Category: Portable Applications

Violating IT Policy!

By , March 2, 2010 11:55 am

So, I work as a social worker and we are not expected to do much more than document with our computers. For job security reasons, I use my hobby programming in work to make the workplace more efficient and ensure that I have a job tomorrow! There are some problems with this, most notably, we are not setup to do programming. So I’m going to list my favorite tricks to get setup at work.

First of all, although we work through a company ethernet connection; we do have some flexibility. For one, I read the IT Policy and it specifically states I cannot install an executable onto the harddrive. Well, problem easily solved, I have a flash drive, so in comes a website for portable applications.  Here’s the applications I use the most.

*        GOOGLE CHROME

Google Chrome is a great browser.  It’s ability to interpret javascript leaves IE# in the dust!  As for it’s portability, just like most of these, just run the executable and install it to your flash drive (or if you want a little more speed and less portability, your harddrive).  Now, Google Chrome works great right out of the box, except one thing.  It’s flash needs to be updated.  Fortunately, this is easy to solve and there are only a few steps.

  1. Get FlashPlayer XPI for Windows.
  2. Rename the *.xpi to *.zip and copy flashplayer.xpt and NPSWF32.dll
  3. Paste those two files into <install directory>/App/Chrome-bin/<version>/ directory.  Replace install directory with where you installed the application and version with the folder that is your version number.

**            NOTEPAD++

This stuff is simple, but I thought I’d post a link for the plugins.  These are easy to install, plugins go in the \Plugins\ folder, configuration files go in the \Plugins\Config\ and documentation goes in \Plugins\Doc\. Here are my favorite plugins:

***   BOA CONSTRUCTOR

For this to work, you’ll need Portable Python which installs similar to most things but it altered file associations and so I just extracted it and then it runs fine.  You’ll also want to install wxPython which is a module for python located on the Portable Python Page.  For Boa Constructor, download the file and install it on a computer of your own.  From there it copies onto the flash drive just fine, just make sure to update the settings for your main python exectuable since it won’t be in the computer’s path.

****       CODEBLOCKS

CodeBlocks is another program that will copy straight from the computer to your flash drive to make it portable.  The real trick is getting paths set and configuring WX if you’re interested in rapid development of GUI’s in C.  So here’s the quick run through.  For paths, I struggled with this on my work computer but it will not read paths that have a space.  It sees that space as the end of your path, so when setting a path for a library, for example WX, make sure you store that in a location that does not have a space in the path.  As for configuring WX, here’s what I did.  I went to the WX Pack site and got the package, which is great.  No need to compile or anything, does it all on it’s own with a directory to link your CodeBlocks library to, just be aware, this will take a lot of space on your flash drive, but with all of these things, you can always store them locally if you are daring that much against your local IT Department!

*****          CYGWIN

The biggest pain and the best program to have for avid Linux users.  This site makes a great tutorial on how to do this.  And rather than reiterating this, I’ll add my own changes.  The biggest thing was I changed the startup script and then linked that script on my desktop.  The first thing to do is to install Cygwin on your flash drive, be aware it may not install all the programs you want.  I did it three times before it all worked.  Then you have to mount the drive as you cannot do this or it will write to the registry.  As for my script, here’s what I wrote:

;rem creating a startup script
@echo off
:: clear
cls

:: locate directory
echo Locating directory...
for /F %%A in ('cd') do set WD=%%A
:: create path
echo Setting Path...
set path=%WD%\bin;%path%
set SHELL=/bin/bash
set CYGWIN=codepage:437
set HOME=/home/zbert
:: mount fs
echo Mounting File System...
bin\mount -bfu %WD%/ /
bin\mount -bfu %WD%\bin /usr/bin
bin\mount -bfu %WD%\lib /usr/lib
:: login
echo Logging in...
echo.
echo.

if "%1" == "" GOTO noopt
	if "%1" == "c" goto cmd
	if "%1" == "-c" goto cmd
	if "%1" == "--cmd" goto cmd
	if "%1" == "h" goto help
	if "%1" == "-h" goto help
	if "%1" == "--help" goto help
	echo  [*] ERROR: Unrecognized option.
	goto usage

:usage
echo usage: cygwin 1
goto help

:help
echo.
echo          Portable Cygwin Loader v1.0
echo.
echo     Commands:            *Run normal with no options.
echo        c ^| -c ^| --cmd     Run in Command Prompt.
echo        h ^| -h ^| --help    Display Help Message
echo.
echo        Copyright Skelton Computers © 2009
echo.
goto end

:cmd
echo cls > bin\bash -l -i
GOTO end

:noopt
bin\bash -l -i
GOTO end

:end
set path=%WD%\bin;%path%
@echo on

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