Portable and searchable files
January 10, 2014 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Please help me brainstorm for a solution. I have lots of text and files (such as .pdf, .png, .wav) that I want to be able to access from my home and work computers. I also want to be able to search for keywords and add hyperlinks in the text.

Many times, I'm at work and think of a file I really need that is at home. I'd like to just always have these files available to me.

- I thought DokuWiki on a stick was the right answer, so I installed it on a flash drive and started filling it up. Unfortunately, at work Symantec Endpoint Protection prevents me from running any application from a portable device, so I can't start the Apache web server.

- Putting the files in Dropbox is not what I'm looking for, because I can't do the hyperlinks and searching the way I'd like.

- I love Evernote, but it doesn't seem like the right answer either for various reasons.

- I don't want to lug around a tablet, or try to access the files from my phone.

- I don't want to put my files on a website, because I'd like them to be just for me. I don't want other people to see them and I don't want to be blocked by IT Internet policy.

- I could add the text as .html files on the thumb drive, but I can't add a search engine without running something on the thumb drive (right?), and thus having it disabled at work.

- I'd prefer something not too obscure, because I'll have this need for my entire working career, I think.

What am I looking for?
posted by Houstonian to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure what OS you're using, but I'm running Win7 and have the Dropbox app running that puts it on my PC under Favorites in Windows Explorer. Doing it that way, it's just as searchable as any other drive or folder (it's storing local copies, as a matter of fact, so if that's a problem with your work machine, game over, but it does keep them synced...)
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:42 AM on January 10, 2014

You can password protect any directory on your website. There should be a tool to do it in your control panel. Then you can run Docuwiki or something similar on your web site and access will be controlled to just you.

If you can install software on your work computer you could also look into installing Zim Wiki, which is a nice desktop wiki that will do what you want. Everything is stored on the backend as a text file, so it would be easy to sync the files to Dropbox so that two or more machines stay in sync.
posted by COD at 8:00 AM on January 10, 2014

TiddlyWiki is similar to DokuWiki, but is a single HTML file that doesn't require running an executable.
posted by 4th number at 8:58 AM on January 10, 2014

Are you aware of TiddlyWiki? It's made of Javascript and can run entirely in a browser, so as long as the loathsome Symantec doesn't stop you browsing to files on your thumb drive it should work at work.

As for thumb drives, I really really like these Elago Nano EL-RD-012 micro SD card readers. Unlike every other plastic-cased device I've ever attempted to keep attached to my keyring, the Nano is small, light and robust enough not to be killed by my other pocket contents.

The lanyards they come with are a pain in the arse to attach because the holes you have to get them through are tiny: I use a bit of fishing line to help thread mine. I also bore a 1/16" hole straight through the cap where the red dot appears in this photo, then thread the lanyard through that on its way to the attachment point on the reader itself. That makes the lanyard hold the cap firmly closed while the reader is in my pocket and stops me leaving it behind when the device is plugged in.

The fact that it's a micro SD card reader also means I can pop the memory card out of it and stick it in my phone, which is occasionally a very useful thing to be able to do.
posted by flabdablet at 9:12 AM on January 10, 2014

A bit off the wall but use a Raspberry Pi to run a headless web server and/or whatever software you wish. Leave it at home and access it from work or just take it to work with you. I assume your work machine is locked down but if you can get a network connection at work you can do what you want.
posted by PickeringPete at 10:02 AM on January 10, 2014

Would running a remote desktop application work? I used to have LogMeIn installed on my home computer, and was able to use a web browser to access my computer. Any actions I could do at home (as long as it didn't involve logging off or restarting the computer) I could initiate remotely. It used only the standard http port, so it would work from anywhere web browsing was permitted.

I was easily able to run any software on my home computer, open and view files, and send them to myself as e-mail attachments.

Caveat: this was several years ago, I stopped using the service when I left that particular job, and I don't know what current security issues may exist for this process, or if there are better services to accomplish the same tasks.
posted by 1367 at 10:35 AM on January 10, 2014

I would ordinarily suggest OneNote, but seeing as you've already discounted Evernote, I suspect that's not going to be what you're after. Perhaps if you explained why you want to avoid this sort of solution, when they seem like a really good fit for the problem you've described?
posted by Aleyn at 9:31 PM on January 10, 2014

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