Jan 22

In this series of posts, I’m considering and planning my future computing needs. If you’re a Windows user, you may find some of my thoughts relevant to your own situation, or perhaps not.

So far I’ve decided to stick with Windows 7 as my main desktop operating system rather than move to Windows 8. Windows 7 will continue to be supported until 2020 so at this stage there’s still plenty of time to decide and time for new players to enter the scene.

I never really felt the need to upgrade to Windows 8 as I just don’t need a touchscreen interface on my desktop PC. Besides, I’m very happy with Windows 7. Interestingly, I read just recently that HP is starting a marketing push offering Windows 7 rather than Windows 8 on new PCs. In addition, I was interested to read an article by Paul Thurrott at the end of December where he comprehensively laid out Windows problems for 2014 and beyond. What caught my eye in Thurrott’s piece was this statement:

We know that the firm (Microsoft) in embracing a “devices and services” strategy is doing so agnostically, and we’ve already seen many high-profile Microsoft apps and services show up on competing devices this past year. I’d be surprised if 2014 passed without major, full-featured versions of Office on both iOS and Android.

MS Office on Android would be a game changer for me. I need to be able to edit Word documents with tracked changes, etc and without compatibility issues, and Word on my Nexus 10 tablet would be a really nice option when I’m away from my desktop and even as a backup work option. Android is based on the Linux kernel and a relative newcomer on the block, but it really must be considered as another contender in my future computing needs. Who knows where Android will be in 2020. At CES recently, HP and Lenovo announced Android powered desktop PCs and laptops.

Aside from that, I really believe that Linux (probably Mint) could be my best option on the desktop, once I check out running MS Office in Wine on Linux. Mint has made great strides forward and is a great alternative for those wishing to move away from Windows.

What are your thoughts on your future computing platform at home and at work? Will you move to Linux at some point or are you content to stick with Windows? Are you tied to Windows at work or because you need to run proprietary software? Drop a comment below.

Here are links to the earlier posts in this series:

Approaching the Fork: Part 3. LibreOffice or OpenOffice instead of MS Word?

Approaching the Fork: Part 2. Upgrade to Windows 8 or Stay with Windows 7?

Approaching the Fork: Part 1. Windows or Linux?

Jan 9

Unless you have Adobe Acrobat you can’t really edit PDFs. Yes, you can open, modify and export PDFs in newer versions of Word, Open Office and LibreOffice for example, but special fonts, complex vector graphics and longer documents may cause problems. However, if you only want to show changes to be made to the PDF and then pass the modified file on to, for example, a typesetter, then this can quite easily be done in the free Adobe Reader.

Some of you may be pretty familiar with annotating PFDs using Adobe Reader and wondering why I’m posting this. Well, as a proofreader, I’ve come across situations recently where authors have been unaware how to annotate their changes on a PDF. Some have ended up converting the PDF to MS Word doc format and making tracked changes there instead of just annotating the PDFs in Adobe Reader.

Here’s how to annotate your PDFs with Adobe Reader:

Adobe Reader Annotation


Open your PDF in Adobe Reader and click the Comment button at the top right corner of the screen. Alternatively, you can click View > Comment > Annotations. Hover over each icon in the Annotations pane to see what each tool will do. Then simply add a Sticky Note in the margin, or highlight text with your cursor and select the tool for example to Add Note to Replace Text. Each comment will be added to the Comment List below the Drawing Markup tools. You can also quickly navigate through all your annotations by clicking on items in the Comments List. Finally, when you’ve completed your annotations, save the PFD with a new name.

If you’re sharing PDFs with others who may be using different PDF viewers, I’ve found that the Sticky Note annotation tool is compatible across a range of PDF viewers. Any sticky note/note created in one reader can be dragged, minimised, viewed on mouse-over or edited in a variety of other viewers. If you don’t fancy Adobe Reader because it’s slow, blotted and is known to suffer from malware vulnerabilities, then PDF-XChange Viewer is another nice free alternative I blogged about some time ago.

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