August 16, 2008 Mtg – Presentation: Your PC on a USB – REVISED TO ADD VIDEOS 10/20/08

Lon Hosford, President of the HCC, opened the meeting with two items of new business.

  • Bill Smyth of Flemington, NJ, came to the club meeting to ask for support for his new proposal.  He submitted a proposal to the National Coordinator of Information Technology with a plan to use a person’s zip code to obtain that person’s emergency room hospital records from anywhere in the world.  This would greatly benefit travelers or others around the country or internationally when help is needed.  Anyone who wishes to support this effort should contact Bill at
  • In September the club will mark its 20th anniversary.  In celebration, club members and former members are invited to breakfast at Perkins Restaurant on Rt. 202, Flemington.  No presentation will be given after breakfast, but some activities are planned.  Please RSVP to John Warsinski at
  • The facility where our meetings are held has begun blocking access to certain websites which will hamper presenters from using those websites as part of their presentations.  The club will have to investigate to find solutions to this problem.

Q:  I thought Vista would be able to access any USB memory stick/flash drive as additional memory, but that has not worked.

A:  Ready Boost needs to be authorized in order to use it.  A Vista window will pop up with a list of options.  The Ready Boost option needs to be selected in order for Vista to use the USB memory stick/flash drive as extra memory.

Q:  While searching on Google, an ad popped up that blocked the entire screen and prevented access to any controls to close the ad or even close the computer.

A:  New features are constantly being added to browsers to block those pop up ads from appearing.  In Firefox, under “Properties/Privacy”, check off “No pop ups”.  You must have Firefox 3 for this to work.  In Internet Explorer, under “Internet Options/Security”, the security level can be adjusted for higher security to stop pop ups.

Q:  I forgot my Vista administrator password.  I had the ISO boot disk which had a utility to recover the password which saved the situation.

A:  Be sure to write down all passwords.  If you are a home user, you may want to use the same password for all sites when the password meets the criteria of the site; for example, the number of characters required or whether numbers must be included.  You may also want to consider using the same answers to all security questions too to keep things uncomplicated.

Q:  I’ve been trying to locate the address of someone in another country.  Can I do so through the Internet?

A:  On the Internet, access the local white pages in the phone book from that country.

Presentation:  Your PC on a USB –  Peter Czerwinski

Peter Czerwinski gave a great presentation on how to use something as simple and inexpensive as a USB flash drive (also called a thumb drive) when traveling to access the Internet and use your favorite software and files.  It is easy to set up and carry the USB flash drive in your pocket or purse while away from home to use on another computer.

Most people just use their USB flash drive for storing information or pictures, but you can do a lot more than that.  The new USB flash drives are now fast enough to run programs for your computer through portable apps (portable applications).  For example, Firefox comes in a portable apps version.  When portable apps are copied to your USB flash drive, it is easy to carry it with you and plug it into an available computer and have access to all the programs you regularly use.  Nothing is left on the host computer when you close down all the programs and remove the USB flash drive from the host computer.

If there is another version of the same software on the host computer you are using, you will have to close down the other version before you can use your portable apps version.

The input/output capability of the newest USB flash drives is fairly fast, but you are sacrificing some speed for portable convenience.  The slower speed is noticeable when first starting on the computer, but it is not noticeable when you continue working.  Your home computer does not need to be on when using portable apps and either Vista or XP can be used.

When purchasing a new USB flash drive for this purpose, buy at least a 15 mbps (megabits per second) to read and 25 mbps to write.  Make sure the drive you buy specifies USB 2.0 or higher speed.  A recommended brand is SanDisk U3.

To get the portable apps, go to   for open source apps.  Also go to and search for portable apps videos for more detailed information.  More information is also available by reading the article “Carry a PC in your Pocket”, in the February, 2008, issue of PC World on the Internet at .

In order to get the portable apps onto your USB flash drive, go to and download the suite of portable apps from the Internet onto your home computer.  When you access it on your computer, it will ask where you want to download it to.  Insert your USB flash drive into your home computer and download the portable apps onto your USB flash drive.  A variety of portable apps are available on the menu, such as an Internet browser and word processor, and more can be downloaded as needed.

After using the USB flash drive with your portable apps on another computer, be sure to shut down each program before removing the USB flash drive from the computer.

Problems to consider –

  • Sometimes libraries may have blocked usage of the USB port on their computers.  Solution:  Go to another library or an Internet café.
  • It is not easy to sync the USB flash drive with your home computer.

Peter completed his excellent presentation by showing the club a video he made of his vacation using ProShow Gold.