Killer Tools to Get The Most Out of Your USB Thumb Drive
Photo by psd.
If you’re a freelancer, I’m pretty sure you know the importance of a USB thumb drive. At a basic level, it helps you store important data and transfer files related to your projects from one computer to another.
If you’ve only ever used your thumb drive for the entry-level tasks of storing and transferring data, it’s time to unleash the hidden potential of this tiny device. Whether you’re a freelance writer, web developer or a freelancer on the move, you should take a look at the following tools, all of which take this device to the next level and convert it to a power drive.
1. Portable apps
This is an excellent suite of portable versions of software which can be installed on your USB thumb drive. It includes Firefox, Thunderbird, GIMP, Pidgin, Open Office, PDF viewers, FTP clients and audio/video players. If you install it, you don’t need to depend on the computer for these apps, because you have all of them right there on your thumb drive. Simple Help has an excellent post to guide you through installation, step-by-step.
Ever wondered if you could transfer your Windows PC environment to your thumb drive? Thats where Mojopac enters the picture. As it says in the description: “Just install MojoPac on any USB 2.0 compliant storage device, upload your applications and files, modify your user settings and environment preferences, and take it with you everywhere.”
It virtually clones your Windows PC on a thumb drive.
3. Email Client
If you’re using a desktop based email client, then I recommend downloading Thunderbird Portable for your thumb drive. It allows you to carry all your saved email and contacts with you. You’ll get this program if you install portable apps but you can install it separately as well.
4. Sync Files
As a freelancer you’re often switching between projects and hence the data related to them is bound to change every day. If you store important data on your thumb drive then it’s also important to sync it with your computer and keep it updated. There are various tools which help you achieve this and among them the most popular are Sync Toy and Syncback SE. Syncback SE also has an option to trigger the sync activity automatically when inserted.
The aforementioned portable apps suite assigns Task Coach Portable as its to do list and task manager. You might also consider installing Essential PIM and ToDoList, both of which will easy fit on a thumb drive.
6. Invoicing And Payment
If you use online tools such as Paypal and Freshbooks then you shouldn’t have a problem doing this stuff on any computer, provided it has web access. For those who use Excel, try the portable version of OpenOffice which comes with portable apps or can be installed separately.
7. Tiny USB Office
Tiny USB Office is an excellent software suit for your USB thumb drive which includes lot of useful tools and can be installed at under 2.5 MB. Freelancers looking to save space on their thumb drive should go for this.
8. Encryption And Passwords
If you consider data on your thumb drive to be sensitive then you should encrypt it using Truecrypt or CryptoAnywhere. Some freelancers who are quite tech savvy might enjoy reading this guide on the encryption of USB thumb drives. You can also manage your passwords safely using Keepass, which comes with your portable apps suite too.
With the above apps safely stored on it, your USB thumb drive could be your ultimate companion if something goes wrong with your computer or you plan to travel but hate the idea of carrying a heavy laptop. In fact, considering the usefulness of the above tools, it may not be long before you ditch your laptop and just carry the sleek drive in your wallet when you decide to travel.
Abhijeet Mukherjee is a blogger and freelance writer. He blogs about technology, blogging and productivity at Jeet Blog (www.jeetblog.com).