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Taking Another Look at U3 Flash Drives

by Tris Hussey on August 24th, 2007

I picked up a 2 gig SanDisk U3 flash drive a while ago.  On the advice from the guy at the store I didn’t really bother to mess with U3 I just uninstalled it.

Was is U3?  Pretty much it’s a Windows-only application that lets you run modified versions of several apps from the flash drive itself.  At first I thought, you know this seems like a useless thing.  Well maybe not.

Marc Orchant told be about the MS Office alternative ThinkFree and I saw that in addition to their other offerings, they had a U3 version.  Hmm, interesting.  Knowing I had this U3-capable drive, I figured I would get it set up.

After downloading the U3 software from SanDisk, it took me a couple tries to get it all installed.  Once I did I thought about the things I might like to have on a portable office.  I loaded Firefox, Skype, a text editor, FTP client, and ThinkFree.  Pretty much with those tools I could post to all my blogs, edit and update templates, and work on documents.  I also loaded an app called CruiserSync which let me sync up copies of e-mails, contacts, documents, and bookmarks … all encrypted.  So really, with this drive I have everything I need.

The question is, then, why don’t more people take advantage of these portable apps more?  Even before U3 there were portable apps projects for Firefox, OpenOffice (which is also available U3), and others.

Sure I have my computer with me all the time, but it would be nice to be able to travel with just the flash drive and get things done.

Back in the day…my friends all had their 800K Mac floppies with Word, a System Folder and space for several docs.  That was a portable office.  We’ve strayed from that…looks like technology might be coming back to it.

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POSTED IN: Hardware

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