June 2nd, 2007
Categories: Uncategorized

Digital Condoms – Pissing off to Portugal #3

 

When I was in London for my holiday late last year, I spent a lot of time actually on the internet. No, I’m not sad, I mainly did it because meeting up with Guy, Celeste and Han meant – to arrange times – I found it easy if I used the net at the hostel to speak to them online, rather than ring them all up.

However, one thing I couldn’t stand was the software used by the hostel. It was some open source instant messenger program (that wasn’t Gaim) that was just clunky, unresponsive and just horrible to use. I had recently switched to Gaim from Windows Live Messenger, and the software the hostel was using tried my patience in the worst way.

I then read somewhere about digital condoms. Digital Condoms are USB sticks containing your programs and settings. The reason for their name is more of a privacy issue. You plug it in to a public place, do your business, and then withdraw without leaving anything of yours behind. This single handedly makes it the greatest technical definition ever.

pa2.jpg

Anyway, I had a spare 2GB USB Flash Drive so I thought I’d try it out. A quick head over to Portableapps.com for the software, and I was ready to go. After a fairly length installation process (which doesn’t techinically install any programs, that comes when you first run them), you are greeted with a screen that becomes like your 2nd start bar.

pa1.jpg

Now, running a few of the programs, it must be said that it does work rather well, and is compact, easy to use, and starts automatically should you wish. Two problems with it, the sudoku game is evil in it’s ability to distract, and that the software on offer is slightly less upto date than current desktop versions, which is a pain if you’re a Sunbird user, as the “Provider” Add on (essential as the synchronisation with Google Calendar is abysmal).

But other than that, it is quite a useful thing to have. Of course, working on a PC here – it’s not much fun (I spent my days just tidying it all up and making sure everything is kosher), the real test is how I use it abroad. Which is why I’m taking it for a test in Portugal. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spend the first 3 days away from this fair isle hooked up in some Portugese internet cafe, but I’m sure I’ll have a spare 30 minutes to try it out.

Yes – try it out. There is another reason why I created my digital condom, but – unless your name is Rick, Han or Ami – you don’t need to know, just yet. That is another story for another time.

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