The free Ki­wix app al­lows users to ac­cess the full range of Wikipedia ar­ti­cles with­out an In­ter­net con­nec­tion

Destiny Man - - BUSINESS -

Wikipedia isn’t with­out its flaws – aca­demic un­sight­li­ness and poor qual­ity of ar­ti­cles among them – but the on­line en­cy­clopae­dia has grown ex­po­nen­tially since launch­ing in 2001 and re­mains a prin­ci­pal re­source for mil­lions around the world.

The English ver­sion alone has more than 5,5 mil­lion ar­ti­cles and 3,5 bil­lion words – over 60 times as many as the ven­er­a­ble En­cy­clopae­dia Bri­tan­nica.

De­vel­oped by for­mer Wikipedia Edi­tor Em­manuel En­gel­hart, the open-source iOS and An­droid app

Ki­wix al­lows for off­line ac­cess to this trea­sure trove of knowl­edge, mak­ing it in­cred­i­bly use­ful for the many oc­ca­sions when the In­ter­net is slow, un­re­li­able or even cen­sored. With the help of a pro­pri­etary com­pres­sion sys­tem, the en­tire English-lan­guage Wikipedia, with im­ages, can fit on the av­er­age flash drive – and there are ver­sions for the Wikivoy­age travel guide and Med­i­cal Wikipedia too.

The app’s been in­valu­able in Africa, where it’s used in schools and uni­ver­si­ties in over a dozen coun­tries, pris­ons and even by the Sene­galese navy. It’s ex­actly the type of lo-fi so­lu­tion of which Tim Bern­ers-Lee would ap­prove.

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