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  1. Kaerey's Avatar
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       #1  
    There are currently three ways to access Wikipedia from the Palm Pre, wikipedia.com, m.wikipedia.com and the 3rd-party application Infopedia. As someone who frequently uses the plethora of information on Wikipedia to settle arguments that spark up during dinners and casual conversations, I was extremely excited to see the various options. After getting my first thanks from someone on a thread about my Palm Pre buying experience (http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pr...xperience.html) I decided to try my hand at writing a review of one of my favorite web resources by looking for information on my favorite sport “Baseball.” To provide a rating to the various methods I will use a 1-5 scale of Irritated Professors, who don’t count Wikipedia as a credible source of information.

    Chapter 1: wikipedia.com and m.wikipedia.com

    For the first method of accessing Wikipedia info I decided to go with the original website. Using the “Web” application from the launcher I started to type in wikipedia.com. The phones search features kicked in and offered quick links to either search for my entry in Google or Wikipedia for information on my entry. If I were to have clicked on the Wikipedia link it directs my search to the Wikipedia site and returns the results as if I had used the search box on wikipedia.com. Since I wanted to see the main Wikipedia website I finished my entry and hit return. The page returned was the basic Wikipedia home page, but zoomed way out which made the text near impossible to read, nothing a simple pinch-zoom couldn’t fix, but I could make out the search box well enough and with a skillful tap was able to select the text field. To a get different perspective, I rotated the device to landscape, which zoomed in on the top portion and made the text easier to read and interact with.

    After entering my search term “Baseball” I was taken to the page and immediately offered a link to “View this page on Wikipedia’s mobile site” which I’ll come back to in a bit. The basic layout of the default page is identical to as if I was viewing it from a desktop, using the pinch zoom and a lot of scrolling the page around I was able to easily access the information in both Portrait and Landscape modes. I then decided to take the invitation to the mobile site and tapped on the link provided at the top. I was redirected to mobile version which featured better formatted for the small screen including moving the picture off to the right and placing it at the top of the page. The links and navigation menus on the left side were gone and the various “headings” of the document were converted to expandable categories which made for a more compact entry and allowed me to expand and collapse the sections I was interested in viewing. This compression of information makes it a bit harder for quick scanning but drastically cuts down on the amount of scrolling.

    To get a better idea of the full Mobile Wikipedia experience, I directed my browser to m.wikipedia.com and found a very simple page that offered up a text box for a search entry and “Today’s Featured Article” which was on “Okami, an action-adventure video game developed by Clover Studio and distributed by Capcom” for the Playstation 2, a section of “In the News” giving me recent headlines and a link to the full version of Wikipedia.
    Overall I definitely preferred the mobile version of the Wikipedia website, it made for much easier reading and the default view was much easier to view when compared to the zooming needed on the regular page. I would give the full-version of Wikipedia 2/5 Irritated Professors due to poor readability and the mobile version 4/5 Irritated Professors.

    Chapter 2: Infopedia

    One of the first applications I retrieved from the App Catalog was Infopedia Beta – Mobile Wikipedia Lookup from SplashData Inc. The program with currently 10065 downloads and 85 reviews at the time of this writing. Currently offered as “Try Me” the app will use 252K of your Pre’s internal memory. The App Catalog description:

    “*Dead simple user interface takes you straight to the core functionality * Search for anything in Wikipedia… Infopedia will quickly parse the text and image into phone optimized format * News button shows the latest Wikipedia Headlines * Random button delivers you to a random article for a fun way to learn things * History and Bookmarks for easy retrieval of past searches * Email an article to yourself or a friend at the touch of a button”

    The start page to the app is very simple and easy on the eyes, a text search at the top and three buttons on the bottom for random article, current events and your bookmarks and history. When entering the search term “Baseball” I was taken to the results page. At first glance it looks near identical to the Mobile Wikipedia site. Closer inspection reveals a few minor differences; the text is a bit larger, there is no landscape mode, the expandable sections look cleaner, and the programs navigation takes up a bit of the screen real estate. While the screens navigation take up a bit of screen space it is nice to have the various functions the program provides right there on the screen I am looking at.

