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Techpriest sent an email awhile back suggesting we do portable software as an episode. So here ya go tecpriest.
Portable software means the ability to take your software with you and use it on any computer. The Ubuntu OS is the ultimate portable software, a whole operating system.
usually though, people are talking about portable applications or portable apps for short. These are programs you can store, say, on a USB thumb drive. Then you just carry around the thumb drive, instead of a whole computer. When you get to a computer (and it does have to be a computer with a USB port in this case), you plug in your thumb drive and you have access to all your apps.
So let's say you put the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird email reader, GAIM instant messenger, Open Office and VLC media player on a thumb drive.
You can be on any computer and have all your bookmarks, all your email, open word and excel docs and play any kind of video. And you don't have to install a thing on the PC. You just need a big enough USB drive to hold all the apps and data.
You can get all the apps I just mentioned at portableapps.com (we also host them here at CNET's download.com).
grazwell posted on the forum a love of the site http://www.portablefreeware.com/all.php,
And I quote: "I got a few great applications for school and more from it. Also, there are quite a few other school type things available elsewhere, like Physvis for analysing speed and tons of java applets. ideal for schools with PCs that don't let the teacher install stuff."
Now if you want to make it a little easier, you can go with something like U3 or Ceedo. They're platforms for USB drives that makes the whole portable apps process a little more integarted and newbie-friendly. They can read your outlook mail, also open word and excel docs, and get you access to a store full of other portable apps.
The difference is some of the U3 apps cost money, Ceedo makes you pay for some installation sofwtare while the programs at portableapps.com are free and open source.
Now one thing about these portable apps is they're all OS dependent. If you have the Windows Firefox on your USB drive, it won't run on a Mac. At least not without parralells or Boot Camp.
But there's even a way around that.
You can go all the way and install an operating system on a USB drive. Then you can boot any computer from the USB and run your whole OS your way. There are several small Linux distros, one of the most popular being Damn Small Linux as pointed out on the Real Deal forum by pahrmd24. It only takes up 56 mb.
There's also a way in 15 steps to install Windows XP on a flash drive. It's a loong tutporial though, so we won't go into it here. I'll put the link in the Real Deal forums
So how do you do this?
Well first you need a portable storage device. I've been using USB thumb drives as an example, but let's get creative. Any portable storage device will work. I use my iPod for mobile apps. You can use most MP3 players, though remember, the more apps you have on them, the less space you have for songs.
You CAN use CDs, but remember they're not easy to update, even if they are CD-RW and you can't save settings changes directly to them.
Once you've decided on a storage device, plug the device into your computer, browse to the website that hosts the portable app you want and download it. I'm going to use the Firefox Web browser as an example.
Launch the install file after it downloads and when it asks where youw ant to install it, change the location to the portable storage device.
Let the installation run, follow the prompts and voila. You got it all. Just like installing a regular program, except this one can run on any computer.
If you're aim is to always have all your settings, you'll want to make sure you always use the apps form the storage device, otherwise you risk having two sets of settings like bookmarks and such.
About Phishing episode
Next week we hope to have a podcast on either at least World of Warcraft or online gaming more generally, with Veronica Belmont as guest.
You can email us at email@example.com
Post in the Real Deal at forum at forums.cnet.com.
Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly
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