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JourneyWiki Wireless

A traveller's Guide to the Greater World
  [vote for,

EDITED to include an important feature mentioned by Zen_Tom. I can't believe I didn't think of it when I first posted this. It's a ways down.

I searched around a bit, and I didn't see anything like this. I admit, I am exhausted from work and there's a very good chance that this may exist and I overlooked it. If this be the case, then I'll delete this within a few days.

I propose that the contents of Wikipedia be accessible from a dedicated portable, pocketable device much like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It occured to me today that Wikipedia is very similar to the Guide, only less prone to inaccuracy. Information on almost anything a traveller could want to know, provided by and edited by those who have first-hand knowledge of their subject matter. This is not a device for the faint of heart. This Device is meant to be used by the most adventurous of world travelers.

This is not a cellphone. This is not a Smartphone. This is not a PDA. It does not have calling features. It does not have internet access with web-browsing capability.

This device is incredibly durable. It folds closed and the edges overlap, with a soft rubber seal for waterproofing. The shell consists of titanium and vulcanized rubber. It locks shut using a 3-wheel combination lock, with large, widely-spaced wheels for use with gloves or partially numb fingers.

It does have a currency converter, tip calculator, and a foreign language translator that uses speech-recognition software. It does have an electronic compass and atomic clock with up to 5 alarms. It does have GPS capability. And it's most important feature: Unlimited access to a network of GPS and Wiki-operated satellites, through which you access Wikipedia's vast information network.


Also, like the Guide, this has very few buttons (I'm not sure if the Guide had any at all). All you have to do to search for an article is to say what it is you want to know about. This is easily done using today's speech-recognition software, simply program it to recognize your voice.


This is a paid service, of course. But it's not paid like regular wireless services. You pay a deposit of, say, $5000.00 USD, and you rent the JourneyWiki Wireless device. The deposit gives you 18 months unlimited access to the Wiki satellite network, and you get $1,000.00 back upon return of the device. 4000.00 of the deposit is used to pay in advance for your service, at a rate of approx. $220.00 per month.

Because power outlets can be scarce for a world traveler, this device has a dual-mode power source. Inside, it contains a pair of lithium-ion cellphone batteries. While one is in use, the other is charged by a shake-charger. This would work wonderfully if the device was kept in a cargo pocket on the thigh or calf. If you need to charge the spare while using the device, simply plug it into a wide-brimmed Solar Hat Charger (shameless self-promotion). Any wise traveler can hold forth at great length on the value of a wide-brimmed hat.

21 Quest, Mar 24 2009

Amazon Kindle http://xkcd.com/548/
[Spacecoyote, Mar 24 2009]

Kinda like this, only much more robust and without an external screen. http://www.phonesco...zoom.php?p=1333&g=3
[21 Quest, Mar 25 2009]


       Do you really need the worldwide satellite network? The entire contents of Wikipedia is only a few gigabytes of text, you could store it entirely onboard. Refresh it to the latest version as needed over the Internet back at your hotel. The only real radio you need is GPS, because the ability to call up articles based on location would be crucial to usability as a travel tool.
krelnik, Mar 24 2009

       Following [krelnik]'s idea, all you'd need is a nokia n800 or similar (<$180 on ebay) and a 8gb SD card.
Spacecoyote, Mar 24 2009

       Well shit... that sucks. See, this is why I slapped a disclaimer on the top.
21 Quest, Mar 25 2009

       Sorry, gotta take that back. The n800 is not what I'm looking for. It's open-faced, thus the screen is exposed to the elements, easily damaged and susceptible to moisture. Also, it does not have my unique power modes.
21 Quest, Mar 25 2009

zeno, Mar 25 2009

       What does haiarp stand for?
Spacecoyote, Mar 25 2009

       I'm guessing Heard About in A Recent Publication - but I could be wrong - and anyway, shouldn't it be RAITHHGTTG?

       Sorry 21Q just kidding - I like the idea of a portable, robust information device - especially with this dual battery/shake charger arrangement - but, in order for me to fully access the information inside it, I need an interface - and if I have an interface (i.e. buttons) it
a) detracts from the ideal 'bookness' of the idea
b) it's only a short stop from having an interface to making it a 2-way device (i.e. a phone, pda, and all those other things you mention)

       If you can crack the interface question (it seems that's what separates, for example, the iPhone, from other similar devices) then you're onto a winner.
zen_tom, Mar 25 2009

       Yeah I was thinking a book version of wikipedia would be a better idea. Infinite battery life and somewhat more water resistant than electronics.
Spacecoyote, Mar 25 2009

       //This is not a cellphone. This is not a Smartphone. This is not a PDA. It does not have calling features//
That would be an iPod Touch then.
coprocephalous, Mar 25 2009

       Or an internet tablet like the aforementioned Nokias and Kindle.

       Although you would be hard pressed to find something (the Kindle notwithstanding) with the aforementioned features *and* GPS without it being a smartphone. Really, once you've got all that stuff in it, you're only a mic away from being a smartphone, so what's the point?
Spacecoyote, Mar 25 2009

       The point is that, with calling capability, it's going to be a lot more expensive. I suppose the calling feature could be separate from the satellite features, operating on the GSM/GPRS network when available and piggybacking (roaming) on other carriers' towers.

       As far as interface, I wasn't really going for a touchscreen here, because that's just asking to get broken. I was thinking it would be kind of like (and I'll post a link) the LG voyager, without the external screen. To use it, you'd open it up and inside, on one half, you have the screen, and on the other half is the keypad. Due to the simplified nature of this device, as opposed an actual phone, you could have much fewer, thus larger and more widely-spaced, keys.
21 Quest, Mar 25 2009

       //only less prone to inaccuracy//
Ah, but where the Guide is inaccurate, it is definitively inaccurate.
coprocephalous, Mar 25 2009

       That is an excellent point. However, I was going for something a little more functional than the Guide. It seems to me that the Earth can be a tad more dangerous than the Galaxy at large.

       I definitely would like to keep the words "DON"T PANIC" written in large, friendly letters on the shell, but that might violate a few copyright laws.
21 Quest, Mar 25 2009

       The tool you wish for is approximated by current PDAs with GPS, adding a shake charger and a watertight clear pouch. PDA+pouch is a combination i currently use, and it is pretty rugged. Couple the touchscreen with a software like dasher, and you also have rapid text production at you fingertips.

       On another note, a three wheel combination lock maximises the product of user-annoyance and security-uselessness
loonquawl, Mar 25 2009

       Heard About In A Radio Play.
zeno, Mar 25 2009

       The combination lock doesn't have to be an annoyance, loonqwal. You always have the option of leaving the combination set. Or, with a simple toggle switch, you could prevent the lock from engaging. But, if you you want it locked so it doesn't flip open if it gets dropped, then you have the option.
21 Quest, Mar 25 2009

       Sounds like a Kindle in a waterproof case with a solar panel. Make the GPS separate as it takes too much power.
MisterQED, Mar 25 2009


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