    When viewing a page there is a title bar with refresh button, arrows for forward and back, and short cuts to the programs core features of random page, current events, and bookmarks and a email article button. The random page and current events articles do exactly as the advertise, take you to random or current articles, the bookmark button has different options based on where you are in the app. From the home screen of the application the bookmark button has options to View Bookmarks and View History. “View Bookmarks” simply brings up a list of your bookmarked pages and the “View History” brings up a list of days which upon selection reveals the pages you viewed on that day. This could be a useful tool when trying to remember the discussions or interesting facts you looked up while debating topics at your local watering hole. When viewing an article the article the “Email Article” loads the Pre’s compose message screen of the email application with the subject line filled in with the article title and a link to the article in the body.

    A button lacking from the interface is a “Home” or “New Search” option while viewing an article. The program displays and feels like a web browser so after clicking on a few links I attempted to go back to the previous page with the back gesture but was returned to the Home screen of the application. With how other programs are operating I would prefer that the back gesture go back in the browsing history and the back arrow be replaced with a Home button that would provide quick access to a new search.

    Overall, Infopedia brings several nice new features to the Wikipedia experience on the Pre. I enjoyed the additional buttons for history and bookmarks but the operation of the back gesture and the slight larger text were drawbacks for me. I give Infopedia 4/5 Irritated Professors.
    Between the Mobile Wikipedia site and Infopedia there really isn’t much to differentiate the two for causal spontaneous use. Infopedia provides a few nice extras, but the integrated search options for the web version of Wikipedia make it slightly faster to access. I expect that I will use the mobile web version for quick lookups but with the few unique additions Infopedia provides I can also see using it for more in depth browsing or researching. If Infopedia remains free then it will definitely be staying on my Pre.
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    8MB Visor --> Treo 300 --> Treo 650 --> Treo 800w --> Palm Pre
    All devices obtained within first week of launch
  2. #2  
    Great.
  3. #3  
    Nice review.
  4. #4  
    *Great* review. Queueing it up for the front page tomorrow!
  5. #5  
    Great review. Very helpful. Thanks!
  6. Houtx's Avatar
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    #6  
    When I use the universal search, it defaults to the main wikipedia format. That seems like a less than ideal move, design wise. Any way to change?
  7. Kaerey's Avatar
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       #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter Bohn View Post
    *Great* review. Queueing it up for the front page tomorrow!
    Very Cool!!!
    8MB Visor --> Treo 300 --> Treo 650 --> Treo 800w --> Palm Pre
    All devices obtained within first week of launch
  8. Kaerey's Avatar
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       #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by houtx View Post
    When I use the universal search, it defaults to the main wikipedia format. That seems like a less than ideal move, design wise. Any way to change?
    There should be, may required a rooted pre. (Root your Pre) I'll look and come back here.

    UPDATE: Yeah you can change the search entry for wikipedia through the instructions on the pre dev wiki.

    The default entry is
    'wikipedia':$L("http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search/"),

    Just change the website to:
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki?search=
    Last edited by Kaerey; 06/24/2009 at 10:04 AM.
    8MB Visor --> Treo 300 --> Treo 650 --> Treo 800w --> Palm Pre
    All devices obtained within first week of launch
  9. jdale's Avatar
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    #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaerey View Post
    A button lacking from the interface is a “Home” or “New Search” option while viewing an article. The program displays and feels like a web browser so after clicking on a few links I attempted to go back to the previous page with the back gesture but was returned to the Home screen of the application. With how other programs are operating I would prefer that the back gesture go back in the browsing history and the back arrow be replaced with a Home button that would provide quick access to a new search.
    I agree about the back gesture, but the new update does have a magnifying glass icon in the title, which you can click for a new search. So.... half of what you asked for....
  10. #10  
    have you seen the wikipedia new "m" feature? just take any wikipedia link and add ".m" to it, and the page goes mobile. this version is much better than wapedia and similar solutions.

    eg. try en.m.wikipedia.org for the start page in english
  11. #11  
    Great review!
  12. Kaerey's Avatar
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       #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by sportstx80 View Post
    Great review!
    You're just saying that because I used a sports example
    8MB Visor --> Treo 300 --> Treo 650 --> Treo 800w --> Palm Pre
    All devices obtained within first week of launch

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