Behind the Velvet Curtain

Everyone loves the anticipation of an exciting show. And in this day and age, you can find one almost anywhere in the techno world. Example: there’s been something in the air for a long time between Microsoft and Adobe. The names are big and their developments even bigger. So, what’s going on? Let’s take a peek behind the velvet curtain.

Microsoft and Adobe.
Just recently, Adobe came out with an anti-trust lawsuit settled out of court, when Microsoft added the free PDF functionality in Office 2007, undercutting the ability to charge for the plug-in. You couldn’t have missed it; it was everywhere during the month of June. Reality: When the dust settled Microsoft backed down and are withdrawing it from the Office 2007 release.

Yet, that didn’t discourage Microsoft as they still have their own XPS (XML Paper Specification) print subsystem, also known as “Metro” which was announced last year. The system creates electronic based PDF-like documents supporting basic PDF characteristics. Microsoft intends to keep the Save as XPS function for Office 2007 and Vista. An open format, XPS will be similar to Opensource –an alternative to the Adobe PDF software format, allowing users to share, print and archive documents at the creation level by running the PDF functionality in its own authoring application.

Then there are the story headlines going on in the media graphics arena. . . .(feeling the anticipation yet?)

Adobe and Microsoft.

Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia, Inc. in 2005 made computer news headlines. With the possession of Macromedia, Adobe also acquired Macromedia’s Flash. And recently, there have been news reports of something called “Apollo,” a client-based software capable of running Flash applications online or offline, without a browser, using PDF as the container. A bundle of software that pushes innovative web applications to another level.

Around that same time, alongside Adobe’s new corporate possession, was the announcement of Microsoft’s Expression media suite of graphic tools known as Expression. Comprising the Expression studio is Expression Graphic Designer; Expression Interactive Designer; and Expression Web Designer. All three are graphic design tools to enhance the graphic designer and user end experience. CTPs (Community Technology Previews) for Expression Graphic Designer and Expression Interactive Designer were released in June and people are already commenting on it. It’s a big first step in the graphics department for Microsoft.

Pass the Popcorn

So what gives? Well, from the looks of it, both companies are coming to a head and seem to be geared towards making a statement about browser, PDF and media applications control to see who can put out the best stuff.

One word, two syllables: In-tense. No doubt about it being healthy competition, though (a little too healthy for some). And no doubt everyone’ll be waiting and watching for the outcome as the products come out in full fledged user versions.

In the meantime, the stage is set and the lights are on– pass the popcorn!

Another Day at the Office

It’s another summer day at the office and here we are. We hope you’re enjoying the blog so far, curling around your screen with a cup of coffee and settling down to a light, easy read on our site (if anything technical can be called light).

Blogs are essentially light, interactive e-lounges, no? And you can’t get anymore interactive than responding to your readers, browsers, users—dare we say, groupies? So, product users, raise your coffee cups. We’ve got Investintech conversion solutions for you this time. And of course, we’re not giving them out all at once. What would be the fun in that? (enter semi-evil laugh here). And so out of the digital hat we choose. . .

“When I convert to Excel/Word, all I get is a blank document?”

Okay. For this kind of problem, don’t worry. The situation will often occur for scanned PDF conversion attempts in Able2Extract Professional and Able2Doc Professional as well.

Scanned documents are snapshots and as such, are treated as images. So Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is needed to regenerate the data when you convert. This is why the subsystem is included with the Professional versions of our products.

So, for such documents, the user needs to ‘force’ the OCR engine in order for the software to recognize the image file and extract text from it.

To do this, select Edit > OCR Options > Perform Image-Based Conversion (OCR), and try the conversion again.

A related issue is also that the PDF file may be in landscape mode, and not portrait mode. Our software cannot convert vertical text or pages that lie sideways. In order to get a conversion output, the PDF file needs to be in Portrait mode so that text can be read from left to right. If it is in Landscape mode, you can rotate the pages using the directional arrows in the software viewer.

Hope this clarifies things a bit and gives everyone a heads up on that issue.

We’ll post up product tips regularly, so stay tuned and, no doubt, you’ll see one of your technical wonderings posted up.

Cheers!
(cue in sound of clinking coffee cups)

What Kind of PDF Converter Buyer Are You?

When shopping on-line, anxiety is a necessary side effect. Not being able to fully inspect that second hand Louis Vuitton purse you see on e-bay; or worse yet, purchasing a software product from a fly by night company unknowingly—scenarios you’re all too familiar with?

For some, software shopping on-line becomes a way of life—convenience in the comfort of one’s own home (the Golden Rule of the Internet). They love clicking and downloading, but hate the fine print “Buyer Beware!” tag in a font size of 3. In other words– “What You Buy Is What You Get” (WYBIWYG).

