Here's an action item for you, dear reader, and finally a decent reason to put your USB key to work other than just holding family photos.
Download and install the PortableApps Suite from PortableApps.com. It's free, released 1.0 a few days back, and it's a collection of totally portable apps (they don't touch your hard drive) and an integrated menuing system that can run automatically via Autoruns.inf.
This suite also includes a backup application that will backup your apps, settings and documents (on the drive in a specific location) to your local hard drive.
I use this Suite on a tiny 2GB drive (that Omar turned me on to) that lives in my wallet (The best wallet I've ever owned, only US$5.50 from Umbra). On the drive is a 1 GIG TrueCrypt disk - my "getaway drive" - and the other gig is for Portable Apps. I run the standard suite, plus Notepad2, uTorrent and TorPark. There's lots of additional apps you can add.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.