The Wiki Family

Writing user documents for our company, I ‘ve been using our corporate wiki a lot recently.

Confluence is incredible. I can honestly say I’ve not been impressed by a piece of software to that degree for quite a while.

I really like how it provides me with the possibility for creating small pages like “format specifications” and “installation info” which I can then assemble into e.g. “User’s manual” simple and seamless:

{include:InstallGuide}
{include:CommandLineInterface}

It’s so neat, it’s actually a pleasure to work with it. Need a document to provide to your customer? No problem – it will create a PDF file from that page so that the customer can even print it out conveniently. Bliss…

So I’ve decided that I want to get a wiki for myself. I want to create a wiki with some of my code sippets for the everyday use, some small text handling utility classes, simple solutions, with some coding standards for myself to use, and for my family… to be able to share the family annual stuff like birthdays or important dates, phones, addresses, some basic photos, some experiences and some simple facts, like which pizzerias we consider good, where do we plan to perform our next family meeting and so on and so forth. Accessible for all of us online.

The hosting provider however does not allow me for shell access and java, so Confluence is out of the question (it has a free private license for 2 users which would otherwise be just fine).

I’ve asked around and it looked like mediaWiki might be the answer, so our MediaWiki seems to be up and running. I am not sure though if it’s just me being a noob, but the administering of it seems to be a major pain in the rare. Need permissions changed? Edit php. Add new user without enabling public access to the wiki? looks like you’re facing the the grief of dealing with myPHPAdmin.

And the editing support is almost as good as notepad… *sigh*. There is no way my dad is going to use it in its current state. We’re definitely in need of some nicer theme for it that won’t leave him running form it, screaming. Perhaps I can equip it with some plugins as well to make it bareable?

Short of that, I think I’m still in the market for another wiki engine.

[update]
I’ve also setup TikiWiki for testing, although it seems a bit overwhelming for a casual user. I’ll see about customizing it for the family.

I’ll also be looking at Twiki in the following days.

I’m sure soon enough the kids or at least Martuska will want to have access to it. Boy, would it be nice to have a global family wikipedia, or what!?

There seems to be a plethorea of them to the degree that there are sites and huge matrices comparing them point by point.

Wikipedia comparison
WikiMatrix comparing some of the wikis I’m considering

[update 27-01-2007]
I think I’ll settle with media wiki after all. It’s really tedious to administer, but I can handle it. While tiki seems a bit too complicated and I think the family could have had troubles using it.

Posted in Lifestyle, Rants, Software, Web applications
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Skype GeoLocation Tool

Download source files – 103 Kb
Download the Skype Geo Location tool – 52 Kb

Application GUI

Introduction

It’s a real joy to work in a international company, the problem we face are hardly ever matched by some locally based endeavours…

As some of our friends here at work, you may choose to reveal your current location to your skype buddies. This is nice and easy since you can just put it in your name or description and everyone will see where you are.This poses a problem should you really travel frequently, it is more likely than not, that your location tag will be out of sync.

As this is a something that happens for them once in a while I found it an interesting concept, fun enough to be worth solving it :)

So how does one establish his location? Short of installing a GPS on your machine, I would suggest checking your IP address and translating it based on one of the available databases.

The thought process goes as follows… [Read about the technical guts of the application in my article at Code Project]

The Convergence – The Application

The application helps you maintain your location tag in your name so that whenever you travel to a different town your skype name/description will reflect it.

Disclaimer: The application uses GeoIPTool as its source of IP and geo-location. Visit GeoIPTool for a wide variety of web based geo-location tools.

It does not contain either any kind of tracking abilities other than it letting you to maintain your location tag. The application will not even change your location tag by itself but rather it will notify you that your location has changed and will allow you to change your tag with a simple press of a button.

Usage
In your skype account set your name or description so that it has [] in it or press “Add location tab to…” in the application. Whenever the application will find those it will check if the text in the parenthesis matches your current location., if it does not it will suggest a new one and will highlight the relevant field red. You may set for this operation to be performed on every boot, you will however only be notified when/if your location actually changed.