Apps To Go

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Portable Sites - Apps To GoVisit Site: Apps To Go

Cost: Free

Comments: Large collection of free portable apps.

Description: The USB (Universal Serial Bus) interface is a standard feature on every personal computer, with the great advantage that external devices can be “hot plugged”. This allows the computer user to easily add or remove all sorts of devices – such as a disk drive, mouse, keyboard, or printer – while the computer is operating. Also, the variety of portable mass storage devices based on flash memory and miniature hard drives which can be plugged into USB ports has blossomed. In particular, the storage devices which use flash memory come under a great many different names: USB flash drives, pen drives, memory sticks, Secure Digital cards (SD and SDHC memory cards), CompactFlash cards (CF cards), flash memory cards, and so on. No matter what one of these devices is called, if it can be recognized by the computer’s operating system as a disk drive (on Windows this means it being assigned a drive letter), then it can be used to store the user’s data and software.

With such inexpensive, high capacity storage, the possibilities for portable computing have grown like never before. If you are on the move, you can now take many of your favourite software applications along with you on a flash drive or miniature hard drive and simply plug it into a USB port on just about any modern host computer. You can set up your applications the way you like them without worrying whether the computers you intend to use will have applications missing or set up differently. Tired of coping with the expense and incompatibilties of different versions of Microsoft Office? Then use LibreOffice (free software child of OpenOffice.org), a complete professional office suite, free of charge, which lets you store documents in the increasingly popular standard Open Document format. As an added bonus, LibreOffice can open most Microsoft Office documents directly! Need to access your emails securely while travelling, but find webmail services far less convenient than your usual email client? Sick of receiving spam and viruses through emails? Then use Thunderbird, Mozilla’s world-class email client, again available free of charge, and leave the quirks and insecurities of Microsoft’s offerings such as Outlook far behind! Wanting to browse the web safely and confidentially, without leaving a trail of your browsing history and private data on the host computer? Then use the extensible Firefox browser or the speedy and featherweight QtWeb, both open source and without cost.

There are many more examples of high quality software, mostly without any cost, which have been adapted to work portably. Indeed, it is even possible now to run an entire operating system – Linux in many variants – from the likes of a flash drive. This Apps To Go website describes some portable software applications and utilties which Douglas McFadzean considers to be exceptional and the “best of their breed”. It also archives the old projects developed by Douglas to enhance the K-Meleon web browser, particularly its portability.

Many of the applications have been developed under free software or open source licensing. Whether you are computing at home or in a small business, you don’t have to have a business degree or be an accountant to appreciate the economics and potential savings of replacing proprietary software with open source, gratis software. These portable applications have the added advantage of being easy to upgrade too, giving you the business opportunity to escape from costly vendor lock-in cycles of software and hardware upgrades. Adopting the Open Document format for your office documents provides further insurance against the risk of over-dependency on a particular vendor. Source: www.appstogo.mcfadzean.org.uk

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