This is really fun stuff to learn about. Plus, this way you won't have to worry about battery life.
Don't get me wrong, both are awesome. Absent a working time machine or the ability to leap into a novel or Z-Day, however, only the former will have any benefit for me.
If we're talking Z-Day, then the most economical solution seems to be either to buy and convert an old mine, or to grab an old nuclear silo. Either way, one could reasonably assume that a full, automated backup of Wikipedia and other helpful sites would be stored on local servers.
If you're not a member of the "I can buy Minuteman silos, whatever bro" club, then your currency is best spent on ammunition and the pre-determination of likely gathering points.
If, in the unlikely event that you're just a nerd putzing around on the Internet when you should be doing Real Work, you have access to none of these, then I suggest you move quickly towards a zombie-proof survival plan.
Which is semi-helpful. By wearing it I've discovered this fantasy is not uncommon.
I think this weekend I'll release the image view for the wikireader I've been working on. It can smoothly pan/zoom images that are thousands of pixels wide.
I'm almost inclined to get one to replace mine, whose screen went permanently dim at some point.
The code is open source, so you could theoretically use it with custom content that you adapt to their build formats. They also provide downloads for a bunch of other-language Wikipedias, as well as Wiktionary, Wikitravel, and Project Gutenberg. You can swap out the built-in microSD card (8GB?) for a much larger one and just put everything on it.
One might think that you'd just use the browser on your phone. But very frequently, places of interest are also places with no cellular coverage. Having this data offline is great.
They also provide downloads for a bunch of other-language Wikipedias, as well as Wiktionary, Wikitravel, and Project Gutenberg
I tried to do this. Bought a card just for the purpose, downloaded the GBs of torrents, and set up the card as they suggest (as best I could decipher). I was never able to get it to boot up with my substitute data card.
In case industrial civilization, well.. fails to go the distance. A Wikipedia-equivalent volume of paper is rather bulky and fragile.
There was entire writeup about this (I think it was posted to HN) that I can no longer find and would be grateful if someone could point me at (my Google-Fu is failing me on this one) that of all the data storage mechanisms we have, paper is the one that we best know how to maintain and preserve. It's nowhere near as "bulky" as people make it out to be, and when done right and taken care of properly, can last centuries.
Here's a link that touches on the topic of preserving info for future generations, a great read: http://www2.library.ucla.edu/about/2483.cfm (What do you preserve? How do you do it? Why? For whom?)
The other article I was referring to earlier pointed out the pitfalls with all the modern "wonders" of storage and how woefully inadequate they would be for attempting to preserve knowledge/data in the big picture. Namely interfaces, specs, requirements, readers, electricity, and all the other goodies that silently play their role in powering your USB stick or bluray disc.
Paper is not the answer for a pauper with no room to call his own, nor for a factory hand living in a dormitory. There are many people alive right now for whom paper is already not the answer. But some of them could benefit from a Wikipedia "gameboy."
Yours or my paper library will carry knowledge into the ages quite well - until some vagrant burns it to warm himself in the wintertime. A piece of electronics, on the other hand - assuming we could make one that really lasts - could be passed down as an heirloom. And, should it begin to flicker out, the words could always be read off and set to paper.
Paper is good, but clay tablets FTW.
I'm no expert in this domain, so I'm not sure what this would look like, or if there's already a way to do this in a small enough form factor to be feasible and relatively inexpensive.
In practice, it's no shakier than before. Whenever you load a Wikipedia page, there is a certain probability it's vandalized. I'd be surprised if the probability were going down, since as it is more widely used it attracts more trolls. If the probability is staying relatively constant, it doesn't matter if you are looking at the current data or a snapshot from six months ago, the probability of a random page being in a vandalized state is about the same. And of course, if the vandalized page rate is going up, a snapshot would be better than the live site.
You could argue that, if you discover a vandalized page, you can't do anything about it on the Wikireader. You could argue that once you find a vandalized page, it's going to stay vandalized until you load another snapshot. But those are consequences of the tradeoff for the size and network independence of the device.
If you consider the case of disadvantaged children whom some of these projects aim to reach, the whole peer group now has the same vandalized information and there may not be a secondary source of information.
And when you take the wikipedia cartridge out, you have a gameboy.
I wonder how much it would cost to make a Wikipedia gameboy cartridge?
Quite a far cry from the gigabytes of Wikipedia data you get with this, I'm afraid.
For an example of the crazy things you can do with gameboy cartridges look at Gameboy Camera.
Based on this (see: 1saleaday), this item got excessed/liquidated by a distributor last... fall probably. Judging by the low ratings/views on Slickdeals most people just aren't interested in such a device, even at $20/pc. Several players (maker/distributor/liquidator) probably took losses unless they were on consignment.
Judging from the initial response on HN, this item totally could've been remarketed better. :)
If you look at how the price continues to fall after October through Christmas shopping season by one inventory holder (1saleaday, probably has 10k+ pieces to liquidate) and how poorly the deal has been moving even with guerilla marketing (see: views on each thread, as well as thumbs-up)... all I'm saying is that this deal's been a dog in retail.
Disclaimer: I got a free copy because the dev is a nice guy. Well worth the $9.00 though.
It's really nice. microSD is easy access, and AA is awesome as a power source for this little thing. I love the idea of giving these to kids in school.
The software is open source, and you can add custom wikis to the existing software.
cpu S1C33E07 http://www.epson.jp/device/semicon_e/product/mcu/32bit/ (bottom of table)
I love the idea, but I'm with you on the screen. I'd be willing to shell out more for something Kindle-like.
I might buy one of these someday for the sheer enjoyment of developing something silly for it.