Wednesday, February 28, 2007

On this day in:

1854 About 50 slavery opponents met in Ripon, Wis., to call for creation of a new political group, which became the Republican Party.

1861 The Territory of Colorado was organized.

The Secret? Article in current issue of Newsweek blasts this popular new book. Quotes a psychologist: "We find about 10 percent of self-help books are rated by mental-health professionals as damaging. This is probably one of them. The problem is the propensity for self-blame when it doesn't work."

From Web-Based Collaboration Tools


Wikis are the grandparents of Web-based collaboration tools. A wiki is a dead-simple way of building Web sites; using simple text syntax on Web pages, users can, without much technical knowledge, create links from text to existing Web pages, either inside of our outside the wiki, and they can easily create new pages as they go while simultaneously linking to the new pages.

In their pure form, wikis allow anyone to edit them, but many wikis nowadays offer access control and workflow tools to keep meddling hands out, and minimize damage by the well-meaning clueless.

Zoho offers a free service to let users create wikis.
Google-owned Jotspot was a commercial wiki pioneer; they're temporarily closed to new accounts now.

Socialtext offers wiki software with a twist--you can copy the wiki to your desktop, work with it disconnected from the Internet and then merge it with the online version; Socialtext is based on TiddlyWiki, a popular single-user Wiki that stores both data and JavaScript code in a single Web page that can be stored locally on the desktop or on a server.

Socialtext is available for free for up to five users and for open source projects, and pricing starts at $95 per month for up to 20 users. The company makes its software available as open source for free.

For people who prefer to roll their own, there are a wide variety of open source wikis available--just install the software on your own server, either on the public Internet or a private intranet or extranet, and you're good to go.

Of course, Wikipedia is the big daddy of all wikis, and it's a great place to start learning about wikis, and finding links to wiki software. Wikipedia runs on MediaWiki software, which is open source, and therefore available for you to build your own wiki.

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