The $100 WikiPDA?
A few years ago the idea of a pocket encyclopaeadia, the size of Britannica, in your pocket for $100 would have sounded hardly believable or at least cost a fortune. However, there are several ingredients that make this almost a reality now.
- Several generations of PDAs mean that you can buy a second hand device in very good condition that's only 2-3 yeards old, with fast processors, and capable operating system.
- Flash memory continues to plummet in price
- We have in Wikipedia a huge free encyclopaedia with open content that can be converted to other formats
- The Tomeraider e-book reader software has a very efficient indexing system and supports highly compressed files
- Erik Zachte has done a wonderful job of developing script to convert from Wikipedia to Tomeraider
I've been totting up costs of a system oriented around using Wikipedia offline and based on prices in the UK:
- HP Jornada 565, Pocket PC2002, ex demo stock, several sold recently on ebay.co.uk: £33 +P&P.
- 1GB Compact Flash Card (ORA, Expansys.com): £18 +P&P
- Wikipedia: free
- Tomeraider 3 license (Pocket PC): $30 (£18 approx)
- Tomeraider conversion scripts: free
Total £80 approx inc.
Assuming a conversion rate of UK£1 = US$1.8, that means under $150. PDAs will get cheaper and so will the memory, so expect $100 within a year!
Why not give one to every child...?