How To Convert RSS Feeds To PDF

As computer users, we’ve become overly concerned with turning paper work into digital files that we sometimes forget that there are documents and written content that have never been paper to begin with.

For instance, the RSS feeds you check in with on a daily basis, although treated and read like newspapers, were never meant to be made into newspapers. Or were they?

Whether its Computerworld, TechCrunch, Reuters, or the Investintech blog you subscribe to, as long as it has an RSS feed, FeedJournal can turn it into your own personalized PDF newspaper.

It may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but if you’re simply nostalgic for old school newspaper columns, or just can’t sit down and relax with the morning “laptop” to read your favourite subscriptions, then it’s a site worth checking out. Here’s a quick overview. There are two versions of FeedJournal to choose from—FeedJournal Reader and FeedJournal Publisher.

After creating a free account with FeedJournal Reader, you can submit the link of any valid RSS, RDF or Atom Feed to your Feed management page. Once the RSS feed is added, you get to select which feeds and which postings you want to publish.
Journal Feed

If you’re looking to create a newspaper of your own content, you can do that as well with a FeedJournal Publisher account (for a monthly subscription). As an author, you can publish your content with each new posting as a separate story, divide PDF articles into sections and even brand your PDF newspaper with your company logo, header and copyright information. FeedJournal also offers a widget to add to your site, creating a thumbnail view for users that hotlinks to the full PDF file. You can even update your PDF newspaper with your latest postings so users get the most updated content.

Made for hard copy or not, RSS content is just a bit more accessible now. You can check out more details on this at the FeedJournal site.

PDF Publishing The Lulu Way

Every Wednesday night I go to a writing seminar held by Canadian novelist, film critic and journalist, David Gilmour, who is the Writer in Residence at the University of Toronto this year. The seminar is made up of 16 aspiring writers willing to share and discuss their own pieces of fictional prose with tips and advice from Mr. Gilmour himself at the head of the table.

I mention this because these seminar discussions require that we first email our work to the entire group before we meet, some of which are sent in the PDF file format.

Lulu LogoAfter a session one night, while on the topic of opening PDFs, editors, and publishing (people can actually talk casually about such things!), someone mentioned Lulu.com. So I decided to check it out.

It looks like Lulu has just about all the resources you’d need to publish and distribute your PDF content, whether you create your own PDF yourself or have Lulu do it for you. At Lulu, you can publish anything from DVD movies to photo albums.

Business wise, Lulu is a more heavy duty publishing site than Scribd is. For one thing, they accommodate both corporate and individual publishing. They’ve also got marketing resources that include sales tools and distribution packages that include ISBNs for your publications.

What’s more, when you set up an account with Lulu, you can make use of their print publishing tools and services that include help for formatting, layout, and binding, and even scanning services for converting hard copies into the PDF format.

As a community of user generated and published content, Lulu has a webpage with user groups and forums you can visit. Moreover, you’ll find the Lulu marketplace where you can where you can get your own publications posted up for sale as a download or printed book. You can also buy, share and browse their database of digital ebooks published by other registered Lulu users.

While this site sounds like the site that can get your work noticed, these are just the basics. For more details visit lulu.com.

One PDF To Go, Please: A PDF In The Palm Of Your Hand

The portable document format does live up to the word “portable.” Whether you’re a busy entrepreneur, a workaholic or a web surfer, location doesn’t seem to really matter anymore. Everything is going mobile.

And you’re probably seeing a lot of technology moving from the desktop computer to the handheld device, which adds yet another category of decisions about your working habits that change with along with the trends.

So if you’re interested in joining the iddy-biddy-sized mobile world with your PDF work, here’s a brief background on some details surrounding PDFs on mobile devices .

Creating A PDF Optimized For Handheld Mobile Devices

First of all, regardless of what PDF creation software you have, you can create PDF files specifically optimized for mobile browsers by paying attention to a few details about your PDF.

1) File size. Use the Save As command to save the PDF. This will re-write the entire file and not just append the changes made to it, making it a more compact size that won’t ruin the integrity of the PDF.

2) Images. For images, use the best compression settings to ensure that you don’t include unnecessary pixel data. Using a lossy compression (JPEG and ZIP) or downsampling will help to decrease this.

3) Fonts. Don’t embed many, unnecessary fonts as embedding fonts also increases file size. Mobile devices importing the PDF may already have the fonts needed to render the text.

4) Tags. One of the key differences between desktop PDFs and mobile PDFs is file structure. Just as structure is important for reflowing the text to fit screen readers, it serves the same purpose for mobile browsers. Ensure that only the necessary tags for smooth textual reflow are included with the PDFfile.

Software For PDF Mobility

Palm OS, Symbian OS, Black Berries, and MS Pocket PCs are the most popularly used mobile OSs. The OS’s compatibility will play a factor in your mobile PDF research as some PDF software for handheld devices won’t support all platforms.

But for starters, there’s Adobe Reader LE. The software is supported by Symbian OS, Windows Mobile (Pocket PC 2.0), and Palm OS. Reader LE comes pre-installed on some mobile devices and supports scrolling, zooming and decryption for viewing your PDFs. As well, the software can support text search, bookmarks, and links within the document. In addition, Adobe has a user discussion forum for users with any tech support topics or tips regarding the software.

