Wiki Excited – Yes and No

What did you do yesterday?  I watched the Canadian Grand Prix – two hour rain delay and all.  As I was watching the rain drops and listening to the commentators try to fill the two hours with their knowledge, my fingers began to wander.  I stumbled upon a web application entitled Wikihood.  Wikihood is a mashup of content from Wikipedia and Google Maps.  Interesting concept, I thought — I wonder what it knows about the race.

The Canadian Grand Prix is hosted on beautiful Ile Notre Dame in Montreal.  It’s held on the island that was build for Expo 67.  The track itself is named in honour of Gille Villeneuve.  As I type this, I realize what a fountain of useless trivia I can be at times.  I wonder what insights Wikihood would give me.    So, I fire up the website to check it out.

I found it surprising that the map loaded first but that’s ok.  It actually zoomed in too far to see the entire track and so I backed out a bit so that I could see the entire island and the track.  That appeared in the right panel.  In the left panel, information had finally appeared.  A summary of the Circuit and the races that are held there appears and that was about it.  There were three tabs that just provided a bit more information.  It was then that I noticed the three little icons at the top of the pane that really dug into the content and provided all kinds of information including a link right to the Wikipedia page.  I was impressed.

Now, I noticed that when I was at the original Wikihood page that they had a copy of the product for the iPod and iPad.  This, I could see as a terrific portable reference so I downloaded the iPad version.

This is where the no part to the excitement kicked in.  I thought that the portable version would have been build on the same framework as the web version.  It turns out that it wasn’t but that’s OK.  Often developers offer funky swiping features when something goes to the iPad.  In this case, there were two tabs at the top of the screen.  One tab was for Location and the other for the Map.  So, I do the same search for Circuit Gille Villeneuve expecting to get the same results.  I was surprised when I got different results.  I ended up with choices of Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Catalunya, and then a bunch of circuits in France and a number of references to Villeneuve.  When I switched to the map tab, the application crashes every time.  I was quite disappointed.  I’ll leave the application on my iPad for a little while and perhaps there will be some updates.

For the time being, I’m going to continue to play around with the web version.  I think this has the potential to be an interesting application, particularly because it can sense your present location and help you with information about that.  The web version works nicely; just keeping my eye on the iPad version.

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