When Alice went to Wonderland in the nineteenth century, she carried a notebook. If she took the trip today, she would have a flash drive instead. By plugging the drive, no bigger than her thumb, into any Wonderland computer, Alice could work with her important docs and apps while away from home.
In a flash: Flash drives are tiny pieces of hardware that plug into the USB ports of computers, cameras, and other devices. Flash drives are most frequently used for transporting, sharing and backing up files. Now, a growing variety of portable applications--scaled-down versions of popular programs--are turning USB drives into powerful, portable offices.
Size matters: Flash technology is becoming more robust every day, yet portable devices still have size limits that mean going without Microsoft Office. Fortunately, a good selection of lightweight software meets our on-the-go computing needs while being small and fast-loading.
Software collections, such as PortableApps and winPenPack, commonly include an office suite, a web browser, an email client, an instant messenger, a calendar, a task manager, and an antivirus program.
Safety first: When you plug your flash drive into a computer at a hotel, an internet café, a library, or a distant office, contamination is possible. Scan the drive for viruses and spyware while using it in a host computer, and check the drive once more on your home computer.