Since the advent of the USB thumb drive, there has been a growing trend that one should be able to take all of one’s own applications with them in their pocket and just plug into any available PC to use your programs.
Since USB memory devices have recently become cheap, fast and big many developers are stepping up the work on portable applications in order to bring that dream to fruition.
You may ask, “Why would I want to go through the hassle of installing this software on a USB key, when I can just use my computer?” Well, if it’s YOUR computer you probably wouldn’t.
But if you have a job, and would rather not let your employer read your personal e-mails or see the porn in your Web browser’s cache:-), you might want to consider using one of these to keep your personal data, well… personal.
Or, if you travel a lot but would rather not lug a laptop around every where you go, you can just take your USB key and make any computer out there your own.
For the average user, here are the applications that I recommend:
- GIMP Portable – A Photo and Image Editor in case you need to touch up pics from your digicam. A little difficult to use, but better than nothing.
- Miranda IM Portable – Allows you to chat using AOL, MSN or Yahoo users.
- Firefox Portable – the award-winning web browser that’s safe and secure.
- Thunderbird Portable – the handy email client (if you don’t use Web mail already).
- VLC Media Player Portable – An easy to use media player that plays most audio and video formats. Take some of your MP3s or videos along on your USB drive as well and you can play them with VLC.
- OpenOffice.org Portable – word processor, spreadsheet, presentations with Microsoft compatibility.
- 7-Zip Portable – File archiver and compressor (handles ZIP, RAR and other compressed formats.)
- ClamWin Portable – Antivirus on the go… just in case.
- PStart – A system tray launcher menu. You can set this up to auto launch when you plug in your USB drive for quick access to all of the above applications.
If you happen to be a Web developer, I would also recommend the following apps be installed on your USB drive:
- Nvu Portable – The easy-to-use Nvu web editor.
- XAMPP – Apache, mySQL, PHP, phpMyAdmin and more in an integrated package. Allows you to use it as a test server.
The best thing of all is that all of these applications are 100% free, and routinely updated! It just doesn’t get better than that.