Category Archives: PortableApps

How to create a portable, cross platform encrypted drive using TrueCrypt

I posted a few days ago regarding the release of the new Macintosh OS X version of TrueCrypt. For those that don’t know, TrueCrypt is a free, open source application that enables you to create an encrypted files that, using the TrueCrypt application, can be mounted as a drive on a host machine. The exciting thing is that this new version of TrueCrypt makes it possible to create a cross platform encrypted volumes! This post is a step by step instruction on how to create a portable, cross platform, encrypted volume that will allow you to carry your data securely and access it on any Windows, Mac and I assume Linux based computers.

Before we get into the main instruction, I want to highlight some points.

  1. [[** UPDATE **]]
    See this comment Sorry I was wrong, thank you for clearing this up
    [[** UPDATE **]]
    Currently the Mac version of TrueCrypt does NOT support hidden volumes, so if you need data to be available on Windows, Mac and Linux, you will have to forgo hidden encrypted volume functionality for the time being. Remember hidden TrueCrypt volumes you have previously created will NOT work on Macintosh computers.
  2. Currently the Mac version of TrueCrypt only seems to support the FAT file system. This is actually pretty logical . There is no native support for NTFS on Macintosh computers yet. If you already have a Windows based NTFS formatted encrypted volume, you may want to set up a new encrypted volume and format it to FAT so that you can mount the volume on multiple operating systems.
  3. Remember you will need to download the latest version of TrueCrypt

Below the fold is the full step by step instruction on how to create a free, portable, cross platform encrypted drive using TrueCrypt. The encrypted volume you create should allow you to move a secure encrypted file across windows, macintosh and linux computers. As long as you have the TrueCrypt application with you on something like a USB drive or TrueCrypt is pre-installed on your target computer you should be able to mount your encrypted file as a standard drive.

So off we go!!

Continue reading How to create a portable, cross platform encrypted drive using TrueCrypt

Free, Portable, Cross Platform Encryption Solution with TrueCrypt 5

True Crypt 5a was released on a few weeks ago on February the 12th, one of the major new features is the release of a Mac OS X version of this free encryption application. A quick test confirms that creating a TrueCrypt 5 encrypted volume as a FAT32 formated volume using the new OS X 10.5 Leopard release of produces an encrypted file that can be mounted and used on a Windows XP machine that also has the new version of true crypt installed or availible.

Personally I find this new version wonderful. My previous cross platform encryption solution was to use bcrypt a command line application availible for both Windows and Mac OS X, however this was really only useful for file encryption. Alternatively I could use an encrypted drive image in OS X, But then this was no use if i needed the files on my Windows machine.

True crypt 5 allows a user to set up an encrypted volume that can be mounted as a drive, in the same way as an OS X drive image, only now of course its cross platform, and if you run truecrypt in traveler mode, its portable too! Bonus!

In addition if you happen to have a Linux box, or maybe one of the shiny new Nokia Internet Tablets you ‘should’ also be able to run TrueCrypt 5 on those as well, TrueCrypt has supported Linux for a while I believe.

You can Download TrueCrypt here.

Ultra-Edit Text Editor Goes Portable, But at a price.

In previous posts I have espoused the virtues of portable applications, and provided a list of applications I keep installed on my USB Drive. One application I have used for a number of years is IDM Computer Solutions Ultra Edit. This feature rich text/hex editor has now been updated to be compatible with the U3 portable drive system. I haven’t installed it yet though. Why? Well I think the price is a bit steep, especially since I currently hold an unlimited upgrade license for Ultra-Edit, Ultra-Compare and Ultra-Sentry. I just cant justify the extra expense for another copy of Ultra-Edit, just for the privilege of having it run from a USB Drive. Since switching to a Mac I guess I feel spoiled by all the fantastic free software that is availible. The idea of paying for 2 copies of one application seems a little alien now. 😀

Balthaser patent .180 reexamination

As Mike over at Flashgen.com and also Aral Balkan reports it seems someone is looking to contest the ridiculous Balthaser RIA patent that was reported a while ago by a number of Flash developers. I have also been contacted by Oliver Lorenz with regard to providing more information and certainly urge anyone that wants to beable to continue RIA development without the potential of infringing on this patent.

The issue I have with the patent is its broad and sweeping coverage of very common interface and application GUI design systems. As an example reading one portion of the “Summary of The Invention”.

When editing a component, the user may modify a number of features associated with a component including, but not limited to, the volume of an acoustic component, the link between a menu entry and an associated component, the font, font size, color, or effect of a text field, or the layout, size, transparency, rotation, color, position, or level of any graphical rich-media component. The user may modify these components by means of a slider bar or a textual input field. In addition, the user may modify the volume of a sound component by means of up and down volume buttons. The user may undo modifications made to a component’s parameters. The user may also modify the position of a graphical rich-media component by a graphical input field, by clicking and dragging said component, or by text fields. When the user modifies the position of a graphical rich-media component by means of clicking and dragging said component, said component may align itself to a grid point or a guide line. The user may also modify the style and the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of a component linked to a menu entry.

Unless I am mistaken the recently posted link to Netvibes would actually infringe on this part of the patent. In that the user can select ‘panes’ or ‘graphical rich-media components’ of the netvibes application and alter there position within the application by clicking and dragging them to a new position.

In this example, because there is no specific technology linked to the patent claim, any RIA in any technology, Flash, Ajax, Appolo, XUL Runner, HaXe, Sparkle, add any other future technology here….. These systems would all be in break of the patent claim.

