Tag Archives: wiki

How to Use Google Wiki

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When you need to find something, you likely Google it. I’m sure you probably have a Google account. If you’re logged in to it and search for just about anything, you may have noticed new icons in your search results. Google has started to integrate Wiki-like functionality in search results.

Lets say you search for something often enough and know what you’re looking for… you have the ability to click the corresponding icon to move your result higher on the returned list just for you. You can also click the little “x” button next to any particular search result to remove it from your future searches.

This is so excellent. You can sort and arrange your Google search results based on what best fits your needs. Whatever changes you make will only show up that way for you, not everyone. You can also even make public comments, or read ones that others have left. Hey you can even add your own search result to the list, to make it even more customizable!

If you’re signed into your Google account when you customize your Google search results, it will follow you anywhere you go. So long as you sign into that same account, your searches will be in your order whether you sign on at home or work – or even from another country!


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Google's Knol is Knowledge

Google unleashed Knol today, which is essentially aiming to be collection of authoritative articles written with attribution. Knowledge is certainly everywhere these days, but I believe Google is trying to add wisdom to the equation – doing it somewhat differently than the competition.

Just about anybody and everybody is welcome to contribute, and even if you don’t contribute to Knol – they’ve got great guidelines for just about any writer, or just about any information network (kinda like what I’d love Lockergnome to be someday). Here’s their Best Practices – worth scanning. What’s most interesting in this knol on writing Knols is that they clearly state that an article should not be written like a blog.

Google Knol

They say that “Sharing your knowledge with the world is rewarding for everyone,” but it remains to be seen whether this is going to be anything more than a potential resume booster for contributors. Credentials are important, but as I’ve come to discover over time… credentials are not built in a centralized fashion anymore. You have to spread your intelligence wisely, in more than one location, to be discovered and sought after as someone who knows what they’re talking about. It’s not necessarily about WHO you know, but WHERE you participate throughout the Internet.

I think it’s awesome to have yet another resource for research on a topic; Wikipedia, Mahalo, and Knol should be quite complementary. I’d never look to one over another as THE authoritative resource for anything or everything. Perspectives matter, but you need to seek several before that knowledge can grow into true wisdom.

Some of my friends seem disappointed but seemingly hopeful. Maybe we were expecting more from Google?

Shopping Wiki from Overstock.com

Via Judd Bagley from Overstock.com:

As you may know, I’ve spent the past few months as director of social media at Overstock.com creating something we’re calling Omuse, which is an open environment for people with similar interests to find one another and jointly “write the book” on the activities that most inspire them.

We’ve just entered an open beta phase and I want to give you the opportunity to get acquainted with Omuse and, if you wish, be among our earliest contributors. At this point, the question we most frequently hear is: “what should I write about?” The answer is simple: Imagine you won the lottery tomorrow and never had to work again. What activity would you immediately set about doing day after day? This is likely the activity that most inspires you, though the one most people around you – spouses included – don’t entirely “get.”

It may be the same thing you blog about, but not likely. It’s almost certainly not the thing you do for a living, but if it is, you’re very lucky. Whatever that thing is, that’s what we want your guide to be about. As a guide’s creator, you are in charge of it. You may build it alone or – as we would recommend – with the help of others who share your passion. You get to decide who joins your team and the direction you take together.

Omuse is built on a wiki platform, so we’re frequently asked what makes it different from Wikipedia, for example. I’ve arrived at two answers to that question:

  1. Where Wikipedia forbids the inclusion of original research, we like to think of Omuse as being built exclusively on original research, recognizing that everybody is an expert at something, and it’s usually the thing they most enjoy doing.
  2. Where Wikipedia endeavors to be like an encyclopedia, where one version of the “truth” must be consistent throughout, we’ve built Omuse to be more like a library, where alternate approaches to the same topic set side-by-side are not only acceptable, but a sign of our success.

We expect Omuse to become the foremost source of practical and applied knowledge online, and hope you’ll help us accomplish that goal by creating a guide and encouraging others to help with yours or create their own. To get started, go to Omuse, register (free), click the button reading “Create a Guide,” give your guide a title, and you’re on your way.

Well, at least they’re trying. I’d be much more inclined to help if they, say, helped me furnish this damn house.

Stephen Colbert is a Media Hero

I love social hacking. I tried pulling it off on a smaller scale at Gnomedex (TechMeme Hacked). It’s taken me a while to get into the Colbert Report on Comedy Central, but I have to admit that his latest move has made me a fan. Check it out, as reported by Corey Spring on Newsvine: Stephen Colbert Causes Chaos on Wikipedia, Gets Blocked from Site:

On Monday night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert addressed the online resource Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can read or edit. Colbert praised Wikipedia for “wikiality,” the reality that exists if you make something up and enough people agree with you – it becomes reality. Colbert’s subsequent examples to prove “wikiality” would cause chaos on the site, and lead an administrator to subsequently block his account.

