Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Portable App Spree!

Since switching from Linux to Windows 10, I wanted to have a Linux OS again without dual-booting and speed up Windows. The best solution I found were portable apps. They are programs that can be run on a computer without being installed and they can be put in a storage device such as a USB drive. Unlike normal programs, portable apps do not alter the computer's configuration setting and are not written on Window's registry, so they don't take up hard drive space and slow down the PC. Portable apps come with the extra benefit of being able to use the same programs on any computer with the same OS. Since discovering them, I eagerly switched most of the programs I used to portable versions and installed a live version of Linux on my USB drives.

Live Linux

For me, this video was a great tutorial for installing Linux with the opensource software Linux Live USB creator. Because the software has a persistence option, I can even save files or install software on Linux. The persistent version of Linux allows users up to 4 GB of memory. The software also creates a virtual box on the USB, so I can also run Linux within Windows. The software is compatible with a wide range of distros and I've even managed to use it for Lubuntu Vivid Vervet 15.10 when the website said the latest version it would support is Lubuntu Vivid Vervet 15.04. The installation process took 45 minutes to an hour for me, which is much shorter than installing the OS for dual-booting. I was also saved the worry of accidentally wiping out Windows and the need to take extra precautions against this. The limitations with using Linux Live USB creator is that the OS can't be updated and the USB can not multi-boot.

Other programs

Portableapps.com is the main site I use to download portable apps. It has a wide variety of programs including well-known ones such as Google Chrome, Gimp, and OpenOffice. The programs are open-source and only compatible for Windows, but Mac and Linux users can use Wine with them. There's an active community that is working on adding more portable apps to the website's collection and there's some articles about how you can make portable apps yourself. For anyone who wants to use this site, I recommend downloading the PortableApps.com Platform which displays all your portable apps from the website on this side-menu. Using the menu is easier than using the file manager to open apps, download new ones, and update your existing ones. In addition, the menu has a bar that tells you how much more space is available on the USB drive. The portable apps are fairly small and many of them can fit in a small space. The nine apps I have now in addition to the Platform take up 1.2 GB, so I could probably have at least 27 apps on one 4 GB USB drive.    

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Review: 1984

1984 1984 by George Orwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thoughtcrime. Big Brother. Doublethink. All originated from this novel. This is a great book to read if you want to have a better understanding of the social structure and pop culture of the modern western world. Right now, it is shaping our debates on freedom of speech and privacy rights, especially on the internet.
The book is devoid of hope and heroes. If it wasn't for the insights that Orwell makes about language and social systems, I wouldn't have been able to read through the degradation of the protagonist. While dystopian novels are typically dark and full of despair, Orwell makes his villains exceptionally sadistic and the protagonist's attempts to rebel very feeble. A song that sums up this book well would be Lorde's version of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World".

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