Tuesday Sep 28, 2004

Wiki Rising

Wikis and blogs seem to have started gaining traction around the same time in the technology circles, but until now blogs have garnered all the media attention. Yesterday a mainstream article about wikis appeared and it was great to see Sun's very own John "jbob" Bobowicz quoted in the article. The two technologies are complimentary and I think equally profound. They both empower everyone with an internet connection to publish to the world wide web. Blogs focus on building reputation and trust around individual personalities. Wikis focus on the collaborative building of knowledge by the community. Both technologies smash the barriers to publishing and thanks to Google's apparent preference for both mediums, the content published by these technologies is likely to be read!

I'll never forget my first exposure to wiki when Matthew and I logged into wiki inventor, Ward Cunningham's, wiki.org. We had no clue about wiki's relying on CamelCase to create hyperlinks, so we thought, "Gee, while we're here let's contribute and fix all these smashed up words." Now I rely on wikis everyday. A couple weeks ago I was inspired by an email Tim Bray sent around at work to make my first, albeit plain, contribution to the wikipedia. I had recently come across a word that was not defined online. I am subscribed to a discussion group on Abrassive Water Jet technology after seeing the tool in action on an episode of Orange County Choppers. In that forum someone tossed around the word autofrettage. A google search did not lead to a definition of the word, so I supplied the definition to wikipedia after gleening what I could about the term from various references to it. Hopefully someone from the metallurgy field will come along and improve the entry.

I am thrilled to both benefit from and participate in the sharing of the world's knowledge.

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hoffie

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