PDF Readers-Their Care and Feeding

Have you noticed that there is a weird relationship between the Adobe PDF Reader version number and the amount of minutes that it takes to load?
Well actually it probably is. But if you are bored to death waiting for the bloody thing to load, you may wish to consider some of the following options.

Lets start with Foxit Software.
Here is a list of some of the nifty advantages of Foxit Reader 2.0:

  • It’s tiny. The download size of Foxit Reader is only 1.5 M which compared to Acrobat Reader’s 20+ Meg and “weekly updates” seems pretty cool to me.
  • It’s Fast. When you run Foxit Reader, it just launches instantly, no annoying splash window displaying company logo, no author names, no nonsense… it just runs.
  • Annotation tool: Have you ever wished to annotate (or comment on) a PDF document when you are reading it? Foxit Reader 2.0 allows you to draw graphics, highlight text, type text and make notes on a PDF document and then print out or save the annotated document.
  • Text converter: You can convert a PDF document into a simple text file. Brilliant.

To make sense of what you get for free and what you need to pay for read the hype below and have a look on their website.

Foxit Reader 2.0 itself is free. As to add-ons, the critical add-ons are free while advanced add-ons are non-free. For example, you can use the following functions for free:

* View or print PDF document
* Fill out PDF forms and save them
* View PDF as text
* Critical add-ons, such as UI language package, JPEG2000/JBIG decoder, CJK package, GDI+ for early Windows version, etc

The followings are several examples of non-free, advanced add-ons:

* Pro Pack is not free. It unlocks functions to save annotation, save a PDF document as a text file, copy text from text viewer. Actually without Pro Pack, you are still able to annotate a PDF document and print it out. However when you save the annotated document, it will be stamped with an evaluation mark on the top-right corner of the annotated pages. If you purchase a Pro Pack add-on, then there will be no evaluation mark.
* Foxit PDF Creator, which allows you to convert non-PDF file into PDF file, is non-free.
* Foxit PDF Editor, which allows you to modify content of a PDF file, is non-free.

They also have versions for Linux and Pocket PC.

Now if you want to stay with the Adobe product … O’Reilly Publishing has a book called PDF hacks

Here is the hype…

PDF Hacks is ideal for anyone who works with PDF on a regular basis. Learn how to create PDF documents that are far more powerful than simple representations of paper pages. Hacks cover the full range of PDF functionality, including generating, manipulating, annotating, and consuming PDF information. Far more than another guide to Adobe Acrobat, the book covers a variety of readily available tools for generating, deploying, and editing PDF.

and whats really neat is that they have put a copy of the SpeedUp Chapter up on their website, ironically it’s available as a PDF.

Here’s a few notes I have collected on how to make Adobe Reader load much faster:

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat #\Reader (replace C: with whatever letter your hard drive is. (The # is the number of whatever version you have installed).
  2. Create a new folder called plug_ins_disabled.
  3. Move all files from the plug_ins folder to the plug_ins_disabled folder except for these three: EWH32.api, printme.api, and search.api which should remain inside the plug_ins folder.

Now you’re set to go! Enjoy the speed increase.

Additionally, you can turn off the splash screen by going to Edit -> Preferences -> Startup and unchecking Display splash screen.

Version 7 installs a quickstart item in your Start folder. This can be a real annoyance and isn’t really necessary, so to grab your RAM remove the “Adobe Reader Speed Launch” from Start->All Programs->Startup.

Now, if you have a small banner ad in the top right corner, just go to Edit->Preferences->Startup and uncheck the item labeled “Show messages and automatically update”.

If you have a small Yahoo button on the toolbar, you can remove it by right-clicking and unchecking the “Search the Internet” item.

When you open a PDF link in your browser, Acroread.exe stays in memory. You can kill the process using taskmanager or start and exit the full app to pull it from memory. Too much of a pain? I agree. Start Acrobat Reader, go to Edit->Preferences->Internet and uncheck the box labeled “Display PDF in browser”. Much simpler.

Anything else out there that I missed? Leave a comment.


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20060925


Welcome to the wasting week as they say, the building getting paint bombed and the puppy from last week were obviously popular (use the comments on the website folks and let everyone enjoy) so we won’t being doing any of that this week… although Roger (you haven’t met him before) sent in a “Blame” item featuring “Talking Dogs” (I am not making this up… it’s all his fault). See what you think

“something for the MMItoP? I love it!!

