For some time now I’ve been watching with interest the emergence of portable applications. In this context, that means applications that can be installed and run entirely from a portable device, such as a USB memory stick.
What’s astonishing is the speed with which this new breed of software has developed. Unsurprisingly the open source movement has been a major driving force: John Haller’s excellent Portable Apps suite now includes (among other things) Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, Gaim, Sunbird and NVU.
So now — having invested in a cheap, rugged USB stick – I have removed all my personal information from my work PC and carry it around with me. For security the whole thing is encrypted using TrueCrypt, so in the event that I should somehow lose the USB stick (or have it stolen) my private data wouldn’t be compromised.
I could even have a completely portable web development environment if I wanted…but do I really want to be able to work anywhere? I think not…