Katt Follows Sox, Then Sun

Wikipedia's Wales spreads gospel; novel reward on tap for stolen laptop.

Ever the loyal and long-suffering Red Sox fan, Spencer can be forgiven if he spent some time last week lording it over the Yankees fans among his friends after the Beantown team had won its second World Series in four years. "This is how dynasties are built," exulted the preening Puss as he noted that the latest Red Sox championship brings a whole new meaning to the cry "Wait till next year."

But with baseball season over and a sharp chill in the air, the migratory Mouser realized it was time to follow the sun and the tips toward warmer latitudes. He landed in a breezy St. Petersburg, Fla.—home of the Wikimedia Foundation, where he heard just how widely Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wants to spread the Wikipedia gospel. The foundation is seeking donations in part to help teach people around the world how to build community-edited Wikipedias in their national languages.

Wales observed that there are Wikipedias in only 250 of the world's 7,000 languages. He plans to travel to South Africa, where the foundation is hosting Wikipedia Academy workshops on how to create local-language Wikipedias. "Ah, another place where spring is just arriving," thought the sun-loving Tabby as he sent a note to his travel coordinator. "Establishing Wikipedias in more African languages will enable speakers of those languages to more actively participate in the global exchange of knowledge," and incidentally help preserve those languages, Wales said.

Spencer got a call from New Zealand, where a brewer has decided to offer something besides cash to try to get a stolen laptop back. Croucher Brewing, a small company based in Rotorua, is offering a lifetime supply of beer as a reward for the return of a stolen laptop that had designs, creative work and financial information on it. The brewer calculates that a lifetime supply equates to about 12 bottles a month.

The laptop was stolen in a burglary on Oct. 15, and to date no one has come forward to return the laptop and collect the sudsy reward. But Croucher Brewing reports on its Web site that its offer has at least helped the 3-year-old company tap barrels of free publicity.

After local news media reported the reward, the story has been flashed around the world, somewhat easing the pain of what was otherwise a serious loss for the small but ambitious brewer.

The Katt next got an e-mail from Berkeley, Calif., where University of California researchers have managed to build a functional radio from a single carbon nanotube one-ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair. The first FM broadcast the nano set received from across the lab was Derek and the Dominos' "Layla" and the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations." The nanotube set requires only a battery and headphones to let you groove to the oldies. "Great, but can you play air guitar to it?" posed the Kitty.

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt

Spencer F. Katt, the Whiskered Wonder, has been the mascot and tipster extraordinaire for eWEEK and its predecessor print publication PC Week since 1984. The Gadabout Gatto makes the rounds of...