26 Jul 2007

week of geek 4 - make it portable

I had to use Internet Explorer this week, the first time I've used the newest version. And it still sucks. What's with all the messages? I just stopped this page from downloading a file. Oooh, this looks like phishing. Did you know that if you post information on the Internet people can see it? Look how we're keeping you safe with all these patronising messages! Look at me! Look at me!. Sheesh. Internet Explorer is just so damn needy.

Which is why, when my computer was back in a vaguely usable state, one of the first things I wanted to install was Firefox, followed by Thunderbird, a decent text editor, PDF viewer, VLC... you can burn a great many hours downloading and installing the latest version of all this stuff. So when I rebuilt the computer, I did something different.

Take a look at www.portableapps.com. Special versions of software, designed to run from a memory stick. They don't take a lot of space and they're all self contained - they won't be copying files all over the hard driver or munting up the registry. But they're still full versions of the sofware packages. So instead of downloading and installing all these things separately, I now have a Portable Apps directory on my hard disk. This contains:
Firefox, Thunderbird, Gaim, Notepad++, Open Office, VLC media player, plus a bunch of games. The whole thing is taking about 280MB on my disk, and I can get a lot of work done with just those apps. Plus, there's a built in backup so you can move all your apps (and data) somewhere safe once in a while.

So - get yourself some portable apps, even if you don't use them in a particularly portable manner and save yourself the reinstallation marathon.

And now - the most dangerous episode of The Goodies ever. People have died watching this. Other people have named albums after the Lancastrian martial art. Be careful.


Richard Crawford said...

I thought you were an Ubuntu guy. Or am I thinking of someone else?

Grant said...

I'm all over the map. I'd prefer to use a Mac (the rest of the family use one), but being a .NET developer, I spend most of my time with Windows. But the great thing about online apps and open source apps is it just doesn't matter any more. Things run everywhere.