Friday, February 12, 2010

Computing While On The Run

DHS 93/100
(Terrible. Big mistake...)

As i explained in a response to a comment yesterday, while riding the TransAm this summer my plan is to stop at public libraries along the road in order to upload to my TransAm website some pictures and whatever comments come to mind..

Because i don't know what applications i will find installed on computers in the smaller, out of the way, towns, i have put all the applications i will need on a USB drive that i'll carry with me. I'm doing this, with one exception, with the applications found at This allows me to walk into any library, plug in my USB drive, and run these applications just as if they were installed on the computer itself.

Specifically, i have loaded:

  • 7-Zip (File Zip/Unzip)
  • ClamWin (Anti-virus so my USB doesn't get infected))
  • FileZilla (FTP client)
  • Firefox
  • FoxIt Reader (pdf viewer)
  • FSResizer (Very basic photo editor)
  • GIMP (Complete photo editor)
  • Google Chrome
  • KeePass (Password vault)
  • NotePad++ (Text editor)
All of these apps, a directory with my TransAm web pages, and a few miscellaneous pdf documents (some user manuals) all total about 250MB, leaving 3.6GB of free space on the USB drive. Coupled with the two 4GB cards i'm taking for the camera, i should have ~a gazillion times more space than i need to store the pictures i take. Unfortunately, taking pictures, and good ones to boot, is not my forte.

I have known for a while that all of these USB applications work on my Win XP laptop (i've been testing it for a few weeks), but didn't know if they would work anywhere else, so in response to yesterday's comment, while at the library today i gave it a try.

The computers at my library are all Win 2000, and i found that everything worked except Chrome, KeePass, and GIMP. I want to use Chrome because it runs with a smaller footprint (as i understand it) so should run better on even the cheapest machines. Once i found that Chrome doesn't work on Win 2000, i installed Firefox to get around this issue and can now use it when necessary. I don't really need KeePass, but want it just in case i need to log in and take care of any financial issues while on the road. In worst case, i could live without it. I installed FSResizer as a basic replacement for those times when GIMP doesn't work. I can't do as much, but it allows me to resize, crop, rotate, and all of those other basic functions so i can live with it.

I asked at the reference desk and found that the library does have one XP machine and they let me log into that to test all the applications again. Sure enough, on XP everything worked just as well there as they do at home. This should mean that no matter what i find installed (or not installed, as the case may be) on any computer i run across during the ride, i should be able to edit the web pages, add journal entries, edit photos, and upload everything to the server that hosts my web pages.

It looks like i'm set. Now all i have to do is remember from day to day what i do and see (not as easy as it sounds, i'm afraid) and force myself to stop and take pictures. And, force myself to find a library at the end of the day even though i just want to eat dinner and relax with a book and/or some music. 

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