PDF-XChange Editor

There’s a newly-mature free PDF reader, PDF-XChange Editor which has just had an excellent TechRadar review. Sounds interesting but I cancelled my download halfway, immediately after reading…

“You can try any of these “Protected” features [buttons for features in the paid-for version] but, be very careful not to save your PDF if you do not want the watermarks to appear in the upper corners of each page in the document. Once a document is watermarked, there is no way to remove them without a license”.

Ugh. Sounds to me like a form of ransom-ware, activated by the user’s curiosity and tiredness.

Europeana Photography launches

Europeana : Photography has launched, with a wide range of public domain and CC0 pictures from the nations of continental Europe (the UK seems to be almost absent). Judging by a test search for “cat”, it’s mostly landscape and architectural pictures.

Great to see Public Domain filters, though. But then there’s no way to search by the pixel size on the final download. The test samples I downloaded were pointlessly small, at just 600px to 800px. You can however use a Google Images site search and then filter by size…

site:http://www.europeana.eu/portal/en/record/ “Public Domain Marked”

But the Google Images search filters can’t yet distinguish between a photo and a good engraving…

… and adding the word “photograph” to the Google Images search is of no help in that respect. This makes it difficult to filter just for the Europeana Photography collection.

Another Google CSE dashboard glitch?

The recent changes to the Google CSE services appear to have introduced another glitch. The problem happens when adding new URL entries into your Google CSE. For instance, you can no longer add…

http://www.nnns.org.uk/sites/nnns.org.uk/files/

… and reliably select “Include all pages whose address contains this URL”. Oh yes, the Dashboard will let you save it that way… but then go back and open the URL up again. You’ll see that the CSE dashboard has refused to accept the setting you gave the URL, and has instead defaulted the URL to: “Include just this specific page or URL pattern I have entered”.

The problem with this is that you didn’t explicitly enter http://www.nnns.org.uk/sites/nnns.org.uk/files/* With the * wildcard making the “Include just this specific page or URL pattern I have entered” functional. Without the wildcard, the http://www.nnns.org.uk/sites/nnns.org.uk/files/ URL is null and void on that setting, and may as well have not been added to your CSE.

This has only just started happening, and the “Include all pages whose address contains this URL” setting is sticky on entries made prior to about 24 hours ago. Which makes me think it’s probably a temporary glitch, inadvertently introduced during yesterday’s switch from three-options to two-options for settings on individual URLs.

If you’re working on a CSE over the weekend / Bank Holiday (UK), you should be aware of this problem, as it probably won’t be fixed by Google until early next week. You’ll probably want to keep a .txt file of all the URLs you add which you have to use a /* for, because you may need to manually change them back once the problem gets fixed.

Unsplash

Unsplash is a new large bank of CC0 stock pictures, rather more funky than the usual stock look. There’s a Pinterest-y aspect to the service, which allows members to curate folders called Collections. This is useful when your search shows no results. For instance, I searched for Business Independent and had no results, but was pointed to two somewhat useful Collections on ‘Work’ and ‘Office’. A search for Business Creative was better, though as Mac-cultist and white-walls as you might expect, but I found a few excellent pictures (see below) for illustrating creative industries production activities.

Presentation of a Collection assumes you have superfast broadband, with huge previews, which means slow browsing for the rest of us. It makes one especially reluctant to open Collections which have over about 50 pictures. There are also some curious word-wuffles: search for Animation and get Animals, for instance.

There’s no-hassle downloads though: just click “Download” and the picture downloads. Test downloads revealed 2700px+ pictures, usually at 72dpi. I think the biggest I downloaded was 40Mb. The photographer name is sensibly embedded in the file-name, should you want to credit.

Here’s my ‘creative industries’ selection, batched to 80% compression, which takes it from 360Mb to 58Mb in total without changing pixel size.

(For poets and visionaries).