February 25, 2017

Converting PDF to anything, almost! And the world's lightest desktop PDF reader

In an earlier article on PDF software, we had reviewed some PDF reader, annotator and converter programs. In the present one, we'd review one very professional product that has fantastic free offshoots too. Rather, let's start with the free tools first.

World's smallest PDF reader

In our earlier review, we had recommended Foxit Reader. We still love that. But this one - Slim PDF Reader - is feather-light as compared to other programs. It is just 1.5MB (installer download size) as compared to others that are much bigger in size. Even Foxit is about 4 times bigger!

True to the developers' claim (They call it the world's smallest desktop PDF reader), the product is basic and simple and without frills that in most cases remain unused but bloat the software.

A minefield of PDF conversion and extraction tools in this Professional sw

As always, we recommend software or utilities only after satisfying ourselves. So, we evaluated the trial version of the premium software developed by the company that produces Slim PDF Reader. It is called Able2Extract Professional. It is a paid version but  the software is worth its price for people who have to work with PDFs and need to extract content from PDF files for various purposes.

Able2Extract PDF program has great features!

We'd rank the premium PDF converter high for its key features:
  • large number of file formats from/ to it converts,
  • high quality of extracted files,
  • extracted content being editable like normal files,
  • ability to edit any type of PDF documents, and
  • ease of learning. 

When you convert a PDF document into a document file (e.g. .docx), you often end up with a document that is full of garbage or its text going out of alignment or some text behaving funny. With Able2Extract, the resulting docs are clean and editable.

Similarly if you want to copy columns from a business pamphlet in PDF format, you need not suffer a garbled sheet.  

Think of inserting a portion of PDF doc into a MS Word document without editing its layout. With Able2Extract, just convert that portion into a picture file (e.g. .jpg) and insert into the MS Word document!

You can convert PDFs into even .html, .csv and AutoCad files! 

There are many more ways you can use this superb software including splitting and merging PDFs, security and encryption, page resizing and customization. By the way, this sw developer has free online converters that you can visit here: Free PDF Tools

We do not have any commercial considerations with the producers of this product except that they provided a PIN to extend the evaluation version. The views are fully ours.

February 21, 2017

Video offerings from social biggies, Ponzi through social media and other updates

Amazon starts Chime, a Skype or Google Hangout like service

Amazon ChimeAmazon has announced a video talking/ conferencing service called Amazon Chime that boasts of delivering high-quality audio and video, easy collaboration and suitability for mobile phones.

Let's see who wins. Or is there enough for everybody, as the number of people wanting to use video talking and conferencing grows by a big leap?


Video offers from Facebook

When it comes to video, Facebook continues to add value. It has just announced new features that make watching videos on FB more fun

The videos on FB timeline till now played without sound till you clicked on them. Now they come with audio which comes in and fades out as you slide them in and out of the mobile screen. You have to allow this feature in 'settings'. 

Facebook video
You can also release videos away from the timeline. You can take it to a corner of the screen while you move down the timeline to view other posts. If you like, the video will keep playing even if you exit FB!

In addition, FB has announced a video app for television, to allow people to watch their videos in a bigger format.  


How newspaper editors view social media as a source of news?

A research paper in the latest issue of International Journal of Communication reinforces the general view that traditional journalists and their editors still are not sure of the credibility and usefulness of social media as a source of news. The researchers, based on a survey in the US, infer that:

  • Traditional editors are not likely to see citizen journalism (=information given to traditional media by people at large) as a good source of news. The older and more experienced a journalist, the more distrust he or she has on the emerging media as a news source of value.
  • Editors at publicly owned media houses tend to be more open towards news given by people than their counterparts in privately owned media.
  • Editors in more pluralistic communities are more open to social media as compared to those in less open and diverse societies.
  • Editors generally find the news through social media as less credible than that received from institutional sources.


Social media scam in India dupes over 650,000 investors!

India has seen ponzi schemes growing through word-of-mouth publicity and collapsing after the operators suddenly run away with the money. But this is the first such scheme popularized through social media. 

In ponzi schemes, people are asked to make deposits and are paid returns out of deposits by new customers rather than from profits earned through a legitimate productive activity. 

In the present case, people were asked to pay a sum and promote certain web links by way of 'liking' them. The returns were so unbelievably good and came just by clicking some links that the scheme was able to lure thousands and thousands of students, salaried persons, small traders, estate agents and farmers from the nearby areas. But as it was driven by social media, it spread to other states and even beyond India. The scam grew to about 37 billion rupees in just 6 years of its taking birth.

Thousands of depositors who had risen high in the hierarchy over years and had made good money through the scheme gathered in front of the 'company' office in support of the operators when police arrested the kingpins.