Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Apping your USB, pt2

We've covered the topic of Web browsers, but we haven't covered Instant Messengers yet. If your going to be using a browser, Meebo.com(Secondary Post) is a good place to start. It can connect you to your AIM/Yahoo/MSN/ICQ/Google/Jabber account from the page. If you sign up for an account you can sign in using a username/Password and access all your IM accounts at the same time. And it works very well for a web app.

Another option is to try Gaim/Pidgin. While Gain is now a thing of the past, the portable version runs very nicely. It even encrypts your stored passwords should you save them to your USB device. Portable Gaim may work well enough as it is, it still lacks all the portability we need. Most file locations are not saved to relative paths which can makes us sad. Because not all machines will list your USB drive to the same letter (I know a place that will list it under D). But if you need something right away, Portable Gaim could be just what you need.

I'm testing out Pidgin at the moment. Even as this post is being drafted I'm running a portable install of Pidgin. There are a few people who have "built" their own portables for Pidgin but it seems some have keyloggers bundled with them(not good). I looked over the Official Pidgin Website and I have found some instructions for making Pidgin portable. As I wrote, I'm testing said build right now. The people behind Portable Gaim haven't made their own "Official" build either but I don't think we need to go to them for one anyway(Haller-PX).

So for now Use Meebo and Gaim(portable).

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Apping your USB, pt1

I'm going to start things off with a simple app for browsing the web. Safely, securely, and requires no set up out of the box. Firefox portable. Its pre-configured to not store any cache or cookie data and works with most extensions like Sage or Chatzilla. I can still store passwords if you wish, and because its Firefox, you can set a master password to keep anyone from gaining access to those passwords should you misplace your USB drive.

All you need to do to "install" this app is download and run the executable. You can then have tell the executable where you're planning to extract the files to. I'd exctract the files to: "[Drive]:\Apps\Browsers\" because it not only keeps things organized this way, you know where to look. And if you're wondering why I choose to label the folder "browsers", I'm about to get to that. Firefox doesn't run ActiveX without the aid of an additional Add-on. But we don't want to waste the time with putting an addon on our browser that will only sow us down when we aren't using it. A browser called Maxthon is what we're going to use for ActiveX. Its portable just like Firefox, but you have to set it up after installing it to your USB drive. All you need to do is disable cache and cookie storing and set the bookmarks folder to somewhere on your USB drive( ex. "$Maxdir\favorites\"). I should mention that Maxthon is based of the IE engine, and I only use it for those few sites that run ActiveX.