Is That a Wikipedia in Your Pocket?

It's hard to classify oneself as a true nerd without doing some dabbling with Linux. For my first foray with the penguin, I decided to take things up a notch and install Linux on my iPod. Nerds more hardcore than I seem to be able to get Linux running on pretty much anything with a printed circuit board and a screen, often just to prove that it's possible, but with iPod Linux there are some exciting ends to the painfully geeky means.

For me, motivation number one was to have the entire Wikipedia on my iPod. Although I was initially skeptical of the anyone-can-change-anything concept, Wikipedia has since proved to be a regularly mind-blowing source for information on, well, anything. Where else could I find out that Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector during the English Interregnum on my birthday, or that Nintendo's Mario might be from Brooklyn?

Since I almost always have my iPod with me, I'm now packing all those interesting facts and more at all times—just this weekend I was able to become an expert on the George Washington statue in New York's Union Square while waiting to meet some friends there. The articles translate surprisingly well to the black-and-white screen of my older iPod, and all the embedded links to other articles (how many have you clicked on here?) work just as they do on the Web. And the whole thing, surprisingly enough, fits into only an 800-megabyte file.

Check out the Encyclopodia project, as well as ipodlinux.org, for more information on how to get started, and stay tuned to the blog for more updates as I continue to geek out with iPod Linux. —John Mahoney