I almost always travel with a laptop but now that I have my mojo going, I might just leave it home next time I hit the road. By “mojo,” I mean MojoPac from Santa Clara-based RingCube Technologies.
The software, which currently works only with Windows XP (a beta Vista compatible version will be available soon) allows you to turn a removable external hard drive, flash drive or even an iPod or other MP3 player into a virtual PC. You’ll still need a Windows PC at your destination but MojoPac lets you carry all your software and data with you and have access to your own “desktop” when you plug that external drive into a host PC.
You start by inserting the drive into your PC’s USB port and downloading a 30 megabyte application from mojopac.com. You then install and run the Mojo application and your screen changes from your normal PC’s display to what appears to be a brand new Windows PC with access to Internet Explorer and all the other applications that are bundled with Windows.
But that’s it. The virtual MojoPac PC won’t have any of your own applications until you install them on the external device just as if you were installing them on a new PC.
You must, of course, also copy any data files you need using either Windows Explorer or the file transfer software that comes with MojoPac.
Then, when you’re on the road, all you need is access to someone’s Windows PC (sorry Mac users, Mac support is on their drawing board but not in the immediate plans). When you plug that drive into the host PC, you’re automatically prompted to run MojoPac. As soon as you do, the host’s desktop disappears to be replaced by your MojoPac Windows desktop with whatever applications you’ve installed on the drive.
If you want to switch back to your host PC’s screen you can do so by clicking on the “switch to host” icon at the top of the screen.
I tested it using a 1 gigabyte thumb drive that I carry around on my key chain but it works with almost any external drive, including an iPod and many other digital music players that also function as external drives.
You could also use it with a portable external hard drive such as the Seagate USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive that stores anywhere from 40 to 160 GB on a device that measures only 1 by 3.7 by 0.5 inches.
I installed two applications on my thumb drive – Skype for making free phone calls and Adobe Audition, the audio recording software I use to file reports for CBS News radio. Having access to Audition on my keychain is a relief for me because there are times when I’m called upon to record radio pieces when I don’t have access to my laptop.
Now all I need is to carry around a microphone and find a kind soul willing to let me borrow a PC. And that kind person, according to RingCube Chief Technology Officer Mike Larkin, shouldn’t have to worry about any unpleasant surprises. Although there can never be any iron-clad guarantees, MojoPac developers, he said, have gone to great lengths to prevent any viruses or malicious software on the device from migrating over to the host PC.
MojoPac costs $49.99 but you can try it out free for 30 days.