Monday, July 14, 2008


The days of the floppy disk are over. The flash drive (or thumb drive or memory stick or memory key -- everyone calls it by a different name) is by far a better and more efficient way of saving files. They hold far more data (you can get a Gig of memory -- the equivalent of nearly 600 floppies -- for under $15), they're safer and, they work like a hard drive in that software can run from them*.

That leads to a great little website: The site has users package applications that will run on a flash drive. What's the advantage? Well, if your web browser is on your flash drive, your bookmarks travel with you. You can run Instant Messaging from any computer, even if it's not installed. You can work on your files or view PDFs.

Some of the applications available on Portableapps include OpenOffice, Firefox, GIMP graphics editor, CLAM-AV antivirus and quite a few others. I wish there were more options available, but it's enough to get you started, and more are added each month.

You just download and install the Portableapps software onto your flash drive. Once that's set up, download the apps you want to use from the Portableapps website. Then, when you plug it in, you will be given the option of starting Portableapps. It puts an icon on your system tray that allows you to access whatever apps you have installed.

It's a nice idea, and as more software becomes available, will be even better.

*An iPod is basically just a big flash drive with audio output and special software.