Personal Wiki

One of the best ways to create your daily journal

My mind was at another place this week, it’s why I lacked posting on security. So I experimented a new really cool tool (okay, I’m possibly a big out to date).

Do you know what a Wiki is? There is the definition. It can appear as another blog like way to archive knowledge and distribute it. It can seem another fantasy of the open source/open mind society. It can look like the product of the cool techno wave with a urban name. Yes, this is probably all of them but there is a reason why it’s getting really popular. Basically it’s an elegant and ease way to make a public repository of knowledge on one or many subjects. The main features are: (1) the possibility, to any visitor, to edit and add their knowledge on a subject and (2) the possibility to link WikiWords to reference knowledge. The editing will be logged and other visitors will have the possibility to check what had been modified, when and by whom. If everybody agrees on what is written then the text will remain as long as another person add his own knowledge to the community’s.

I searched and tested many Personal Wiki programs for my own purposes. I wanted to know if this technology was interesting for personal uses. Web based Wikis are really powerful and full of features. The problem is that you need a web server with a database and a server side programming language (like PHP or ASP depending of the Wiki program). The installation is long and sometimes painful. You need to know what to do and how it works. So I started to search for an ease to use and install Wiki program for my personal purposes. I tested some but I found exactly what I needed with WxWikiServer. Basically it’s a home made web server. The only thing that you need to do is running the program and connects to it with your web browser. After you downloaded it, it takes about 2 minutes to begin to use WxWikiServer as you daily journal.

Why a Wiki as a daily journal? Because it’s a simple and quick way to organize your thoughts of the moment. You only have to start you browser and type. You can easily search your diary. You can link every of your thought one between another with a simple click. All additions and changes you made in your diary are logged, over time. You can visualize the changes of a page of your diary, over version, by a simple click. You can track the changes of the whole journal over time. You can organize it the way you want. You can backup it; you can publish it over the internet. Definitely, this is an awesome tool and probably the perfect one at the moment with a Moleskine.

There is how I personally use it. I created a list of WikiWords on the startup page. They are main categories. After, I create WikiWords in these categories as sub-categories. There is a part of my diary’s WikiWords tree:

  • ToDo
  • Writing
    • HowTo
    • Diaries
      • Paper Diary
        • Moleskine
          • Moleskine Hacks
  • Readings
    • Quotes
  • Thoughts
  • Travel
    • Travel Blogging
    • India

This is the knowledge tree of my daily diary. This is just a snippet and it’s astonishing to view how it grows rapidly! The ToDo page is used to put everything that I need to do the current day or during the week. Finally I have a daily diary. I can easely search in it; know where and when I changed entries; have access to all the changes, over time, which I made. Old ideas are not necessary wrong, it’s why it’s helpful to always have access to them.

Security? No know security holes are known for WxWikiServer. It’s sure that possibilities exist but it worth the risks. You can easily manage who can read or write it. A suggestion, if you need that your diary was only viewable and writable by you, then erase the anonymous account in the Users.wkc file accessible at the Admin Login section. Also, change the default password of the admin account. Then you’ll be the only one able to view and edit it. It’s sure that the files are plain text on you local hard drive but no one (theoretically) without access on your hard drive will be able to access them. You can always ask this additional feature to Ryan Norton: “Encryption of the local file”.

Definitely, Wiki is an awesome simple idea for linking singles thoughts one between the other with the possibility of being revised and enhanced by the community. They are not blogs but they emerge from the same stream.

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