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BBC's h2g2 Goes Mobile - Again 80

zaktheduck writes "According to a recent press release, in anticipation of the new movie and the h2g2 website's sixth birthday, the BBC have relaunched the long-shelved h2g2 Mobile service. The new version of the popular community website allows access to the 7000+ and growing edited guide entries from PDAs, and smartphones. H2g2 had a WAP service back in 2001, aptly named "h2g2 on the Move", but was cancelled when the company faced financial trouble and was purchased by the BBC. Here's a copy of the old promotion page for the service."
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BBC's h2g2 Goes Mobile - Again

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  • by CdXiminez ( 807199 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @06:56AM (#12221850)
    I thought the whole of planet Earth had only one entry: Mostly harmless...
  • So, (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:00AM (#12221861)
    Does it have a page on how much the movie sucks?
    • Re:So, (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oprahwinfree ( 466659 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:24AM (#12221942) Homepage
      Please don't start bashing the movie until it has been released to the public and we've all seen it...THEN you may start the bashing.
      • Yeah. That's why redactors of the H2G2 are send accross the galaxy.
      • "Please don't start bashing the movie until it has been released to the public and we've all seen it...THEN you may start the bashing."

        Heh. "Arthur clearly said 'its' not 'his' in the book! THIS MOVIE SUCKS!!"
        • It's all a time warp thing. You know like the Guide says, "bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes", Guide that slipped back through wormhole says, "bunch of mindless jerks that were the first against the wall when the revolution came". It's like that.
          • by fayk ( 857168 )
            While I agree with the first part, the 'book that slipped through time was actually a future edition of the competing Encyclopedia Galactica(or whatever the name was) - wasn't it?
            • Hmm. I think it might well have been, yeah. I was probably mixing it up with the bit about information on space copied off the back of a breakfast ceral box.

              (It took me a long time to realize that the Encyclopedia Galactica thing was a reference to the Foundation Trilogy.)
    • Have you actually seen the movie yet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:01AM (#12221864)
    h2g2 could have been great, but Wikipedia and e2 have it beat both in size and content quality. 7000 entries is nothing.
    • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:07AM (#12221878) Homepage
      h2g2 could have been great, but Wikipedia and e2 have it beat both in size and content quality. 7000 entries is nothing.

      So should I throw away all my reference books and keep just one encyclopaedia?

    • Feel free to educate me but I wasn't aware Wikipedia and e2 had readily available mobile access.
      • queries wikipedia. I don't know if you get full article text, but it's great for quick lookups.

    • by NumberGod ( 65770 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:18AM (#12221914)
      Douglas would be happy.

      I think Wikipedia has grown into what Douglas had envisioned.

      A Free encyclopedia, updated by almost anyone who wants to update it.

      In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, The Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

      First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

      Sounds a lot like the guide to me.
      • You forgot Vogon takeovers (Brittanica?) and rather violent editors in the office, not to mention executive personel.

        And as for comparision with Wikipedia - HHg2g was based on secretaries and legal departament drones, so, of course, the rather colourfull and occasionally politically incorrect (i.e. claiming that Republicans are a political party, while, in fact, everyone knows that they are just Voldemort bystanders) and potentially insulting entries couldn't be possible there.

        For example - take a look at
        • Re:eehm... (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Wiki actually covers the "Harmless" entry at the bottom.

          Actually, I believe Douglas Adams would have really liked what the Wiki has become. His books were meant to be funny, but in no way were they an indication that he did not have a very intelligent and serious side. This would be evident to anyone who had ever read anything he wrote that wasn't fiction.
        • Re:eehm... (Score:2, Interesting)

          by l*barbs ( 872527 )
          As far as I know douglas had invisaged an encyclopedia that anyone could contribute to thus making it accuurate and up-to-date. Both wikie and h2g2 sprung from this idea. Eath my have been considered "Harmless" to begin with, but if HHG2G had been 'open-source' this would have been ammended by some carbon-based ape decendent!
      • The dont panic bit is pretty universal.
        But I can only imagine how great it would be if content could be added by users. Just like a wiki, an always on, digital guide to everything around you. Although if that were ever implemented it would probably be raped by spam.
      • envisioned? (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Adams adapted already existing models of books with poorly-paid stringers to the HHG2G. He didn't invent it. Adams himself mentioned the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Europe as his inspiration.

        Unlike Wikipedia, the HHG was edited by professionals. The lowest-level of professional, to be sure, but people who were paid at least slightly for doing it. And it was edited (poorly) before it was published.

        On a more practical note, the HHG seemed to have more specific info than Wikipedia, probably because the HHG is mor
    • by Mwongozi ( 176765 ) <slashthree.davidglover@org> on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:25AM (#12221943) Homepage
      That's 7000 entries specially edited for reading on mobile devices. The complete guide has lots more.
      • Why would a mobile device need special editing?

