Been trialling Lexipedia on my new Axim. It promises to provide over 500000 full Wikipedia articles (no pictures) for only $15 and 750Mb. In demo mode it shows you only random articles, but allows you to follow links in articles. So to be able to use it to look things up you have to go linking to find it…. Finding all-sorts of trivia along the way.
For those not familiar with the concept this is an example of a small-worlds network, see Duncan watts homepage, he has written several books on the subject. The idea is that for instance you can get a parcel to anyone in the world by giving it to a friend who is closer to the destination than you are and repeating through a link of friends of friends. Theoretically you can reach anyone in six links or less. Several fun examples include the Kevin Bacon game (linking film stars by films they starred in) or the Erdos number for mathematical papers.
The key point of these kind of networks is that most people only know some local friends, but a few have a number of long distance contacts, it is these few long distance links that allows the short distance between any two people.
Ok, lets give an example, using Lexipedia, I start at a random article and try to home in on a topic that I want to find….
I want to look up Galileo (went to see the play ‘leben das galilei’ last week)/
1st (random article)…Hortonia,Wisconsin
2.Race (US Census)
4.History of Europe.
7. Galileo. OK, one over par, but you get the idea. Next up, Go (or gomoku, the ancient Chineseboard game. 1./dev/random…. (Does it know what I am up to?!)
4.People’s Republic of China.
6.List of China-related topics
7.List of China-relateb topics 123-L
8.Go (board game) Not so good, too much about recent Chinese history and politics.
Of course this will be less fun when I’ve bought a copy of lexipedia and can jump straight in where I want, but it passes the time and you never know what information you will find.