Monday, May 01, 2006

Is there something wrong with mom? Or: the WiktionaryZ effect ;-)

Imagine two four-year-old kids looking at their mom thingking "there must be something veeeeery wrong ... did she get mad...?" - well no, I did not get mad, but my first reaction when the e-mail of Erik arrived was quite .... ehm .... loud. WiktionaryZ has taken exactly 19 months from the first talks between Gerard and me and a pre-alpha editabilty. Now you say: well, it's fine that it is editable, but it is only pre-alpha ... and so: what is so extraordinary of that dictionary? Hmmm ... I am feeling as if the world from one second to the other has changed. I made my first edit yesterday on April 30, 2006 at 17:16 UTC. From then on a meccanism started that is still not over - I was not even able to write all my contacts that it is definitely there ... only the English-speaking contacts were informed ... of course: first of all we had to try out if things work smootly and they almost do. Then answering e-mails coming in started ... I just could not say: no, they have to wait. Discussions through IRC and chat ... it was great ... and my kids there ... looking at me a bit worried about all that hyperactivity ... but then again: Carlie and Lola, a cartoon for kids, became more interesting and I suppose they just thought "well, she'll calm down sooner or later" :-)

From this morning adding Neapolitan was possible and of course I immediately started to try that out adding simple words like water and child.

Over 20 years have gone by since I had my first thought about "wouldn't it be great to have one dictionary where all the words you need can be found" - that was at language school when dealing with English, French and Spanish .... then there were no computers (at least no PCs like we know them today) - then, three years after that I started my computer specialisation with the newest personal computer on the market at that time - an IBM with Intel processor 8088 working with DOS 2.11 as OS ... and shortly afterwards the 8086 came out ... then I bought my first computer an Amstrad 1512 - with colour monitor (16!!!!! colours), a 10 MB hard disk, a 5 1/4'' floppy disk drive .... and I remember games like BigTop and Digger .... the games we played during break time. My parrot that once fairly angry due to the lack of attention had came over to sit on the keyboard and made me crash the computer (where I was finishing a home-work and than had to re-start over). I remember when I programmed my first apps with dBase III+ .... one of them was the first trial to get lists of words in there ...

And today ... there is that software called Mediawiki and you can work together on one project with people anywhere in the world - the only thing you need is a computer and an internet connection. You can talk in chat, via skype .... and the world became so small ...

Times are changing ... the world is changing ... how will WiktionaryZ change the world? (if so ...)

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