What's on your keychain?

Like most geeks, I've been unable to resist the joy of owning a USB memory key with a ridiculous amount of storage. I grabbed one from Amazon on sale with rebate, so it was dirt cheap. Then, of course, came the question of what to put on it. I've done my best to stock mine with utilities and tools that I might need when I pull up at an unfamiliar computer. Here's my current list:

  • Adobe Reader 6.0 along with PDF Speedup to make using it a more tolerable experience. Never know when you'll need to read some documentation.
  • AVG Antivirus with a reasonably up-to-date data file.
  • AntiVir Personal Edition
  • A link to Panda ActiveScan to check for viruses without installing anything.
  • GDI Scan to hunt for vulnerable GDI DLLs.
  • The latest version of WinZip.
  • The latest version of WinIso for dealing with ISO files and other CD images.
  • Apex SQL Edit for working with Microsoft SQL Server databases. I'd love to be able to cart around just the client tools portion of SQL Server 2000, but I don't think that's doable.
  • Both the 1.0 and 1.1 .NET Framework redistributables. Hey, I'm mostly a .NET guy these days, what do you expect?
  • Free Tetrix and TurboRisk because man does not live by work alone.
  • Vault, which is an outliner that I started using to organize all my personal info (passwords, registration codes, credit cards, and so on) ages ago. I also cart along my Vault data file, which I store as an AES-encrypted zip file. Wouldn't want to have it fall into the wrong hands if I lose the little toy.
  • Firefox 1.0, because friends don't let friends use IE.
  • FTP Voyager. If I'm going to have to deal with FTP, I want a graphical client that doesn't stink.
  • The Vault source code control client, so I can get into my source code repository from anywhere I happen to be.
  • Ad-Aware SE and Spybot-S&D. There's entirely too much spyware in the world.
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop Client, so that I can manage my servers from wherever.
  • Alcohol 52%, which gives me the ability to bring along at least small CD images of things I already own.
  • A few utilities from Sysinternals, including AutoRuns, TcpView, and Process Explorer.
  • Port Reporter and Port Reporter Parser for logging and investigating TCP and UDP activity.
  • XMLSPY 2005 for those times when I'm forced to touch an XML file. I should probably find a lighter-weight XML utility to take along too, but I'm used to this one.

Well, that's my current list. As you can see, it's a mix of free and commercial tools. I've mainly chosen the ones that I know well and have found useful in the past, but like anyone else, I've got my own blind spots. So - what did I miss? What's on your USB drive that I should add to mine? Feel free to contribute your own ideas in the comments below.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.

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