A few weeks ago, I had to part with my laptop and I was worried about getting internet withdrawal symptoms. While I was waiting for my new laptop to arrive, I set up a 1GB USB thumb drive with Firefox and all my bookmarks stored on it for browsing. I also set-up Thunderbird for POP3 and IMAP email access, and GAIM a multi-protocol IM client (simultaneously supports AOL, Google, MSN and Yahoo messaging).

This is way cool, I can walk up to any decent Windows machine, pop in the USB thumb drive, and voila-- all my browsing, email & IM clients are raring to go. The only downside is that you must scan that portable drive for viruses VERY carefully if you've used it on any public machine.

I had heard of the USB drive approach over at the FurryGoat blog about one year ago, but never got around to doing it. Now I had good reason to do it and while looking for something about Thunderbird on Mozillazine, I found out about all the other applications that John Haller has helped set-up for this sort of use.

     PortableApps.com - Your Digital Life, Anywhereâ„¢

PortableApps.com is a community site devoted to the development, promotion and use of portable applications. The site was created by John T. Haller (aka me), the developer behind numerous portable applications (like Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird and Portable OpenOffice.org) as a way to centralize the knowledge and development efforts of multiple portable application efforts.

Though I expect to be getting my new copy of Dreamweaver 8 real soon, I was intrigued to see that there is a "portable" version of the HTML editor Nvu (pronounced en-view). This looks like a fairly compelling open-source offering for web-page editing; tabbed document interface, W3C validation, spell check, FTP site management, CSS support and more.

I'm curious to hear if any open-source advocates in the elearning community have tried Nvu. I'm going to give it a shot later this week and report back.