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BBC News: Fake professor in Wikipedia storm
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:00 am EST, Mar  6, 2007

Internet site Wikipedia has been hit by controversy after the disclosure that a prominent editor had assumed a false identity complete with fake PhD.

The Essjay scandal continues to splatter far and wide....

BBC News: Fake professor in Wikipedia storm

New York Times: A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:27 am EST, Mar  5, 2007

In a blink, the wisdom of the crowd became the fury of the crowd. In the last few days, contributors to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, have turned against one of their own who was found to have created an elaborate false identity.

New York Times: A Contributor to Wikipedia Has His Fictional Side

Jason Scott comments on the Wikipedia/Essjay scandal
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:44 am EST, Mar  3, 2007

It's been quite a week to be a Wikipedia critic.

The Wikicritic market, previously one of a few concerned voices drowned out by the tidal din of Wiki-love-chants, is now itself flooded with me-toos. I can't go anywhere without hearing about this "controversy" that is bouncing around places that normally give Wikipedia nothing but a big hug and a pat on the ass.

In case you've been missing out on it, the short form is this: a popular editor of Wikipedia was hired by the Wikia company and in doing so revealed that he wasn't a guy with some college degrees but in fact was a 24-year old kid from Kentucky. This made a lot of people unhappy, and in the ensuing discussions, Jimbo Wales and strongly alleganced Wikipedians have tried to downplay it, mostly because that position's always worked before. It's not working as well this time.

That's the short form, which is not all that accurate. Here's some elaboration.

Jason is one of those critics that sort of reminds me of Rush Limbaugh. I agree with some of what he says, I disagree with some of what he says, but no matter what he says, I usually come away doing two things: I'm laughing, and I'm thinking. Both are good. ;)

Or in other words, keep the salt shaker handy, but his comments are worth a look.

Elonka :)

Jason Scott comments on the Wikipedia/Essjay scandal

Wikipedia Source For 'New Yorker' A Fraud
Topic: Miscellaneous 1:10 am EST, Mar  2, 2007

From Slashdot :

"A prominent Wikipedia administrator and Wikia employee has been caught lying to the media and 'other' professors about his academic credentials. Wikipedia's Essjay has been representing himself as 'a tenured professor of theology at a private university in the eastern United States; I teach both undergraduate and graduate theology. My Academic Degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies (B.A.), Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.), Doctorate of Philosophy in Theology (Ph.D.), Doctorate in Canon Law (JCD).' His real identity came to light after Wikia offered him a job: It turns out that he is really 24 years old with no degree living in Louisville, KY. Wikipedia's co-founder, Jimbo Wales, says 'I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it.' How will this affect Wikipedia's already shaky reputation with the academic world?"

This story, about a Wikipedia editor with fraudulent credentials who was promoted to a position where he's going to be sitting in judgment on whether or not other editors have used good judgment, has caused an uproar within the Wikipedia community, and is lighting up the blogosphere.

For anyone interested in following the developments, probably the best collection of links so far is at Kelly Martin's blog.

My own, internal to Wikipedia, comments about the matter, in wiki-speak, at Essjay's talkpage: [1].

*Disappointed. I've seen Essjay do many good things for Wikipedia over the years, and I am confident that he can continue to do good things in the future. But to lie so blatantly about something so important, and then to have so little remorse about it, this concerns me greatly. It's one thing to choose to remain anonymous, to make small exaggerations about one's accomplishments, or to establish an innocuous fictional identity to protect privacy. It's another to create detailed fraudulent credentials as a way of boosting credibility in an academic environment.[2] Essjay didn't make up an identity like, "Father of 4 in Ohio, working as an insurance salesman." He made up an identity that was designed to maximize credibility within this culture, and within subjects where he was editing. And further, he referred to that identity as a way of establishing his credentials to ''outside'' parties.[3][4] I am, frankly, appalled at this lack of judgment, and agree that EssJay should resign from ArbCom, especially considering that he never ran for the position, but ... [ Read More (0.1k in body) ]

Wikipedia Source For 'New Yorker' A Fraud

New printing for 'The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms'
Topic: Cryptography 6:02 pm EST, Feb 28, 2007

Good news... I ordered another set of copies of my book, The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms from my publisher, and the new batch all say, "Reprinted in 2007."

Or in other words, they ran out of copies of my book, and had to print more (this is a good thing).

