Irrespective of our passion and profession, most of us need to refer to some document while discussing with friends, well-wishers, colleagues, business partners or prospective clients. With the USB flash-drives becoming very cheap, it is convenient to carry our documents, video or audio files on a pen-drive. But, when we plug our flash-drive to the other’s PC we realise that the file does not open. The PC either does not have the application to open the file or its version does not support our document.
- A speaker spends long hours to prepare a presentation for a prestigious conference. He is told to bring the presentation on a CD or a flash-drive; no time to set up each speaker’s laptop on the podium. When he tries to launch the presentation, it does not open. Or, it opens with a different look and feel, colours mixed up, letters blurred.
- A student finds it difficult to continue work on a project when he takes the code and data home. Versions of the development tools are different.
- We are used with a particular editor, spreadsheet, presentation software or browser – all personalised to our preferences. When we work with a different application or tool to accomplish the same task, we do not have the same comfort feeling.
To overcome such inconveniences, we can lug around our laptops. But, most of the school students and many college students do not have their own laptop computers. Even when we carry one along, we are concerned about extension cord, battery life, and dust in the room …
We have simple way out to be comfortable and confident with our documents and presentations wherever we go, without carrying our own computer. Use portable applications.
Portable programs are fully functional without having to install them on a PC. You simply copy the file to your selected folder or drive, and then run it. A portable program does not store program settings and options in the Windows Registry.
- It will execute without being formally installed onto a computer’s permanent storage device.
- It can be on removable storage devices like USB flash drives, external hard-drives or CDs. We can use them on multiple computers.
- Settings are written to the removable device, and can be carried around.
- It leaves no trace on any PC on exit.
Many popular freeware programs have portable versions.
I have a pen-drive with
- Open Office suit that allows me do all that we can do with MS Office (mostly Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and some more. You may use IBM Lotus Symphony instead, which has better look and feel, but would be a little slower.
- WAMP server (bundle of Apache server, MySQL and PHP) which would allow demonstration of portals or websites on local host. I can install CMS tools like Joomla within this server.
- Portable Java so that I can run programs that depend on Java.
Space utilised on the flash drive is 1 GB; much space left for data files. Other utility tools will gradually add to the population on the flash-drive, reducing dependency on my own PC.
In 70s, railway stations and train compartments carried statements like “Less Luggage, More Comfort. Make Your Travel a Pleasure.” I avoid carrying my laptop, and make trips more comfortable.