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There is a fascinating new portable device out today that I believe is worth mentioning on Single Parent Gossip. It is about the size of a compact navigation system, fits in the palm of your hand and includes the entire content of the English-language Wikipedia dictionary (about 3.5 million articles according to the manufacturer.)
Called the WikiReader, the device is controlled via a touchscreen as well as four physical buttons. The on/off button, a “search”, “history” and a “random” button. Typically you will start your search with the search button, which shows an onscreen keyboard to input search terms. The history button stores all visited Wikipedia pages and serves as a “back” button.
The encyclopedia content is stored on a flash memory card, which is about half the size of a stamp. No pictures are included, due to the enormous storage space Wikipedia’s images would require. But even without pictures it is impressive that the manufacturer of the device, Openmoko, was able to fit millions of articles on a tiny storage card (a 4 GB microSD card).
The screen resembles the look of a monochrome eBook Reader. Compared to Amazon’s Kindle products, the resolution is not quite as high, but we found it to be good enough to browse through Wikipedia content in our brief test. In direct sunlight, the readability of the content on the screen is limited.
I played with the WikiReader only one day, but once I had figured out how to quickly navigate Wikipedia content, I found myself constantly searching for information and it surely helped me answer a couple of questions of my kids at the dinner table. In fact, I have to admit it was fun adding the device to the dinner table discussion.
If you have used Wikipedia, then you know that there is a lot of inappropriate content for children available as well. But if you choose to give the WikiReader to your children, you can activate parental controls, which hides such content.
Openmoko sells the WikiReader through Amazon for $99. Quarterly updates are offered as a free download. If you don’t want to download the update yourself, the company will also send you new memory cards with refreshed Wikipedia content four times a year for $59.
>> Openmoko gave us three WikiReaders, which we will gladly give away to our readers in a prize drawing.
Since we are the new kid on the block here, we have had no opportunity yet to set up a submission form. To sign up for the prize drawing, please register as a user in our forum (and yes, of course we would like the single parents among you to contribute). We will randomly select three winners at the end of this month, notify them via email and send the WikiReaders out.
Needless to say, we will not use those emails to send you any other emails and we won’t give those email addresses out to a third party.
Here are a few more pictures of the WikiReader: