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Showing posts from July, 2005

Hillman Curtis: Designer of Yahoo Website

From a former art director at Macromedia when they acquired flash, Hillman was named as the "World's best Flash designers" by Create Online. See some Flash Videos done by Hillman's team.

No wonder that Hillman's client list includes Adobe, AOL, Macromedia, Intel, British Airways and He is also the guy behind the latest front page of (as well as network design and conceptual explorations).

The most unique thing about Hillman's website are the titles - every page has the contact number in the title. Dare you forget it!

India Sex Website

The Great India Sex Story

Try an MSN Search for sex india., which redirects to Microsoft main website, turns up in the fifth place.

Can some search engine expert suggest how did Microsoft manage to find a place in the top results even when the page HTML doesn't contain the word sex anywhere ?

Mozilla looking for volunteers

The Mozilla Organization is looking for volunteers to maintain the UMO* project. We are in need of PHP developers to help with redesigning the site, and people to review extensions and themes that get submitted to UMO. We especially need Mac and Thunderbird users. If you are interested in being a part of this exciting project, please send information such as your full name, timezone and experience to Also, please join us in #umo on to start getting a feeling for what's up or for a more informal chat.Mozilla Update is the place to get updates and extras for all Mozilla products like Firefox and Thunderbird.

*UMO stands for - the previous domain name

Cloning Website Designs

You may have spent millions of hours designing your latest website. You might think your website design is unique. But one fine morning you may get the shock of your life when some creative "web designer" clones your website design pixel by pixel. And you are not alone.

Pirated Sites showcases side-by-side comparisons of web sites that are suspected of borrowing, copying or stealing copyright-protected content, design or code without permission.

In the above example, everything from graphics, text layout, css styles of the Volkswagon UK website was cloned by an Indian company.

Pirated Sites contains links to creations of hundreds of lazy and dumb web designers who just rip-off interfaces and graphics of popular websites like Macromedia and Adobe.

Free Windows Hosts file manager

HostsMan is an application to manage your Windows HOSTS file. It is mainly intended to block specific domains (mostly advertising servers) by redirecting them to localhost, but can also be used to add any other domain/Ip combination that you want to be included in the HOSTS file.

In addition to the editing features, HostsMan can prevent other programs from writing to the HOSTS, import and merge Hosts files, resolve IP addresses and mark potential hijack entries. This program assumes that you have basic understanding of the HOSTS functionality.

Some of the best features of Hostsman include one click access to hosts file, enable/disable usage of hosts file, merge two hosts files, built-in hosts editor, prevent other programs of writing to the hosts and remove duplicates Hosts file entries.

Download:Netcabo | Sapo | Tvtel

Convert VHS tapes to DVD

Transferring from VHS to DVD won't give you DVD-quality video. VHS is inherently lower in quality, and conversion will cause some further image degradation.

One involves a stand-alone DVD recorder, which you can buy for less than $200 these days. You connect your VHS-C camcorder to the DVD recorder via standard audio cables and either composite-video or S-video cables, then play the tape in the camera while recording the input. This, of course, has to be done in real time, so recording a two-hour tape takes two hours.

If you want to do any editing of the tape as part of the transfer, you should employ a PC with a DVD burner. You will need both editing software and a hardware device that will capture analog video from the camera, digitize it, and transfer it to the hard disk on your PC using a USB or FireWire connection.

Via Digitizing Video with Ease.

Copernic with IE and Firefox Toolbar

Copernic has done it again with 1.6 - Now you can search your outlook emails, web history, music and everything else from Firefox browser. Another reason not to use MSN Desktop search toolbar.

Firefox is gaining prominence and with CDS 1.6, Copernic developers are making sure that no distinction is made among IE and Firefox users.

Copernic has announced a new version of Copernic Desktop Search. According to Copernic, the major changes in 1.6 are:

1. New Internet Explorer toolbar for desktop and Web searches

2. New Firefox toolbar for desktop and Web searches

3. Completely redesigned deskbar category selection window for better usability

4. New "Pause indexing when running on battery power" option for laptop users

5. New shortcut key to open the application main window from any other application (default key combination is Windows Key + C)

6. Miscellaneous usability and performance improvements

Your views on Copernic 1.6 are welcome.

Turn video into an animated cartoon

Michael F. Cohen with his colleagues at Microsoft Research has invented a way to turn digital video into an animated cartoon. They've also developed techniques to combine animation with a still picture.

To define more meaningful regions, the user outlines the shapes on keyframes in the video, such as the pants on the girl swinging. He does this on several keyframes. "We rely on the user to circle things like the girl's pants. There's different shading on the pants, and some stripes. We can't group them automatically," said Cohen. The system can then interpolate between the keyframes, maintaining smooth trajectories along the time dimension, without jerky transitions or the need to draw on each frame.

The more complex the movements, the more keyframes the program needs to make the transition smooth. However, even the 300 frame video of the girl swinging on the monkey bars only needs a keyframe every 10 or 15 frames. By blending in the original pixels, the car…

The 7 habits of highly effective bloggers

Blogs are a fantastic communication tool. And these are some of the lessons I learned in my one year of existence in the blogosphere.

1. Thou shalt not edit or delete user comments

2. Thou shalt make your site statistics public

3. Thou shalt not copy paste press releases

4. Thou shalt get to the point early

5. Thou shalt not blog only for Adsense

6. Thou shalt make your blogroll public

7. Thou shalt research before blogging

Microsoft Office 2006 File Formats

Big changes are coming in the next version of . Office 12, due in the second half of this year, will have new XML-based file formats for Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. The OpenXML format will be the default for any file you create, with x's appended to the end of the current suffixes. So unless you choose to revert to the old binary formats, you'll save files as .docx for Word, .xlsx for Excel, and .pptx for PowerPoint.

The move could create some compatibility headaches. What happens if someone e-mails you, say, a .docx Word file, and you're using Office 2003? "You'll be prompted to download a converter," says Chris Capossela, a Microsoft VP. He also points to advantages the new formats will offer. Files will be saved in compressed form, including the underlying XML, he notes, and that will make documents smaller and could improve error recovery.

"These are going to be open formats with royalty-free licenses," he adds. "So someone…

MyGoogle - Google RSS Aggregator

Google has recently added a bunch of new and useful features to the Personalized Homepage

Google personalized homepage now allows you to add RSS feeds, bookmarks, customized Google News and other top news sources, weather forecasts and stock quotes.

My favorite new feature is "Create a Section" where you search for topic, publication, or enter a RSS feed - Google places a small "add" icon next to the results and you click on the icon to add the content to your MyGoogle page.

is definitely doing lot of interesting things and will be adding more features. If you have some suggestions, send your feedback.

Randy has written a nice comparison of RSS readers. Google might well be a contender soon.

Microsoft Windows Genuine Advantage 1.0 WGA now live

now requires Windows Validation via WGA for all customers using Windows Update, Microsoft Update for Windows content, and the Download Center (DC). Security updates remain available to all Windows users — with or without WGA validation — via the DC or Automatic Updates.

Microsoft has enhanced and simplified the validation process by automatically checking participants’ PCs to determine whether they are running genuine Windows software. All Windows users will no longer be required to enter their 25-digit product key to validate their software. Customers will be prompted to download an ActiveX® control that checks the authenticity of their Windows software and, if Windows is validated, stores a special download key on the PC for future verification. The validation process does not collect any information that can be used by Microsoft to identify or contact the user.

Read full press release Windows Genuine Advantage 1.0 Goes Live

Companies are streaming trial software to prevent piracy

Offering software on a trial basis is a common practice and necessary in the software industry, and typically involves prospects either downloading a stripped version for concept evaluation or receiving a 30-day full product trial CD in the mail. To reduce the risk of piracy originating from "Try before You Buy" trial CD-ROMs, software vendors either disable certain features (like Save) or lock the software in some fashion.