Features for different mobile devices vary. For instance, for Symbian OS devices, such as Nokia Smartphones, you can view a PDF as either a tagged PDF or in its original formatting. With Pocket PCs, you can directly print wirelessly from your handheld device to a remote printer. Adobe Reader LE on Palm OS devices allows you to view and transfer your Digital Editions e-books to your device. And another thing to note, there are a different variety of language options for you to choose from with each individual download.

Other mobile software supporting PDF viewing includes Dochawk Platinum 2.0, Repligo Professional 2.0, mBrainsoftware, DataViz’s Documents To Go v.9.0. Add them to the research list as it might come in handy as well.

Why Would You Need Mobile PDFs?

Now many users already complain about the usability of the PDF because of the long periods of time that can be spent in front of a screen. And handheld mobile devices have viewing and interactivity problems of their own (how small can a keyboard get?).

So why would you need PDFs on the go? One major reason is that, light and compact, handset devices are ultimately a matter of convenience. And when working away from your desktop, you need to have access to all the important documents you need—even PDF documents.

Checking emails on the way to work has perhaps become a daily routine for some. And undoubtedly, opening email attachments that are in the PDF format may be part of that. Or, for a PDF workflow that is almost essential to niche industries, such as publishing, for instance, emergencies that need attention don’t anticipate (or care) where you’ll be when they happen. And unfortunately, for others, going on vacation or getting ill doesn’t mean they stop working altogether– not with a PDA in hand and thumbs poised in the air.

Going portable with portable documents. . . . It does add a nice spin to the name, Portable Document Format!

Investintech.com Releases New Product Versions

Good news everyone!

We’ve just released the newest version of our flagship product, Able2Extract, this week. It’s now at version 4.0, which means more advanced conversions for extracting PDF graphics into different formats.

And in addition to that update, we’ve also improved our Able2Doc products as well, with better PDF to Word conversion output and an updated interface.

Of course, if you have previous versions of our software, we’ve got upgrades posted up for you so you don’t miss out on the latest features.

And so, in honour of taking one gigantic step forward with the new release, I thought it would be a good time to take a small step back. Releasing a new product version is always a perfect time to reminisce about the “good ol’ days”—thinking about where you’ve been and what you’ve done. And, in 6 years, after hard work (read: blood, sweat and tears) we’ve come a long way!

A Brief Trip Down Memory Lane

We also have our own history of fun facts to know and tell that date back to our foundation in 2000. In the early days, when trying to build the name and the product line, Investintech worked out of the company president’s apartment for a time (that’s right, “home base” was actually “home”). The staff was numbered at only 3 at the time: the president, executive vice president and lead developer, which meant honing down those much needed multi-tasking abilities until workloads demanded a staff. It consists of 9 members today.

The name “Investintech.com,”  itself, was coined because the site was initially supposed to be a financial information website focused on small cap technology companies. In the end, we found a nice niche in the PDF world, expanding one idea into another and eventually into one that combined specific working needs and practical software demands.

Our first product, Able2Extract 1.0, in fact, began as a simple PDF to Excel converter, which worked well, but not well enough to be put out on the market. After innovation, expansion and development, the products branched out into ones with more advanced capabilities—Able2Doc, Sonic, OCR technology, better GUIs, SDKs, server side software, conversions to HTML, PowerPoint, Word, and (better conversions to) Excel. Thus, this new version adds another big milestone to the list with a foothold in the graphic conversion arena.

Now, in a nice and cozy (and just as home-y) office here in downtown Toronto, Investintech has grown into the company you see on the screen before you.

There’ve been many challenges and successes along the way, and these new product versions are only one of them. And undoubtedly, there’ll be more to come.

Cheers!

Apollo: A Deity Descending

The PDF world is silent and seemingly still. CPU’s buzz and hum under the daily grind as they work towards maximum usage. Users are clicking away on the keyboard, typing their way closer to the future. . . . And all under the shade of anticipation for Apollo.

Yes, it’s coming. As mentioned, Adobe is coming out with Apollo, their new up and coming media platform. Still wonder what this Sun god namesake is?

Apollo is a cross-operating system runtime intended to make it easier for developers to create and set out Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) to the desktop that can render Flash animations and HTML functionality as well as the PDF’s containing abilities, ultimately enabling Web-applications to function outside the browser.

The software will allow developers to create applications by using already widely used Web designing and creation tools. Apollo applications will look and function like any average desktop application, included with installers and uninstallers.

The important issue here is that while Web applications can function on different operating systems, they don’t work when disconnected from the Internet. This is one of the browser restrictions Apollo seeks to improve.

Thus, with Apollo files (with Internet content and media), people could access work online, save it offline, work on it and then have any changes updated and synchronized with the Internet version once reconnected.

All without an Internet browser? Yes, without an Internet browser. Then what?—The PDF. The PDF’s capability of containing rich media content is being pushed to its limits as an applications container. The primary setback would, of course, be the file size of those Apollo documents.

The release of the product will be the first one under the Macromedia-Adobe union. Its distribution campaign has yet to be set in stone, but you can expect for it to be available via free download. Apollo is intended for a release in the first half of 2007.

Will Apollo be the Apps god it intends to be?