I’ve read a number of articles recently about the Vonage V-Phone – a VoIP phone application which runs from a memory stick. The device costs £19.99 with a £7.99 monthly rate which gives free local and national calls to landlines.
It runs directly from the memory stick (no software installed on the PC). So you should be able to run it from any PC (but not Apple Macintosh) with a USB. This has the potential of freeing the user from the limitations of the IT Services provided. Or, from another perspective, portable applications like this have the potential to degrade the network by letting users run potentially disruptive applications.
This is the first device of its type which I’ve seen. We can expect the price to go down as competitors release similar products (or, alternatively, the feature set may become richer) .
I have a memory stick which runs Portable Firefox and Portable Miranda. I’ve used Portable FireFox on a couple of occasions, when only IE was available. We are seeing a growth in the number of portable applications. In the future will the student carry their preferred applications around on their memory stick (as a key ring, or bracelet, perhaps) leaving the institution to provide the monitor, keyboard and operating system environment?