Printing from Acrobat Pro 8.1

I recently purchased and installed a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional 8.0 (well, 8.1). I have been mostly pleased with this application, but while using it I have discovered that I have a new pet peeve. When I go to print a document from Acrobat, a Print window is displayed and there are a number of choices that I can make regarding my print job. The vast majority of the time I am just looking to print one copy of the file, so I click the OK button and my file prints out. Every once in a while I need more than one copy, so when the Print window is displayed, I go to the Page Handling area and enter a larger number in the Copies option and click the OK button to have my job print out.
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AntiVirus Software

Over the course of the last week, I found myself removing Norton antivirus software from a couple of machines that belong to friends of mine. Both machines had similar problems with being incredibly slow. By slow I mean that they took far too long to boot up and then ran sluggishly for a while as the various startup scans took place.

When you are waiting to use your computer, this kind of lag is just brutal.

For many years when someone asked me what antivirus software they should get, my answer was also to get Norton or McAfee. This is not the case anymore. I happily used McAfee from the early 90's until about 2002 and then switched to Norton for a couple of years. In fact, the last copy of Norton that I bought for my own machine was Norton AntiVirus 2005 and I uninstalled it long before the subscription ran out.

In my opinion, both McAfee and Norton have gone astray in recent years. They both switched over to an annual subscription model and appear to have become a bit too focused on selling themselves. They crammed our computers full with little billboards advertising their application, trying to make it more important. Does the user really need to know that the antivirus program has downloaded a new update? Probably not, but the little ad pops up after the update finishes and reminds the user that the XYZ antivirus program has done some work.

And what is with the perpetual scanning all of the files? If an antivirus program scans all the files that you add to your machine via email, downloads, CD's, disks, and everything else, then why the hell does the software also need to do full system scans so often?

I get that the virus signatures change perpetually, but does the antivirus program really need to keep scanning the all 200,000+ files on my machine? Shouldn't there be some capacity for an incremental scan of just the changed files? My Maxtor backup drive does an incremental scan and just backs up the changed files. That takes less than minute to run.

Also, antivirus programs now install a toolbar for Internet Explorer. Does anyone really need another toolbar for IE? Is this toolbar something that the user is actually going to interact with? No. It is just another billboard.

These days I just install the free copy of AVG antivirus software, the free copy of ZoneAlarm for a firewall (mostly to see what is trying to go out), and use FireFox for a web browser.

Most of the antivirus and antiphishing really comes down to being careful about what you open and interact with; the software can only do so much. To avoid many problems, simply do not click hyperlinks in emails and do not open emailed files that you were not expecting.

Microsoft Expression Web

In the last few days I have started in on learning how to use Microsoft Expression Web.

While I normally try not to buy the first release of any product, this was a little different. I tried out the Beta a few months ago, realized that it was quite similar to the badly outdated copy of FrontPage 2003 that I was using, and decided to go with the upgrade. This app could have just been called FrontPage 2007, but I believe that Microsoft is trying to get away from the negative connotations of the name, FrontPage.

Problems that I have run into so far include:

  • inability to upload files to my web server via the built-in FTP connection or with the Front Page extensions that I have used in the past. (had to download FileZilla for FTP instead)
  • minor code errors all over the place
  • the disappearance of the Included Content option to create FrontPage Includes. (thankfully Expression Web still supports the code for the page includes)
  • the app frequently crashes when trying to do a Find/Replace on multiple files
I have spent some time looking for articles and sites discussing Expression Web. I have found that Any Expression Designs has a great page for Expression Web Tips. I have been to their site multiple times. I have also found that Expression Web Help has been a great resource. Regrettably, the actual Microsoft Forums for the product have not been of as much use.

CamStudio

Let me just say that CamStudio is a fantastic application for screen capture videos. A friend told me about this a few days ago and I am just floored by efficient and intuitive this application is. And, best of all, IT'S FREE.

I have been a fan of SnagIt for a while for all my simple image editing needs, including video screen capture. I can say that I will likely never again use that feature in SnagIt. CamStudio will suit my future needs in that department.

CamStudio captures to the AVI format and has a built in SWF producer to convert the AVI's to Streaming Flash. CamStudio can be downloaded via SourceForge.net