Perfect PDF is a solid Adobe Reader alternative

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Adobe | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


Though Adobe Reader has come a long way in the past couple versions, there are other good options available for displaying PDF files. For Windows users, Perfect PDF Reader may be an enticing alternative.

Apart from the obvious addition of a ribbon interface, Perfect PDF adds a number of useful features. There are three views to choose from – standard, reading view, and a full-screen reading. Perfect PDF also makes it easy to extract images and text from files. Either type of element can be selected, copied, and pasted elsewhere, and you can also save the entire file as text export it to a variety of image formats. As with FoxIt PDF, Perfect PDF can also edit form fields and save your input in the document.

There are areas of the interface that look unfinished, or at least a little plain – like the save as images dialog. While it doesn’t hinder any functionality, it doesn’t fit in with the more up-to-date look of the ribbon.

Perfect PDF Reader is a free download and runs on both 32- and 64-bit Windows platforms. The Visual C++ 2008 runtimes are required, and can be downloaded during installation if you need them.

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Adobe Acrobat bug can lead to malware installs without even opening an infected file

Posted on March 7, 2009. Filed under: Adobe | Tags: , , , |

By Stephen Schenck,

adobe-acrobatIf you’ve been living in fear of opening any suspicious PDF files since we let you know about a still-unpatched bug in Adobe Acrobat that could expose your PC to a malware infection, we’ve got some bad news for you: it turns out that, due to how the bug is integrated into the software, it’s possible for malware authors to still get into your system, even if you never actually open an infected file.

The bug affects only Windows computers running Acrobat version 7 or later. Because the program doesn’t correctly read PDF files containing a certain type of compressed image, a specially-crafted PDF can at once crash Acrobat and inject its own code into the system, beginning a malware installation. Even though this bug’s been public knowledge for weeks, and exploits are already out taking advantage of it, Adobe has been delaying its release of a patch to fix it, scheduled to be available on the 11th.

While you may have thought to play it safe by not opening new PDFs, or installing a program other than Acrobat to view them, that no longer looks to be a fix. As part of its installation, Acrobat adds extensions to Windows Explorer to let it understand information embedded in PDFs. This way, you can make use of metadata like a document’s title or author when sorting files in Explorer.

A security researcher found out that the code that triggers this PDF bug can be placed inside that metadata. Just hovering your mouse cursor over the infected file, not even clicking on it, will cause Explorer to try to read the PDF, setting things off. This is dangerous because even if you installed a new PDF reader, you may still have these Explorer extensions installed, leaving your system vulnerable.

If you want to be safe for now, make sure you totally uninstall Acrobat, not just use another PDF program alongside it. Luckily there’s only a week left until the fix should be out, though it’s frustrating it’s taking Adobe this long. If your curious, check out a video of the exploit being demonstrated after the break.

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Adobe Sends Mixed Signals About Flash Lite For iPhone

Posted on February 18, 2009. Filed under: Adobe, Apple | Tags: , , , , |

There’s been mixed signals lately about whether Adobe Systems Inc.’s (ADBE) popular Internet-based media player will soon be compatible with Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) iPhone.

It seemed the longtime partners just two weeks ago were set to end their 20- month stalemate. At the time, Adobe’s Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen said in a television interview both sides were “collaborating” to merge the world’s most popular smartphone with Adobe’s so-called Flash Lite.

But Monday, Adobe released a new Flash Lite version that can play high definition videos, and by all appearances the player is still incompatible with the iPhone. It’s clearly good enough for other phones, however. Strategy Analytics, a market research firm, on Monday projected some version of Flash Lite will have been shipped on 1 billion cell phones by the end of March.

On Tuesday, an Adobe spokeswoman refused to comment when asked to confirm if Apple and Adobe were working together. “It’s important to note,” she added, that Adobe needs more from Apple to succeed than Apple ordinarily makes available to iPhone software developers.

Adobe’s fortunes are more tied to Apple, so it has more to lose should it continue to be shut out of the iPhone. Apple, though, continues to face questions about its relationship with Adobe in light of the Adobe/iPhone standoff.

“We think Flash availability on the iPhone benefits the millions of joint Apple and Adobe customers, and we want to work with Apple to bring these capabilities to the device,” an Adobe spokeswoman said. “Adobe is still committed to bringing Flash Player to the iPhone.”

An Apple spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple shares closed Tuesday’s trading down 4.7% at $94.53, while Adobe fell 3.3% to $20.40.


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