Adobe’s PDF file format is one of those things I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with. I’ve got ton’s of PDF documents loaded with 6 or 7 languages (or more) that I don’t speak and other useless information. Fortunately, I’ve had Able2Extract, a great tool from Investintech that let me manipulate and extract PDF files to common file formats like Word, Excel, HTML, etc. and then remove the extraneous data. Previous to the latest release of V9, I’ve created Word files of these skinned down PDF’s and used Word to convert back to PDF format (smaller files, easier to search, etc.).

I’m also still extracting snippets from PDF’s, as I wrote about here. Just yesterday I set up a new cordless phone system and needed 3 of 102 pages from a PDF file to zero in on the functions I needed to program immediately (and as a reference sheet). I turned to Able2Extract automatically. It’s a “go to” tool that simplifies my digital life.

Investintech has just launched Able2Extract V9, and has added powerful PDF creation abilities to already great PDF conversion functionality, including the ability to create secure, password protected PDF files and specify what tasks like copy, print, etc. the recipient can perform. This is great news for people like me who want to present their work but prevent others from copying it or manipulating it. I think of this feature as digital rights management for PDF’s (DRM).

Exploring the cool new PDF creation tools

 

The top level GUI interface in V9 adds a Create function, which let’s you open an existing document for conversion to PDF. You’ll see the standard file picker and can easily load up your source document.

compare versions

 

There are a lot of reasons I use PDF’s, mostly to create layouts so that others viewing my documents see a finished piece as I authored it with page breaks as I intended and margins positioned as I intended. Microsoft Word 2013 lets me create PDF’s and encrypt with a password, but Word won’t allow me to protect further by specifying advanced options (preventing copying, disassembling, etc.). Able2Extract 9 provides me with a whole host of customizable parameters. Once I’ve loaded a documented to convert to PDF format, the next step is to select the View menu, PDF Creation Options to fine tune the viewer experience and specify what capabilities are allowed.

pdf options

PDF Creation Options allows me to specify metadata and more, and includes functionality to fine tune how MS Office documents are handled. Here are a couple of screen shots showing metadata and MS Office document handling parameters.

options1

 

options2

The Security tab allows me to create a secure, password protected PDF (which MS Office can also do using a single password) but Able2Extract 9 provides both a User and Owner password function (extra protection for the creator) and more importantly, it offers the ability to control what the viewer can do with the PDF document via a robust Permissions feature. Comparing the PDF creation options between Able2Extract and Word 2013 (see screenshot below where Able2Extract’s permission feature is on the left and MS Word’s feature for permissions is on the right), its clear that Able2Extract 9 offers a huge advantage. Just uncheck the functions you wish to prohibit (you can save these as defaults as well or save a set of parameters to a file that you can load for future use).

compare options

Coupled with all of the above new creation capabilities are NEW PDF editing features. This includes the ability modify the Document Information and Viewing Preferences for a  PDF file as well as making changes to pages (delete, resize, rotate, scale or move PDF pages). And with the ability to manipulate, extract and convert PDF files to other formats, Able2Extract V9 is a application that should be considered in any SOHO, business, and even high end consumer environment. You can download a 7 day trial version and experience all this great functionality and see if it fits in your toolbox as well as it fits in mine!

 

There are lots of reports of the OneNote and Mail, Calendar, and People apps not updating on the latest build 9879 of the Windows 10 Technical Preview. I’ve seen these myself and this is how I’ve fixed them

 

onenote win 10

 

For OneNote:

1)      Start Admin command prompt and type “powershell” and press Enter    

2)      In powershell prompt: get-appxpackage *microsoft.office.onenote* | remove-appxpackage    

3)      In powershell prompt: remove-appxprovisionedpackage –Online –PackageName Microsoft.Office.OneNote_2014.919.2035.737_neutral_~_8wekyb3d8bbwe   

4)     Restart Store, Search for OneNote app and install

 

For Mail, Calendar, and People

 

1)      Start Admin command prompt and type “powershell” and press Enter    

2)      In powershell prompt: get-appxpackage *microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps* | remove-appxpackage    

3)      In powershell prompt: remove-appxprovisionedpackage –Online –PackageName microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_17.5.9879.20671_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe – this might error – ignore it    

4)     Restart Store, Search for Mail app and install – might fail to install the first time, but try a second time and it should install

 

Mattel has angered a large segment of the Girl Geek world with a book with a decidedly sexist slant that portrays Barbie as needing help from boys to successfully complete a coding project. While Mattel has apologized and “pulled” the publication and has promised a better attitude going forward, the important concept that girls can be what they dream to be and should reach for the stars is what really matters. Women in tech have been successful for years. I’m not just talking about the Marissa Mayer’s of this world. There are thousand’s (and hopefully tens of thousands) of us who have built successful tech careers, many of them, like myself, going back 20 or 30 years.

There’s been lots of activity on Barbie’s Facebook page where posts are being deleted by Barbie’s social media staff (see Posts to Page) and some still are up at https://www.facebook.com/BarbieNAD/posts/362944293876701

One of my peers has started a #realgirlgeek campaign to highlight the fact that women and girls CAN be anything they want to be, including computer programmers and IT professionals.

The White House also has recently stepped up a campaign to highlight and help and equalize the pay gap in ALL professions.

 

white house equality

Let’s encourage our girls to pursue and excel in technical careers.

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth, here’s my remix of the horrendous Barbie, I can be a Computer Engineer.

 

Some good news, Microsoft has announced upcoming updates to the Surface Pro 3 on TechNet. In particular, there are some WiFi updates that hopefully will fix some of the horrific issues that have plagued some customers since launch.

http://blogs.technet.com/b/surface/archive/2014/11/17/information-on-the-upcoming-updates-for-surface-pro-3.aspx

 

sp3upcoming

 

Note in particular:

Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3066.135)

  • Enables better throughput after waking from sleep and connecting to an 802.11AC network.
  • Ensures Infra scan list is not empty while connected to a wireless display adapter.
  • Resolves an issue connecting to Cisco 1242 access points.
  • Ensures device reconnects properly to a hidden SSID using a 5Ghz DFS channel after waking from sleep.
  • Adds customer-requested functionality to prefer 5Ghz connections when both a 2.4ghz and 5ghz connection are present with the same SSID.

Too bad Microsoft didn’t have the common sense to post this information in the Answers Community Forums where users are begging for relief.

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