Portable Applications Bloggers Can’t Travel Without
I travel. I travel a lot. Not as much as some, but more than most. Usually I have my laptop with me, but occasionally, I’m caught off guard and have to stay somewhere without access to the tools I have become dependent upon for my business and my blogging. Three times this winter I was caught off guard in a snow storm or flood and was separated from my laptop.
I now carry with me a 5 gig small portable pocket drive stuffed with my essential, can’t-live-without blogging gear.
I found most of these on my own, but the Wikipedia List of Portable Applications features many of the must-have applications and tools all in one place.
A portable version of a program is sometimes the full version of the program with all the help and extra files (templates, graphics, import, export, and helpful but not used every day files) removed to slim it down to a smaller, more portable size. Others are a “lite” version of the program with the non-essential features removed. It does what it is designed to do all the time and the bells and whistles are stripped away.
There are two ways to use a portable application. You can save the downloadable and executable file to your portable drive or flash drive for installation when you need it on another computer, removing it when done, or you can install it to the portable drive to run directly from the drive, a fast and convenient way to get to work from any computer.
Mozilla Firefox is an essential tool for bloggers, web designers, and web browsing fans. They also offer Firefox Portable to take Firefox on the road.
Other portable applications and tools I can’t live without with my blogging and work are:
- Thunderbird Portable (Email)
- Filezilla (FTP)
- NoteTab light or NoteTab Pro (Text Editor)
- PSPad Text Editor
- Foxit Reader (PDF Reader)
- OpenOffice Portable (office suite)
- GIMP Portable (Image Editor)
- Gyula’s Navigator (File Manager)
I don’t need a lot. In a pinch, a text editor and Firefox can get me through at a minimum.
Do you travel and take your blogging on the road? What tools can’t you live without? Do they have a portable version?
Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on Lorelle on WordPress and author of Blogging Tips, Tips Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging.
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.
What’s great with mac applications is that you can just copy over the .app file to anywhere, and you can run it from there, be it flash media, optical media, or even a bootable hard drive (via USB/firewire). Of course, you won’t be able to run these on PCs.
Gah, I LOVE my portable apps! I’ve gotten to the point where I work from them rather than the full-sized version. PortableApps.com has portable opensource programs and a bundled menu… I have portable versions of FileZilla, the complete Open Office, GIMP, FF, and Thunderbird from them, among others.
As for programs that aren’t intended as portable apps but still do the trick (and all happily live on my 6G flash):
* TaskCoach (time tracking, project and task management, create to-the-second invoices)
* MoneyManager EX (handles my personal finance/check regsiter/budgeting)
* jGnash (double entry accounting, use it for my freelancing side business)
* KDiff (versioning and change management when updating modded PHP files, longer blog articles, etc)
* TheFontThing (and all my fonts, too)
* SyncBack: heaven forbid I loose the stuff on that drive!!!!!
Tina P: Awesome list! I didn’t think about PSPad being portable, but it is. THANKS.
I’m going to have to check out the others. TheFontThing is really intriguing. Brilliant.
Angelo: The problem with Macs is that many aren’t found in public Internet cafe’s and libraries, and other places where computers are borrowed and rented. That’s a painful part of life on the road – limited only to PCs. :D
Lorelle and Angelo:
Take a look at Java based opensource (like TaskCoach, jGnash, and MMEX on my list above). Most of it is small enough to be portable even if that’s not the intent, and since it’s Java it’ll run on any machine you happen to find out in the wild blue yonder.
The fact that I can keep my books balanced and print out at least something that resembles an invoice regardless of what type of computer I find: priceless!
I use the portable version of Post2Blog (made free recently) for blogging and many of the ones mentioned above. You need to install Post2Blog to your computer first and then you can create a portable version from it.
I might post a list of apps I use in the coming week at ShanKrila.
One of our edubloggers provided a list of tiny apps mostly for mobile devices, which I added to here–
How to make a Thumbtop PC
One that especially works well is Roboform’s Portable 2Go for handling passwords and making sure traces aren’t left behind.
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