Acrobat 4 and 7 under WinXP

I hit a problem when trying to get both Acrobat Reader 7 and 4 available under the WinXP “Open With” right-click menu. When ever I’d point the WinXP dialog to Acrobat 4 it would just use Acrobat 7 instead. The problem seems to be caused by both executables having the same name even though they are in different paths.

The solution is to copy the Acrobat 4 executable AcroRd32.exe and rename it, I named it AcroRd4.exe. Now the “Open With” selection works and I can choose either version to open a PDF.

On the other WinXP PC that I use regularly this problem didn’t happen. The only major difference between the PC’s is that the one that it worked on had Acrobat Reader 7 and the full Acrobat 7 program both installed.

Walt Jung's Website

IMHO, Mr. Walt Jung is one of the greatest engineers of analog electronics of all time. His IC Op-Amp Cookbook is a must have for any engineer who uses Op-Amps. I personally own two copies, the 2nd edition I bought in 1980 and the updated 3rd edition I bought in 1990. Unfortunately the currently available print editions are reported to be very low quality that is why the link above is set to find an older printing (like my newest copy). See the books page at Mr. Jung’s site for more information about this and his other excellent books.

The library section also contains PDF’s of many of Mr. Jung’s excellent articles and even a complete book written for Analog Devices. I am particularly excited to find his articles from The Audio Amateur magazine as I had to part with my complete TAA collection due to space constraints when I moved last year. Mr. Jung’s writing in TAA was one of the primary motivations for my career choice of electronics design especially my favorite work, analog circuit design. A very important lesson that was driven home from his TAA writings was the need for rigorous scientific methodology in assessing analog circuits especially audio circuits. The audiophile world has always had people who fall for pseudo-science, The Audio Amateur and especially Mr. Jung did a great job of debunking pseudo-science with science whenever it reared it’s ugly head.

A way to confuse Windows programs

I’ve been setting up my new Windows PC during the past month. I found a way to thoroughly confuse Windows programs, setup a user account then a few days later change the user name. Now the user name and documents and settings directory name no longer match and some programs get confused and crash. The cure is to delete the user and create a new one.

New Hosting

I have not been posting for a couple months because I’ve been changing hosting providers. Switching to GoDaddy from AK Web Hosting gives me better up time, more space, more bandwidth, more features and better support all for half the price. Even though I still have over one year left of pre-paid hosting with AK Web Hosting their up time and support has been so bad the past year I’ve given up on them.

CF Card data rescue

I have not had many problems with Compact Flash cards since I started using them in 2000. One of my older 1G cards failed to read on a extremely hot day (>100F) a couple of years back but, I had backups of the data so it wasn’t a big deal.

Yesterday I had a failure that I think I caused myself. I suspect I had my trusty old Kodak DC-215’s power ON when I pulled out the 6 year old 32M Lexar CF card. When I put the card in a PC reader WinXP offered to format the card, yikes. I then tried it in my Jornada 720 and the camera with the same result.

This time the card data had no backup because it was pictures from a day hike with my brother and nieces. I really wanted to recover these photos so I started checking around the net for information on CF card failures and data recovery. I figured that good old hard disk recovery techniques should work since a CF card is organized the same as a hard disk. This article gives the essential information and I was about to do it when I decided to try out some of the applications designed to automatically recover CF data.

I tried out all of these programs, BadCopy, Davory, Digital Picture Recovery, Flash File Recovery, MediaRECOVER, mmCARD Recovery, PhotoRescue and, Smart Recovery.

The only program that was even close to showing me that it could recover the data was PhotoRescue. PhotoRescue did not show thumbnails for the files probably because they were in FlashPix (.FPX) file format. The files that PhotoRescue said it could recover were of the right size range for my photos so I decided to buy PhotoRescue and see if it would work.

PhotoRescue recovered every one of the photos and even recovered some long ago deleted photos. I highly recommend PhotoRescue, at only $30 it is a rare bargain in data recovery software.

A final note, after recovering the photos I let the camera re-format the CF card. To my surprise, after the re-format, all the photos were now accessible on the card! This indicates to me that the problem was fairly simple FAT corruption and that the camera’s format firmware is smart enough to fix some FAT problems on its own. If my suspicion of a FAT corruption is correct then why didn’t any of the other software that I tried even come close to recovering the data?

Acrobat Reader and alternatives

Acrobat Reader has become less useful and efficient for me since version 4. The latest version has driven me nuts so I started looking for alternatives.

I’d heard many good reviews of Foxit Reader stating that it worked well and was completely free. So I looked at its web site and read the EULA to make sure I could use it (I do commercial work on most of the PC’s I use). Everything looked OK so I was about to click the download link when I decided I should look at the rest of the page before clicking the download link. I found a show stopper statement in the bottom half of the page free for non-commercial use. I contacted the company and they confirmed that they don’t want me to use it because of the non-commercial clause. Technically I could go ahead and use it in my commercial situation because the EULA makes no such provision and the clause is hidden from view on the web site. But I will respect the companies intent and not use it.

Next I checked out eXPert PDF reader and it, like Adobe’s reader, is free to use even in a commercial situation. However after trying out eXPert PDF reader I did not like it.

That’s when I remembered one of the most useful web sites on the Internet OldVersion.com. Looking at their list of old versions for Acrobat reader you’ll see a big increase in download size as the versions increase. So, I grabbed Acrobat Reader 4.05 (5.5 MB) and installed it without removing the newer version of Acrobat Reader. As far as I can see, there is no problem with having multiple versions of Acrobat installed. By using the WinXP Open With context menu I can even choose which version of Acrobat to use.

Another Outlook annoyance

Since I wrote my last entry I’ve been experiencing another annoying Outlook problem. Ever since I started using OL2003 at the main office, the OL2000 copies I use at at my home office won’t terminate. I have two copies of Outlook2K one on Win2KPro and the other on WinXpPro. On both of them when I close OL its window terminates but the process remains.

I’ve scoured the net for clues to the cause of the hanging but to date I’ve not found a solution. Since the only change has been using OL03 at work, I think that even though I told OL03 to leave the PST file as 2000 format, OL03 has changed something in the file that OL2K doesn’t like.

I suspect that if I buy two copies of OL03 to upgrade the OL2k PC’s the problem will go away. However Microsoft is not encouraging me to upgrade because according to their web site an upgrade is not available and a new license is $109 US. There is no way Micro$oft is getting $218 more out of me for Outlook licenses. I could also change the Office03 install back to Office2K but I really want to avoid that since most of the other PC’s there are using 03.

Since I won’t pay and I haven’t found a solution, I have just been terminating OL with Task Manager whenever I close it. Today while searching again for solutions I found a program that will make living with this problem less annoying. KnockOut is a great little program to make terminating Outlook and Word more convenient. Thank you Jensen Harris for making this handy program.