Several companies are in the business of providing software that turns a USB thumb drive, or iPod, into a simple way to carry your own data and programs for use on any PC. Today, one of them Ringcube, hit the PR jackpot with a largely favorable review in the Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg Solution (paid subscription required) column.

A Brilliant Name, A Good Product
Ringcube’s product, MojoPac, is software that enables you to load a drive with your data and your favorite programs and take them on the road. As Mossberg put it:

MojoPac sounded too good to be true, but for the most part, it actually worked as promised. Privacy is a big plus for MojoPac, as your files remain on your thumb drive or iPod, and never transfer to the host PC’s hard disk. Similarly, your entire browsing history and all cookies remain on the portable device.

There is a catch, however: A few aspects of this program are a little too geeky for the average person, it is slow to perform some tasks, and it crashed one of our computers during a test. Also, it doesn’t support making Microsoft Office portable, unless you have a corporate or institutional license.

But the company claims it is hoping to make the geekier parts of MojoPac more user-friendly in its next software update, and is working on allowing average consumers to carry their copies of Office with them. MojoPac only works with Windows XP programs as of now.

What about Ceedo, U3 and Migo?
I noted Ceedo a few months ago, and looked at but didn’t write about U3 as well. Both of these have similar functionality to MojoPac with one major exception: they require use of specially adapted programs or a special, extra-cost software adapter. Many of these programs are free, but many are not, and that would be a deal breaker for me. U3 also requires a U3-logo’d USB drive. And Migo doesn’t run programs, just stores data.

So far, MojoPac seems to be the best PC on a stick product out there. It allows you use the applications you are used to, costs less than U3 and Ceedo, runs on any USB storage device and, according to Mossberg, seems to have the easiest UI for many of its functions. On the downside, Mossberg did report some bugs, so it probably isn’t as well wrung-out as the older solutions.

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