual articles on subjects in every field of knowledge, usually arranged alphabetically"

    Many of the non-science articles in Wikipedia are as much opinion as fact. The article on my home town was once "When it comes to culture XXXX seems in many ways able only to grasp the most dominant [[trends]] and, once this has occurred, unable to abandon them. Thus explaining the overwhelming popularity of oakley [[sunglasses]] (adopted in the mid-90s) combined with [[mullets]] (circa 1986), [[2Pac]] music, and [[jean jackets]]."

    Clearly, marking new and unreviwed articles as opinion would go a long way to help Wiki's image.

    • or perhaps (Score:3, Interesting)

      Perhaps someone who thinks this or any similar rearrangement of wikipedia content would be a good idea could take a look at the free content [wikipedia.org] license and put together a more useful version of what's available there. That, I think, is the true future of wikipedia, and what makes it an important landmark in the history of knowledge. Any given article may be crap at any given time, but the open source model allows wikipedia content to become a grab bag of tools available to anyone with an idea for editing it
      • It goes both ways. Any wiki whose contents is licensed under the GFDL can be copy-n-pasted en masse to Wikipedia. And with interwiki links [wikimedia.org], wikis can be interlinked, so a specific wiki could, say, only copy out just the startrek stuff [wikipedia.org], and link back to the real-world wiki only when necessary. GFDL, it's great thing.
    • Not a bad idea, but it does stifle growth in new areas. Wikipedia's already gone to the extreme on pages that get too many edits (locked for awhile). But hiding pages that have only a few edits doesn't help make the content any better. You could take the time to edit the pages you belive to have false information. Then they would be reviewed.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 ... com minus author> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:32PM (#14397030) Homepage Journal
    It has handled inaccuracies not defensively but with the humble understanding that of course Wikipedia articles will have mistakes, so let's get on with the unending task of improving them. Wikipedia's ambitions are immodest, but Wikipedia is not.

    Transparency is not modesty.

    If you read the Appeal for Donations [wikimediafoundation.org], Wales specifically believes that Wikipedia has the potential to change the world by providing education to people who may need education. Implicity in that belief is that Wikipedia will be accurate enough to be a resource useful for that.

    I always hate to knock Wikipedia, because I really do think it's an interesting experiment, but it has very serious flaws. It's biggest flaw is a "Tyranny of Those With The Most Time." There have been a couple of cases where I've tried to make some changes to a particular article that I knew were accurate, but I got some a-hole, who believed they owned the page, reversing my changes because they disagreed with them. Who has time to fight that battle? Apparently the a-hole does, but I certainly don't.

    • but those articals that have those type of a-holes are far in the minority.
      It has been my experience that when you move outside classic geek culture items, ity is stable and accurate.

      Now, if it could filter out posts that come from someone sitting in there mothers basement, it would be rock solid!

      As an exercise, I did a look up on Gravity [wikipedia.org] , refrigeration [wikipedia.org]
      and William Tell [wikipedia.org]

      all of those seem pretty darn accurate.
      Now, If there was a controversy regarding Astro Boy, I would be very casutious of the information on
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AxelBoldt ( 1490 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @09:35PM (#14397452) Homepage
      There have been a couple of cases where I've tried to make some changes to a particular article that I knew were accurate, but I got some a-hole, who believed they owned the page, reversing my changes because they disagreed with them.

      This does indeed happen, but there are things you can do. First, get yourself a user account, and put something about you on your user page. Anonymous users generally have lower standing in Wikipedia discussions. Next, support your changes with citation of a reputable source, and explain them on the Discussion page. In your edit summary, refer to your explanation on the Discussion page. Don't come off as a prick, but be open to changes and improvements.

      Now if you are still being reverted, there are two possibilities: the editor is trying to push a certain agenda, or you are. If you are certain it is the former, you can bring up the matter at the Discussion page where editors for that particular field typically hang out; for instance there's a "Wikiproject Chemistry" and a "Wikiproject Chinese cities" etc. If nothing helps, you can post a "Request for Comment" (RfC), but that's a major undertaking.

      • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by colinbrash ( 938368 )
        You just proved his point... You pointed out all the various time-consuming ways that he could, as he puts it, "fight that battle." Thus making it even clearer that, "It's biggest flaw is a "Tyranny of Those With The Most Time.'"
        • You just proved his point... You pointed out all the various time-consuming ways that he could, as he puts it, "fight that battle."

          Oh, bullshit.

          It takes about as long to put a couple of sentences explaining the reason for the change on the talk page as it does to make the change. So, yeah, it's "time-consuming". It takes four minutes instead of two. If you care enough to make the change, it's not a big leap to caring enough to add the explanation so it sticks.