When mailing software trials on CD, sales representatives have a name and address, which may or may not be correct. Mailings take 2-4 weeks to arrive, and if they do reach the intended destination, the CD-ROM may be hidden underneath a pile of blueprints. Or worse, technical difficulties encountered during installation may have soured the potential customer's opinion of the software.

Software streaming takes the concept of streaming media and applies it to applications. Software streaming allows users to log onto a web site, quickly stream down 5% to …

Macromedia developing a Blog Authoring Tool

Blogging has made a huge impact on the internet. Google, MSN, Yahoo! are providing perfect blogging platforms and everyone can start a blog in just two clicks. By some estimate, there are 70 million blogs till date.

But inspite of the huge popularity of blogs, there are only a few blog authoring tools available. And I think Macromedia, already a leader in web products, is planning to tap this still unexplored market.

Macromedia is conducting a Blog Authoring Survey that was announced by Deeje Cooley who works as a Technologist for Macromedia Contribute is very interested in learning more about how bloggers author weblog content. This survey will help us understand what kinds of products and features for blog authoring to investigate further.That is a clear hint that Macromedia labs are developing or planning to develop a blogging tool. Whether they release it as a completely new tool or just as an extension for Macromedia Dreamweaver or Macromedia Contribute, only time will …

Search PDF files without downloading

Adobe PDF is the prefered format for magazine publishers and newspapers for distributing content as PDFs are almost a replica of the printed version of the magazine. And with the free Adobe Reader, one can search across multiple documents in a folder for a keyword, and find all the files containing that string.

There is one drawback though - the PDF documents must be downloaded locally before using Adobe Reader to search through the contents. That would be a waste of bandwidth and ISYS Search Software are working to just prevent it. ISYS:Web is a product that makes PDF files searchable even from the website without requiring the user to download. Once implemented on a site, ISYS:Web creates an advanced search field that looks similar to other types of Web site search technology.

Once a keyword or term is input into the search field, what's returned is a list of results that includes not only PDFs, but any other document on the site as well, no matter the format. And then users are …

Return of the Google Friends Newsletter

Few months back, I assumed that Google killed the Friends Newsletter in favor of Google Blog.

My assumption was based on the fact that no new edition of the newsletter were sent since March 2004 though the GoogleBlog was buzzing with activity. RSS was prefered over email.

However, proved me wrong. They sent a fresh Google Friends newsletter in May 2005 with Power Tips, Recent Launches from Googleplex and ofcourse, a link to the Google Blog.We didn’t plan on having such a long hiatus from this newsletter, and for that we apologize. Aside from other projects we’ve worked on lately, we’ve revamped this newsletter. Each month from now on you’ll see an insider’s roundup of Google tips, insights into our products, plus stuff that inspires us.Subscribed.

Xtivity = Macromedia Flash MX -Actionscript -Timeline

Xtivity is a new Macromedia Flash (SWF) authoring application which gives less experienced developers and Web designers a quick way to add Flash to their Web sites. There is no coding actionscript, no timeline, no symbols or movie clips to work with.

The software is capable of doing a majority of what Macromedia Flash can do, but with little to no learning curve and is almost half the cost of Flash. Microsoft Office Word files can be imported into the Tivity text editor without loosing the Word formatting.

Xtivity enables users to create interactive media experiences visually as opposed to dealing with the coding involved in creating projects in Flash. Xtivity exports its projects as fully compatible SWF files, and once exported the files are no different than an SWF file exported from Macromedia Flash MX 2004.

Download Xtivity here. Tivity Online Store sells the software at US$399 and it is currently available for the Windows 98/NT/2000/ME/XP platform. (file:…

Photofracture : Photomosaic from only one picture

If you love Photomosaics, you would love Fractura, a unique photmosaic software that divides a single image into many cells, then rearrange them to create unique photofracture art. See examples of Fractura creations. The program is cheap but gives you many choices for expressing your creative ideas in imaginative and unique digital art. The picture on the right was created using Fractura.

