Two Ways to Run OpenOffice 3.0 Apps from Anywhere
From my perspective, one of the best developments in technology during 2008 was the proliferation of new portability options for useful software applications. This was driven by the push toward cloud computing, netbooks (which typically don't store a lot of local resources but do a good job of reaching out to online applications), the availability of low-cost, high-capacity USB thumb drives, and more. We've written about the new version 3.0 of the open source OpenOffice suite of productivity applications, which has been available for a while. If you'd like to be able to use these applications without necessarily having them loaded on your portable computer wherever you are, here are two good options.
The team over at PortableApps has delivered OpenOffice 3.0 Portable as one of its free downloads for Windows users, and you can even get good support questions answered for it here. This version of the suite is bundled with the full, free PortableApps download, which gets you a slew of other useful open source applications that you can easily keep on a USB thumb drive. You can also download the portable version on its own. With the suite on a thumb drive, you can write, create spreadsheets, work on presentations and more from any computer anytime.
What if you want to work in the OpenOffice applications online from a browser? The free Ulteo Online Desktop service is a good choice. As discussed here, you get 1GB of free online storage space with Ulteo, and full access to OpenOffice Writer, Calc for spreadsheets, and the other applications in the suite. If you end up needing more than 1GB of free storage, Ulteo offers low-cost options. The performance of the online applications is good, and I was able to sign up and get working in less than two minutes.