July 2007 Archives

So today I'm popping over to a customer who are currently using Acrobat 7 professional to distribute artwork to their internal customers for collaboration and authorisation prior to going to print. We created a nice case study here....

http://www.adobe.com/de/solutions/de/pdfs/European_Customer_References.pdf

I forget which page, sorry. So anyway they are looking to upgrade to Acrobat 8 and we'll see what we can do to help them.

In other news, our wedding preparations have now reached the point where the bank card is in terminal meltdown, the upcomming honeymoon is looking increasingly welcome.

T Minus 14 days

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So, in 2 weeks I'll be getting married. The plans have been well contained thus far, but now I am entering the zone where I'm advised to simply open my wallet and turn my head away from the carnage. Just how much can Bridesmaids shoes cost anyway, I've seen them and, for the money I've spent, I'd expected them to include lasers or at least a mini TV! When I was a child, I wore Clarks Commando's and they had a built in Compass!

I'm running my usual ask the expert session again this morning at 10:00, so that will take my mind off things. I'll also be preparing to ake my Adobe Acrobat ACE exam next week, I should have completed it ages ago but work has kept me away from the testing centre.... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I'll be glad to take the test and pass because then I can wear my "Acrobat Guru" T-shirt without feeling like a fraud.... I'm not saying I'll wear it a lot, it's just the principle.


I've just finished reading a review on Acrobat 3D Version 8 on AECbytes. It reads really well and is nicely balanced, so if you want to find out more but don't trust me to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, check this review out...

http://www.aecbytes.com/review/2007/Acrobat3Dv8.html

In other news, the UK team had a team building exercise at a blustery Northwick Park yesterday afternoon. I've clearly learned that I'm now good enough at golf to truly understand how bad I am at golf.... I think I'll stick to cribbage, anyone want to buy some slightly used Callaways?

Captivated?

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I've mentioned before that I do a large number of presenations using Adobe Acrobat Connect Professional. I have also used the Adobe Presenter to turn some of my static Powerpoint presentations into interactive, voiced-over presentations with Q and A built in.

Something I've been meaning to learn about is Adobe Captivate and I've heard that the latest version, Adobe Captivate 3 was announced yesterday.

Adobe Captivate 3 software allows you to rapidly create "powerful and engaging" simulations, scenario-based training, and quizzes without programming knowledge or multimedia skills. It's based on Adobe Flash software and Captivate 3 automatically generates interactive, Adobe Flash Player content for easy online distribution and access.

I feel the need to run a late night install and have a play.

OK, so it seems my comments regarding the gods were somewhat premature. Thanks to the UK Monsoon season, my car broke down on Friday driving home from work. Water in the engine is the diagnosis, the solution? Aparently, I have to open my wallet and look away as a financial bloodbath ensues.

On a brighter note, it looks like I passed a little Acrobat exam I took last week so maybe I might know what I'm talking about. With that in mind, a little tip for someone who recently asked me about eForms. I showed the distribute forms wizard that allows a form to be distributed and the results merged.

This provoked interest in maybe merging forms created before this feature was available, luckily, this isn't to hard to achieve....

1. Open the Forms menu and select "Manage Form Data"
2. In the sub menu select "Merge Data Files into Spreadsheet"
3. A dialog window appears and asks you to add the forms you wish to merge.
4. Select the forms and click and a dialog window opens allowing you to export the form data to a .csv file
5. You can now open the merged data in Excel

The gods fear me

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Friday morning, just about to start the "Ask the expert" session and on a typical English summers day we have a temperature of 15 degrees C, pouring rain (it's official, the UK has a 5th season "Monsoon") and the thunder and lightning has just started.... I believe Thor is issuing forth thunderbolts in an attempt to put me off my stride. Well it isn't going to work.

In other news, I'd like to point out that the smile in my pic isn't forced, it's just that I do actually look that insincere!

I ran 3 more Acrobat Pro seminars this week using Acrobat Connect from my home office, I'm really enjoying the extra time these fre up because I don't have to travel to meet the audience, they just dial into my meeting room and away we go. I even gave one of the delegates control over my laptop, well, for a few seconds anyway.

Ego!

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Errrrmm, OK, well, this is me as Mike Yarwood used to say, before singing badly.

Those of a nervous disposition, please avert their gaze now!

newsteve small.jpg


Paramedics please......

In case my Friday 13th posts didn't make sense (apart from the Bradley Wiggins post) here are the details for my regular Friday phone in.

