Monday, August 18, 2008

Further enhancement of my Portable Office

Since my last post on this subject at the end of July, I've discovered some gems of software that I've installed on the USB stick and so far find them very handy. As I discover software, it will sometimes result in deletion of previously installed software due to improved functionality. Where this occurs I will advise what I deleted and why.

The first new addition to the USB drive is Kompozer, which is the unofficial update to the last release of Nvu. Kompozer is a WYSIWYG editor for creating web pages. Its similar to what most people would know as Microsoft Frontpage or Adobe DreamWeaver. It won't build a content management system like Joomla can, but I'm not at that stage yet. I use Kompozer to build autorun start pages for resource CDs or USBs.

The second addition is more for fun than function. Magix Music Maker allows me to create my own music by simulating instrument sounds. It moves beyond Hammerhead Rhythm Station which only offered drum loops. To me the beauty of this is students can create music for presentations without being concerned about copyright, which is a needed lesson in any case. Its a big download so I'm glad I got the 4GB USB stick. There is a free basic edition available here.

I've also added Scribus. Scribus is a desktop publishing program similar to what most people know as Microsoft Publisher. I have not used it too much at this point so hope to provide some further information about it in a later post.

The one deletion that has occurred is a Firefox add on that I did not use. Shareaholic seemed like a great idea when I installed it, but it doesn't integrate with Diigo so I ditched it. I'll just run with the Diigo toolbar instead and continue with the tagging button.

Finally, I've decided to use my H drive at school (personal HDD space) more effectively by installing some of the more frequently used portable apps to it. For me, I decided to install Firefox, VLC media player and Foxit Reader. The network has Windows Media Player but as we all know sometimes we need to install a codec to play a file. I don't have admin rights so need a way around it.

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