Mar 21, 2012

Portable Apps

A few years ago when I was traveling a LOT for work, I needed a way to easily check my personal emails, get my news/RSS feeds, update my personal calendar, and keep my contact list handy. I also wanted a way to do all of that (and more) by using an internet connected computer without having to lug my laptop around, boot it up, get connected. So, I started using portable applications on an USB drive.

What is a portable app? Well, rather than re-write the definition, I am going to quote the definition I got from Portable Apps:

Portable App Definition (permalink)

A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug the device, none of your personal data is left behind.
  • No Special Hardware - Use any USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod/MP3 player, etc
  • No Additional Software - Just download, run the portable installer & go
  • No Kidding - It's that easy

This made life a TON better for me because I could use a computer in whatever office I was visiting, at a local library in the city I was in, in the hotel business center where I was staying, and then when I had a chance, my own laptop. This helped me keep in contact and check everything I needed to do, and instantly kept it all synchronized electronically. Another KEY point made above is that none of your personal data is left behind. When using a public one or borrowing one from a co-worker, this helps insure that none of your personal info is retained on the computer.

I got my PC apps from Portable Apps because they had all the items I wanted (Firefox browser, Thunderbird email, Sunbird organizer, etc.). PLUS they had a lot that I used to entertain myself (VLC video player, Sudoku game, XnView graphic viewer). Okay, that was then, this is now. I switched from a PC to a MacBook, and guess what? There are portable apps for the Mac too. I get them at FreeSMUG. Yeah, there aren't as many public Macs out there, but that is what I use for most of my work now, so I had to switch over to the Mac portable apps.

Fortunately for me, the Portable Apps website [link] explains how you can make an USB drive work on BOTH a PC and a I'll be doing it this week. I'll use the PC apps when I need to, the Mac ones at other times, but at least the info will all be on the same drive...happy computing...

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