A bit about wikis

Feb 14, 2006

When I lived in Hawaii 13 years ago, I made quite a few trips to the Honolulu airport to welcome various family and friends to the islands. Erin came out to visit me (on a ticket I’d bought with tip money from my night job at Auntie Pasto’s Restaurant, cash I’d saved in an oatmeal cylinder just as my grandfather, Frank the Beachcomber, had taught me to do), and, this being Valentine’s Day, I can still distinctly remember standing with her in the luggage hall marveling at how beautiful she was wearing a white ginger lei and her long luxuriant black hair falling down around that fragrant flower necklace.

Many visitors arrived in the United terminal that is separate from the main terminal but served by a bus named the Wiki Wiki Shuttle. Arriving tourists cram onto that shuttle, but I always walked my guests through the tropical night air. It’s a short walk.

Wiki is the Hawaiian word for short. Hence, the short-short shuttle ride to the main terminal. These days, you may hear of another wiki, a type of web page that allows anyone to edit the content. Wikipedia is the most famous wiki, probably; it’s a communal encyclopedia that people around the world help write.

I’ve got two wikis going: one for the Zuiker Family summer reunion this July, and another for the StoryBlogging effort. I’m using the most awesome StikiPad service (a hosted version of Instiki). But I’ve also been testing PBwiki, another fantastic hosted wiki. Both of these companies have hit home runs with their services. If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-update way to create a web page on which a group can collaborate, definitely try them—they’ve got free versions to test, by the way. (I also recommend using the Backpack and Writeboard services, which I use to organize notes and plans for my personal projects.

Anton Zuiker

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