And this is just ONE of the EIGHTY THREE different claims in this patent.

Very worrying I think any developer would agree. Everyone involved in Internet application development, in my opinion, should take a serious look at this patent. Think about ANY work they have done or seen in past. The work they are doing today. Then consider the possible implications of future networked development. If you know of anything that has been posted, exhibited or shown publicly that can bring this patent down, it is in every ones interest to make it known to strengthen the Magix reexamination.

And remember we are not just talking about flash applications or work here. If you remember or are aware of ANY online application, in any technology, be it DHTML, Director, Java or anything else. If it used any, all or even one of these systems to allow user interation then it may well be enough to show that Mr Neil Balthaser did not invent these systems, and certainly has not right to lay claim to doing so as he has in his patent application.

Portable Apps Updates and Links.

This morning while burning a little time I did a quick scan over the Portable Application I have been carrying around with me on my USB drive and did a quick compare with the latest versions that are available. PortableApps.com carries allot of the Portable Apps that I use but not all of them so this is what I “wax my stick” with right now.

  • KeyPass – This is a password manager that runs very nicely from a USB Key; It�s just recently been updated to v1.05. One lovely thing this Free Portable App allows is the ability to attach and encrypt files into the password file. So it also acts as a bit of a back up program as well 🙂
  • Portable FireFox – No real description required here, other than to say I find there are some key extensions worth using with Portable FireFox from USB. Sage, MozImage and Calendar. I like them just because I don�t have to install alternative, RSS readers, Image Viewers or the Portable SunBird. Simple really.
  • Portable ThunderBird – Again it�s a no brainer, a great free Portable email client. And now available with. OpenPGP/GPG Support. See now? KeyPass is an ideal place to store your PGP Keys 😀
  • Portable AmbiWord – This got updated to v2.4.4 and I missed it. I have had compatibility issues with some of the styling, but it�s a useful word replacement all the same, and not as bulky as Portable OpenOffice
  • Portable ClamWin – This is an Portable version of the Open Source Antivirus/Virus Scanner and has just been updated to v0.88.2.3
  • Portable FileZilla – Portable FTP Application, now on v2.2.23a
  • NotePad++ – Great portable NotePad Replacement, also great code editing tool. Plus it has native Support for ActionSctipt Syntax Highlighting. Bonus.
  • Portable Gaim – Portable version of the Gaim chat client. It has been updated to v1.5, also there is a test for Portable Gaim v2.0. Gaim has support for all the major networks. The more Security conscious of you may be interested in how you can also se SimpLite from USB as well
  • Ifran View – Ok when I recommended MozImage I said I didn�t need another image viewer, not entirely true as Mozimage only does Web Image formats. Ifran view does pretty much EVERY Format.
  • IZArc – This compression tool can be installed and then copied to a USB Key to run portably. Alternatively….
  • hjZip – can just be unzipped to your USB to be run
  • Foxit PDF Reader – Does what you would expect. A Portable PDF Application

And just because I like to think I am security more inclined(/paranoid) I also make use of these additional Portable Apps

  • SimpLite – This is a chat proxy that allows your Chat conversations to be encrypted. Not a true portable App, but I have found a way to run it in a portable manner. Instructions Here
  • Blowfish Advanced CS – I use this mainly for cleaning up after myself on any given system, it has up to 35 pass data deletion. In addition it is a nice quick way of encrypting files if the need ever arises
  • TorPak – This is a modified Portable FireFox that automatically runs a Tor Privoxy to mask/anonomise your web browsing I.P. This has the added benefit of bypassing some web filtering software that gets run.
  • TrueCrypt – TrueCrypt is a great encryption utility that offers mountable encrypted files/drive. The portable aspect comes from the traveler mode that this program offers

couple of links….

PortableApps.com

Also this Blog has a great set of Freeware application Alternatives.

Running SimpLite on USB Dive

Those of you that are users of MSN or one of its many alternative clients may or may not be aware of the fact that every conversation you have is clearly readable by any interested party that might monitor your goings on. In fact a simple Google search will throw up a fine list of methods and programs that will allow you to see exactly what I mean (EtherBoss).

Others of you will be aware there are a number of ways you can achieve some level of privacy in said Instant Message conversations, Gaim has a number of plug-in that offer some level of encryption to your messages. As a former user of the stock MSN client I had already decided to make use of SimpLite from Secway and as a result had convinced a large portion of my friends and family that they should also install and use it.

However once i had moved as many of my daily apps to a USB drive (read PSP. Overkill? You betcha!!) and swapped to using Gaim I was left with all Instant Messaging being transported in plain text again. After an Exhaustive search I didn’t find any information describing that SimpLite could be installed to USB or that it would work. In actual fact it is possible to run SimpLite from a USB drive. In addition you can install it in this way without administrator rights on the system you will use it on. The solution is really quite simple. Here is how I managed to Install SimpLite on to a USB drive to encrypt my Gaim messages.

Continue reading Running SimpLite on USB Dive

PortableApps.com launches

While I am waiting to pick up a decent Lappy to work from I have been making use of my PSP as possibly the most expensive 1Gb USB Drive Available. This has allowed me a temporary backup drive for my development work and also the client work i have been involved in.

Also it has provided a nice method for me to take some core applications with me where ever I go. These include, image viewers, code editors, email, ftp, and document viewers.

Now most of these applications can be found in one handy place instead of requiring visits to a number of places scattered all over the net.

check them out here