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5 août 2010 4 05 /08 /août /2010 16:45

I never bothered playing with portable apps. I didn’t (don’t) really have a big need for them. But, I saw a write up on LiberKey the other day, and I bookmarked it. Since then I’ve gone back and given it a little spin and I must say I’m rather impressed. It just may have sparked my latest love…or my latest computer fetish - call it what you will      (Sony VGN-FZ150E battery)      .

I had a few dollars on an Office Depot rewards card (recycling ink cartridges from work does pay off eventually, and it’s the right thing to do). So I headed up to the store to grab a couple spare flash drives. They had a nice little micro no-name (actually it has a name - Ativa) on sale - 4GB for $14.99, can’t beat that - so I grabbed a couple    (Sony VGP-BPS8 battery)      .

(For the record - one is for a V.P. at work and the other for the portable apps most likely getting most of their use at work - so I don’t feel guilty at all playing with them this way. Besides - I’m the one that takes the time to actually go and drop off the dead and dying ink cartridges, so I think they can allow me the indulgence of a simple little flash drive that I will also use for work purposes don’t you (Dell Studio 1737 battery)      ?)

Being as I’ve never played with portable apps before, here’s what I’ve found.  Download the LiberKey installer package to your computer and then specify the USB drive for the actual install. Otherwise, it eats up precious space you may or may not have on your flash drive  (Sony VGP-BPL9 battery)    .

You can skip the desktop icon (unless you plan on actually installing the apps on your computer - which you can do if you want, but why clutter it up when you can install them on a USB??) Now, you’re all set. There’s really nothing else to do. You can run the apps right from the flash drive - no hard drive install required       (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery)    .

The Ultimate version took about 5 minutes to download and another 5 minutes or so to install on the flash drive. It didn’t need any interaction from me once the install started so it was really no big deal - just a little longer than we get used to these days is all  (Sony VGN-FZ460E battery) .

(And might I add, no annoying boxes to uncheck to avoid any extra software being put anywhere - kudos to the developers for being user friendly and free!!) However, the number of programs needing updates after initial install was significant and took a little longer, although it was really very painless. Just don’t expect to be downloaded and ready to go 5 minutes before you want to head out the door with it         (Toshiba PA3399U-2BAS Battery)     .

They have 3 simple installers - Basic, Standard and Ultimate (depending on the size of your flash drive). The Ultimate boasts a fairly comprehensive and well organized list of 202 applications. From my count there are another 50 or so not included in these packages, but still available on the site you can add any/all of them if you choose      (Dell Inspiron E1505 Battery) .

(Of course my OCD dictates that I will be adding them all just to see how much space they really take up on my drive - hence (I just adore the word hence) the reason I went for the 4GB drive.) But you can use any old spare flash drive you have handy and customize what you want to put on it      (Apple A1281 battery)      .

The download items do not have to be run from the LiberKey application, there is an independent download option - it just makes it a little easier to work with them from within the app. If you have a small (ancient) 64mb drive you could easily install just one or 2 apps on it that someone might need    (IBM ThinkPad T40 Battery)     .

These could make for great giveaway items if (unlike me) you happen to have lots of spare flash drives, or it occurs to me from a tightwad standpoint - these could make nice Christmas or birthday presents for cheap. At $14.99 for a 4GB drive (and the prices continue to drop) you could give someone a gift they’d probably use and appreciate       (ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Battery)      .

You can grab a 2GB flash for $6.99 at Office Depot which could do equally as well. How many times have you told a friend or family member about some piece of free software you use. This might be a great way to make it all available to them. Another nice feature, is from within the LiberKey menu there is a folder for "MyApps" where you can install your own portable apps you find elsewhere      (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery)       .

I did put a few others onto my drive so we’ll see how that works out. There’s also a folder for "MyDocuments" making it a very versatile organizer as far as USB drives go   (HP PAVILION DV9700t Battery)    .

Only time will tell how worth it this little foray into portable apps will pay off for me. If I never use them, I can always erase them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I may find I absolutely love using some of these little guys - stranger things have happened. I mean, after all, just a few years ago I had an irrational fear of multiple browsers, and now I use 3 of them       (HP Pavilion dv9000 battery)   .

It’s also a nice way to become familiar with applications you might not otherwise try out. (By the way, after installing & updating everything, and adding 7 additional apps I wanted - I used about 2.10GB of space, leaving around 1.62GB free for other stuff. And yes, I realize that only adds up to 3.72GB..where does that last .28GB go? Did the GB gremlins eat it        (Dell Studio 1737 battery)     ??

App-Stick, Nedwolf, Pendriveapps and  USBSpace all have more to offer in the way of additional software for your USB flash drive. I found App-stick and Penndriveapps were the best two of the lot. It’s also worth mentioning that many software sites offer a portable version, or instructions on how to make an application portable. If there’s software you like - don’t hesitate to do a little searching on how to make it portable    (Dell XPS M2010 battery)        .

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