2B1: "WikiHow" Content Comes Preloaded

James Herrick and family
wikiHow's Jack Herrick and family
The founder of wikiHow, Jack Herrick, has posted a call for wikiHow users to select the best 1000 how to guides for inclusion on OLPC's €100 laptops. Not much news in and of itself - wiki content has been discussed on OLPC News previously - however the announcement page appears to confirm the novel approach to providing large chunks of content to a machine with a tiny amount of on-board storage; they will utilise the power of the mesh network.

To quote wikiHow themselves, wikiHow "is a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest how-to manual". Entries are varied and include such vital tidbits as "how to toilet train your cat" and "how to pick your nose inconspicuously". If you want to vote for an entry, here is the Jack's entry "How to Select wikiHow Articles for the One Laptop Per Child Association":

  1. Identify wikiHow articles that are best suited for this purpose. Articles should be:
    • High quality instructions that wikiHowians are proud of
    • Achievable by readers in the developing world who may lack access conveniences and materials one finds in the West such as a hardware store
    • Suitable for people aged 6-15.
  2. Add the article to this list of articles available for consideration by marking its discussion page with the template {{lc}} for "laptop candidate".
  3. Wait. This list will be reviewed by people at OLPC and the most appropriate articles will be selected for inclusion. In addition, the OLPC volunteers will translate the articles into multiple languages. Finally the article will be pre-placed on millions of computers sent to children around the world.
Its good to see some clues that the OLPC are setting themselves up with a truckload of content to translate and this assuages earlier fears we had that wiki content would be confined to "simple English". However, the most interesting information is in the tips section:
  • The "$100 laptops" will only have room for about 50 to 100 of our best articles, but we will be able to supply another 1000 which students and teachers will be available to download for free.
Where and how the other 1000 entries will be available for download is not clear yet. Will 50 different entries be loaded per 20 laptops allowing content to trickle through the mesh or will all laptops have the same entries with extra content available centrally? Evidence seems to point to "school server"-to-laptop distribution as opposed to trickle through or internet-to-laptop distribution; at NECC 2006 Nicholas Negroponte was quoted as saying that target schools will have a 300gb server.

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1 Comment

Either my eyes are fooling me or this Jack Herrick dude is married to Sarah Jessica Parker.