So Wikipedia is unavailable today, and suddenly something seems wrong about the web. Where will you turn to to answer your daughter’s question about whether there was ever a 47-star U.S. flag? How will you help your son with his homework when it asks him to write a paragraph about the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act? How will the internet community at large get by without its questionably sourced repository of all information both useful and utterly trivial?
1. Google Cache: Google has put up a Doodle in support of the SOPA/PIPA blackout, but unlike Wikipedia, the search service remains just as functional as ever. There are two easy ways you can use Google Cache to satisfy your need for a Wikipedia fix:
- If you have the URL for the Wikipedia page you want, copy and paste it into a Google search box — either on Google.com or built into your browser. Then add “cache:” (without the quotation marks) to the beginning of it without any space between them.
Click the button or hit Enter, and you should be taken immediately to Google Cache’s latest version of that page.
- If you don’t have the URL, but see a Wikipedia page you’d like to read in a list of Google search results, you don’t have to copy and paste the URL. Simply mouse over (and click if necessary) the area to the immediate right of the entry in question so that the preview button and popup appear. At the top of the graphical preview, after the title and URL, there should be a linked word, “Cached.” Click it, and boom goes the dynamite.
2. Go to the library: Hey, you know those buildings with all the books in them? Remember in the Dark Ages before the World Wide Web, when if you wanted to research something, you could go to one of those buildings and use some of those books to find out what you wanted to know? It turns out that you can still do that! Who knew?
3. Call your trivia-expert friend: Do you have a friend whom you’re always saying should go on Jeopardy! — or who’s already been on it? Do you cringe at the idea of playing Trivial Pursuit with him? Well, you can not only get pretty decent odds on getting the answer to your question, but also make that friend feel like a guru, by calling or texting him to ask him. Note: If you are that friend, we hope you’ve been studying.
5. Wait until tomorrow: I know, I know: You’re a geek, and when a geek wants to know the answer to something, it’s really hard to wait patiently to find out. Look at this as an opportunity for personal growth! Just keep reminding yourself that if you can just hold out until Thursday morning, everything will be back to normal.
Got any other good tips? Let us know in the comments.