It also means that anyone who went to the trouble of getting a first edition, the collectable value of your copies just went up, heh.


Elonka :)

Returned to Life: Randal Schwartz's expungement
Topic: Technology 2:00 am EST, Feb 28, 2007

Randal Schwartz was too curious for his own good. As a contractor at Intel in Oregon in the early 1990s, he poked and prodded a bit too much, especially in the area of demonstrating how poorly chosen - how weak - many account passwords were in the groups he worked for. Schwartz is best known as a Perl guru, an expert in the programming language perl that is widely used for Web applications alongside later arrival PHP. (In fact, big hunks of TidBITS are now powered by Perl.)

Most system administrators view testing passwords for strength as one of many tests to ensure that a network and its associated computers are resistant against infiltration and compromise. However, disputes in the manner by which Schwartz ran his password-cracking tests and the permission he had to do so led to him being released from Intel, charged with a computer crime under Oregon law, and convicted of three felonies. He also had to pay restitution to Intel and a large pile of legal costs - hundreds of thousands of dollars in all.

Those convictions have now been expunged, and I'm happy to spread the word. On 01-Feb-07, a court ordered that due to "the circumstances and behavior of the defendant since the date of conviction" and his completion of all provisions required of him, his conviction and arrest are to be removed from the record. In the words of the order, "the defendant...shall be deemed not to have been previously convicted or arrested."

Welcome back to the land of non-felons, Randal. :)

Returned to Life: Randal Schwartz's expungement

Okami Walkthrough - IGN FAQs
Topic: Console Video Games 5:31 pm EST, Feb 26, 2007

13.2 Guide Credits

Thanks to these folks...

1. Clover Studio for coming on strong after the success of Viewtiful Joe. Okami is easily a must-own title for the PS2.

2. Stephen Ng from for sending me the game. Thanks, bro!

3. Wilson Lau gets mad props for his excellent guide for Bart vs. the Space Mutants guide. It's awesomeness inspired the over 50 guides I've written to date.

4. Elonka, for the extra stray bead tips.

I am immortalized in the Okami FAQ. ;)

Elonka :)

Okami Walkthrough - IGN FAQs

George Takei 0wnz Tim Hardaway
Topic: Society 6:46 pm EST, Feb 23, 2007

A must-watch clip of gay actor George Takei (Sulu from Star Trek) responding to Hardaway's homophobic comments.

Elonka :)

George Takei 0wnz Tim Hardaway

Kryptos on CourtTV
Topic: Cryptography 1:22 pm EST, Feb 23, 2007

I got word from one of the producers that my website will be mentioned on this show, sometime in February. I don't have an exact date yet, but will post here when I find out.
Elonka :)

Update: The (very brief) Kryptos segment will be on tomorrow :

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2007
Channel: CourtTV
Show: Saturday Night Solution (during/between Forensic Files / Body of Evidence)

As a heads-up, "Saturday Night Solution" isn't really a "show" so much, as a theme on Saturdays. Or in other words, you can't specifically TiVo it. ;) The way it seems to work, is that there are two hosts throughout the evening, who chatter during commercial breaks and offer other tidbits of information about private detectives or spy equipment or, in this case, on secret codes.

I don't know exactly in which break that they'll be talking about Kryptos, but my best guess is that it will be in the break between the two shows "Forensic Files" and "Body of Evidence" on Saturday evening.

There will also be a longer segment on Kryptos coming up this summer, on the PBS program "Nova." (Specifically, NovaScienceNow) I'll post more info on the exact date, as soon as I hear anything.

And for anyone who misses the CourtTV segment, I'll have a mirror up on my personal site later, probably at .


Elonka :)

Game Developer Choice Awards 2007
Topic: Video Games 1:37 pm EST, Feb 16, 2007

Here's the list of nominees for this year's awards. Winners will be announced in March 2007 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Best Game

* Gears of War (Epic Games / Microsoft Game Studios)
- Cliff Bleszinski, Michael Capps, Rod Fergusson
* Ōkami (Clover Studio / Capcom Entertainment)
- Atsushi Inaba, Hideki Kamiya
* The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Bethesda Game Studios / 2K Games/Bethesda Softworks)
- Todd Howard
* The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo EAD / Nintendo)
- Eiji Aonuma, Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto
* Wii Sports(Nintendo)
- Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, Keizo Ohta, Takayuki Shimamura, Yoshiaki Yamashita

Elonka :)

Game Developer Choice Awards 2007

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