The Photomosaic of George Bush, made from pictures of American Soilders killed in Iraq was even featured on Michael Moore's website.

Robert Silvers is the guy who pioneered this technique and he still doesn't license the software for creating photomosaics.

Blinkx make a Smart move

Blinkx, developers of a popular tool, launched Blinkx TV, a multimedia search engine for searching television content, video clips and movies.

Blinkx TV uses speech recognition and transcription capabilities to index not just audio and video files but the spoken parts of those files. This means that Blinkx TV is able to deliver the precise clip that contains the term the user is searching for, as opposed to just pointing the user at, say, an hour-long clip without indicating where in it the desired segment appears.

And there's more happening at BlinkxTV according to this Blinkx press release

1. Blinkx with watch the web like a hawk for you - If you search for "New York" on Fox News, Blinkx will monitor the web and notify you whenever it finds audio-video content that matches "New York" via SmartFeeds (another marketing term for RSS feeds).

2. Blinkx TV not only pulls content from popular news sources like BBC News, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg Televisio…

Infant Daughter Dies as Parents Play Online Game

A thoughtless couple in their 20s who left their four-month old daughter at home while they played Internet computer games at a nearby PC café have been booked by police after the child died.

According to Incheon Police Station on Tuesday, a 29-year-old man husband identified by his family name of Yu and his wife put their four-month daughter in the bedroom of their home and went to a neighborhood PC café at around 4:00 p.m. on May 24 to play the online game "World of Warcraft.

Police said an investigation turned up that the couple, who wed last year, used to play "World of Warcraft" whenever they had time. [Via]

Google has something to learn from Icerocket Search

Blog search has been a favorite topic and this blog has reviewed various tools that let visitors search your blog, just like they can when they visit the big-deal corporate sites. Technorati and Blogdigger were my favorites until I got an email from Blake Rhodes, CEO of Icerocket for my comments on their recently launched Blog searching service.

I did some quick searches on Icerocket and saw a lovely curry of Technorati, Blogdigger and Blogpulse in Icerocket Blog Search. It is a combination of some of the best features of existing blog search engines plus something unique like the date specific search.

Here are some of the best features of Icerocket, though all are not necessarily unique.

1. A search engine with inbuilt Julian Date converter - You can search for blog articles posted posted today, last week or even between specific dates something which even Google doesn't allow yet. Google, please incorporate this feature on your advanced search page.

2. Icerocket too has a Blogs Tren…

Newsgator for Outlook is a free software

Is Newsgator Outlook edition a free software ?

Well, if I were to believe Paul Taylor of Financial Times in Tools for beginners' blogs and podcasts, I would have said Yes.

I am sure how Greg Reinacker will react here. Well the fact is that the outlook edition mentioned in the article is not a free software but available with either a monthly or yearly subscription fee. There is however a 14-day free trial available for some subscription levels, if you'd like to try it out before buying .

I have contacted Paul Taylor in this regard and even sent an email to the editor of Business Standard Indian edition which also published the same story in their 12th July edition. Still waiting for a response.

Update: July 19 - Greg has an update on the upcoming Newsgator pricing model.

Impressive HTML source viewer for Firefox

Felix Ritter has written a very useful extension known as View formatted source for Firefox. It gives your some amazing degree on control over HTML source of a webpage like syntax highlighting, expandable tags and even works with CSS, frames and selected text..

Displays formatted and color-coded source and optional CSS information for each element. You can see exactly which CSS rules match for an element. The rules are displayed including file name and line number. The topmost element is that with the highest priority. You can fold/unfold/hilite block elements (table, tr, td, div, span,...).

Link to Download. The HTML Source extension still needs a little bit of tweaking - it crashes Firefox on viewing "selected" source.

Blogger Hack for better Google rankings

Google loves pages that have a good title stuffed with keywords. And some believe that even looks at the words contained in the filename of the webpage to measure it's relevance or importance.

