The Pimp-the-Portable-USB-Drive-Project

After posting this, I realized the free 64MB CF memory that came with my digicam -the one that I can freely use, since I have a 256MB one dedicated for my camera- isn’t enough for a decent pimp-my-portable-usb-drive project that I suddenly came up with. Why bother? Well, I don’t expect to have much full-reign with the computers I’ll be using in my future work, so I had to come up with a no-cost plan to satisfy my tech needs, wherever-I-go.

After approximately 2-3 days of web-scouring, here’s the list of FREE (not necessarily open-source) software I’ve settled with on my semi-generic 128MB flash drive cum mp3-player-fm-radio:

  • USB Quick Launch (2.02MB)- Thought you’d be stuck using Explorer when launching your portable drive-resident programs, eh? This skinnable app puts an icon on your systray, and with some customization, you’ll have your own ‘start menu‘ listing all the programs, folders, even bookmarked URLs.
  • USB Disk Guard (1.68MB) – Easy encryption and decryption of files or folders. A must for that special, secret stash of data.
  • AntiVir (19.5MB) – Another free antivirus program, though the update doesn’t seem to work with my dial-up connection.
  • EssentialPIM (2.39MB) – An amazingly comprehensive Personal Information Manager (PIM), with an impressive, and clean interface.
  • Express Rip (399KB)- Very small, and decent cd-to-mp3 or wav ripper. Look for an older version online, since the new one appears to have undocumented, but reported issues (would not detect your cd drive/s).
  • Foxit PDF Reader (2.59MB) – Free PDF reader. Launches faster than the program PDF files were developed for.
  • i-FTP (858kb)- Filezilla is just too big.
  • Miranda IM (2.10MB)- A lot more practical than GAIM for my multi-protocol messaging purpose.
  • Notepad++ (1.42MB)- For multi-tab, color-text code editing.
  • Media Player Classic (4.62MB)- Plays most media; great for DVD viewing. VLC is just too big.
  • PortableAbiWord (13.7MB) – Since just won’t fit.
  • PortableFirefox (6.92MB) – There is definitely no reason to use other browsers, sub-par to this.
  • SilentNight Micro CD/DVD/ISO Burner (785KB)- So many features -name says it all- yet so small.
  • xmplay (358KB) – It’s been said already: it sounds a lot better than Winamp.

And for the graphics-editor freak in me:

  • IrfanView (1.19MB) – For really quick editing: rezising and cropping.
  • PhotoFiltre (3.14MB) – For intermediate, non-layer work.
  • GIMP 2.0 (43.7MB) – For the really serious stuff. Will take a while to load.

This left me with more or less 10MB for actual data.

Yes, FOSS advocates, I’ve also pondered on the obvious: why shouldn’t I just boot a compressed Linux from my thumb drive? or just settle for a live CD distro? If none of these apps will benefit your corporate job at all, I believe it’ll be the least obvious gesture to unplug your flash drive than re-booting to Windows when your boss hovers around your cubicle, right?

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