I work in various places and very often I chose not to carry a laptop around while palmtop is not powerful enough to replace a regular PC. However most often there are some computers available and the main problem is that to work I need my files and several applications I simply cannot do without. These huge problems however can be easily solved by means of a tiny pendrive. In this article I want to show a few ways how to use pendrive in everyday work of a translator.
Pendrives and all flash memories are rapidly improving. While quite recently they were rather slow and offered just enough space for a few files these days they are much faster and can store up to 32 GB (with pendrives allowing you to store 64 GB on the horizon). There are many sites where you can check the newest information about pendrive – like for example http://www.usbpendrives.org.uk so I won’t go too deep into the issues of hardware. However if you are thinking about putting a pendrive to a serious use you may consider a few factors:
uses of pendrive
- size – I think that considering the prices buying anything smaller than 2 GB does not make sense;
- compatibility – make sure that the pendrive you are buying is compatible with USB 2.0 – it makes a huge difference in the speed of data transfer;
- speed of the transfer of data – remember to check the rate of both reading and writing data;
- how robust it is – as you are likely to store private and important data on your pendrive it is worth keeping in mind that once this drive is damaged data is in practice irrevocably lost. That is why having a pendrive resistant to falls, water, shock and other difficult conditions is a big advantage;
- encryption – when your pendrives breaks down you can’t access anymore your private and valuable data, however when it is stolen or lost the situation is much more serious as EVERYONE can have acces to these data. That’s why optional encryption of all or some of the stored data is a very big asset;
- accessories – it is worth to check what accessories come with your pendrive – some of the most common are USB extension cable and Dog Tags.
Pendrive may be used in many ways – it can be used to many ends. The most natural use probably is storing, transporting and backing up files, however they may be also used as bootable devices, to run application, repair your PC or even to speed up Windows Vista.
In this article I would like to concentrate on running applications from a pendrive as it is a relatively new application and also maybe extremely useful to translators on the move.
There are more and more so called portable applications – i.e. applications which do not have to be installed on a computer and may be run directly from a flash drive. What is even more surprising is how many of these applications are distributed as a freeware or open source what means that you won’t have to spend a penny to use them (besides the cost of the pendrive). Sample websites where you can find these applications are:
- http://pendriveapps.com/ and
Of course there are many other places where you can download software for your pendrive but even on these three sites you should be able to find pretty much everything necessary to organize a portable office.
Obviously you are going to need at least a text editor, internet browser, something to work with compressed documents, something to view and edit pictures, probably also an email client and a few other bits and pieces. The best option would be to spend some time on research just to make a list of your favourites. Especially that for many functions there are quite a few options available.
However if you don’t have enough time for such research there are some ready to go packages. One of the most popular comes from PortableApps.com, the standard version requires download of 89 MB and takes 260 MB after installation (on the pendrive). Despite relatively small size it offers a wide range of applications:
- ClamWin Portable (antivirus),
- Mozilla Firefox - Portable Edition (web browser),
- Gaim Portable (instant messaging),
- OpenOffice.org Portable (office suite),
- Sudoku Portable (puzzle game),
- Mozilla Sunbird - Portable Edition (calendar/task manager) and
- Mozilla Thunderbird - Portable Edition (email client)
The suite runs comfortably from a 512MB drive. It can be downloaded from http://portableapps.com/suite
If your pendrive is smaller than 512MB you can use Light edition which Uses AbiWord Portable (word processor) instead of OpenOffice.org Portable and easily runs from a 256MB drive.
However you may decide to expand these collection of application with some more tools and utilities – while you will find many additional programs on www.portableapps.com like for example Sumatra – portable application for viewing pdf files, GIMP for editing pictures and images or Sudoku potable to relax
Nevertheless it may be a good idea to have a look at http://pendriveapps.com where for instance you can download a portable version of Skype (requires some fine tuning to run) or very useful for translators conversion tools. Some other applications which you could use are: encryption utilities (often attached to the pendrive), screen capture utilities, system tools and others.
What is certain the possibilities here are almost endless and it would be much easier to exhaust the Reader than potential applications of pendrive and portable applications. However I will be more than happy to help you with any problems. Please contact me through my profile or send me an email to: [email protected]