As Computer technology keeps advancing and hardware becomes smaller and lighter, innovations have been made that allow more mobility when it comes to accessing our data. A great example is with the portability of USB flash drives. No longer does the typical home user need to be tied to one computer to view digital photos, videos or documents.
With the same freedom these devices give us, software advancements has also been made with making applications portable. One that comes to mind, is a suite of applications including Mozilla FireFox and Thunderbird from PortableApps.com
PortableApps have been around for a while, but they recently released a suite that includes Mozilla FireFox web browser, Mozilla Thunderird email client, OpenOffice suite, Mozzila Sunbird calendar/scheduler, Gaim instant messaging client, GaimWin antivirus, Sudoku game, backup utility and integrated menu, all preconfigured to work portably. Applications are Open source or freeware. All capable of fitting on a 512mb USB thumb drive.
Installation is easy and once installed on your USB drive, a small system-tray icon appears. Clicking on the icon will bring up the launcher menu:
From here you can run any application such as Firefox, as if it was installed on your hard drive. One of the first task I did after installing PortableApps suite was to copy my Firefox bookmarks from my Laptop to the installed location of Firefox on the USB drive. Now I can easily keep the bookmarks in sync and always have them with me.
Having the mobility like this has many advantages. With Thunderbird you can easily backup your email either from GMail or an ISP account directly to the USB drive. No need to create backup copies and always have your address book, settings and customizations available. Since the installation resides entirely on a removable drive, you can plug into any Computer and immediately begin to surf the Internet or work on documents or spreadsheets, save your data, unplug and have everything available where ever you go.
For the Tech geeks, there is also a version of Mac OS Classic 7.0.1 available.
PortableApps suite runs on Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista and Wine if your running Linux. Check them out at PortableApps.com.