News and notes
Picture of the Year, Wikipedia's first logo, Board elections, and more
Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2008: Results
Official results for the 2008 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year competition have been announced. The first place winner is "Horses on Bianditz mountain" taken by Flickr user Mikel Ortega in the Basque Country, and edited by Richard Bartz. The runner up, in second place, is Fire breathing "Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band" in Chassepierre, Belgium taken by Wikimedian Luc Viatour. The third place photo is Steam locomotives of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway in the roundhouse at the Chicago, Illinois rail yards in 1942 by Jack Delano of the Farm Security Administration in December 1942 and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Durova.
The competition involved a multistage process, accepting nominations for Picture of the Year and then narrowing down the nominations to a list of finalists. In the final round (Round 2), 712 Wikimedians participated in the vote, giving 74 votes to the winning photo, while the second place photo received 71 votes, and 46 votes went to the third place photo.
Full results are available at Commons:Picture of the Year/2008 on Wikimedia Commons.
Horses on Bianditz mountain (1st place)
Jaipur Maharaja Brass Band (2nd place)
Steam locomotives of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway (3rd place)
Creator of Wikipedia's first logo comes forward
Bjørn Smestad, the creator of Wikipedia's first official logo (right), which was in use for about eight months in 2001, has come forward as User:Bjornsm. Smestad, a teacher of mathematics instruction in Norway, had responded to a logo contest held for Nupedia, the precursor to Wikipedia, in about 2000. However, his submission lost the Nupedia contest and Smestad, who states he was never very active on either Nupedia or Wikipedia, was unaware that Jimmy Wales had chosen his logo to replace the American flag placeholder image used when Wikipedia was started. It was not until User:Mosca dug through some old web archives to reconstruct the history of the logo that Smestad's role was uncovered and mentioned in March 2009, at which point Smestad stumbled upon his previously unknown claim to fame after Googling himself in May 2009. Smestad states, "The two black vertical lines were included in an effort to make the logo seem like an 'N'. However, it is ironical that while I probably didn't succeed too much in making it appear like an 'N', that may be precisely why it could be used for Wikipedia," and remarks, "this may therefore be one of my most welcome failures ever." (Smestad's blog post)
2009 Board elections announced
Information about the 2009 Wikimedia Foundation Board elections has been released by the elections committee, on Meta. The page contains information about the election rules for candidacy and voting requirements. Those interested in running for the board can submit their candidacies from 06 July 2009 to 20 July 2009.
After posting the information to the Foundation-l mailing list, the Wikimedia board elections committee extended the length of the voting period in the 2009 Board elections to run from July 28 through August 10. The changes were in response to concerns raised on the mailing list. The summer time period is when many will be on holiday, so many felt that the originally proposed time period of one week was not sufficient. The elections page on Meta has been updated accordingly. 
Google announces wiki-inspired "Wave" protocol
At a conference for web developers (Google I/O), Google announced Google Wave. According to our own article:
It is a web based service and computing platform designed to merge e-mail, instant messaging, wiki, and social networking. It has a strong collaborative and real-time focus supported by robust spelling/grammar checking, automated translation between 40 languages, and numerous other extensions. It is expected to be released later in 2009.
Because of Google Wave's wiki-like features and because Google has plans to release open source code for wave technology, Wikipedians have been discussing the potential uses of Google Wave in Wikimedia projects. On the possibility of using Google's development tools to create wave applications for MediaWiki, Wikimedia Foundation Deputy Director Erik Möller stated:
It could be quite compelling. I'm happy to talk to them about early access on behalf of interested Wikimedia volunteers.
Chrome browser to support Ogg Theora video
A forthcoming version Google's web browser Chrome will support Ogg Theora video files, reports Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh. Because of the Foundation's commitment to using free software, Ogg Theora is the only type of video used by Wikimedia projects; more popular formats such as Flash Video, Windows Media Video, and MPEG are proprietary formats.
Ogg Theora browser support will make it possible to embed .ogg videos on webpages simply by using the HTML 5
video element. Chrome will join Firefox and Opera, two other browsers with plans to support Ogg Theora.
"If it weren't for Wikimedia using it, this work probably wouldn't have gone into enabling native browser support for it," said Walsh.
- The Wikimedia New York City chapter and Free Culture NYC are organizing Wiki-Conference 2009, a two-day regional/national conference to take place at New York University's Kimmel Center. Tentative (very provisional) dates for the conference are July 25-26. The conference will have free registration, though space will be limited to ~100 participants.
- Michael Bimmler is ending his involvement with Wikimedia, as he has relocated to a new country and is starting at a new university. He has decided on a "clear cut from everything" and wants to "spend time on new things". His five years of involvement have included time as President of Swiss chapter (Wikimedia CH), member of the Chapters Committee, OTRS agent, and administering Wikimedia's foundation-l mailing list. 
- A new attempt to integrate videos & photos into Wikipedia has launched in public beta this week. Navify takes videos from YouTube & photos from Flickr to display alongside articles.
- PC World and The Washington Post covered a browser add-on, Googlepedia, that delivers search results from Wikipedia and Google at the same time.
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