Yet, at Investintech, what you buy is what you get—so if you buy a quick PDF conversion software product, you get a quick PDF conversion software product.

We get different kinds of PDF converter shoppers that have common queries when making that perfect purchase with us. So, here are a few that may also help you to make that ideal buy:

*The Anxious Buyer:“How come the Professional version is only available as a 30-day license?”

This type of buyer loves details. With Investintech products, there are options that users can use to their advantage, like the free trial downloads of our desktop applications. A 30 day license is just another option ideal for those who need to complete brief projects and need the full advantage of our software capabilities. But don’t worry, the Professional versions of our products are also available with a full use, single-user license.

*The Panicking Buyer: “My upgrade PIN isn’t working?”

This type of buyer likes to get at the heart of a matter. So do we. One thing to make sure of, is that you’ve got the right components– the Standard version of the product you’re upgrading to Professional and the PIN for the Standard product being upgraded. With questions like these, the Upgrades page and contact info on our site is there for you to get in touch with the right answer to the tech issues you need help with.

*The Curious Buyer: “What’s the difference between Able2Doc and Able2Extract?”

This type of buyer likes to research. We’ve got the resources to help you for just these kinds of questions. We’ve got product comparison charts, articles to help you understand different product features and in addition, there are also individual pages for each of our desktop products so you can research at your own ease.

So, welcome to Investintech: what kind of PDF converter buyer are you?

Ole, Ole Ole Ole, . . . : World Cup Fever

Who do you have tipped for World Cup glory?

Some people can’t hide it– decorating their cars with flags; wearing their favourite player’s jersey; fraternizing at a pub to watch the game withpainted faces. . .

Here at Investintech, there’s buzz about the world cup too—yes, believe it or not, our software developers do have fun while still at the computer desk. It’s a small office here but it is chock full of England, South Korea, Serbia and even Trinidad and Tobago supporters.

And for all of you Investintech software users, we’ve got a world cup themed usage tip for you.

Have you been keeping score with the latest world cup soccer stats? Are you in a world cup soccer pool? If you are, no doubt you’ve used an excel spreadsheet for it, saving it on your desktop for easy access, consistently adding the scores of each game and the progress of each country on your down time.

However, you’ll be emailing the upcoming final results (whether of different players’ stats or every team’s scores) as the winning teams get closer to the title game.

Well, you can convert those excel sports stats into the PDF format to send around, making it easier for the different and numerous types of data recordings you’ve got going. You might even find yourself wanting to convert them into word documents for public posting by the water cooler hangout at the office or beside that small flag hanging around your desk.

Don’t let your win in an office pool go unnoticed or unannounced!

Some Quick Thoughts on PDF Security

You’ve been hit over the head with it: one of the key features of the PDF is that it comes with securing features. You can add passwords,  restrict utilization, and even certify an encrypted PDF.

 

 

Yet, as great as those features may sound, security options can only do so much outside of the digital state. We were recently asked a question by a prospective customer:

 

 

 

 

“How do you prevent a user from distributing a created PDF?. . . I only want the downloader to view this [confidential] document. I do not want him to be able to send a “Copy” to the entire staff.”

 

 

 

 

One of our staff members, George, had this to say in response which brings to light an important point:

 

 

 

 

“The problem is the fundamental one – the PDF document is just an ordinary file, just like any other on computer…it can be copied, sent via FTP or email, deleted etc. – just as any other file. Therefore, there is no way to limit distribution of the FILE that is the document itself…It really isn’t possible to prevent a person who reads the content of a PDF file from copying it by hand, or taking screenshots of it, talking about it etc…”

 

 

 

 

Of course, this makes you wonder about your own files–have they been compromised?  The problem is that PDF security places a little too much emphasis on the document falling into the wrong hands, not the hands of the intended recipient. Is there a possibility that they could be both one and the same?

 

 

 

 

Sad to say, PDF capabilities just  don’t eliminate the “wicked??? human factor on the other end once the file is accessed.  The only thing you can do to prevent this is to make sure that the file has the highest security settings in place. And–  of course, ensure you’re sending the file to a trusted recipient (no sarcasm intended).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One tip: When deciding on the security for your PDF document, think of the characteristics of certain security measures. For instance, passwords can be compromised,  printed PDF documents can be photocopied, etc. Think outside the security box.

 

 

 

 

This is not to say that the PDF isn’t good enough at securing documents. It is. Only, it just stops short of ensuring honesty in the work environment. There are good security measures available, just don’t take them for granted.