Featured Freeware: WikiTaxi

The idea behind WikiTaxi is so simple that the utility of it should be obvious: take Wikipedia offline. How cool is that? The real question is, though, does it work?

The idea behind WikiTaxi is so simple that the utility of it should be obvious: take Wikipedia offline. How cool is that? The real question is, though, does it work? Is it even possible to take the massive online encyclopedia offline in a usable format?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. WikiTaxi compresses all of Wikipedia into a database that's searchable, fully usable, and small enough to fit on an 8GB USB drive. It grabs the Wikipedia database dump every few weeks, keeping your offline entries up-to-date with the latest changes. There's also an option in the program to update it yourself, if you happen to venture near enough to an Internet connection.

As a single-file app, WikiTaxi is easy to manage--hence the portability. To install it, you extract the file to any folder. When you open it, it opens to a randomly selected page, and you can browse from there. WikiTaxi does leave Wikipedia's images behind to keep the file size down, so if you need graphics this might not be for you. Also, given the nature of WikiTaxi, don't forget that external links are not supported for obvious reasons. Internal links should still work, though. So as a growing number of people try to take advantage of the Internet's resources without getting all the online distractions, WikiTaxi is a smart way to bus around one of the best tools on the Web.