The power of Wikipedia rendered pointless by the WikiReader

14 October 2009

Everyone has a drawer in the kitchen that, for one reason or another, fills up with crap that has no place elsewhere in the home, or is broken, or entirely pointless. We can't think of another gadget that is going to hit that drawer faster than the WikiReader, a device that appears to have been catapulted forward in time from 1996.

It's a gadget that's larger and fatter than a handset, and holds all of human knowledge inside it. Well fancy that. With a frighteningly modern touchscreen interface yet a display dating back the birth of the mobile phone, it allows you to browse through 3 million Wikipedia entries, so long as you don't want to look up anything recent. Or see the accompanying images:

Bitterwallet - the Wikireader... why?
The problem is that here in 2009 it's not a lot to ask that a device like this has wireless ability or some sort of online connectivity to allow new updates. You might as well publish Wikipedia as a book for all the use this is. So given that Wikipedia itself is revised tens of thousands of times a day to keep up with the planet, how the hell are you meant to update this thing? Don't worry, the makers have a cunning, ye olde worlde plan:

"The fastest and easiest way to update your WikiReader is through our mail subscription. Updates come on a new memory card and cost $29 for two updates per year, plus taxes and shipping."

Rejoice! Stephen Gately can live on for another six months before you're any the wiser. Rubbish.

15 comments

  • Ruzzz
    Or you can just download the updates for free ....as it says on their website
  • James
    Ha ha ha. Well spotted Ruzzz
  • Gles
    They're clearly not using Royal Mail... "The fastest and easiest way to update your WikiReader is through our mail subscription."
  • PC L.
    You have to love this site! The effort they go to in order to ensure an article is accurate is…..non existent, and you are an editor (supposedly). It’s amusing how wrong they get it and how often they get it wrong….keep up the (not so) good work boys! “Updates for the WikiReader are delivered on a quarterly basis and are available to download for free via a website”
  • Ian
    This may all be true, but it is still a pile of crap.....
  • PC L.
    maybe but if only that had one of these they could have looked up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiReader and written a better article
  • Bob
    God all the editorial fanboys on this site really do need to brush those chips off their shoulders! How about it's a light hearted quirky blog? Fuck off and read the Telegraph or something!
  • Nick
    Well said Bob, besides anyway the so called free updates are quarterly anyway, making this quite a lemon of a device and amusingly rubbish, like the light hearted blog makes it out to be.
  • Gunn
    Not going to impress the Jesus phone owners though.
  • Yonex
    Why cant they simply put wireless conectivity and it will update whenever it can get access to the internet? Im waiting for the Google-wiki version.... heh..
  • EYEPHONE
    Tosh Lines, does it make you feel like a bigger man to come on this site and pick holes in it. It's a light hearted website that's meant to cheer you up. I suppose it gives your right arm a break from all that furious masturbating......
  • Jase
    Wikipedia was turned into a book...you guys even covered the story! http://www.bitterwallet.com/what-wikipedia-would-look-like-if-it-was-an-encyclopedia/13151
  • Paul S.
    Good to see PC Tosh Lines missed the point as usual. Great to have you here, Tosh!
  • Anthony
    Hi Paul, I think you are missing the point. There are many people (including small ones) who don't have: lots of money; an internet connection; power source; books, etc. Of course these features are also of use to everyone if they choose. The device has inferior capabilities compared to say an iphone browsing wikipedia, but this is not a fair comparison. Yes the display looks like a 1980's donkey-kong game, etc, but maybe you remember playing them quite happily in 1985. There have been 3 years or so of touch screen phones so to have a touch screen device like this isn't really so bad, is it? I hope there is nothing to stop anyone building their own μ sd card image http://github.com/wikireader/wikireader, and maybe having an incremental update too. Now I'm off to read a hopelessly out of date copy of the the Telegraph or something!
  • college r.
    I think this is the 5th post i am reading continuously in this blog , without a pause. And it's been almost an hour. Time passes such fast while reading these posts.

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