Featured Freeware: PortableApps

Taking an old-school tack to an ages-old computer problem, the PortableApps Suite approach to mobile computing feels more Web 0.5 than 2.0, but works great for those who need supersmall versions of their favorite open-source programs.

Taking an old-school tack to an ages-old computer problem, the PortableApps Suite approach to mobile computing feels more Web 0.5 than 2.0. Instead of hosting programs online, PortableApps is a comprehensive application suite that fits onto and runs from almost any thumbdrive with at least 512MB of space, and can be shrunk down even further if need be.

The suite's flexibility is impressive. It manages some of the best freeware applications from a taskbar menu that runs instantly when clicked on. User-favorites Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird are here, as well as the entire OpenOffice.org office suite, a calendar and day planner app, instant-messenger manager Pidgin, an antivirus program, and even a Sudoku game. If you want additional portable goodness, you can download even more stripped-down but fully-functional programs from the PortableApps Web site, including a media player, a Web page editor, and an FTP client. Support is also provided for all your ancillary settings, plug-ins, buddy lists, and document and media files, making this the easiest way to take your work with you, but without an Internet connection.

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