Despite this fact, Google's Blogger users have absolutely no control on the filename of their blog posts. Blogger automatically derives the name from the title of the post - it just concatenates the first six words of the title separating each word with a hypen and also removes the common words like A or The.

For instance, if I create a new post titled "Yahoo! Desktop Search getting closer to X1", Blogger will store the file as yahoo-desktop-search-getting-closer-to.html. Notice that it even removed the exclaimation mark in the permalink.

Basic SEO understanding suggest that in the above case, the file name should contain keywords like "Yahoo", "Desktop Search", "X1" since the post is all about "Desktop Search" provided by Yahoo! and …

Demo Builder - Create Software Movies, Demos and Presentations

Part II of Screencasting software review series. In our previous review, we covered Qarbon Viewletbuilder in detail. Here we do a review of Demo Builder 5, a powerful software for creating computer presentations, software moviews and demonstrations.

Demo Builder is installed with a sample presentation movie "Screen Saver" - Render this file and you will understand the capabilities of Demo Builder.

When Demo Builder starts, users are shown a simple task pane (similar to that in MS Word) which provides one click access to create new movies or open the existing ones. And even the most recently modified movie files are also listed in this panel.

Demo Builder has one of the best interfaces among all screen capture programs coupled with a good context-sensitive offline help system. The program UI, icon designs and tools tips are so intutive that even first time users may skip the help file.

No other program offers the kind of annotation systems that comes with Demo Builder. If you ar…

Google Adsense sports a new look

See the screenshot of the new Google Adsense website. The UI is much better now.

The Adsense report center is completely revamped and even the Google TOS have also been updated. reserves the right to terminate without notice any account that has not generated a sufficient number of valid clicks on or valid impressions of Ads (as measured by Google) for a period of two (2) months or more.

Your main Reports page now contains a snapshot of the day's numbers, with drill-down links to view your current top-performing channels. Change the date range from the View drop-down list, or use Quick Reports to see more detailed account performance information.

Your 'old-style' reports are still available from the Advanced Reports links at the top of the page. The Advanced Reports pages allow for full customization of your data, including filtering by channel. Check out the Find Channels feature, available when you select Channel data as your report type, to search through a …

Google Adsense Layout Tips for Maximum Clicks

WWWCoder shows you how to better optimize to make more money from your web site in Optimizing Adsense For Better Performance and More Money!

You need to add your Adsense links right in the heart of your template or right in the heart of your content.

Link Units:
Since the introduction of Google Adsense "link units", we can now add what looks like a "menu system" to compliment our menu system within our website. This is HUGE. Have you ever just clicked on a website and kept clicking on the menu links? I know we all have. By adding a "Google link units" to your menu, you will get more clicks than you thought possible. Try adding the link units near the top for better performance and try creating your link units to match the color of your menu system in place. Once in a while I find myself clicking on a menu link unit without even realizing it which in turn gives more money to the website owner.

Leaderboards & Skyscrapers:
These may …

Microsoft Office 2006 release as per schedule

Microsoft has established an internal Microsoft Office 12 ship calendar and the Microsoft Office team is very much sticking to the schedule. The next version of Microsoft Office would be coming in 2006. The Microsoft Office 12 Beta 1 is due this fall.

Microsoft Office 12 initially was thought to be Longhorn-Only, but with Longhorn nowhere in sight, Microsoft Office will now run on Windows XP and 2000 systems.

Microsoft is totally revamping the Office 12 user interface - only the tools relevant for the current job would be highlighted. Some call it the "ribbon" concept in which the user would get a different strip or ribbon of icons depending on the task at hand - only highlight oft-used features in context-sensitive way.

Microsoft Office 12 system will be shipped with some brand-new servers like an Excel Server, Visio Server and many others. For instance, Microsoft Excel 12 server will enable centrally managed and published spreadsheets and reports. Excel 12 will feature new ex…

Remove the butterfly image from MSN Desktop Search Taskbar

When MSN Desktop Search sits on the Taskbar, there's one niggling annoyance that won't go away. The butterfly image (which Microsoft insiders call a jellybean because it's shaped like one) takes up precious Taskbar space, as does the small arrow to the right of it2. They become a problem when you run a lot of programs at the same time. With the jellybean there, because there's less space on the Taskbar, you won't be able to see the tiles of all the programs that are currently running.

