Saturday, September 29, 2007

Wikipedia has been had (by one of their own)

There have been several cases before, where Wikipedia has been had: most famousely, John Seigenthaler Sr. , whose page has been changed to include false information (Wikipedia themselves write about it). Wikipedia admins are usually quick in finding sheer vandalism ("Oprah is an alien"); less successful, when it comes to information that seems true, changing a year, a small note, adding information about a relatively unknown figure's life. Wikipedia also has its own category:

However, as far as I know, this is the first time that Wikipedia has been had by one of their own, someone who administered one of the many language versions of Wikipedia. The problem? The language, Siberian, doesn't exist, the site was a private joke by the administrators and his friends (with an opportunity to bash some Russians, which is apparently, the only reason the hoax has been discovered: the Russians complained of the non-objective, anti-Russian, content of the Siberian Wikipedia).

The issue has been heatedly debated before Wikimedia foundation finally decided to pull the plug on the Siberian Wiki, partially because the Siberians are still adament that everything is dead (or cold) serious.

It is not as if there are no constructed languages in Wikipedia (from Esperanto, which is pretty big and seems, to Klingon which is now unfortunately locked). I guess that they don't like to be made fun of....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Should you download SATVOD?

Because of my infamous post, where I listed TV and video websites I sometimes get people asking me about this site or the other.

SATVOD is apparently one of the latest buzzes around: they have neat graphics, and unlike those scammers who try to sell you "Satellite TV online", Satvod is for free - just download it, and they promise that they scan video sites (You Tube, etc.) for relevant material.

There are, as I have listed before, several sites that do that. Satvod, except of neat graphics, tells you to download their toolbar (in order to watch TV online). There are no reports (yet!) of the toolbar being harmful in any way. However, it raises a question - why download a toolbar when you can find sites that have the same viewer on your browser? why add another software to the already ladden computer? I am suspicious of toolbars by nature: for me, they (even the Google toolbar) more of a hindernis.

If you are a toolbar fan, however, Satvod promises you another bankload of streamed TV and video.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boston for Less

It seems that life brings us to the most expensive places on earth. Last time, it was Copenhagen. This time it is another notoriously expensive city, Boston.

Although this is a “Boston on a budget” article, it would be unrealistic to talk about “Boston in $10 a day”, as tour guides used to do. This amount of money would hardly buy anything, let alone hold you for a full day, including accommodation, dining and having fun being a tourist.

So, how can you enjoy Boston on a shoestring budget? Here are several sections that try to answer the question. The sections appear here as one unit, but you can also find them as independent articles:

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Sociologist of Religion’s Visit to Boston

Boston is a very interesting city from a Religious Studies/Sociology of Religion perspective. There are numerous places that would be interesting for you to see:

(1) Visit the Mary Baker Eddy Library and the Christian Science centre

(2) Visit the Swedenborgian chapel in Cambridge, tucked near the Harvard University

(3) Visit the North End, with the array of Churches, some important in U.S. history, and the “Saints’ Alley” in particular.

(4) Other historical churches: King’s Chapel (on Beacon Street), Trinity Church

(5) Just walk the streets: see the small Catholic-Irish ornaments in Charlestown; the new Temples/New Religious Movements on Cambridge’s Main Street; the immigrants’ churches in Chinatown.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Boston with kids, babies and toddlers

A big disclaimer here: I wasn’t in Boston with a real kid (“mommy buy me…!”) but with a very young and obliging child who will do almost anything. Still, here are a few tips:

(1) Food – Boston’s inner city supermarkets are expensive, but it is still a good idea to raid them and eat sandwiches or even the hot meals they offer, and not fast food; those of you from outside the East (including me) probably don’t know Friendly’s, a family restaurant chain, a restaurant of which can be found near the Charlestown Community College train station

(2) The area near the New England Aquarium has a pool with seals for free, which might be enough for some kids

(3) Boston Commons and the Gardens are a great place to be with kids, given the ducks all over the place

(4) Coply Plaza is a great place if your kids are not the winy/buy-me kind, lots of escalators and other exciting things (water fountains, sculptures, etc.)

(5) Museum of Science is almost a “must”; it has attractions for kids of all ages in almost every exhibit. Boston also has a Children’s Museum

Monday, September 10, 2007

Boston Technicalities

Transportation - public transportation in Boston is cheap and convenient, but the city centre is not very large, so one could also go almost anywhere by foot. Remember to get yourself a Charlie Card before you ride, and not buy a ticket each time. Concessions available for handicapped, etc. - but you have to go to a special office for that.

Internet - free Internet is available in public libraries (for 15 minutes without any membership; longer for members or people that the librarian seems to like); most of Cambridge and large parts of central Boston have some sort of WLAN hotspot arrangement.

Newspapers - the Metro newspaper might not be Boston Globe, but is for free.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Eating in Boston for Less

After touring Boston's finest attractions the whole day, and just before returning to your affordable Boston accommodation, you'd probably want to grab something to eat.

The North End and Chinatown both provide an opportunity to sample great ethnic restaurants for less. Go to side streets (those not on the Freedom Trail) in the North End and you will discover Italian Bakeries that also offer sandwiches (no, you don't have to go to the most famous Pizza place in the North End to enjoy the food there); small places open only for lunches, etc.

In Chinatown, you can identify the good, cheap, restaurants because:
* They don't look like Chinese restaurants (that is, with red dragons and other "Chinese" decorations), but more like a cantene;
* Everybody inside, on the other hand, is. We needed in fact someone to translate our wishes to the cashier.

Buying cheap and good food is even more problematic. In Boston itself you can find mostly 7-11 (which haven't seen a fresh vegetable if it beat them); and two moderately-expensive chains (Shaw's and Whole Foods). Both are very good for shopping, and you can also substitute a restaurant's food for Shaw's salad and warm food bars (you pay by the weight). It is not extremely cheap, but for the same price, you would probably get mostly greasy chain food, not real salads. In Charlestown you can also find a chain called Johnny's Foodmaster, which caught our hearts, because it seemed that many handicapped people worked in that branch.

Also in Charlestown (which is in general, another place where you can find off the beaten track cheap places to eat and drink), you can find a "Friendley's" restaurant. For those of you who are not from the East Coast, where this chain operates: it is an ice-cream chain (with lots of balloons and attractions to keep your children satisfied throughout the meal), that serves surprisingly good casual "real" food, you can even get "healthy" stuff like very good salads, and the cherry on the sundae is that it is not very expensive either.

Here are several other restaurants found online:

Boston Magazine: Best of Boston's Cheap Eats


Best Inexpensive Restaurants in Boston, Cambridge and Eastern MA

20 for $20

Boston: Cheap Eats (my favourite sites for restaurants, from the Boston Globe)

Search My Eyes Online