Your USB stick can do more than you think

This article was originally printed in my ‘Ask a Geek’ column in our local Mount Vernon Register-News. Please feel free to email me at askageek [at] register-news [dot] com if you have suggestions, criticism, thanks, hate mail, or whatever. Thanks for your time.

Wouldn’t it be great to have your browser the same on vacation, at home, and at work? With Portable Apps you can do just that and more.

A lot of people carry USB sticks today. They are extremely easy to use to move information from one PC to another. What a lot of people may not be aware of is that they can be used to carry useful programs and use them wherever you happen to have computer access.

Portable Apps are versions of applications that you may use every day, but they can be put on a USB drive and don’t usually leave any traces on a computer.

This way you can hop on to a library computer and not worry much about the next person seeing where you have been (bank, work e-mail, etc.).

There are many other useful programs other than just a browser however. You can get everything from a word processor (Abiword) to even the old Mac operating system.

These portable applications can come in very handy on vacation, business trips, and even at work if you need something that isn’t already installed. All you need to do is download what you need, then unpack (install, but not really) whatever programs you need. Even with these programs on your USB, you can keep using it just like normal to move or store files.

Even if you don’t have a need for keeping applications with you all the time (we can’t all be geeks), the applications are all very trimmed-down, and work great on a regular computer. This way you don’t have to worry about gumming-up your Windows Registry or making a bunch of folders that take up space on your hard drive.

Go see what they have and if any of it can be useful for you.

The portable Abiword is proving useful for me right now. It is how I wrote this article on grandma’s computer.