Tech support: August 2004

This month, we hear from the anonymous poster behind the tech blog The Red Ferret Journal.

Illustration by Tavis Coburn

Illustration by Tavis Coburn

YOUR GEAR

Tech journalism can drive you power mad, which is why I adore my fab Maha C204F rapid battery charger. It can juice up four AAs or AAAs (in sets of two) in as little as 60 minutes. Unlike other fast chargers, it works with any brand of rechargeable battery and even has a Conditioning button to restore older cells to their pristine best. ($25; mahaenergy.com)--Nigel Powell, tech columnist for The Sunday Times (London) and editor of tech blog The Red Ferret Journal (enorgis.com)

THE TIP SHEET

Remove regional DVD restrictions

Most DVDs today are programmed to work only in players from the same country, so those movies you picked up in Paris aren't likely to play at home. But you can disable the regional restriction on your DVD player by entering a
special code on the remote. See videohelp.com/dvdhacks for codes to more than 2,500 players.--H2.0 Staff

Cut out the noise

Noise Ninja is an amazing standalone app for removing noise from digital photos. It treats shots from each camera uniquely and has a Noise Brush for fixing specific areas. ($30; picturecode.com)--John Carnett, H2.0 Camera Geek

THIS IS BROKEN

So, really, onClick="window.open('','popup1','height=225,width=615,scrollbars=yes,resize=no')" target="popup1" class="sidebar">what do I type?

See more examples of things broken at thisisbroken.com.

ASK A GEEK: Sree Sreenivasan

Q: I've heard of Wikipedia, but what the hell is a wiki?

--Kyle Stock, Charleston, South Carolina

A: A control freak's worst nightmare, wikis are Web sites that allow anyone to make changes to them. Fans say they are the Web's promise fulfilled, a way to harness a global brain trust to make content accurate and timely. To critics, wikis are just a hairbreadth away from anarchy and mob rule.

The most prominent and, some would say, successful
wiki (from the Hawaiian word wikiwiki, meaning "quick")
is wikipedia.org, a giant, free, collaborative encyclopedia started in 2001. Today it has 709,000 articles in 60 languages and is edited and expanded by thousands of people every day. Any visitor who believes an entry has an error can instantly make a change by clicking the Edit This Page tab--no onClick="window.open('','popup1','height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes')" target="popup1" class="sidebar">HTML (click on a blue word for its definition) needed. And if someone doesn't like that change, he or she can change it again or just undo it: The wiki keeps track of every version, so no change is permanent. Eventually the self-corrective nature of the process makes it work.

Wikis are a combination of server side scripted code and onClick="window.open('','popup1','height=150,width=325,scrollbars=yes,resize=yes')" target="popup1" class="sidebar">SimpleText. Some even
allow visitors to make site-wide changes and add images.
A good place to learn more and find links to other wiki sites is WikiWikiWeb (c2.com/cgi/wiki?WikiWikiWeb), which is of course a wiki itself.

Sree Sreenivasan is H2.0's Web Geek and a professor of new media at Columbia University. He hosts the "Tech Guru" segments on WABC-TV in New York, writes a weekly column for journalists on poynter.org, and continues to expand his own massive collection of useful links at sree.net.