Two Handy Portable Apps

So I recently purchased a 1Gb USB drive to replace my somewhat neanderthalic (but still useful) 64Mb drive (which in turn had replaced a by-now-prehistoric 16Mb drive). Up until recently when using computers that were not my own, I had been using whatever browser was on the machine, and downloading and using puTTY each time. Not too bad, but a bit tedious. Not to mention I’m not a great fan of IE. Thus I decided to grab the portable versions of Firefox and PuTTY and put them on my USB drive.

Man is it useful having them avaliable on a flash drive or what? I’ll start with that rather handy browser, Firefox:

  1. Go to this site and download Firefox Portable
  2. Run, and ‘install’ / extract the files to any folder (at this stage FF IS functional, and you could just copy it to disk, however…)
  3. Copy your bookmarks.html file over the bookmarks.html file included in the Data/profile directory of Portable Firefox.
    (NB the file usually resides at “C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\profile.letters\” — substitute as appropriate)
  4. Copy your extensions to the \Data\profile\extensions directory. Your extensions folder is located inside the same folder as above
  5. Copy your userContent.css file. If you made one of these, you almost certainly know to do this!
  6. Copy plugins (such as Flash player) to the Data/plugins directory. The plugins are found in the Firefox directory under ‘plugins’ (eg C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\plugins) — the Flash player plugin is NPSWF32.dll, the QuickTime plugin[s] are npqtplugin[1-7].dll
  7. Copy the whole directory tree to your flash drive. Aaaaand you’re done!

And as for PuTTY – it is even easier:

  1. Go to this page, and download portaputty.zip
  2. Extract to a directory
  3. Copy directory to USB drive

Thats it! Settings will be saved automatically to a subdirectory named .putty. Very simple. Note that this gives you the whole PuTTY suite: plink, pageant, psftp, putty itself, puttytel, puttygen and pscp.

Bonus tip: get WGens and copy it’s directory to the flash drive for some on-the-road Genesis entertainment. It is Windows only, but if you will be using a Linux machine then you will almost certainly already know where to look!

3 Replies to “Two Handy Portable Apps”

  1. Interesting. Actually, speaking of portable browsers, a friend currently staying in Hong Kong has picked up the (Asia-only) Opera cart for DS. It’s all very nice, and thanks to the touch-screen considerably more intuitive than the (also rather smashing) PSP browser. A bit kanji-intensive I’m told, but it supports an English virtual keyboard.

    Why Microsoft – or any electronics-based company for that matter – haven’t marketed a handheld internet browser is beyond me. Strip a PDA of everything but the touch-screen and word processor (making sure the firmware itself is updateable) and bam! Holy sales success, Batman.

    Or not. But hell, it’s not as if L’il Tiny Bill doesn’t have the cash to fund even the most ill-fated venture.

  2. Indeed. I’ve heard good things about Opera for the DS — overview on one screen, ‘zoomed’ area on the other. Gestures for navigation et al would work very nicely with the touch screen. Pretty clever. Mind you, Opera is a decent PC browser as well.

    As for the handheld internet browser… well, the trouble (as I would guess it) would be the price. It’s going to be expensive to produce, and people will expect PDA-functionality from a handheld device of reasonable expense.

    I do see something akin to that (or perhaps PDAs in a more powerful form) taking hold in 2-5 years, when [free] Wifi networks will be more ubiquitous. I have Wifi avaliable on just about all my portable electonics devices — phone (N80), PDA (an old Palm Treo) and handheld console (PSP) — but I rarely get to use it because there is either no free wifi or it is locked down / paid for.

    Speaking of L’il Bill (but briefly lest Nickelodeon sue me for character infringement) perhaps his Zune – which has Wifi capability – will sport a browser. Of course, it would be IE-based, but most people seem to be able to live with it.

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