Living the portable life

Published February 10th, 2006

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…

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  1. Michael Thompson on September 29, 2006

    Saw your article when I did a search for “living with portable apps” :D

    I also have been enjoying learning about and using portable apps.
    Many of them are my main programs now.
    Thanks for the tip about encryption too.

    I’ve also become interested in finding out what applications can be made to operate portably. Being a gamer I’ve investigated using emulators and playing other games portably.

    Sure is fun, ain’t it?

    Michael Thompson

  2. USB-space on October 30, 2006

    Another list of portable applications:

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