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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Empire Strikes Back

by Saul Bloodworth

Welcome to the wonderful world of digital publishing. When I designed this book, I had help from a friend who is in publishing, has all the necessary software and really no time at all. So, when I decided to do a few corrections I convinced myself that I could do it without his help. How difficult can it be to get and use Adobe Acrobat Pro? Because this is the program you need to turn your files into the PDF-format accepted by digital print services.

Very difficult, it turns out, if you work with Mac. Because Adobe does not have free trial software for Macintosh. Fortunately, I also have Windows XP on my MacBook, even though I never use in (I got it for a Sony program it refuses to work with anyway). Not only do I never use it, turning on Windows feels like watching that Alien baby worm grow inside Sigourney Weaver. Or talking to the Body Snatchers ... you get the point.

So, I downloaded Adobe Acrobat Pro, plus, as it turned out, I also needed a trial version of Microsoft Office. Because you can reach from the Windows part of your computer to the Mac part and pull files over to the Dark Side of the Force, but you can't pull over an application.

No easy task for somebody who is completely unfamiliar with the Evil Empire's operating system, however, I made it. Days later, my iPod broke down and I had to go the the Apple store and ask a Genius for help. While waiting for the Genius, a screen flashed all sorts of useful tips, such as: You can actually save any file as a PDF if you use Microsoft Work for Mac!

Back home, I tried it out. Yes, you can! turn your file into a PDF within ten seconds without going through the trouble of familiarizing yourself with two trial versions running on an operating system you hate while they keep asking for their serial number. Thanks, Steve.

So, this sounds as if I made it up, but during all these troubles I actually met Bill Gates. It was not a one-on-one, of course, he was speaking at a conference with Bill Clinton about Malaria and Philanthropy. Unfortunately, there was no Q&A. Otherwise I would have asked him why XP is not compatible with Sony applications. But I guess, that why there was no Q&A.

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