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11 great free portable apps for blogging on the go!

Here are ten of favorites portable apps for blogging on the go (plus two alternatives). With these programs in pocket, we always able to write when inspiration strikes - regardless of what computer we are using.

1. Windows Live Writer is the best offline tool for composing blog posts, hands down. While Microsoft doesn't offer a portable version, it's a simple DIY project (Brad first covered it in September 2007). You can download the portable launcher from Scott Kingery's blog: it's over a year old, but it works just fine with the latest beta of Live Writer. With a rich feature set and support for Wordpress, TypePad, LiveJournal, Blogger, and more, it's a necessity.

2. Portable Firefox and SRWare Iron are both great browsers. I keep Firefox handy in case I need access to my favorite extensions, and use Iron when I just need to do some quick surfing. Why Iron instead of Chrome? For the added privacy.

3. GreatNews is a decent, portable RSS reader that's actually portable (no Java runtime needed, like RSSOwl). The download is under 1mb, and it formats feeds into a tidy newspaper-like layout. If I'm using a machine where I'd rather not log in to my Google account, I'll fire up GreatNews to read my feeds instead.

4. FastStone Capture is my favorite screenshot program. Apart from capturing windows (including scrolling ones), regions, or the full desktop, FastStone has an excellent built-in editor that handles text overlays, watermarking, highlighting, cropping, resizing, and more. There's also a screen magnifier and eyedropper tool.

5. AVI Screen does a good job at capturing screencasts for sharing on video sharing sites like YouTube. Its mouse tracking feature is very slick, and is a good way to keep video sizes small. You may need to download it from this page.

6. CamStudio may be a better option for tutorial-style screencasts. In addition to capturing activity, it can also add captions and add picture-in-picture overlays.

7. IrfanView has a number of useful features. It's a great image viewer and it also handles batch conversions. Basic editing tools are included as well, like resize, crop, rotate, sharpen, and blur.

8. The Gimp is my choice for more complex photo editing tasks. The 2.6 interface is a big improvement over older versions, and now that I've taken the time to really learn it I don't miss Photoshop at all.

9. WinHTTrack creates offline copies of websites, which is very useful if you need to cache some pages for reference so that you can work without internet access. Make sure you grab the .zip and not the .exe.

10. The Sage is an excellent portable resource for writers. It's a fully searchable dictionary and thesaurus with over 200,000 definitions. Everything is fully cross-referenced: if there's a word you need to look up in a definition, just click it. The Sage can even handle anagram searches.

11. Sumatra PDF or Foxit Reader are must haves. If you have to follow a style guide, chances are good that it was provided to you as a PDF. Foxit and Sumatra are both small and fast, and support important features like annotations and bookmarking.



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