REDDIT EDIT 10/12/11: So I checked out my traffic stats and was pleasantly surprised when I saw a bunch of traffic from Reddit.com. I tracked down the post where it was coming from in the /r/gadget subreddit. There was a load of comments, with some great suggestions for some portable apps I didn’t include in my original article. I’ve read over all the comments and tried out some of the apps you recommended. Here is an updated list of Portable Apps No USB Drive Should Be Without. Updates are highlighted in orangered.


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Top USB Drive Applications

Almost everybody I know owns a USB drive these days. Kids in elementary school are carrying them for schoolwork, seniors are keeping their medical records on them at all times and almost everyone at the office carries one on their key chain. While it’s great that these devices are becoming so commonplace, most people who own them are doing themselves a disservice by not taking advantage of the huge library of portable applications that run right off the flash drive, on nearly any computer.


Administration & Developer Tools

SarduCD – Use this to make a boot disk/usb with multiple linux distros and Windows operating systems. (thanks to reddit user, Browsing_From_Work, for the tip)

Knoppix – a Linux distro you can run from your USB drive or from a CD. Great for doing repair work on windows systems. (thanks to reddit user knightfelt)

Nirsoft – another awesome suite of utilities for password recovery, network monitoring, system tools and tweaks. Very useful. (thanks to redditor the sqlguy, great tip)

WinHex – computer forensics, data recovery, hex editor and disk editor. (Thank you to adaminc from reddit.com)

YUMI – can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more. (credit for this one goes to shrapnel09)

Hiren’s BootCD - a suite of useful utilities (all open-source), some work within Windows, others require you to boot your system from CD/USB.

DriverPack Solution – An amazing tool that will detect and install/update drivers for all devices on your system. It saves you a TON of time since you’ll no longer have to go out and search for drivers. This tool uses the freely available DriverPacks – www.driverpacks.net.

Microsoft Security Essentials – Free Anti-Malware software by Microsoft. Be sure to download the x86 and x64 versions.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Excellent Anti-Malware software by Malwarebytes.

HD Tune – Awesome Hard Drive Analysis tool, I highly recommend the Pro version if you have the cash.

Tweak-7/VI/XP – Three great little tools that let you tweak Windows 7, XP or Vista, respectively.

HijackThis – Awesome utility that scans a computer for changes possibly made by malware.

Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP – Terrible web browser, but you’ll need it if you ever do a repair install on an XP machine that had it installed. After you complete the repair install you’ll log into Windows and get stuck after logging in. Reboot into safe mode and install IE8, then reboot, and then you’ll be fine.

ShellExView – Get sick of programs adding their own entries to your context menus? This program can help you get rid of them.

Angry IP Scanner – Great tool for taking inventory of all devices on your local network.

Edit Pad Pro – a powerful and versatile text editor or word processor. The trial version boasts all the features of the full version (as long as you don’t mind the reminders to upgrade), though the software is well worth the $50 price.

– Another great text editor, especially for writing code.

Rkill – kill is wonderful when you need to stop viruses from running on a computer.

– Great tool to run after virus removal to restore your registry.

USB Drive Recovery Tools – For fixing broken USB drives and recovering data.

Trinity Rescue Kit – “CPR for your computer” This is a fully functioning linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

USBDeview – Useful utility that lists all USB devices currently installed, and all the USB devices that have been installed on your computer. Very useful for me personally as I work with USB drives often and had thousands of entries in my previously installed list, which I was able to delete with USBDeview. The utility also has other useful tools for running command line scripts whenever a new USB is inserted.

WinMD5Sum – A utility used to verify files. Useful for when transferring files to multiple devices.

Fun & Games

Jooleem Portable – a fun puzzle game that is reminiscent of Bejewelled

Warzone 2100 – single or multi-player strategy game.

Open TTD Portable - an urban planning game, much like SimCity.

Winboard Chess - An advanced chess engine. Brush up on the basics or train to take down grandmasters.