There's a simple Registry hack that will kill the jellybean and arrow, but still gives you the features of search. First, run the Registry Editor and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MSN Apps\DB. Create a new DWORD value called Buttons and give it a value of 1. Exit the Registry.

Now, take MSN Desktop Search away from the Taskbar by right-clicking the Taskbar, choosing Properties, and removing the checkmark from MSN Deskbar. Then, right-click the Taskbar again, choose Prop…

Posting to MSN Spaces using w.bloggar or Blogjet

Google Blogger remains my primary weblog site but I also blog (though infrequently) at MSN Spaces and Yahoo! 360°. To find a wider audience and get access to services like Categories and Trackback, my initial plan was to publish the same articles simultaneously on all of these blog services but it was not as simple a task as I thought it would be. Reason: Lack of common interface.

While I post on Blogger using w.bloggar, the same tool cannot be used for writing on MSN Spaces or Yahoo! 360° as these services do not implement Blogger API or metaWeblog API which is a primary requirement for using w.bloggar.

MSN Space team members have earlier cited several reasons for not supporting these blog posting APIs like lack of security or that they offer limited functionality. But lot has happened in the Blogging arena and MSN can no longer afford to ignore these Blog Posting APIs. And they plans to offer best of both the worlds . MSN API would be an implementation of the MetaWeblog API with some…

Sending large file attachments through email

If you've ever had problems sending large file attachments through email, you're going to love Upload'r.

There are two aspects to this website. One is to shorten URLs, which is very useful when posting links on notice boards, especially if you don't want to annoy the moderator by breaking their tables with a mile-long web address. Just paste it in and click to see your shortened link in small blue text in the top right hand corner.

For file transfers, just use the browse button to locate the file you want to send, and then click to upload the file. Unlike other FTP sites, there are no restrictions on file type, though certain files will be compressed to protect the server from malicious code. (Restrictions Apply).

You can upload files up to 25mb in size, and they will be stored temporarily for your recipients to download at the URL given in the top right hand corner. The file will remain on our server for a variable amount of time, depending on file popularity - a file wh…

A former Microsoft sales director says Adobe is everywhere

And the former Microsoft sales director is none other that Bruce Chizen who believes Adobe’s if-you-build-it-they-will-come business model will continue to pay off. "Our mission hasn’t changed over the past 23 years," said Chizen. "The world around us has. That’s why is as successful as it is today."

An action movie is more than a Hollywood hit. It’s an Adobe hit. A magazine fashion spread? An Adobe magazine layout. "We are everywhere you look," he said, referring to the San Jose company’s design and digital-video special-effects software, used universally in creative fields. "Whether it’s a logo on a bottle label, an effect in a movie, a TV commercial, an image on a Web site, a layout in a newspaper or a picture in a magazine, - there is a high probability that the content was touched by Adobe."

Adobe’s move to acquire rival Macromedia is designed to give it Microsoft-like dominance in software to produce, edit and display digital documen…

Enterprise Desktop Search is not only about Security and privacy

There is so much more to Enterprise desktop search software than just Security and Privacy. Versatility remains equally important for the IT Managers. Danny Bradbury mentions some interesting facts about software in this interesting story Where did that file go?.

The most frequently asked question - Why are companies charging for desktop search software when so many other companies like Microsoft, Google offer it for free. The logic is simple, companies are charging for desktop search software, which they say offer more functionality.

ISYS Desktop Search software allows users to conduct proximity searching. For example, the free search engines cannot hunt for occurrences of the word "cat" within 10 words of the word "dog," he says. "We do a lot of work with legal and governmental organizations and those sorts of things are important."

