One-Stop Shopping for Apps in Your Pocket


It’s very common for the work-at-home or primarily work-at-home web worker to lead a nomadic computing life. One of my favorite ways to make this style of working efficient is to keep a USB key with applications I like in my pocket at all times. I’ve written before about good tiny apps to tote for Mac users and Windows users. If you don’t want the hassle of choosing your own tiny apps to load for work-anywhere use, though, there is a good alternative for one-stop shopping: the Suite. is a great resource for finding free, hosted applications ideal to keep on portable storage devices. However, it also offers a free suite of pre-chosen applications that you can get in one, quick download.

The Suite consists of a set of free, open source applicatinons most of which are aimed at common tasks for web workers. You can load it on a portable USB drive, a portable hard drive, or even an iPod. The software footprint for the applications is 89.5MB for the full version of the suite, and 30.4MB for a lite version.

The apps you get with the suite are mostly well-chosen, including a web browser (Firefox), e-mail client (Thunderbird), an office suite (OpenOffice), a calendar/scheduler, an instant messaging client, antivirus tools, and a backup utility. If you are carrying it on a USB drive, one addition I would recommend is a good FTP application, which can come in really handy when you need to move large files around. Browse around the PortableApps site, especially the links down the left rail of the home page for open source applications that you may find useful.

Unfortunately, the Suite is Windows-only at this point. If you’re a Mac user, check out the collection of Mac apps you can load individually in the link at the top of this post. It’s a great convenience–and sometimes a life-saver–to have good applications designed to store your preferences right in your pocket.

Do you keep portable applications with you even when you’re not toting a computer?



Great stuff! :-)I have a flash drive with me just for this reason.


John Haller and the others at have so liberated me.
I am a consultant visiting multiple customer sites each week. I carry all of my required applications on a USB stick. I synchronise my USB stick with my work laptop and my home PC, why install apps and have multiple configurations?



i’m a mac user, forced to work on a pc world.
i have to change computers a lot at work, from desktop to laptop and back, at the office and on the road.

apart from a few apps that are designed specifically for my job, every other one is on a usb stick.

i carry everything with me, just in case. along with the apps i also carry a portable wiki (tidlywiki).

not only is this a much nicer way to do things, in my opinion, but also safer (no stored passwords on the office’s pcs)

Beau rocks! Being free makes it much better than U3 and I carry my flash drive in my pocket all the time.

For those instances when I don’t have my computer and I need *my* apps, they are there on my flash drive!

I’ve used them at the local library, the university, my wife’s laptop and more…

The concept of “my computer” just keeps getting smaller and smaller. Now, I don’t need my computer, just a computer and my PortableApps.

Comments are closed.