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Two outstanding freebies

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johnhattan

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Okay, I know I've been off-track for a few days, but I promise nothing but blissful high-velocity game development goodness for at least the next few days.

First off, I've got an outstanding freebie. I like Adobe Acrobat Reader because it reads Adobe Acrobat files. I dislike Adobe Acrobat reader because it's huge and starts slowly and hogs up huge amounts of memory and wants to put little tendrils of itself everywhere in your machine (see also: RealPlayer, QuickTime).

Enter Acrobat's equivalent to Real Alternative and QuickTime Alternative, which is called Foxit Reader. It does pretty-much everything Acrobat Reader will do, but it starts instantly and is downright tiny compared to the real thing. It's a <1 meg download that unzips into a single 2.5 meg EXE file. And that's it.

Mind you, it's not perfect. For one, whatever ClearType knockoff it's using isn't as nice as Acrobat's ClearType knockoff. The documents look just fine, they're just not as sharp as you get from Adobe's version. Also, I've found a couple of PDF files that cause it to bomb after about reading about five pages. I checked their support forums, and it looks like that's a known bug that's being worked on.

Anyway, this gizmo's a real boon for Shelly. With all the documents Shelly generates from AutoCAD, we do a lot of paper shuffling and emailing. Problem is, we've got several clients who are well behind the curve technology-wise and go crosseyed every time we send 'em a PDF file. With this little reader, though, we can just toss the reader on a CD or a thumb-drive and bring it with us so we don't have to futz with doing a full Acrobat install over a client's 56k modem.


The other freebie is Konfabulator. Konfabulator has always been cool, but I never thought it to be $25 worth of cool. Last week, though, Yahoo put my problems to rest by buying Konfabulator and making it free. You can now download it and use it all you want without registration or serial numbers or anything.

My current widgets are the weather report widget, the to-do list, and the widget that displays the lowest gas prices near your zip-code. There's also a good widget that talks to Outlook and displays your daily appointments, but it insists on keeping Outlook open all the time and gets a little pissed if you close Outlook, so I took that one off the desktop.

That's two good freebies. Have fun!
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How does it compare to Adobe Reader 7? I've been really happy with it. I just double clicked on on a PDF document that used to take about 10 seconds to load on version 6 and it loaded in about a second.

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