Ever notice that whitish things tend to accumulate information?  The front of the fridge is where notes are left.  The edge of your monitor (or under the keyboard) is where critical info goes.

Today’s cool tool continues that tradition.  TiddlyWiki is a nifty place to store information, and the default background is white.

Tiddly-what?

Just take a big breath and relax.  You use a wiki all the time – the Wikipedia is a big wiki that stores information and seems to be Google’s favorite source of information.  You can even get the Wikipedia in a little pocket reader, so you can have all the facts (but not the images) with you all the time.

The TiddlyWiki is the same idea, except that it’s totally yours.  You decide what goes into it, you decide how it looks.  You can use it to keep a to-do list (and a completion list, something that can be helpful – when did we replace the furnace?).  You can keep useful information on it – your car’s maintenance record, or the layout of your garden.  You can keep Christmas card lists here, or favorite recipes, or notes about an upcoming vacation.

You can keep this to yourself, or share it with family using a network drive, or make it public by keeping it on the web.  Hint: Don’t include IDs and passwords on the web flavor.

How, though, do we get from here to there?  Glad you asked.

Step 1: Download TiddlyWiki.  It will come as a file named empty.zip.  Open the zip file and put the two inside files somewhere on your hard drive (like My Documents).  I used a Tiddly folder off My Documents, but your preferences might be different.  I also renamed the HTML file to be wiki.html.

Step 2: Point your web browser to the HTML file and open it.  You could either do a File | Open, or use Windows Explorer to navigate and then double-click.  I got a warning, which I accepted.  I’m doing this intentionally, as opposed to browsing a news site and having a warning appear.

Step 3: Say yes.  You will have your own wiki, eagerly awaiting your content.

Step 4: Put your name in place of YourName in the box.  And let’s change the wiki name.  Click on Site Title.  You stay on the same page, with a place that apparently holds the name of the site, but no obvious way to change it.  Oh, there it is: Edit.

Make the change, click on Done, and it’s complete!

Go ahead and close the section, unless you really want to change your wiki’s title some more.  Now, to be safe, save your changes (link on the right)

You get a nice notice that the file is saved.

Step 5: Add something useful.  Click on the Main Menu.  Edit as needed.

Notice the double square brackets around the words.  That’s how the wiki knows what is a link.  Done, close, save, and the sidebar on the left gets populated.

Open one up, and you will see this

So you double-click and see this

Gardens are annual, so I’m doing mine by year.

Repeat as necessary.

Hints: Save often (you can always go back and un-do something).  Closing the “Welcome” screen saves your name so that edits aren’t saved as being done by YourName.  And bookmark your wiki page so it’s easy to reach.  More hints and help are available under the Getting Started link at the TiddlyWiki site.

Have fun, and happy wikiing!

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