Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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One of my flatmates is quite obsessed with the thing called Wikipedia. Particularly so when Who Wants to be a Millionaire is on. He kept on saying that he absolutely wanted to get a mobile phone that can take a huge memory card and run Wikipedia for mobile phones. Strangely he managed to get himself a shiny new phone half a year later which can take huge memory cards but doesn’t have Series 60 or whatever the magic is that makes Wikipedia run on the machine.

So after stumbling across links to Wikipedia on the iPod a few times, I started being curious and actually followed them. Looking at them, it turned out that the iPod can indeed run Wikipedia. But that’ll only work if you’re prepared to run Linux on the machine. Now I like my iPod and don’t want it to suffer that much. I mean Linux on the iPod is pure freakshow stuff. And I don’t even want to think about the geeks boasting about doing serious command line work with a clickwheel…

The iPod running German Wikipedia and displaying the entry for 'Porst' On the other hand, there seems to be a ready-to-double-click installer for iPod Linux and the whole thing can be set up in a way that the iPod is an iPod first and foremost – just with a cute iPod wearing penguin appearing on-screen after the Apple logo – and you can switch it to freak mode by holding a button while it starts.

While my Linux experiences aren’t excessive, I always wondered why so many people seem to make a fuss about installing Linux. Perhaps it’s because I’ve installed Linux from the safe harbour of a Mac, but I’ve never thought that the installation was any trouble. An installer to run, possibly a few questions to answer and you got the damn thing running. The trouble will start afterwards. Like, when you actually want to use it.

And thus the absurd turned into the possible, and a bit of ignoring the readmes (they mention scary acronyms like FAT-32 and ext2 all the way through but I didn’t need to get my hands dirty with any of that and things still worked), clicking OK buttons, having to erase the iPod and doing all of the above again (after clicking the ‘Update’ option in the installer first) it ‘just worked’. Not bad at all. Better than I expected for sure.

Sure, actually entering a search term using the iPod’s wheel is still painful enough to make you run next door and use a proper computer to query Wikipedia instead. but when you don’t have a network connection, you can survive for a few minutes without music and happen to need to know all about the Porst, it’ll do the trick:

The iPod running German Wikipedia and displaying the entry for 'Porst'

March 3, 2006, 0:06

Tagged as software.


Comment by dan: User icon

Sounds fun, but can you limit the disk space that it uses and can you get rid of it if you decide you hate it? (as if you’d ever hate anything)

March 3, 2006, 11:59

Comment by ssp: User icon

It seems to be pretty easy to remove. At least there was an ‘uninstall’ button in the installer. Alternatively you can just reset the iPod to its original state which should work equally well.

As for the disk-space… not that I actually know anything on that, but it just seems to use the same partition as the rest of the iPod does and at least the Wikipedia thing doesn’t seem to write anything. So with the German and English versions of Wikipedia on the iPod it uses around a gigabyte of space. Not too bad.

During lunch someone claimed that the word eskimo means raw meat eater… which I didn’t believe. A bit later I remembered that I could just look it up. So I’ve actually used this toy once now. Hooray!

(and, yup, the word is considered to mean raw meat eater…)

March 3, 2006, 14:04

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Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.