How To Feel At Home When You Have To Work on a Public Computer

Whether you use one computer at work and another at home, or you share computers at the office, or whether sometimes you are just left stranded on a foreign computer away from civilization on some godforsaken floor in corporate land – then this post is for you. Following is my collection of portable apps and online services that will make you feel cozy on any PC.

Browser: Even for a couple of hours, browsing the net with Internet Explorer is unbearable and unsafe.
 
Solution: Portable Google Chrome – preferably in incognito mode.
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Passwords: Typing your password on a public computer might not be wise. Also, if you remember your passwords, chances are you use the same one for everything and haven’t changed it in years.
 
Solution: RoboForm2Go memorizes your passwords and logs you in automatically.
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Email, Instant Messaging, Social Networking: Why would anyone run separate programs simultaneously for each service: Outlook + Gmail Notifier + MSN Messenger + ICQ? Are you kidding me?
 
Solution: Portable Digsby.
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RSS Reader: Google Reader might be the easy choice, but those who cherish their privacy might go for a portable app that stores their RSS feeds locally.
 
Solution: GreatNews.
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Health: Especially when you are away from your native office space you should be mindful of Repetitive Strain Injury.
 
Solution: Workrave Portable alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and do preventive exercises.
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Focus: Away from your desk you might hesitate to shush people you just met so that you can get some work done.
 
Solution: SimplyNoise.com produces white noise to neutralize office noises and block distractions.
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Note: Some of these apps were mentioned in previous posts titled ‘Freewares I Swear By But You Have Never Heard Of’ (#1, #2), but I felt a post specifically aimed for the workplace was in order.