Do you mind seeing errors in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia? That bothers me. But for the site’s 20th anniversary, they just launched a new mentorship program to help you make corrections.
According to a group of German researchers quoted by ZME Science, Wikipedia is 99.5% reliable. It’s that other 0.5% that’s so annoying. I tried to edit various articles by clicking on their pencil icon. But my patches didn’t last.
Wikipedia articles draw on references from newspapers, magazines, and other popular media. Your next door neighbor might be the world’s greatest hero, but if there’s never been an article about him, you can’t add him to Wikipedia. For the corrections you make to existing articles, you need references.
Recently, I tried to edit an article about Joel Furhman, MD, leader of a herbal movement. My corrections were gone the next day because I had no articles to cite. Still, I question their use of the Men’s Journal as a reliable source of nutritional information.
So I did a Google search on “Wikipedia Online Ambassadors/Mentors” and it came up fine. I wrote to a mentor who calls himself “Gobonobo”, and she wrote back to me within seconds. Just as I thought, she said I needed book, journal and magazine references. Sometimes, she added, direct quotes from podcasts are also used.
Between 2010 and 2020, a user named “Zhemao” wrote 200 articles about medieval Russia. The author claimed to be a Russian-speaking doctor. living in Russia with her Russian husband. In fact, she was a lonely high school graduate in China. His simulacrum fell apart when a Chinese novelist saw his article on a non-existent silver mine. He then exposed all of his other fakes.
Anyway, some say the Wikipedia app is superior to Google searches. You can customize it to feed your interests, roll the dice with a random search, or create lists of things to read later. When you open the app, you’ll see “Best Read,” https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/ “Picture of the Day,” https://news.google.com/__i/ rss/rd/articles/”In the news” and “On this day”.
However, I still find Google to be smarter. I just asked, “Which pirate Charles Darwin was a disciple of”, and the third link had the correct answer. Guillaume Dampier. When I asked the Wikipedia app and website, the best they found was Alexander von Humboldt, who was not a hacker.
GET BETTER SOUND ON PHONE CALLS
A friend said he hears an echo of his own voice when we talk on the phone. Complaints about this are all over the web.
My friend guessed the echoes had something to do with my slow internet connection, so I called AT&T. They immediately sent a new router. It helped. But the echo didn’t completely go away until I switched to wireless headphones.
Tried the $30 “Okeefe wireless headphones with ear hooks”. Eureka! No more echo! But I return them. Even with the hook, the right earpiece falls off. Also, the call quality is much better when I use my wired headset.
The echo seems to have something to do with the position of the microphone. For a while I thought my $30 Wantek wired headphones were better than my $31 Arama. The first uses an inflexible handle as a microphone. But if I position the foldable stick on the Arama just like that, no more echo!
HAPPY INSURANCE APP
Insurance companies like State Farm offered a dongle you could insert into your car to get up to 30% off for good driving. Today, most of them use an app. But you still need to stick a postage stamp-sized Bluetooth-enabled device to your windshield or somewhere else. It communicates with the app to monitor your GPS, accelerometer, and other sensors. Besides your speed, steering and braking, it looks at how much time you spend on the phone.
If you don’t want to monitor your own driving, you might find the app useful for tracking a teenager or elderly parent. Apart from safety monitoring, it can provide information if the car is in an accident or stolen.
JAMES BOND STYLE USB DRIVE
The “Apricorn Aegis Secure Key 3.0” is a flash drive for your files that will self-destruct on command. Set a self-destruct PIN to quickly erase its contents.
The Apricorn uses secure encryption and has no software that could be hacked. It has its own keyboard, so there’s no fear that a keylogger could track your keystrokes on a computer or phone. It is sturdy and can withstand water and drops. But even the 30 gigabyte version costs $129. Cheap.
BEWARE OF FAKE EMAILS
American Airlines is suing to arrest a gang of criminals sending fake AA emails. Hackers are likely to ask you to verify your account and then steal your information.
To avoid this deception, check for spelling mistakes in the email address they use. If in doubt, use the American Airlines app for check-in. The app is a much faster way to see your upcoming flights.
“Tired of folding laundry? Robot folding speed record.” Search on this sentence to see a robot folding a T-shirt and a square fabric.
END SCREEN ADDICTION
According to a study by CyberSafeKids, 82% of children between the ages of 8 and 12 have profiles on social media and messaging apps. But the happiest kids I know aren’t on Facebook or other social media at all.
Joy Schwabach can be contacted by email at [email protected]