…unless you have a LOT of time on your hands. Wikipedia, by being internet-based takes advantage of cross-referencing in a way that was NEVER possible with traditional encyclopedias. Even new multimedia encyclopedias like Encarta don’t take advantage of it like Wikipedia does. Almost every word in an article is a reference to something else. For example, I was curious if there was an article on Five Iron Frenzy, easily one of my favorite groups of all time. To both my dismy and delight there WAS a Five Iron Frenzy article. I was only dismayed because I would have liked to have written the article! However, the author(s) did an amazing job and there was no need to add much to what they had written. In that article they mentioned Third Wave Ska. I knew that ska had come out in a few waves and often talked about it based on what I had heard people say, but I wasn’t sure on the definition. I wanted to read more so that I would have a clear understand when I spoke of it, so I clicked on the link and found out about third wave ska. I knew that ska came from Jamaica, but I had no idea what its origins are. I especially wanted to find out about it since some groups (such as No Doubt) have recently gone to a more reggae sounding ska. Unlike other encyclopedias, I did not have to type a search for ska, it was already referenced in the article! I click on it and read about ska.
If you think that was neat, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Here’s what happened when I wikied Linux:
Although I have been using Linux to run this server since last April and have been using it as a desktop since October, I have only recently begun to learn the history of this great operating system. In the article about Linux I finally got to see what the creator, Linux Torvalds, looks like. He doesn’t look anything like I expected. Frankly I thought he’d be more like the Finnish hacker in Swordfish. He looks like he could live down the street from me. The article mentioned something I already knew, that Tux the penguin was the Linux mascot. However, I wanted to see what wikipedia had to say about Tux. This is where I entered the rabbit hole! Oh boy, I had no idea what I was in for! I found out about another group of mascots, the OS-Tans! This is an example of when anime can go just a little too far. OS-Tan are a series of anime girls who represent the different operating systems. The origin came about, according to Wikipedia because, “The concept is reported to have begun as a personification of the common perception of Windows Me as unstable and prone to frequent crashes. Discussions on Futaba Channel likened this to the stereotype of a fickle, troublesome girl. The personification became expanded, with the creation of Me-tan (dated to August 6, 2003) followed by the other characters.” Of course, after wating a parody of Final Fantasy 6 using gaming consoles (which I will be posting soon), any personification of these devices isn’t so weird. Finally, from the Tux page I found out about User Friendly, a web comic about some people who use Linux to run an Internet Service Provider and Ctrl-Alt-Delete, a gaming comic where one of the characters has a pet penguin. So, my afternoon was not quite as productive as I would have liked. Although I did learn a lot!