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Why it took a long time to build that tiny link preview on Wikipedia (via) Wikipedia now shows a little preview card on internal links with an image and summary paragraph of the linked page. As a Wikpedia user I absolutely love this feature—and as an engineer and product designer, it’s fascinating to hear the challenges they overcame to ship it. Of particular interest: actually generating a useful summary of a page, while stripping out the cruft that often accumulates at the beginning of their text. It’s also an impressive scaling challenge: the API they use for this feature is now handling more than 500,000 requests per minute. # 23rd April 2018, 9:07 pm
Wikipedia is run by a non-profit, and the content is created by volunteers for free. Those volunteers created that content under the understanding that it would be for the benefit of the species. Alternative methods of making money would break that assumed contract with their volunteers, and would likely damage their ability to encourage free contributions in the future.[... 76 words]
GeoNames has a fantastic API for finding Wikipedia articles near a specific latitude/longitude pair:[... 32 words]
List of important publications in computer science (via) Amazingly comprehensive list on Wikipedia. # 9th June 2010, 11:50 pm
Authority, historically, gets bestowed on the gatekeepers of information, such as Britannica, universities, newspapers, etc. Everything that can be digitized will be digitized, and will then be available over the internet, which is disruptive, not only to business models, but to authority.
Best of OpenStreetMap (via) I keep on telling people OpenStreetMap is this year’s Wikipedia—at its best, it beats commercially available maps. This “best of” site highlights the areas where OSM really shines (the yellow stars)—the German mapping community in particular have produced some outstanding cartography. # 13th August 2009, 12:30 pm
License Hacking. Wikipedia is making the switch to a CC license, by asking the Free Software Foundation to include that as an option in the latest version of the Free Documentation License which Wikipedia currently uses and which includes an auto-upgrade clause. Devious. # 10th November 2008, 10:46 pm
Data Scraping Wikipedia with Google Spreadsheets. I hadn’t played with =importHTML in Google spreadsheets, which lets you suck in data from an HTML table or list somewhere on the web. This tutorial takes it further, bringing Wikipedia, Yahoo! Pipes and KML in to the mix. # 16th October 2008, 2:37 pm
Google’s Wikipedia and Panoramio layers are now available in the API. I really like their use of reverse domain style identifiers for the layer IDs: map.addOverlay(new GLayer(“org.wikipedia”)); # 2nd October 2008, 11:59 am
GiantBomb.com. Launched today, powered by Django—a combination of (mostly ex-Gamespot) quality editorial content and a massive structured wiki of every computer game ever released. This is going to be a lot of fun—all of the crazy detailed content that Wikipedia tends to reject. # 22nd July 2008, 7:09 am
Comet (programming) on Wikipedia on 4th June 2008 (via) The last useful version (which I had pointed many people to) before it was gutted down to just a couple of paragraphs by infuriating deletionists. # 16th June 2008, 9:34 am
The fatal flaw of deletionism is the mindset of deciding what someone else *should* find interesting
Wikipedia:Canvassing (via) Apparently it’s considered bad form to tell people about debates occurring on Wikipedia (such as votes for deletion). Looks like a policy designed to discourage the participation of subject experts in favour of the participation of Wikipedia process gnomes. # 16th June 2008, 8:23 am
There are two [Wikipedias]: One is the public-facing reliable-enough-on-average encyclopedia that people read every day, which makes for nice fluff pieces in the media about “these new Web thingamajigs that the kids are building, aren’t they neat?”. The other is the insular behind-the-scenes bureaucracy, which reads like an improvised performance of the collected writings of Clay Shirky.
Google Maps now shows photos and Wikipedia articles. Click the “More...” button. My first thought was “how do they get so many photo markers on the map?”—Firebug shows that they’re generating tiles on the server containing multiple photo markers, then when you click on one an Ajax call checks which photo is in that particular spot. # 14th May 2008, 7:10 pm
I’m pleased to announce wikinear.com. It’s a simple site that does just one thing: show you a list of the five Wikipedia pages that are geographically closest to your current location. It’s designed (or not-designed) to be used mainly from mobile phones.[... 1147 words]
Everyone applauds when Google goes after Microsoft’s Office monopoly [...] but when they start to go after web non-profits like Wikipedia, you see where the ineluctible logic leads. As Google’s growth slows, as inevitably it will, it will need to consume more and more of the web ecosystem, trading against its former suppliers, rather than distributing attention to them.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. (via) See also: Wikipedia’s “List of linguistic example sentences”. # 28th October 2007, 6:12 pm
Wikipedia trust colouring (with demo) (via) “The text background of Wikipedia articles is colored according to a value of trust, computed from the reputation of the authors who contributed the text, as well as those who edited the text.” # 1st September 2007, 1:42 am
List anonymous wikipedia edits from interesting organizations (via) See anonymous edits from CIA IP addresses, Fox News and more. # 14th August 2007, 11:59 am
The basic concept here is given the ongoing dramatic drop in the price of bandwidth and hardware, they cost very little. I looked at the bandwidth bill for Wikipedia, for instance, and it is actually substantially lower in the last year than the year before, despite traffic growing by a factor of 4.
My heart goes out to all those affected by yesterday’s terrible attack on London. I think it’s safe to say that here in Britain we are shaken but not stirred—the response here from both the emergency services and the Great British Public has been inspiring. To my knowledge, my friends and relatives are all safe. Thanks to all who asked after me.[... 85 words]