PokerTH Portable - a classic Texas Hold’em style poker game.

LBreakout2 – a breakout style game we all know and love. Use the paddle to keep the ball breaking down blocks.

Graphics, Images & Video

GIMP portable – the popular open-source alternate to Photoshop.

Blender Portable – 3D modelling, animation, rendering, post-production and playback.

Inkscape Portable – A vector graphics editor you can run from your USB drive.

VLC Player – plays just about any video file, great for presentations. (Thanks to bbqbot from reddit.com)


Opera Portable – Opera is a lightweight and customizable browser. It has a loyal userbase, and reddit user demonstro was not pleased that I left Opera off my list. Sorry Demonstro.

Mozilla Firefox Portable  - everyone’s favorite web browser on a flash drive. Except the people who like other browsers, it’s not their favorite.

Filezilla Portable – Full-featured FTP client you can run from your USB.

Pidgin Portable - a chat program that works with AIM, Yahoo and MSN accounts.




I’ve been keeping an eye out for cool USB drives and thought I would share some of the more unique ones I’ve come across lately.

These cardboard drives were made by Art.Lebedev Studios in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities. This is a great and novel idea, though the price of these may make them more of a novelty than a practical device. Still, the thought of being able to rip a USB drive off  a sheet of several is pretty cool, not to mention the “green” value of recyclable cardboard drives. Pricing and availability has not been posted yet, but I know I will be keeping an eye on these.



Another cool custom flash drive I found was this USB mini Digital Camera. Something like this is sure to impress your friends, after all, it is hard to believe that this device is capable of taking actual pictures. No bigger than a standard USB drive, this gadget has a 2 megapixel lens and can shoot both still shots and video. And though you won’t be shooting the clearest HD on the block, 720 × 480/30fps is more than reasonable for a camera this size. With a built in battery and usb port, there are no extra parts to lose, everything is attached to the camera, all in all, I’d say this is a pretty awesome device!

Lastly, I came across a photo gallery with a bunch of custom flash drives, some of which were pretty neat. They include a Lego Star Wars Darth Vadar figure, with his lower torso replaced with a USB drive. Other interesting drives included a set of dominoes, as well as a USB gentleman’s pipe. Classy!


After pestering my boss for months, I was finally allowed to bring in some of my own posters to hang up in the office. This is one I got at this years Wanee Music Festival in North FL. It’s not my favorite concert poster, but this is by far the most agreeable poster I’ve got. Now that I’ve got my foot in the door I will be adding more posters with more questionable subject matter. Anyway, at least I get to look at something cool while I work now!




This device, when used in conjunction with your wireless router, will allow you to access USB devices, without wires, from any computer on your WiFi network. This device will be a godsend for less savvy gadget lovers. External hard-drives can be shared on your network with no confusing set-up. Printers without wireless capabilities built in can be accessed from anywhere in your house. Webcams can be set up and used for surveillance or baby monitoring. USB drives can be plugged in at this one designated spot and will no longer be lost somewhere around the house. Flash drives have a tendency to get lost in my house, only to resurface weeks, if not months later. I’m pretty excited to get one of these set up, and since it retails for $99.95, it won’t break the bank. Granted, many of these functions are attainable without the use of a wireless USB HUB, but, in my opinion, the simplicity of the device is it’s major selling point. Just the fact that I will always know where to find my flash drive is worth the price to me.

I’m interested in hearing your opinions on this. Is the functionality worth the price? Is this something you would want to use in your house? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!



And, for your consideration, a new rage face to use in fuuuuu comics.



Anyone who knows about the Flaming Lips, knows that the band is a bit… out there. They are well known for their theatrical stunts on and off the stage.

