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Category Archives: Applications

I just stumbled across these by accident. Immediately downloaded and installed them to give them a quick try out –  and they really are good stuff, if you want to be able to do more than just read the pdf file. Such as add comments, do basic editing and so forth. Obviously they will not do the full job of adobe pro pdf, but they are certainly a good cut above the little basic reader.

FOXIT Reader (Download)

Nuance PDF Reader (Download)

XPert PDF Reader (Download)

PDF-XChange Viewer (Download)

STDU Viewer (Download)

And they are free…

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I changed the wordpress theme on my personal blog just now and so I made a bunch of new images for the header using the visual manipulation distortion filters. Although these have been around forever they are probably still amongst some of the best image deconstruction tools that I know of. Not to mention that they are also open sourced…

Although they still work beautifully even with PS CS5 the VM plugins are kind of hard to come by these days. I have therefore decided to share mine, available from here. These are PC only, as far as I know there never were any made for Mac. Simply unzip and put in the plugins directory of photoshop.

I had actually checked out issuu a long time ago but had never really uploaded anything. Today, the hung-over aftermath of a somewhat raucous New Year’s Eve, seemed to be a good time to play around with something like this. I have uploaded a few things and particularly this one presentation from 2005 which I have always rather liked and which I have never posted anywhere (image above is the link).

Issuu seems to be great, except for a few things to pay attention to: Do not use solid dark backgrounds. Black does look good – nice and shiny, but dark grays give you the most god awful moire effect. Sometimes the conversion takes forever, and there is no rhyme or reason for it that I could make out, larger files may take less than smaller stuff. Another problem is that whatever format you may choose, you seem to end up with a flip book – or at least I did. Then again, I have not checked out all of the options yet. And finally, something assembled out of landscape formatted pages looks much better than portrait type pages stuck together since rather than go by the width/height of your original upload file, Issuu seems to fit things to the screen widthwise, so anything which is too high looks really huge and clumsy.

But, all in all, it is quite a cool place to publish stuff.

There are a lot of these and unfortunately most of them do not really do what they say they will do. Basically, what is needed is an intuitive interface with highly customizable start-out templates – customizable to the extent where your site looks “yours”, that is. And – of course, they have to have a completely free plan with an option to upgrade so that you can freely experiment. I have checked out some of what is out there and two of them really seem to deliver the goods: Weebly lets you create blogs as well as websites. They have a very beautiful template gallery from which you can start out and then everything works with a simple drag and drop interface which lets you add pretty much all that you could wish for. The second one Yola works in a similar way, also very easy to use and versatile.

Both of the above will give you html/css sites. Should you wish to do a flash site however, then of course Wix is absolutely unbeatable.

And incidentally, while I was looking around I also came across these: Very nice seem to be an online, completely free video editor called JayCut and an online presentation platform called SlideRocket.

This is truly superb, and those who do not yet know of wix, better rush over there and get started right now! This is an online flash site creator that lets you build either from scratch, or by modifying a very large collection of freely available templates. The entire setup is intuitive – no need to code, no actionscript anywhere in evidence – all you do is drag and drop components, add text, images, clip art, and off you go!

Furthermore, the wix people let you publish your efforts for free under their own domain. Should you wish for your own site, and/or various other goodies such as google analytics then they have a very reasonable plan for you to upgrade as well. In the free version wix puts very small ads underneath your page and the upgrade eliminates those also. However, no sweat with regards to the ads anyway – they did not bother me in the slightest, they are that well placed and unobtrusive.

I created the 3 pages above (please click thumbnails to access) with wix. The first 2 were created through modifying pre-existent templates, the third one I did from scratch. All the images I used come from the wix library, which is surprisingly well stocked with really nice images and clip art. The first one I made took a few hours since I was also snooping around in the library, trying out all kinds of things. The two others happened in less that an hour each! That is how easy and user friendly this is!

I am wondering whether wix might not be used for educational purposes also. As in teaching a web design course which totally eliminates the irksome need to learn the underlying code of a flash site.

http://www.wix.com/