Don’t panic! Build your own Hitchhiker’s Guide

You may remember Towel Day in late May, but you know that sooner or later someone is going to make the Interstellar Highway, where you live.

This, or you really like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and seems to be a description of Wikipedia that was far ahead of its time. H2G2, as it is often shorthand, was originally aired on the BBC in 1978: If you missed it, the series (and later books) recounts the (mis) adventures of Arthur Dent, our planet. 

The last human was the survivor after destroying. The Way to Hyperspace Bypass, and a human-like alien writer for Ford Prefect, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And they begin their journey, in fact, by riding on a passing Vogan spacecraft.

Believe it or not, it all makes sense.

Forty years later, there are now almost as many editions of the H2G2 article as there were language editions of the book (about 30). Add a few dozen articles related to the author, the 1984 video game, radio and movie theme tune, and of course all the major characters, and you’ll know more than you care about a few minutes ago. And because we like to do things well, Wikidata also has tributes and even more recently, very beta, lexicographic extensions.

The good news (well, at least for the wiki part) is that there is also a way to fulfill your dream of making your own hitchhiker’s guide come true: everywhere, without the need for an Internet Yoga connection of all knowledge with you (towel not included)!

Enter the offline Wikipedia reader and David Strine, an avid H2G2 fan, a product manager at the Foundation and a Kiwix user in his spare time, supported by the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Switzerland.

Kiwix acts like a browser, allowing over 3 million people around the world to store and access their devices a complete copy of Wikipedia, as well as free from Gutenberg Library, TED Video and more – Licenses are functions obtained. Once the content of your choice has been downloaded (or copied from a friend), no internet connection is required and you are free to move to (or close to) the most remote parts of the Galaxy if you wish. But as if poorly connected: we know some users of Kiwix in Antarctica for example).

Kiwix runs on both Android and iOS and is free, as is Free Speech (ie open-source) and free drinks.

For his own purpose, David used his Nook tablet, but anyone would likely do so. The entire how-to can be found on the trainers and is fairly straightforward: buy a tablet, fit it into a cover, install kiwicks and materials, and you’ll be set.

Some things to keep in mind:

The English Wikipedia is large, as is five million articles and 80 gigabytes – and this is only if you are using the Vivix-zim compressed file format. That said, MicroSD cards capable of holding 80 GB are usually built to hold up to 128 GB, so you can include Wikivoys (an actual travel guide) and Wikisource (public domain book), and right now Some rooms are also empty. This is a good thing, as there are about 800 more files in 100 languages ​​to choose from. 

The larger the storage size, the higher the cost. With no images, files are typically three to four times lighter. The closest Kiwix team ever had to a real-life hitchhiker was a German seaman who would download and download a “refreshed” version of Wikipedia every two years (and send us a thank you note for the update). We also have a strange roundabout traveler who sends a little hello.

But even if you use Kiwiks from home or school, we love stories: we send them to our volunteer coders so that they know their work matters.


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