|Re: PDF files (yes, the Reader is a different story)|
Message #12 Posted by glynn on 8 May 2003, 9:02 p.m.,
in response to message #5 by bill platt
As I said: "(Just as annoying as finding that EVERYTHING is being .pdf'ed, just when the current Acrobat Reader 5.1 sucks so badly)."
My problem is not so much with the file format itself (though I could whine about people who are lazily scanning stuff to place in .pdf instead of actually creating a page of information visible and usable WITHOUT plug-ins, add-ons, etc.)
God knows we need better standards than those that the PC world usually gets sucked in to adopting. Real Audio? Flash, Shockwave and so forth?
I am 100% behind vector-based web document standards like SVG, but because nobody is pushing content-creation software for this very hard for FREE (not even Adobe), it'll probably go nowhere.
But my MAIN complaint is the "gratis" Adobe Acrobat Reader version 5.1. Specifically, "Adobe Acrobat Reader v.5.1 (32-bit) for Windows 98SE, 2000, and XP". I do not know about the Macintosh version, nor the Unix/Linux version.
Now, if someone wanted to "compete" and put out a better reader, they could; but since it would likely have to go head-to-head against FREE, I don't really expect a lot of enthusiastic effort to be expended here.
I have just looked at Google. I figured that more people than just me have had difficulties with A.R.5.1. But I now guess I am the only one with a bitter taste over it. All I was able to find were 10,460 web-sites asking you to install it so you can read their files, providing the link.
And so my story is atypical, I'll admit. I tell it anyway:
It was a dark and stormy night (heehee). On that fateful February day, I was surfing around, trying to find spec sheets on components and wanting full documentation on certain CPU parts. I was able to see most of these using Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0, which was a slow, dog of a program which crashed with a protection error every once in a while, on specific documents. But, generally, I got the docs I was looking for.
The website I was looking at had a warning that I might not be able to read their files unless I upgraded to Acrobat Reader 5.1. I had ignored that message a few times previous, with no major consequences; why I chose, finally, to heed it, I do not know.
But when I clicked on the file, and a dialog box popped up that stated "a new version of this software is available-- do you wish to download it now?", I figured, what the heck. What could it hurt? <now spooky, foreshadowing music rises>
The installation was odd. In former times, a single, downloaded .EXE would transfer, and then unpack a few files, ask you to reboot, and after that, you had your program to run. THIS time, An install package was downloaded, which ran, and began the process of transferring additional files from the main server to me. It all took far too much time and seemed overly awkward.
So, mark this #1: Server-tied Installation is AWKWARD.
After this, I rebooted, and went back to the .pdf doc files I had wanted. Clicking onto one, my browser went into "wait" mode, and there was still nothing but a promise of a file five minutes later. I had to shut down the browser. Tried again. Rebooted and tried again. The Acrobat Reader plug-in to the browser would work one time out of four or so.
There's my #2. Browser/A.R.5.1 clash.
I found I could still get the files by "save target as"ing the .pdf names. I saved them to my hard drive. I could load up on .pdfs, then go offline, and start an instance of the main Acrobat Reader. Cool, huh?
So that's what I did. And after closing my browser, I ran A.R., opened my first file, scrolled down it, AND IT LOCKED UP the computer. No keyboard, no mouse; would not respond to Ctrl-Alt-Del; I had to use the reset button on the computer and reboot.
Number 3: Scrolling sometimes locks up computer.
I HAD to be able to see these docs; I found I could print them if, when I opened a file, I did NOT move in the document, but just went directly to PRINT menu. At least I got hard copy. But, some of the documents were long. And there appears to be a limitation, so that anything over 99 pages simply will NOT PRINT.
Number 4: Can't handle long documents.
I was angry x 4 by now. I wrote Adobe. They got back to me saying that the problem had been in installation. I simply had to remove A.R.5.1, reboot and re-install. So I did that. Now the browser plug-in worked 2 out of 3 times, but there was still the too-common chance that it would go off "waiting". AND, I still could not scroll more than a page or two, before the system would LOCK UP.
Still the same problems, in different mix of frequency. I uninstalled again and updated my video drivers (though they had been working fine up 'til then) then re-installed.
I still cannot use Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.1 for Windows.
My system has been totally stable since I completely reworked it in November '02-- with the exception of Acrobat Reader. It has always been the weakest link. I do NOT believe it is written correctly, even if I happen to be the ONLY ONE ON THE PLANET who has had these problems.
Needless to say, I encounter many websites where a .pdf is just behind a link, waiting for me to click on it. I now look at any link carefully before I click-- 'cause I can't click on a .pdf. I haven't uninstalled A.R.5.1, because I still need to print the small ones it will read. This is sort of a crapshoot-- most it will print, some it spits out part of.
My system has been experiencing random lock-ups now, always after using A.R.5.1. Even after it is closed, it runs in the background.
Number 5: Why is it running in the background after it is closed?
Number 6: Why does it want to use the modem so much?
For the record, the surfing system is: Celeron 533 w/256M RAM, 60gig drive. Win 98 Second Edition. All upgrades to OS installed. Internet Explorer 6.0.28 browser. HP Laserjet 4m postscript printer with 32M RAM. ATI Rage64 video.
I've been mad about this for some time, so forgive me for going off now. But no other application I have has given me so much grief. If I knew what I was doing with Postscript and the pdf construction, I'd write a damn Reader myself.
That, Bill, hopefully answers what you asked. I am sure the commercial products have a better Reader.