How to read Wikipedia during the Zombie Apocalypse.

I am always playing survival scenarios in my head. When I am bored and daydreaming at work, I imagine that I would be part of the 1% of humans that survive during some kind of disaster. Meanwhile, I don’t actually do anything to prepare myself to live up to that fantasy. So I got to thinking, what is the easiest and cheapest thing I could do to give myself an advantage over other survivors during the doomsday? How about access to all of human knowledge before society collapsed? Yeah, that might do it.

Here’s how to download and read Wikipedia offline.

Why an Offline Wikipedia Reader?

In the age of smartphones and instant connectivity, have you ever considered that we might be living as modern-day cyborgs? Our ability to find answers with a quick Google search or see the faces of people thousands of miles away in an instant is nothing short of a superpower bestowed upon us by the internet.

Yet, like any superhero, we have our kryptonite—a service outage. If you’ve ever experienced a service outage you start to realize just how much we rely on the constant availability of the internet. “Hmm, let me google how to fix the internet… Oh wait…” Now imagine how you’d feel if the internet NEVER came back on.

The goal of setting up an offline Wikipedia reader is to preserve as much of that superpower as possible even when the internet is not available. While it’s not going to be as versatile as a Google search, maintaining access to Wikipedia is a great way of ensuring that you have the ability to quickly obtain new information about a new topic at least at a surface level of understanding. Then of course, if you’d like to you can expand your offline hoard of information with more in-depth resources such as ebooks and videos. However, that is a topic for a future article.

How is it done?

The simplest way of getting an offline Wikipedia reader up and running is to use 3rd party software.

I recommend Kiwix which you can download here:

Kiwix is available to download on pretty much anything, so you can use any old device you have lying around for this project. You will need to make sure your device has a fair bit of storage space though. The English version of Wikipedia is about 50GB without photos and 100GB with photos. This should be no problem though as you can get a portable hard drive with 10x that amount of storage for less than $50 off Amazon or a micro SD card for somewhere around $15.

Once you have a device with sufficient storage space go to the Kiwix library where they have a large selection of pre-packaged wikis available and click on the blue download button for Wikipedia.

That’s really all there is to it. If you download the app version onto your smartphone the library is built into the app itself so it’s just a couple of clicks to find and download a useful wiki.

While you have the library pulled up I would highly recommend also downloading wikiHow. There are TONS of actionable articles with step-by-step instructions on how to do a specific task or project. If we go back to the zombie apocalypse theme I raised at the beginning of the post, WikiHow might even be a better resource than Wikipedia because it is strictly actionable instructions.

Redundancy Considerations

If you have Wikipedia set up to work offline, you’re obviously doing it to maintain access to it without the internet. (That’s what offline means!) So, what happens if the device storing your copy of Wikipedia fails, breaks, or spontaneously combusts? You won’t have the internet to download another copy. Therefore, if you’re doing this with a preppers mindset I would recommend downloading a second copy on a separate device. MicroSD cards are insanely cheap and used hard drives are free if you know where to look. You will be thanking your lucky stars that you shelled out the extra ~$10 for a second storage device if the failure does occur!

Wrap-up and personal thoughts

While on the topic of information preservation in the context of prepping, I am quite interested in building up a library of media as I’m sure if the apocalypse ever does arrive it will be pretty boring. It would be nice to have some good shows and movies to watch in between evading zombies. I will likely create my very own “Internet” complete with information, books, movies, video games, and maybe even some archives of old forums and interesting websites so I can look back on civilization from my survival bunker. If any of that sounds interesting consider subscribing to my email list for updates. I may even make it into a video for my YouTube Channel so consider doubly subscribing!

Anyway, thanks for reading! Catch you next time.

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