So it should not surprise anyone that their latest few EP’s have been a bit out there too. Not just in musical style, but in the actual packaging as well. The latest few releases from the Flaming Lips have been made available in the form of USB flash drives, embedded in gummy candy… in the shape of a skull and a fetus. You read correctly, to listen to their latest songs, fans need to purchase and eat their way into the music. I have to say, this has got to be the most unique use of promotional flash drives that I have ever seen. Using custom usb drives has definitely been gaining popularity in the music industry. With notable artists like the White Stripes, the Mars Volta, Lady Gaga, Ringo Starr and others releasing special editions of their albums on USB, it is likely that we will be seeing more and more unique releases like these. How long we will have to wait to be see an artist out-weird the Flaming Lips, is another matter entirely.


Ever since I first got a phone capable of browsing the world wide web, I’ve always thought there was something lacking from the experience. Typing on a number pad, viewing websites on phone screens with strange resolutions, no Flash support. Over the last few years many of these problems have been addressed. Most phones now have full keyboards, mobile websites have set standards that most mobile devices follow, some phones even support Flash these days! (Not my iPhone, of course ಠ_ಠ ) With all these improvements, it is only natural, I suppose, that our home internet begins merging with our mobile internet. To truly make the transition from laptop, to phone, to work computer seamless, Firefox creator, Mozilla, has made Firefox Home. Have you ever looked something up online before leaving your house, and then not being able to find it again? That will not be an issue if you have Firefox Home as it syncs your browser at home, with the one in your phone. Now when you leave the house, the tabs you had open on your PC are still open on your phone. Something you bookmarked at work is now easily accessible at home. I imagine the benefits of this integration are already clear to you, so let’s move on to how to get it done:


Installing and Configuring Firefox Home

You will need to be using Firefox on the computers you want to sync with Firefox Home. I hope this was obvious. If it wasn’t, Click Here, for the download. If Firefox wasn’t your default browser, you might want to import your bookmarks. Luckily I’ve recently wrote a tutorial for that too: Import your bookmarks into firefox

Now that you’ve got Firefox installed, you need to get the Firefox Home app for your phone. I have an iPhone so that’s what I’ll use for these instructions.

Start by going to the app store on your phone, and downloading Firefox Home. You can find it easily by typing firefox into the search. Allow the app to install. Once you start the app, you will be asked if you already have a sync account, or if you’d like to receive instructions on creating one. You can forgo the the instructions, since I will be outlining them here.


At this point, put your phone aside and open Firefox on your computer. Click the Tools menu from the Menu bar and select “options” at the very bottom of the menu.


Select the “Sync” tab at the top of the options window, then click on “Set Up Firefox Sync”. Click OK.

At the next prompt, click the “Create a New Account” button.

Enter your account details on this next page. Note the options button on the bottom left. Clicking here will allow you to choose what is shared between devices with Firefox Home. By default everything is shared, feel free to customize this to your needs. Once you have filled out all the fields, click Next.

Firefox will create a unique code for you to sync to other computers. Save this code somewhere safe. You will also have the option to print the code. Once you have saved your encryption code, click Next.

Next you will be asked to fill out a Re-Captcha to verify you are human. Type in the text, and click Next.

So far so good, you’ve finished creating your account. Now to set it up on your devices.

When you click finish you will be taken back to the sync tab in the options menu. There will now be an option to “add a device”. This is the next step.

The next screen will ask you to enter a code that the device provides. Take out your phone and start up the Firefox Home app. Select the “I have a sync account” option and your phone will provide a 12 character code split into 3 lines. Type this code into the computer and click next.

That’s it! Your phone is now synced with your computer browser. You can add multiple devices to Firefox home (such as your iPhone and iPad) or multiple computer (such as your home and work computer). Enjoy your cross-platform browsing!



I Always thought it would be fun to go on a long rock climbing trip. After seeing this photo I immediately changed my mind.



Really, I don’t know what to say. Are these photos meant to entertain? Frighten? …Arouse?

One thing is for certain, now that you’ve seen them, they cannot be unseen.

Full gallery can be found at http://crystalsapistol.blogspot.com/2011/07/this-was-weird-one.html

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