Every Friday - 10am - I run an hour long "Ask the expert" session on Meeting Place +44 (0)208 606 1105 p/w 5442 and if required I can use the Connect meeting room I have available.

I don't guarantee to answer all questions there and then but I'll do my best. As I mentioned, Acrobat users often know more about their specialist area than I do.

BTW - A quick congratulations to my fiancee who ran her forst 10K in around 8 years yesterday. Finished in 1 hour 30seconds, she was miffed at not dipping under the 60 minute mark, so that means I'm condemmed to some more early morning runs!!

Bradley Wiggins

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Well, Bradley is being closed down by the peleton in la Tour de France. Another noble effort by a plucky Brit. It looks like a sprint finish will determine the outcome of stage 6 to Bourg-en-Bresse..... C'mon Bradders!!

So, the ask the expert session was quite today. Is it because it's Friday the 13th? Are we all scared to touch our IT?

I've used the time instead to add some Flash based pods to my Connect environment. I now have a map of the world that shows where the meting attendees are located, be it New York, Munich, Beijing or Darlington.

I also have a virtual set of fridge magnet letters, so you can leave me naughty messages while we wait for meetings to start. There are, however, not enough 'e's as is often the case. Any imaginative sentences containing lots of everyones least favourite vowel "U" are welcome. Ive often thought of it as a bit of a freeloader anyway, 'a's and 'e's cary the weight of the vowel community in my opinion.... hey, I'm just calling it as I see it.

Friday morning, so it's the "Ask the expert" session again. An hour of answering unusual questions from people who, I think, might know more about Acrobat than I do. We'll see what it turns up this week.

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon meeting with a print services company to see if we might be able to integrate Acrobat into their offerings. It didn't sem like an obvious fit but once they had explained how they worked and what they sold I had a great time showing them things that would make their life easier....

Shared review on a document - great for bidding for business.
Ad Hoc forms creation and data capture - Customer relations and information gathering for customer intelligence
Email archive into PDF - Sarbanes Oxley anyone?
Scanning to PDF including OCR?

All good baby, all good! And people think Acrobat is all about creating PDF!
Au revour tout le monde!

Feeling Blank?

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As I type, dear reader, I have just returned from my "Stag weekend" or bachelor party as I believe my North american friends would have me say. I spent my time in Newcastle-upon-tyne (temp 15 degrees celcius, rain) and my future bride spent the weekend in Pisa and Florence (temp 33 degrees c, sunny)..... that's how smart I am.

The weekend has passed off OK. I still have both of my eyebrows, at no point was I dressed as anything else but myself, I did not end up on a train to Minsk and a quick scan with a mirror reveals no surprise tattoos...result. I am though, pretty darn tired, managing 4 hours of sleep since Friday morning, my friends took it in turn to keep me awake.

So, I'm feeling blank, which is my radio 2 style slinky-link into mentioning somthing that I explained at a training event I delivered last Wednesday. I was asked about creating a PDF page from scratch and entering text. People often say to me things like "Acrobat is great, but I just want to open it and start typing". people also often say "Steve, you are so handsome, why did you give up being a male model?"

The PDF first, you can start creating a PDF from a blank page (of any size you choose)

Choose File > Create PDF > From Blank Page.
Begin typing the text you want to add to the blank page.
Add any formatting to the text by selecting it and selecting options on the New Document toolbar.
As needed, select other tools and options that you want to apply to the PDF.
Choose File > Save, and select a name and location for the PDF file.
Note: When the page is filled with text, the PDF Editor automatically adds a new blank page to the document.

It's really handy for short documents and there's quite a bit of formatting available from the toolbar and options. Sometimes it's just easier than starting a document from Word, or a clipboard image, you can now just start from scratch.

Well, the second question is much harder to answer... I'll save it for another post.

Ad hoc virtual meeting

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So, I was asked to deliver another seminar to some Universities last week... Now I'm based in London and have been travelling all over the UK and beyond every week for the last 8 months, so I wanted to do this without annoying my finacee.

Seemed like a good cue for Acrobat Connect Professional. I was able to work from my home office and present to a collection of delegates who were spread all over the country. We ran a show and tell seminar where everyone concerned only needed the free Flash player on their PC or Mac, everyone could see me via webcam, hear me with Voice over IP and also see my laptop screen. Even better, I was able to hand over control of my desktop to a delegate...(and grab it back when I wanted... I'm not crazy).

But the best bit? No lengthy setup, the meeting room exists in perpetuity, so all I did was email my room details out and everyone met half an hour later!