X1 enterprise search product allows IT administrators to include selected folders on other people's har…

Rapid E-learning a Breeze with Macromedia Captivate 1.01

Macromedia Captivate, the most popular Screencasting tool from Macromedia recently won the Software Simulation Shootout at the Training 2005 Conference & Expo in New Orleans.

Today, Macromedia announced a new version of Macromedia Captivate - Macromedia Captivate 1.01, a much need upgrade that promises closer integration of Captivate with Macromedia Breeze [Tricks for using Breeze Presenter, Download Macromedia Breeze 5.1 Server Update].

With Macromedia Captivate 1.01, trainers and meeting presenters can easily control Captivate playback within a Breeze meeting, either reviewing simulations with all participants at the same time or selecting "un-sync" mode to let each participant interact with the simulation independently. Interactions with Captivate simulation quizzes are fully tracked within the Breeze system for reporting or in-depth analysis.

Macromedia has takenRoboDemo, turned it inside out, and rearranged its molecules. The end result is Captivate.. deep, rich, f…

Macromedia Flash Portals for Cartoons and Animations

The ubiquity of Flash can hardly be overstated - as anyone who has set up a new computer can attest, you can't go three steps on the Web without being prompted to download the Flash Player for your virgin browser in order to properly view the Flash objects embedded in the Web.

Flash made its first appearance in 1995 as FutureSplash and was used to deliver animated content over narrowband Internet connections. Macromedia bought the company; since then, it's evolved into a complete Web application development program that can be used to do everything from creating animated shorts and interfaces for databases to creating interactive websites with MP3 audio and full motion video. There are over 515 million computers using Macromedia's Flash player, according to the company's Web site.

In this article - Cartoons By the People For the People, SYS-CON Media points at some of the best Macromedia Flash Portal Sites

One of the biggest Flash portals on th…

Convert PDF without Adobe Acrobat PDF writer

How do I convert a Word doc to PDF if I don't have Acrobat? Or Create PDF documents from any software.

You no longer need the expensive Adobe Acrobat software ($299 for the current Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Standard, and $449 for Acrobat 7.0 Professional) to create PDF files from your documents or for converting web pages to PDF documents. There are tons of alternatives available to print to PDF and some are even freeware.

Nitro PDF Desktop 1.77 Nitro PDF Desktop provides basic PDF-creation and editing capabilities at a fraction of the price of Adobe Acrobat Standard. Nitro PDF automatically places buttons in three popular Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) for single-click conversion to PDF, convert to PDF and e-mail, and program-specific settings. It also lets you convert printable files to PDFs by right-clicking on them in My Computer or Windows Explorer. (Price: $99, File Size: 20 MB, 30 day Trial available)

ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional 3

Adobe Support offers RSS feeds

Following the launch of Adobe Creative Suite 2, Support Knowledgebase is now offering RSS XML feeds of top issues and new support documents for all Adobe® products.

If you have Adobe Acrobat® 7.0, you can use it directly to view RSS feeds without any external newsreader: In Acrobat, choose Comments > Tracker, and then choose Services > Subscribe in the Tracker window. In the next dialog box, enter the URL to an RSS feed, and click OK.

But subscribing to the feeds from The Adobe RSS page is not very easy as Adobe has put the XML URLs as plain text unlike those familiar orange icons that are clickable. I really don't understand the motive behind this design so I just formatted the links to make them clickable. The next step would be to generate an OPML file for all the feeds. Can someone help me here.

TI: Top Issues
RD: Recent Support Documents

TIRDAcrobat® 7.0 Professional
TIRDReader® 7.0
TIRDAfter Effects® 6.5
TIRDAudition® 1.5
TIRDCreative Suite 2
TIRD Form Designer
TIRD Dimens…

Add Corporate Websites style search in your website

Desktop Pipeline covers some of the popular Free Web Site Search tools.

