Attach that thumb-drive to your keys or ID card and it becomes
your "computer pass key" that brings your preferred working environment,
possibly including open applications and etc, to whatever you plug it
Of course that doesn't directly deal with challenges like the different
news servers you mentioned, but to some extent that can be dealt with
using scripts triggering on that geo-location data, or sensed hardware IDs
or the like if it's only a few machines one switches between regularly.
(FWIW, I'm a heavy news user myself, but while I use KDE (still 3.5
mostly, as my aging Radeon 9200 doesn't cope so well with KDE4's effects
at the 1920x2400 screen size I run) as my desktop of choice, I use the GTK
based pan news client. It does some of what you want with its multiple
server setup, but would still need some tweaking and workarounds as it
doesn't cope well if it can't access a configured server, so some scripts
to change out server config and a but of working around its limitations
would still be needed. You're welcome to drop by the pan user list if you
like, available on gmane.org's list2news for news clients, as I
participate, or with subscription info available from the
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