The segment has been youtubed already. I’ve publicized my own share of truthiness problems with Wikipedia (specifically, the Wikipedia page about me). This stunt wouldn’t be so funny if it weren’t true. Even Jimmy is telling people to avoid Wikipedia. Take a look at the Fundalini Pages in MAD Magazine – the truthiness is out there. Colbert Nation hasn’t said anything about it yet, though.

Vista ReadyBoost

So, one of the nifty new features of Windows Vista is – a feature that enables you to plug in a USB 2.0 Thumb Drive and have it show up as physical memory in your system. I wanted to give this a shot, so I rushed out and picked up the highest capacity USB 2.0 drive that I could find: A PNY Attache 4.0GB USB stick. I plugged ‘er in, selected the “Speed up my System” AutoPlay option, and waited for the magic to happen. Turns out, it’s not fast enough!? Okay, so back to the store I’ll go – looking for a high-capacity, high-speed USB 2.0 thumb drive to ReadyBoost my Vista laptop. Since Microsoft isn’t making any recommendations, I need to start compiling a list of which sticks work and which ones won’t. Gotta find a Wiki plugin for WordPress!

Unperfectly Cromulent

Nobody wants to be told that their baby is ugly, especially when it takes a village to raise that child. Xeni reported the cold, hard truth about Wikipedia, and hardcore Wikipedians probably didn’t want to hear none of that. I’d need more fingers and toes to count up how many outrageous errors I’ve found on Wikipedia, but every time I’ve gone to correct them, I’ve been told that the entry has been locked temporarily. Okay, so tell me, who other than me knows more about me? Someone thought I graduated from the University of Iowa, not the University of NORTHERN Iowa – there’s a big difference between the two (ask any Hawkeye or Panther). I’m honored to have earned a place in the wiki to end all wikis, but I wish I could have at least claimed my own name to have full editing rights over it. I know there are countless Chris Pirillos in the world, but that one happens to be me – and it happens to be partially inaccurate. I also take offense to being “terminated” from TechTV – it didn’t quite go down that way, but I don’t expect the greater part of the world to know or understand that. I hate even bringing up TechTV because discussion always devolves into something centered on Morgan Webb’s breasts.

Community is not perfect. Wikipedia is not perfect. The Web is not perfect. People are not perfect. What we enjoy is the power to influence others – what we don’t enjoy is when that power is seen as slightly imperfect. Or, unperfect as the case would be. The blogosphere has a mob mentality, and certain filters (like Memeorandum) only amplify select voices. When one person says something, another person chimes in – and then another person chimes in – and then another person chimes in – and then pretty soon you have a discussion about discussing the discussion. If I came out and “attacked” the service du jour, I’d likely be blackballed and seen as someone who just doesn’t “get it.” No, I just so happen to disagree with a lot of what I see – and I’m not always afraid to write about it. Oh yes, sometimes I *AM* afraid of coming out and stating that the “emperor has no clothes” – only because of that very same mob mentality. If I came out and said your favorite Web service was not as awesome as it portends to be, you’d likely feel it to be akin to a personal attack. Why?

We project ourselves onto the very things we like.

For argument’s sake, let’s say everybody in the world was raving about something called Schlippr. Are they raving about Schlippr because it’s worth raving about, or are they raving about it because everybody else is raving about it – or all the A-list bloggers are raving about it – or that the media is raving about it? And then, should a little boy step out from the crowd and point to the naked Schlippr, what would happen? Would the world turn and listen to dissenting wisdom – or would they attack it outright? Isn’t it easier to chastise a deviant than to listen to his perspective? Think back to your own experiences in grade school. Were you the one who bullied others, or the one who was bullied?

By coming out and disagreeing with popular opinion, you’re always going to be facing a digital lynch mob. Then again, if enough people say “it” and believe in “it” – that very “it” must be true. Right? And anybody who says otherwise is a heretic. Could I correct the errors (as I see them) on Wikipedia? Likely, but then will someone else’s truth supercede those corrections one day? Likely. I’m expecting my graduation certificate on the wall to transmogrify itself any day now. Should enough people believe I graduated from UI instead of UNI, then maybe I really did? If enough people believe that Schlippr is the second coming, then maybe it is? What would Jean Luc Picard say about all this?

“There are four lights!”