Before the iPod and iTunes supposedly changed everything, we listened to records, CDs, tapes, and radio in our cars, on the street and in mass transit. Music was nearly as portable as it is now, but iPods and other MP3 players radically increased the quantity of music you could take with you. Looking back to the dawn of the iPod/MP3 era, sound-quality improvements weren't part of the agenda, just the quantity of music that was transportable. Apple's early ads touted the advantages of having "1,000 songs in your pocket," which struck me as an … Read more
StrokesPlus is a powerful and flexible program that lets users perform a variety of common tasks, such as cutting and pasting text, launching programs, and adjusting the computer's volume, all by making simple mouse gestures. StrokesPlus Portable is, as the name suggests, a portable version of this useful program. Whether you're experienced with using mouse gestures or looking to try them for the first time, StrokesPlus Portable is a great choice that lets you use your mouse gestures wherever you go.
StrokesPlus Portable appears as an icon in the system tray, and right-clicking it reveals a comprehensive set … Read more
Sticky notes are a great way to keep track of phone messages, to-do lists, and all the other bits and pieces of information that accumulate over the course of the day. It's no surprise that these little pieces of paper have gone virtual, and there are now numerous programs that let you place digital sticky notes right on your computer's desktop. Stickies Portable does a great job of combining useful features with a straightforward interface, presenting you with tools you actually need and eliminating the superfluous options that many other sticky note programs include. We think it's … Read more
VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, allow unmatched levels of remote control and collaboration, such as taking complete control of another PC and viewing its desktop from your own PC, whether the two are next to each other or a world apart. TeamViewer is an easy-to-use VPN tool that's free for personal use. There's no tunneling and there are no proxies to configure: just install TeamViewer on two PCs, enter the provided information in the control PC, and the program does the rest. We saved TeamViewer Portable to a USB stick and ran it on two Windows 7 PCs, … Read more
External hard drives are great for storing photos, music, videos, and backup files. Not only can they can be used with a PC, but also with media devices to add streaming storage, and with Wi-Fi routers as cheap NAS solutions.
Off-the-shelf external hard drives often contain mystery drives inside and the enclosures aren't meant to be reused. Building your own external hard drive can sometimes be a cheaper, more flexible solution. And if you already have an old internal hard drive lying around, you can turn it into a cool external drive, for as little as $10.Choosing your … Read more
Mouse gestures can automate tedious tasks. With the click of a button and a flick of the wrist, you can fill in your shipping address, insert a long string of text you have to type over and over again, display the weather, or launch any program. StrokesPlus is a free mouse gestures application that's easy to configure and use but also highly flexible. It's available in separate downloads for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows operating system. It's also available in fully portable versions of each. While most users will probably benefit from the fully installed … Read more
Moo0's FileMonitor is a free tool that monitors and displays all the file activity on your PC. More than a mere process monitor or event viewer, it displays all running processes and activities, including those that run in the background. It can show you when a program opens a file or initiates a process, which can be useful information if it's something you haven't authorized, such as a virus. But it can also tell you what's going on in your system, such as when the disk is busy; FileMonitor can tell you what's writing to … Read more
ManicTime is personal time-tracking software from a developer called Finkit d.o.o. ManicTime's Standard version is free for personal use, though there's a Professional version that adds more features, if you should need them. Most users will find the free version more than up to the task. That task is to track how and when you use your computer: when you're at it and when you're away, which apps you used and for how long, and lots of other data. Time-tagging lets you see exactly what you were doing and when. With your data, ManicTime … Read more
UltraDefrag is a free, open-source file defragmentation utility for Windows. It can defragment any system file, including the Registry. It's fast and powerful by design, in part because it skips fancy data optimization strategies in favor of speed and reliability. UltraDefrag Portable is a fully portable, fully functional release based on UltraDefrag's source code. It has three operating modes: a GUI mode, with a standard user interface; a console mode; and a native mode for advanced users. We tried the GUI mode, in part because we like to see a cluster map when we defrag our drives.
You'… Read more
Some "portable" headphone amplifiers aren't all that small, but the Firestone Audio Fireye Mini is downright tiny.
It's just 1.5 inches by 1 inch by 0.5 inch, and the soft-rubber-shelled amp weighs almost nothing, so you can hang it off your iPod, iPad, iPhone or any device with a 3.5mm headphone output. Plugging in a headphone turns the Mini on and lights a bright blue LED, unplugging turns the amp off. Charge the Mini via the USB connection and it'll play for up to 24 hours. It's available in green, gray, purple, red, and white.