Friday, February 16, 2007

portable life on internet

This is for internet beginners

Eric is going to New Zealand for one year working holiday, he plan to bring a notebook to New Zealand and ask me for some advice. I think he want to blog his life in New Zealand, but I told him notebook is not really portable.

What normally people like Eric will do on internet?

Read news and read blogs
Write blogs
Read/Write email
Chat with friends
Digital photo management
For me, all these can be done through web. What I need is usb flash drive, it is cheap these days, just get a 1G or a 2G storage, a portable firefox and a broadband internet access, so I don't have to bring along my notebook with me everyday.

What is a portable firefox? Portable firefox is a firefox browser can be store on a usb flash drive, once you plug in the usb drive into the PC, you can run the browser directly from the usb drive without install any software into the PC.

I prefer firefox browser because there is a lot of plugins avaiable, some of it like online dictionary could be very useful. When you access to the internet from public terminal (eg. in internet cafe) or your friend's PC, they might not allow you to install anything on the PC, portable firefox came in for the rescue.

If you are a new user on the internet, first thing to do is get yourself an email account, an email account is like your id on the internet. There is a lot of free email account available, hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, GMail, and many others, just choose one you prefer.

Now you have hardware (usb flash drive), software (portable firefox) and id (email account) ready, what you need is web services for your daily task.

Read and write email. Give up your Eudora and Outlook express, is out dated, if you have aditted to it just keep it as your own habbit but don't spread it around. Eudora and Outlook express email client store your email on your harddisk, it is not portable. Don't look for solution like portable Eudora or portable Outlook, just use your browser to access to your email account, most email account will provide a web mail interface.

Most people will like to chat with their family or friends on the internet, there are quite a number of online instant messenger available, but meebo is the only one I will recommend. If you are using Google Talk, chat service through gmail is available.

The last is online digital photo management. I don't recommend any here, I use flickr, I am happy with it, but since I didn't pay for a premium service yearly, I can only manage my last 200 photo.

That's what I mean portable, not a notebook, but a usb flash drive with portable firefox and many online services which is freely available on the internet.

I heard from an IT friend, virus/worm many infect your usb flash drive as an autorun program. Is good to know how to disable the autorun feature, one of the easy way to temporary disable the autorun feature by holding the shift key which plugging in the usb flash drive, but it never prevent the infected PC to infect your usb drive, too bad. Use your usb flash drive with causion.

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