          If your change gets reverted in spite

          • If you really think the "a-hole" will only revert changes from anonymous users, you don't understand the nature of Wikipedia a-holes. If everybody was reasonable, disagreed-upon point would be put on the talk section and discussed intelligently. In reality, these "talk" sections are ofteb bully pulpits for the people with axes to grind, and don't really accomplish anything. I'm sure there are exceptions but I've seen in time and time again.
            • In reality, these "talk" sections are ofteb bully pulpits for the people with axes to grind, and don't really accomplish anything. I'm sure there are exceptions but I've seen in time and time again.

              You must edit different sorts of articles than I do, or you must make different sorts of edits than I do, because this is not my experience. Another possibility is found in the old saw "If you've run into five assholes this morning, look in the mirror to see the sixth".

              • Another possibility is found in the old saw "If you've run into five assholes this morning, look in the mirror to see the sixth".

                Calling me names, for disagreeing with you in a civil manner. Excellent. It would seem you're the asshole, and don't understand why other people have a problem with Wikipedia.

                • Another possibility is found in the old saw "If you've run into five assholes this morning, look in the mirror to see the sixth".
                  Calling me names, for disagreeing with you in a civil manner. Excellent. It would seem you're the asshole [...]

                  So, how many are you up to this morning, then? Counting me, of course.

                • Calling me names, for disagreeing with you in a civil manner.

                  I didn't call *you* anything. I just pointed out that it's a possibility.

                  Personally, I try always to keep in mind that when everyone around me irritates me it's likely I am the problem. If you never consider that possibility, then you almost certainly are the problem.

          • If your change gets reverted in spite of your explanation (which has never happened to me),
            OK, so I'll guess you've been editing... hmmmm.... five? five days? six, maybe?
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:32PM (#14397033) Homepage Journal

    Today Google [google.com] celebrates the birthday of Louis Braille [wikipedia.org], who invented the braille tactile writing system [wikipedia.org] used by the blind community, with a custom homepage logo written in braille. However, the Google Accounts signup page [google.com] does not allow users who use a refreshable braille display [wikipedia.org] to create an account. Blind users are treated as collateral damage in the war against spambots. Is Google acting hypocritical, or am I just a critical hippo?

    • It's not hypocrisy, just irony. (Yes, it is irony in this case! Google's intention was to honor L.B. but the result is the reverse since they don't support braille readers - assuming they in fact do not support them.)
    • Google (like most private companies) has no obligation to provide for handicapped users.

      Voice recognition is a mature field these days, so I can imagine it wouldn't be to hard for someone to work around it.

      Or maybe it's a feature they haven't gotten around to, maybe it's a feature that never occurred to them.

      Instead of complaining on /. go find some relevant google e-mail address and complain to them.

      If you really care about it, feel free to respond with the relevant e-mail address and the text of your e-ma
      • Google (like most private companies)

        Private? Then what's GOOG [yahoo.com]? Oh, I guess you mean "private sector". Read on:

        has no obligation to provide for handicapped users.

        The U.S. Congress enacted the Rehabilitation Act soon after the end of the American police action in Vietnam. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act [section508.gov] requires private sector firms that have contracts with the United States Government to make their information technology services accessible to those with disabilities.

        feel free to respond with the relevant e-mail address and the text of your e-mail.

        I used this form [google.com] to contact Google:

        • Your email address: criticalhippo@(hidden)
        • Your Google Account issue: I am trying to create an account and can't proceed past the "Create a Google Account" page.
        • If you currently have a Google Account, please answer these questions: n/a
        • Any additional information you can provide: (If you're seeing an error message, please include the text of that message. If you're having trouble at a specific URL, let us know.)
          "If you can read this, you do not have images enabled. Please enable images in order to proceed." Given that Google is celebrating Louis Braille's birthday, where is the alternative Google account creation form for users of braille terminals?

        I myself do not have such a disability, but my stepmother has a friend who lost her sight, and I saw first-hand what it's like to use a screen reader.

        • We have laws in this country that allow even the deaf, dumb, and blind, to know what our laws are, plus what their rights are. This man has it right, and my stepbrother is 100% blind. He may not be able to speak, but he can understand what's given to him in Braille. The USGov't is trying to screw us all over, even the deaf/blind citizens. This needs to stop.

          Disclaimer: I've had 4 - 12 oz longnecks of Lone Star Beer (only brewed in Texas) and 5 shots of 43% [Avereage alcohol content) of liquor. Believe me
      • Instead of complaining on /. go find some relevant google e-mail address and complain to them.

        Bzzt! complete with headers (i've tried to e-mail google) Since the e-mail 'form' has a captcha... well, the fact that the captcha doesn't work for the blind at all (much less the deaf blind) google has completely cut off about 11% of the world population...

        http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/18/173 0202 [slashdot.org] as some have suggested simply having a 1-800 TDD friendly number to call would be the cheapest/easiest s

      • >> Google (like most private companies) has no obligation to provide for handicapped users.

