Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 51, Issue 5

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 51, Issue 5
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 2010 09:06:33 +0200


I can, perhaps, add a little to your query.

Regarding USB memory sticks--

A few of these are *much* faster than most. Among the USB 2.0
devices, some are as much as ten or more times faster than the typical
ones. This translates to far better performance using the larger
portable apps.

I have had both, and given a choice I would again go to the high speed
types. For example, the Corsair sticks come in two varieties, the
standard one and the "GT" which is a high speed part.

However, a few USB 3.0 sticks are starting to appear--which are
backwards compatible for machines only having USB 2 ports.

Personally, I would look seriously at one of these if I were buying
today. That is because the next major round of equipment refreshes
will be hitting many corporations this year, and it is increasingly
likely that the new ones will be equipped with USB 3. The interface is
about ten times as fast as USB 2, and the initial reviews are all
saying the difference in a USB memory stick is dramatic. In many
cases, a portable app on one of these would seem much like it were
natively installed.

However, if you want to wait on the USB 3 sticks (the few so far are
pretty pricey), it may be that you can do well enough in the meantime
with whatever stick you may have already. The higher-speed USB 2
sticks are also quite a bit higher priced than the standard ones, last
I checked. If your portable apps will be a significant part of your
work, though, investing in a higher speed part would be a good idea
even now.

There are many applications available now for portable use, and
several competing suites. However, with the Portable Apps suite you
can always add other applications merely by putting them in
subdirectories under the "/portableapps" directory. There are other
menu systems, though, that may be easier to use if you have many
applications to deal with.

A very helpful article is entitled "100 Portable Apps for your USB
Stick (for Mac and Win)" at

In the past, I have used a stick with a wide complement of portable
apps on many occasions. I found it particularly convenient to have my
customized Firefox implementation with me, replete with my personal
bookmarks and extensions.

Note, too, that if you dig around a bit on the Portable Apps site, you
can find the application they use to shrink executable program files
while still leaving them executable. That is quite convenient, I find,
as toward the end of the life of any given machine prior to trading
up, disk space often has become an issue. It's quite surprising how
bloated many applications are, too--and while disk space is cheap
these days, apps run from a hard disk load faster when they are
smaller, too.

I have also used a full suite of portable apps on a USB external hard
drive, as I have a 160 GB external now. That also works quite
well--but again, were I buying today, I'd look at a USB 3 external
drive. (I notice Western Digital just launched one, and many others
will follow).

My personal computing work is almost all Linux today, but on occasion
I do use a Windows box. At those times, the portable apps come in very
handy. (For example, my stepson's XP machine is running Russian
Windows, so having my own English language programs is extremely
helpful, as my command of Russian can most charitably be described as

I hope this may be of some help.


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