Get the Wikipedia database!

Wikipedia, possibly world’s largest encyclopedia. It has over 2 million articles. I sometimes shudder at the thought that someday (maybe) if (for some reason) Wikipedia shuts down then what will happen to vast amount of data we have now! Surely, this hears like a dooms day, which we assume it will never ever happen. I am born collector. I love to collect anything which is very dear to my heart and is valuable. So, I was wondering today can I keep a backup copy of Wikipedia? If yes then how BIG would be the database?

As it turned out after some googling and more re-googling that there are more than one ways for this and the size of Wikipedia’s database (all articles, templates, image descriptions, and primary meta-pages, but no images) is 3.2 GB (compressed size – archive as on Jan 2008). Below are the various methods to get the database.

  1. Data dumps (link). These are raw data dumps of Wikipedia. You have options of various kinds of downloads. You can download the wiki in any particular language, or a particular subset of the database (e.g. only the titles of articles or only the abstracts of articles). This is the link to English Wikipedia’s Jan 2008 backup (3.2 GB download size).
  2. Wikipedia on DVD (download link) – only 422MB uncompressed size. This is the best way to download Wikipedia. This is the DVD version of Wikipedia, but has only selected articles and is quite outdated. I would sincerely urge Wikipedia to keep this updated. The DVD consists of a nice GUI provided by the software – Kiwix.
  3. Misc downloads (link). For example, Commons Picture of the year archive (link), MediaWiki – The website software uses itself (link).
  4. To download all the pictures of Wikipedia read here (to download the all image torrents click here). Note: that many of these pictures could be copyrighted. So, if you take full assume all liability for the use of any images. The download size could be as big as hundreds of GBs. The best way to download the pictures is download a subset of them. If you want to download only the pictures that are referenced by the XML file you download from here, then use Wikix.
  5. You can also download all XMLs for English Wiki from here.

So, happy life and stay informed.

Turn on (power on) your computer remotely

I was scanning the net today for ways to turn on any computer remotely. The solution I stumbled upon was Wake-On-LAN (WOL). (Read more) What’s more good, is that most of the computers sold today support this feature.

To know if your system supports this feature or not run the following command

sudo ethtool eth0

You will get output similar to the one below.

Supported ports: [ TP MII ]
Supported link modes: 10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
Supports auto-negotiation: Yes
Advertised link modes: 10baseT/Half 10baseT/Full
100baseT/Half 100baseT/Full
Advertised auto-negotiation: Yes
Speed: 100Mb/s
Duplex: Full
Port: MII
Transceiver: internal
Auto-negotiation: on
Supports Wake-on: pumbg
Wake-on: g
Current message level: 0x00000007 (7)
Link detected: yes

In the above please substitute eth0 with the network interface card’s name you want to listen for “Magic Packets“. The Supports Wake-on gives the methods your card supports to wake your computer up. In the output above, this card supports waking on any physical activity, on unicast message, on multicast message, on broadcast message and “Magic Packets” respectively. A value of d for Supports Wake-on means that your card doesn’t support WOL. (For the full list of meanings for these letters see ethtool‘s manpage under the wol portion.) In the output above Wake-on is g, which means that WOL for eth0 is enabled and is set to listen for “Magic Packets” only.

Useful links:-

  1. On Wkipedia, has steps to enable WOL via Windows.
  2. How-to for Ubuntu users.
  3. Very useful resource on WOL.
  4. Shutdown remote computers using Magic Packets.

The Grid Life today reported about a unique project in which a program simulates the struggle to live on shared and limited resources. Though this concept is not new but the way it is being represented is new. Alongside is a screenshot from the video. Get a full description and download link by clicking the title of this blog post.

Create Dynamic Flash Messages.

Few days back I stumbled upon a site This cool site lets u create flash files which can deliver specific messages beautifully and powerfully. All this with minimum use of grey cells. Take for example the flash file beign played below. If your name is ABC XYZ the type in your address box – This will display you name in the flas file instead of mine. There many more such ‘dynamic‘ flash files on this site. Check them out!!!

No more ‘googling’

In a freak decision by Google, it has decided to crack down on the usage of its brand name as a verb. One might expect that this should only give more publicity to Google, but Google says it is damaging its brand name. So, better watch out before you say anywhere that you ‘googled’ rather than searched.

As reported in Digit technology magazine (Sept 2006), Page 126.