Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What PDF Reader?

You need a pdf reader to be able to see Portable Document Format (pdf) files. At this time (February 2010) I prefer Tracker Software’s PDFXChange reader over Acrobat Reader.

It can be potentially risky to open pdf files directly in the web browser. I strongly recommend to save such files first on your own computer. During this save operation the file will be scanned for viruses. Then you can open it just by double clicking the file.

If a web site does not allow this procedure then I would complain bitterly with their webmaster. They force you to use potentially unsafe procedures in the name of convenience.

Here is a quote from a recent security newsletter I am subscribed to:

What conclusion can be drawn from this unusual — Eugene calls it "rare" — example of how two companies approach nearly-identical security holes? Obviously, you should use Foxit, not Adobe Reader. Windows Secrets contributing editor Scott Dunn recommended exactly that in his Apr. 28 Top Story.

Clearly, free software offered by small companies often runs rings around the big-buck alternatives. But you already knew that, too.

The original article is too long and way too detailed to be quoted here.

Another note in this context:

Adobe Reader used to occupy about 20MB to 30MB space on your disk drive.
At the time of writing the latest version is 9.x. This occupies 204MB disk space - and "naturally" not a word from Adobe about the fact itself and/or why they hog that much space.

Edit 01/06/09:
Okay, currently Foxit does not open a PDF file directly in the Firefox browser. If the added security (see above) is not important to you then you could use PDF-XChange reader as a
free alternative; it opens PDF documents directly in Firefox.

If you want to use PDF-XChange reader please un-install all other PDF readers first.

Clarification 10/31/2009
and update 4/27/2010:
Here is the link to the download page for PDF-XChange. Please make sure you are on the End User Downloads tab and have the MSI Installer selected before you click on Download Now. 
After the download is finished find the downloaded installer file and run this program. You can install it with the default options and you can de-select the Language Pack if English is good enough for you.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog. Thank you in advance.

Click here for a categorized Table Of Contents.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

How to Deal With Chain Letters

Ever so often I get chain letters, just like you get them. Besides the fact that they are illegal and mostly simple bogus here is what I do - if I can identify the sender. I send him an unsolicited email back; it has the following contents:

Dear friend;

Thank you for remembering me and trying to stay in touch. This is my personal reply to the chain letter you recently sent to me.

I would highly appreciate if you took the time and read the text that follows this message.

I always love to get a personal message, especially from you; but please remove me from your address list for chain letters.

Thank you in advance. Eike


This letter has been sent to you to stop you from sending out chain letters. The original was written in the 3rd century A.D. by a deranged member of the Most Holy Post. That version vanished during the Spanish Inquisition (nobody suspects the Spanish Inquisition though!). More recently, it was communicated telepathically to Shirley MacLaine by monks on the planet Mongo in the eighth dimension. Now it has been sent to you. Good things will soon be happening to you if you follow the instructions given in this letter.

This is no joke! If you do what this letter says to do, every person who owes you money will repay you. The IRS will never audit you again. Hugh Hefner will invite you to house-sit at the playboy mansion while he and the missus go on a six month vacation. Finally, you will be spotted by a head hunter and whisked off into the fast paced life of an insurance salesman in Kansas.

To get all of this good fortune, you must keep this letter for the next five years. If at any time during that time you receive a chain letter, don't send out any copies of it. Instead, you must send this anti-chain letter back to the person who sent you the chain letter. If you don't know who sent it, send a copy of this letter to a random person. At the end of five years, do the following 'de-briefing' ceremony, and you will be done:

  1. Throw salt over your shoulder.
  2. Throw salt over Madonna's shoulder.
  3. Throw Madonna over your shoulder.
  4. Walk under a ladder.
  5. Do the rumba under a ladder.
  6. Pray the rosary.
  7. Pray the zippity-doo-dah, zippity-ay.
  8. Drink Vitameatavegimin (3 tablespoons at a time)
  9. Mix 2 frogs, 3 locks of Michael Jackson's hair, 2 turtledoves, and the remains of this letter in a cauldron and boil at 375 degrees for 2 hours and 3 minutes.
  10. Place the whole mixture in the microwave, sauté for 6:53 and place in serving bowls, let chill.
  11. Gargle and spit.

Don't send out those chain letters and see what happens. You will be shocked to find that none of their curses come true. The person you send this anti-chain letter to will be heartily amused, and besides, it’s much easier to send out one copy of this than 5 or 20 copies of some dreary chain letter.

Remember, NEVER send chain letters.

Please do not ignore this letter, rather heed this sage and time proven advice.


As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog.

Thank you in advance.