        Actually, yes they do.

        (in the UK)

    • While it is indeed a shame that Google's current system is unfriendly towards blind users, I can't really think up a way that it would work without also being easily machine readable (and thus usable by spambots). Perhaps that is why I am not working at Google :)
    • I really don't think it's that big of a deal; most blind people have friends that are not blind. An account only needs to be registered just once, so with a little help from a friend, a blind person can register an account quite easily. This is a very tiny and reasonable price to pay for better security, and is probably the best compromise.
  • wrong issues (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:49PM (#14397133) Homepage
    The stuff the media criticizes about wikipedia and the stuff I'd criticize about wikipedia are disjoint sets.

    IMNSHO, the main problems with wikipedia are:

    1. As time goes on, an article's factual accuracy and level of detail tend to go up, but the quality of the writing tends to go down, because people slice and dice the words too many times.
    2. It's incredibly inefficient. Mature articles get edited over and over again, and often if you compare the current version with last month's version, they're identical; people are just canceling each other out.
    3. Articles on some technical topics, such as math and physics, tend to be extremely badly written, because people focus on putting in lots of rigorous derivations, which clutter up the article so much that it becomes unreadable. You can't delete the cruft, however, because the people who put it there will argue that it's valuable content.
    4. Trolling by anons is tolerated too much. Articles can get paralyzed by anons for months at a time.
    • but that tends to happen with only artical pertaining to something controversal. Most things that are being edited because of contrversy return to normal in a short period of time.

      For most thing it is a very acurate and valuable service.
      Last night, it helped me teach my 5 year old girl how a refrigerator keeps the cold in.
      Every time I have used it, it has been very accurate.

    • The biggest problem I see with Wikipedia is academic honesty. That is, few edits are accompanied by references, and few of those edits are accompanied by paranthetical citations to show what the reference is a reference for. This is a basic writing 101 concept, yet few Wikipedia editors make use of it.
  • Wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jemenake ( 595948 ) on Wednesday January 04, 2006 @08:52PM (#14397151)
    People like John Seigenthaler Sr. seem to think that Wikipedia has some implicit pact with the browsing public to ensure the veracity of its content.

    To the contrary, I've always viewed Wikipedia as a graffitti wall, in that anybody can scribble anything they want, and anbody else can scribble over that. The difference from other graffitt walls is that it happens to be correct 99% of the time.
  • Reporters (ie anyone) reports to the WikiNews, the community and a "board" will vet the news and the best/most popular stuff will be published in major cities.
    Obviously this will require a lot of money and infrastructure but the concept is an exciting idea..
  • "The Korea Herald is reporting that 'disgraced stem cell researcher Hwang Woo-suk recently defended himself insisting he has the technology to produce patient-specific stem cells and that he had been the victim of a "long-planned" conspiracy."

    Yeah, maybe it's the same oil companies that were out to get Pons and Fleischmann.
  • he's the respected journalist who wrote an op-ed in USAToday complaining that slanderously wrong information about him was in Wikipedia for four months

    You know I'd seriously doubt the compentancy of a journalist who can't find the [Edit] link on a webpage.
  • Google will partner with hardware makers. They just want to sell software. They are after Microsoft, not Dell.

    It seems that Wyse will be making hardware [eweek.com] that runs Google's software. There could be others.

    Google has said they are working on software to compete with Microsoft. Think Sun was in on this too.

  • Hwang stood by his work in an interview with a local Buddhist newspaper Saturday.
    Well, it's not only on /. that people worry about their karma!
  • Has anyone else noticed the media constantly writing about how Wikipedia is blocking ALL editing to the site from anonymous editors? This is just one example of them getting it wrong. And lest you think it was a minor online paper that makes this mistake: the first paper to get it wrong was the UK's Guardian. The other big mistake they constantly make is that they believe that we are going to accept advertising, soemthing that Jimmy Wales has been repeatedly misquoted on.

    I also noticed the NYTimes mention a
  • by trollable ( 928694 ) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @06:23AM (#14398991) Homepage
    "Wikipedia articles will have mistakes, so let's get on with the unending task of improving them."

    I do improve my mistakes regulary, I'm a proud looser!
  • by Brushen ( 938011 ) on Thursday January 05, 2006 @08:52AM (#14399348)
    My high school text book says that the Senate voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and then he was acquitted by the Senate. In reality, it is the House of Represenatives that votes to impeach. It was made by the company that produces nearly all of Nashville's schools' textbooks, with CNN contributions, but unfortunately, I cannot edit it. More ironically, if I crossed "Senate" out and wrote "House" above it in a library book, it might be considered vandalism. How 'bout that?

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