Today’s Lunchtime Deal is a strange one. Catch of the Day will sell you something called a Wikireader for $19.95. That’s $79.05 less than the standard retail price of $99. The question is, why would you want one?
Today’s Lunchtime Deal turned into a thinkpiece. Bear with me.
The Wikireader is both the stupidest and best idea ever.
It’s easy to see why it’s stupid. Try saying “I just bought a copy of Wikipedia you can use in the real world” out loud in front of a bunch of people and count the seconds it take for them to either burst out laughing or call you an idiot for getting ripped off.
Wikipedia is free and it can be updated in real-time by anyone. This week’s Higgs boson discovery for example. The Wikipedia post on the Higgs was updated within hours. On the Wikireader, you wouldn’t get that update until the next quarterly download.
If I wanted something that didn’t connect to the internet and only got me updates every few months, I’d go to the library. The only thing that the Wikireader has over a library is that it’s smaller and doesn’t smell like old people and musty paper.
Conversely, though, the Wikireader is a fantastic device for looking up things that aren’t going to change in a hurry.
If you’re backpacking around Europe, for example, looking at monuments that literally haven’t changed in centuries, the Wikireader is amazing. It gives you all the information you need quickly and won’t cost you a cent in evil roaming fees.
I really don’t know how to feel about this device. Can you love and hate something equally? [Catch of the Day]