        I recently installed Wikipedia on my Psion 5mx. It's only a snapshot, omits pictures and other multimedia files, and takes up nearly half a GB of CompactFlash, but it's complete and unedited, and perfectly usable. (As the significant reduction in my free time shows...)

    • by Anonymous Coward
      7000 is the number of *edited* entries - there are many more unedited entries.

      Having said that, I started out with h2g2, but much prefer Wikipedia, because collaborating on articles with h2g2 is (or at least was) difficult, while with wiki it is easy.
    • I agree, but you have to admit that h2g2 is a lot more fun. honestly, w/ all the buzz that the movie's getting -- i wouldn't be surprised if we saw a spike in membership/registered users w/in the next few weeks. is anyone actually registered w/ them??
  • Useful for hhgg2xml (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jaffa ( 7714 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:22AM (#12221928) Homepage
    Interesting. This could be useful for my own hhgg2xml [] converts H2G2 articles into a variety of formats, including XML and TomeRaider - which is useful for carrying it around with you on a PDA without network access.

    I'll have to look more closely at this new version to see if it can be parsed more easily.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:23AM (#12221935) Homepage
    If the Hitchhiker's Guide wasn't mobile, it wouldn't be much use to a hitchhiker, now would it?
  • Eventually there will be an affordable, portable, wireless device that will allow instantaneous access to local and remote information of the choice of the user, basically a universal reference ebook reader, with several means of input. This is inevitable since such an item would be the ultimate knowledge tool. Cell phone tools, wireless laptops, tablet pcs, pdas, and data watches are all technological stepping stones to an actual, useful, guide to the universe.
    • With the new breed of VGA PDAs, do we not already have THGTTG in our pockets?

      Surfing in true VGA mode on the 4700 means you can look at things like wikipedia on the move anyway as long as you have access to a local wireless LAN and/or a bluetooth phone.

      There are ways in which PDAs and the 4700 suck. However in my experience one thing that VGA on the 4700 *does* offer is genuine desktop-like anywhere internet reference.

      • I've found the hx4700 a bit too expensive, but really the cheaper (non VGA) PocketPCs don't do a shabby job at all either.

        If you have a 1GB memory card and a Palm or PocketPC, you can fit the whole text of the Wikipedia on there, and can view it wherever you go. If you have wifi access, you can just get at it (and the whole wealth of the internet) that way. The grandparent post's idea seems already to exist, to an extent.
  • The original H2G2 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @07:37AM (#12222001)
    I stumbled apon this the other day: incase anyone is looking for the original BBC radio show. []
  • by Forget4it ( 530598 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2005 @08:29AM (#12222221) Homepage
    Final Hitch []
    Radio 4 to broadcast final Hitchhiker's series.

    The eight-part series, produced by Above the Title, will be broadcast from Tuesday 3rd May at 6.30pm.

    Following on from last year's radio smash hit, Life, the Universe and Everything, the original cast - Simon Jones, Geoffrey McGivern, Stephen Moore, Mark Wing-Davey and Susan Sheridan - were again reunited to record the series alongside William Franklyn as the Voice of the Book.

    Several actors connected with the Hitchhiker's Guide from its other incarnations, both on stage and television, take lead and supporting roles, including Bill Paterson, Sandra Dickinson, Jonathan Pryce, Rula Lenska and David Dixon. Supporting stars include Jane Horrocks, Jackie Mason, June Whitfield, Stephen Fry, Arthur Smith, Saeed Jaffrey, Miriam Margolyes and a surprise Hollywood star guest appearance
  • I know there would have been copyright issues, but I was always surprised no one put together a complete guide recreation - using the entries from the radio shows, tv show, books and computer game - for the Palm or PocketPC platforms. It's really not very many entries, and it would be a cute little novelty application.

    Those copyright issues would likely come more into play with the movie coming out, though. The interested parties have more of a stake in protecting their material now that it's going super-m
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wikitravel is probably closer to The HHGG than Wikipedia, as it's supposed to contain useful stuff about travelling. It's even got a Hitchhiking page! Quote from that page: "Always stay happy - even if people react nastily." On the Mobile access thing: Most of the world doesn't have mobile phone masts... And where will you recharge your phone in Eastern Siberia? At the moment nothing beats a good paper guide book for most of the world (especially if you need to start a camp fire).
  • Is Wikipedia mobile like this? If so does anyone have a link? If so, then we'll have our "Encyclopedia Galactica" and our "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" for real!

  • I liked this project better when it was called wikipedia
  • "Arthur doesn't know" by Zaphod and Trillian is my favorite ringtone.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide Project [] is more purely an "encyclopedia" modeled on Adams' Guide. And a lot more in need of contributions, without BBC (or Ursa Minor []) sponsorship.
  • PR (Score:2, Insightful)

    As someone in advertising, this is almost certainly a PR stunt. I mean, its fun and interesting, but nothing special, and Wikipedia blows it out of the water. Nothing much to see here except your latest H2G2 branded merchandise.

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