When you aren’t able to install software on your work computer…

When you aren’t able to install software on your work computer, you can still (sometimes) use portable applications.

I use a paid version of Allway Sync ‘N Go to sync between my two work locations (an advantage is that it leaves a copy of all the sync-ed stuff on the USB stick – and, in other news, it’s proof that I will actually pay for software that is reasonably priced, and that I use regularly). I’ve had no problems with upgrades. I also use a paid version of Essential PIM.

The additional purpose of this post, though, is to sing the praises of the portable versions of Google Chrome and Firefox. In an earlier post, I wrote about how I use Internet Explorer at work. Well, we’ve discovered that we can have two browser windows open (or two tabs) to look at two records… but the database ignores the fact that we still have the first record open, and dumps any changes into the second record. So if we’re in the middle of input on record A, and a coworker pops in with a question on record B, we can open record B in a new window. But when we close the new window and go back to what looks like record A on our screen, the data will be written to B’s record if we save, unless we re-open A’s case.

Oy.

It turns out there’s a way around this; if the second record is open in a different browser, the online database doesn’t recognize that access as coming from the same source (even if the same login/password combination is used), so you can get the info in Firefox, for example, and then go back to working on your original case in Internet Explorer.

However, some of the computers are so locked down that the other browsers can’t be installed. Other browsers can, however, generally be run from USB stick, and sometimes (for a speed boost) the directory containing the portable browser can be copied to your desktop and run from that instead of the USB stick.

I’ve tried both the Google Chrome and Firefox versions. Chrome portable is a bit faster, but it won’t run in Linux under Wine; it seems to use the host computer’s .dll’s, or something (I couldn’t tell from the terminal output when I tried it). Firefox portable ran under Wine, and accepts many of the myriad of add-ons usable under Firefox (but remember the speed hit you take on running Firefox from USB). Running from USB means you can also take your bookmarks with you, and I suspect (but I don’t know) that the tracks of your online visits come with you on the USB stick when you remove it.

Does Opera have a portable version?

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