After a few month of inactivity, I’m back with some comments on Portable stuff (in terms of technology, of course).

In the last few weeks portals like Android and Me and Engadget (If anyone knows others please share them with us) have been releasing a lot of news about tablets, android based for the most part. While I really think this is quite good, it’s also quite frustrating and limited.

For two years I’ve been a user of portable applications and games. Back in the beginning of 2008  I received my first U3 pen with 16 GB and another one, a DATAFERRY with 16GB. After a few months using, and loving, U3 I got tired off all the good applications where payed, and not that cheap most of them, so I changed to, a free and opensource platform to take your applications with you. For instance, this post is being written on the portableapps version of Firefox.

Thanks to the possibility of taking all of my favorite applications with me, and having an Asus EEE 901 (20GB SDD) to tag along, I end up realizing that there’s a huge flaw in today’s software. Most software isn’t developed with Portable guys (like me) in mind. When you have a netbook with only 20GB available you start to rely on your pen drive for most stuff. And if you discover that you can carry applications in your pen drive instead of installing them on you pc, them you will understand my reasoning. Also, my EEE 901 has Ubuntu linux on it, being the core of the OS in the 4GB SDD and the HOME partition on the 14 GB SDD. If I went around and installed all the stuff I need I would run out of space in no time (and trust me, my installation of Ubuntu was 6 months ago and I only have 600MB out of 4GB free).

And if I’m going to a place where I know that I’ll have a pc available, I don’t want to carry my netbook with me (the screen is to small for a long term usage). So what’s my “solution”? Portable windows applications. If you go to any kind of torrent site you’ll loads of software, from the MS Office tools, to burning software, media players, games and other software. However, none (or very few) are legal copies of the software you want/need to use.

The way I see it, we are going to have a real battle between OS in the (very) near future. Mostly because they will all want to be the masters of Tablets, in the same way that Windows is the master of personal computers (I know there are a lot of Mac and Linux users around, but let’s face it, most of the computers have windows installed).

And if the event is inevitable, as I think it is, them, in my opinion, developers should start focusing on making their applications portable and able to run from a pen drive.

Just imagine the following situation:
We are a supervisor at a construction site, going around with your Windows tablet pc, taking notes and checking stuff, saving the documents and notes directly to your loyal high-capacity pen drive. You finish your walk-around and it’s time to show the results to your superior. Unless your superior has the programs you use to take the notes, you’ll have to show them on the tablet screen, that might not be the most comfortable screen to see it. But what if the programs you use are portable editions, that can easily run from a pen drive? You just un-plug the pen drive from your tablet, plug it on his computer and voila! You are now showing the result of your work on a comfortable 14″+ screen.

I hope I’ve made my point clear. In the near future we need legal and ready to use portable applications. As for me, I’ll continue to use the not so legal version (I actually own all the “portable” applications I use) but portable applications because I have to think about my health (specially my eyes).

Be well!

Francisco Ribeiro