You've got a Web site and you want to let visitors search its contents, just like they can when they visit the big-deal corporate sites. But you don't have a big-deal corporate budget. Not to worry. Does free work for you? You can add a third-party search engine to your site for a total cost of zero. The visitors who use it will see some ads, but all you have to do is add some HTML code to your site, and wait for the search provider to spider your site.

The article covers, PicoSearch, and FreeFind. All three of these services provides fast, hassle-free searching of your Web site. They make the process as simple as pasting a trivial amount of HTML code wherever you want on your Web site. All of them let you format the look and feel of their code to blend with yours. Each lets you fine-tune the way their search engine behaves. Each of them reports on the results of user searches on your site.

But wait…

Power Tips for Desktop Search users

X1, a popular tool, offers some basic but powerful tips. The first and second tip would apply to any of the desktop search programs.

1. Use quotation marks to tell X1 Desktop Search to find a specific phrase instead of individual words. Entering "as fast as you can type" in a search tab will retrieve only those documents and messages that contain that exact phrase, and the entire phrase will be highlighted in a single color.

2. It's possible to construct Boolean searches using "AND", "OR" and "NOT" and enclosing terms in parentheses for greater accuracy. The search "X1 AND (fastest OR 255) NOT projector" will find all documents or messages that contain both "X1" and either "fastest" or "255" but that do not contain the word "projector".

3. If you highlight an item in the List Pane on the left, its contents appear in the View Pane on the right.

4. To open an item in its origina…

Former Robohelp experts launch help authoring tool

eHelp Corp., the creator of RoboHelp®, was acquired by Macromedia in 2003. And now, some chief architects of Robohelp® have quite Macromedia to start MadCap Software.

Mike, the Product manager of Robohelp, writes about the new company: .. combining years of expertise in Help authoring to bring this community the most powerful and flexible XML-based authoring tool possible, with a work flow that is comfortable and familiar.

MadCap® Flare™ is designed keeping Robohelp in mind. You can import your existing RoboHelp projects and the workflow is intended to be very familiar to RoboHelp users to ensure a low learning curve. Flare maintains content in pure XML for the ultimate in single-sourcing flexibility, allowing you to easily reuse and repurpose your content to virtually any format, standard, device, or platform. [Via]

And they do have a special offer for Robohelp users. MadCap Software will offer generous discounts on products and services to customers who convert from RoboHelp to Mad…

Is Microsoft Acrylic really a Photoshop killer

Microsoft launched a preview version of an illustration and graphic design tool codenamed Acrylic, and is offering it as a free download. Microsoft intends to offer Acrylic as an alternative to Adobe Photoshop, likely at a lower cost. Or does Microsoft plan to offer Acrylic for free as they did with Microsoft Photostory.

According to Publish, Acrylic Has Its Strengths, But It Won't Threaten Photoshop.

As it turns out, Acrylic isn't likely to endanger Adobe Photoshop (or more to the point, Adobe Illustrator) any time soon - nor does that seem to be its aim. But the program does have some unique and appealing strengths that make it worth a look.

Acrylic is actually an updated version of Expression, the vector drawing program that acquired when it bought the Hong Kong-based company Creature House in 2003. Expression's core strength lies in its "skeletal strokes" technology, which applies the look and texture of real-world painted strokes to editable vector pa…

Google Blogger adds one feature, breaks another

recently added Blogger Images that allows you to upload up to 300mb of images.

In order to provide the image layout options, Google added an HTML code to wrap all posts in a <div clear:both> tag.

This update changed the formatting of my blog and the Google Ads no longer blend with the text. This is when I din't even upload any images.

Google engineers reacted quickly and have introduced a new setting to suppress that markup.
How To Use The Setting

1. Sign in to your Blogger Dashboard
2. Click the "Change Settings" icon next to your blog
3. Click "Formatting" under the Settings tab
4. Choose "No" on "Enable float alignment"

Please note that suppressing the markup will result in layout problems when using left or right alignment for images. You should only change this setting if you are currently having trouble with normal posts.

For those who want to refrain from changing the above setting, Matt has posted a quick fix:

.Post di…