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How to Survive Wednesday’s Wikipedia Blackout

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Wikipedia will go offline on Wednesday in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill that would allow the U.S. government to cut off funding sources to foreign websites accused of piracy by rights holders.

Wikipedia’s actions will of course have consequences, as internet users around the world realize how helpless they are without the free, user-generated online encyclopedia. Fortunately, workarounds and alternatives are available, so you can still soak up the world’s knowledge while Wikipedia is down.

Wednesday’s Wikipedia blackout begins worldwide at midnight Eastern time and will last for 24 hours. Here are three ways to survive the down time:

Option 1: Download Wikipedia for Offline Use

The Pirate Bay (which, appropriately, would be a likely target of anti-piracy legislation such as SOPA), is tracking an unofficial torrent file with all Wikipedia articles inEnglish. The file also includes a copy of WikiTaxi, an offline reader for these articles. Make sure you have BitTorrent installed, then click the link that reads “Get This Torrent” on The Pirate Bay’s website. Once you have all the files, follow these instructions:

1. Do NOT unzip the .bz2 file!
2. Instead, unzip the Wikitaxi program.
3. Run WikiTaxi_Importer.exe and select the .bz2 file. Click import and wait for a couple hours.
4. Run WikiTaxi.exe and open the newly created database file. (the .taxi file, not the .bz2 file)
5. Enjoy Wikipedia without the Internet.

On Android phones, WikiDroyd lets you download an offline version of Wikipedia for free. On the iPhone, the $5 Wiki Offline has similar functionality. However, both of these apps require you to download the encyclopedia after installing the app, and it’s not clear whether Wikipedia will make its files available on Wednesday, so plan ahead.

Option 2: Use an Online Mirror

Downloading Wikipedia takes a long time, so for quick access, consider an online mirror of Wikipedia instead. TheFree Dictionary’s encyclopedia offers the exact same content as Wikipedia (but with ads). When searching within the site, make sure to click the “Wikipedia encyclopedia” tab to get to Wikipedia’s content.

Option 3: Use a Wikipedia Alternative

ComputerSolving.com has a list ofWikipedia alternatives to get you through the day, including Encyclopedia.com and Citizendium, which requires authors to verify their credentials before posting. 

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