Monday, August 22, 2016


I tried to come up with some site goals and found myself mysteriously stuck on this.  Here's what I have so far ...

Ongoing goals:
  • Help developers
  • Advocate for portability; get more programs to go portable
  • Promote open source and WINE capability
  • More actively monitor programs to avoid garbage
Site Improvements (a lot of this depends on Andrew)
  • Site update/cleanup
  • Better image visuals
  • BitTorrent mirror for old stuff (with VirusTotal listings and decompressed archives so it's overall smaller)
  • A full listing of everything we have all in one big list
  • Fix tagging/categories system
  • Github site for tracking site changes

Suggestions welcome.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

What the heck is U3?

I suspect a chunk of the current portable software world came from the long-abandoned U3 technology.  The program came with quite a few flash drives and enabled certified program system, a familiar menu, running programs from a portable device.

A view of the program:

Despite seeming legitimate, the general consensus on the site has been: if you see it, remove it.  The program came on the scene back in 2005 and then faded away back in 2010 without much notice.

Although there were only a hand full of threads on PFW that address it, mostly there to recommend use of something else as the program had serious stability and system issues:
​One wonders what could have been if Sandisk would have been willing to take this on as a more serious project.  It could have been huge.

Drives I use

I have two devices with me at all times:

1. High speed, high capacity drive - SanDisk Ultra USB 3 (I'm not happy with the form factor but the speed is great).  This is formatted to NTFS and is used for important operations like operating system replacement, Virtual Machines, etc.  Where possible, the contents are encrypted.  Portable programs are run from this device.

2. A low-end, broad compatibility - Stellar PNY drive that has both standard and miniUSB connections (for Android devices).  This is formatted to FAT32 but I don't trust files files saved to this device.  This is unencrypted.  Portable programs saved to this device are first copied to the host computer.

Bad Windows track

A good summary/overview of how frustrating Microsoft's recent decisions with Windows 10 have been.  I feel like I've been here before with their monopolistic tendencies, only to be replaced by an anti-consumer effort.

This hurts portability only in the way that this is going to hurt Microsoft dominance over time.  More people are going to move toward Mac and Android.

The Maxthon browser non-response

So the widely reported on Maxthon issue that caused us to take the entry offline has basically gone nowhere.  The Maxthon site has completely ignored the issue, listing nothing about it on the home page or the "about us" or "privacy" pages:

Rather than talk about it, they've evidently instead just released a new version called "Nitro" to change the subject.  I'm not going to bother linking to it.

If for some reason you have to use this program, someone on the site (smaragdus) appears to have figured out a way to turn off this behavior.  For my part, I don't plan to go anywhere near this garbage.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Textify saves SO much time

I've been doing some testing lately and, about once a week, I've been using the excellent Textify to pull the specific version out of Internet Explorer.  Before Textify, you basically have to paste this entire image into a bug report:

It's SO much easier and simpler to include a simple line of text than to paste a screenshot. Copying over those numbers is tedious and invites mistakes.  Textify fixes this.  I hover over the number I want, hold Shift+Middle Click (the default), and it pops up as a text window:

I copy the data I want:

And paste that long number sequence (11.0.9600.18376) into the bug report.

Once you have this kind of time-saver, it's painful to go back to a machine without it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Customizing your Office suite

I've seen a lot of criticism of LibreOffice's older interface and while it's getting better, one thing that isn't talked about in the user interface behind the Microsoft Ribbon format is customization difficulty.

Just try to track down how to just add a border to an image and then add it to the existing Picture tab.  This took a half an hour and an amazing amount of of trial and error.  I never even got it into the Picture tab and instead had to create a Custom tab.  At least with LibreOffice, when you want to add a button to the tool bar, it's super easy:


Additionally, customizations that happen in LibreOffice Portable go everywhere with you.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Why I avoid Liberkey

Liberkey ( is a portable software project that's been around for a few years and suffered from attacks by the PortableApps project for not conforming to legal requirements around trademark and licenses.  Even still, the project has continued work and I had trouble finding any details about it online.  As the topic is banned on PFW as flamebait, I decided to write up a quick breakdown:

I don't use Liberkey because:
  1. The response from Piriform indicating that there was no exception given to the Liberkey project.
  2. The insistence that encrypting config files is a choice, no explanation needed.
  3. I'm unwilling to use a closed platform like theirs when there are so many great open tools available in this area. 
You can sift through the lengthy forum posts on the site about this topic (1 and 2) or read the (somewhat old) MaximumPC article hosted on