BYOD or should that be BYOP?

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

BYOD is an acronym some of you may be familiar with. For those that don’t know, it stands for Bring Your Own Device, which is a term used in the business world when people use their own computers, smartphones and tablets to do their work, rather than the company’s machines.

It is a blessing in a lot of ways, because it means less expenditure on equipment, but it is also a curse for IT administrators. The days are gone when an IT department could roll out one set of applications for one operating system. Now they have to cater to all manner of systems with varying screen sizes and capabilities.

One solution I have spoken about before is the emergence of web apps, which by virtue of their nature are inherently platform independent. If the thought of all your stuff being somewhere up in the clouds doesn’t sit well with you, there may be an alternative.

A reader pointed out a website called portableapps.com, which has a nifty little program you can download and install. It is limited to Windows based machines, although the blurb on the site assures you that it will work with Macs and Linux, if you use the right emulator software. Obviously that leaves mobile devices out in the cold which is a shame if you depend on using your smartphone or tablet.

Once you download the software, you can install it on a USB stick or a cloud drive (DropBox for instance). It will then allow you to choose from a range of programs to download and install. The list is predetermined, but does cover everything from word processing to desktop publishing, to photo editing and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

I installed LibreOffice and Scribus on a USB stick to see how the system worked. It took quite a long time to download and install the apps themselves, but the process itself was not difficult and went without a hitch. Now as long as I carry my thumb drive around with me and have access to a machine that can run Windows .exe files, I can work on my documents quite happily.

The one problem I can see with this way of doing things (aside from only really working with Windows) is that if you forget to take your USB stick with you, or somehow lose it, then you can’t do anything and you may have lost a lot of work. It is akin to leaving or losing your mobile phone and finding yourself severed from the outside world. Installing it on a cloud drive would of course mitigate this, but if your main concern in the first place was using the cloud, then that wouldn’t really make sense.

Still, it is another option and introduces the concept of BYOP (Bring Your Own Program).

Lastly there have been more shocking revelations this week to do with the potential consequences of the Windows 10 upgrade. It has culminated in a petition on Change.org to have Microsoft investigated for malicious practices. Just search for “eff investigate microsoft” for an enlightening read.

Alan Stainer
https://www.alansitsolutions.com/