I was sitting at work, muttering to myself as I am want to do, nibbling on a pistachio nut and avoiding the interminable data entry part of my job (the problem with only having a part time minion is that part of the time she’s not in the office to do the boring bits of my job for me) and I came to the realisation that I need a wiki.
Yes, yes. Gasp, shock horror and all that mlarky. Actually, I’m not sure what is stranger: the idea that I’m thinking of setting one up; or the idea that I don’t have a wiki already!
You see, the odd idea frequently strikes me when I’m sitting at work at the computer and don’t have easy access to somewhere I can jot things down. A nice online wiki… Well, I invariably have an IE window open so it’s no hassle to jump into the edit window of a wiki.
The more I think of it, the more I am convinced that a wiki, probably living as a subdomain of Bright Meadow, is the way to go. I quite enjoyed the experience of planning the Demon Thesis on a wiki. I’m more often than not at a computer and a centralised place to store ideas seems perfect to me (I have a moleskine for the offline moments). Yes, I could write up draft posts here on the blog but I’m more likely to hit “publish” than “save as draft”, and I end up with fifty different posts sitting in draft which just look messy and as there’s no ability to link between ideas, things get lost.
The only draw back I can think of is what happens when I’m not online but at the computer and want to work on an idea? I have vivid memories of the other week when we were without internet for five days at Meadow Towers. Not something I want to repeat, but unfortunately a circumstance that is bound to happen again. Therefore the ‘dream wiki’ would have to have an offline counterpart and, more importantly, some easy way of synching between my local (offline) server and the online server.
An easy “one click” install would be nice too. I have horendous memories of trying to install MoinMoin. Whilst that was partly down to firewall restrictions and my local server being randomly turned off by the Mysogynistic Belgian, any installation that requires me to refamiliarise myself with the the command line is NOT easy.
The wish list:
- Not MediaWiki – I can’t fully rationalise my decision, but MediaWiki just leaves me cold. Like you knew Hitler was evil by just looking at his creepy mustache.
- Easy install – see my definition above for an explanation of ‘easy’
- Able to run on a Linux server
- An offline counterpart that will run on a Mac local server
- Straightforward synching between the offline and the online versions – I am aware I might be living in cloud cuckoo land here, but it is called a ‘wish list’ for a reason!
- In built spell checker – this post was composed entirely in IE (no handy spell checking like Safari gives me). It’s quite obvious, isn’t it?
- Work (look presentable) in IE
- Security – I don’t want every Thomas, Richard or Harold to be able to view my thoughts by just going to brightmeadow.co.uk/wiki/
It’s been a while since I paid close attention to wikis and the various engines out on the market now. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?
As am aside, the idea I had today was involving around wikis, logins and spam. Or a combination thereof. I just can’t remember the points of my argument because I didn’t have somewhere to write them down – I nearly started on my ‘discussion’ page on Antiquist, but then I got all shy because I’m not sure my ideas are ready for anyone/everyone to read right now.