Subject: Talking dogs
From: Roger xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ”

and no right of reply is guaranteed to cat lovers… this isn’t a democracy you know.

Which brings us to the French. And the best piece of news I have had this week is that Bushmills (the producers of an extremely fine tipple of the Irish Whiskey variety) are no longer owned by the French. They now make English Whiskey ( go to the Pugfest 2000 site and read the blog to find out the significance of all this) but the upshot is there is now an alternative to Single Malt Scotch again. Woo Hoo.
Jools has found this one, I love the bomp de bomp de bomp.
“The Japanese guys who tuned their entire flat over to dominoes are my current favourite – but this comes close.
Monday morning here it comes.

Jools ”


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20060918


Went and saw Ian play a solo gig yesterday, it wasn’t too shabby even if it was at the Greyhound. I threatened him with violence if he didn’t play Kilkunda Wind, you can hear an old demo for it here,

So on with the show,
Jools continues her support with this snippet

“What can I say? Is this a MM Impediment or what? This is for my friend Sue who finds homes for unwanted little doggies. (I know a cat or two who’d like to help.)
Jools ”
And this one feeding my Lego obsession (no I don’t play with it, I had to do remedial blocks at kindergarten… I am just fascinated by the people who do. I mean why would you want build a replica of New
York. Really?)
Or there’s this iPod holder over at Instructables, complete with instructions and a parts list (perfect for the building block challenged).


Bye Bye Balloons

OK. Hands up everyone who hates the little ballon things down in the system tray?
Thought so, everyone.

Well over at Techie Corner is a fabulous little post entitled How to disable balloon notification in Windows XP – T

Here is the hype..

Sometimes notification are good to remind you if you forget something,
if the notification keep prompt you for something then it’s a bit frustrating.
It’s just like the balloon notification in microsoft windows xp.

To disable balloon notification in win xp, simply follow the steps below:-

  • Click Start => Run => enter regedit
  • Look for HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advance
  • create a DWORD value (or edit it if it’s already exists) named EnableBalloonTips with value 0
  • Click registry editor
  • Log off win xp and login again. (You sort of knew that one was coming)

The balloon notification should be disabled by now

The usual scary reminders about messing with the Registry apply. DO a backup, and be careful.
Remember, if it breaks “its all your fault”.


Is your PC slowing down?

So you use Windows (statistically 80% of you do) and like all Windows PC it’s getting slower. Now the really fun question is WHY?

Well over at TPCSv8 there is a thorough investigation of what the most likely culprits stealing your precious performance are. It’s entitled What Slows Windows Down?

Here is a bit of the hype…

Any computer user that’s owned and installed software onto their computer knows that the more you install, the slower the beast runs. Most also know that it’s not just quantity and that what you install plays a large factor in how slowly your computer runs.

The aim of this article is to find out what types of application slow down a computer the most. I’m going to be measuring the“speed” as the time it takes to shutdown, restart and get back to desktop (with auto-login) and start an application in the computer’s start-up settings.

The PC Spy web site ran several tests to determine which applications, when installed on your Windows computer, are doing the most to slow down your system.

The author (OliWarner, who usually hangs out over at Experts Exchange) installed a bunch of likely candidates onto a Windows virtual machine in order to determine how much slower the system become. Each new application was installed on a totally fresh machine, and the tests were repeated 3 times each. The results?

Well you need to read the article, but I’ll give you a hint, everything I thought about Norton’s AV has been confirmed)


Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20060911


Once again this is being written while I wait for a website to backup so that I can upload the new changes. So it will be a quick one this week.

Lets begin this week with Blame and the Flash thingy.
To quote Jools
“This brilliant and moving little flash piece would make an ideal, albeit different MM impedimenta.

She is dead right.

Also in a lighter vein(?) Jools found this one.
“A tad predictable but it is well executed

“Pyrats” is an animated short film made by 5 French students from the animation school “Gobelins l’‚cole de l’image” in Paris. How come we never got to do stuff like this at school. Oh yes I remember… they hadn’t invented personal computers yet.

And just in case you were wondering if stupidity is still alive (Howard and Bush not withstanding) and thriving then Google this.
Can you believe that in this day and age that anyone would think “let’s keep it confidential” but put on our website where the whole world can access it. I’m willing to bet you can find some great stuff you aren’t suppose to see here.