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Friday, June 26, 2015

Hide Tool Pane on Adobe Reader DC

If you updated to the new Adobe Reader DC, you may be annoyed like me that a tool pane always shows to the right of the document. There is no option provided by Adobe to permanently hide this.

The following tip works great to permanently not show the tool pane.

Go to the install directory, i.e." C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader\AcroApp\ENU". Create a new subfolder (I used "Disabled"). Move 3 files from the "ENU" folder into the new "Disabled" folder: AppCenter_R.aapp & Home.aapp & Viewer.aapp. Open a PDF and no more Tool Pane! 

Thanks to tmmcentyre on  https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1817184 for this tip.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Microsoft's Annoying Push for Windows 10 'Reservation'

If you have Windows 7 or 8, you've probably received a notification and icon in your System Tray to reserve Windows 10.  It will be free for one year after the proposed release July 29.  As I've said in my initial evaluation of Win 10, go ahead and reserve. Free is free, and you won't (hopefully) have to install at Microsoft's timing. Windows 7 and Windows 8 will be around for a long time ( 2020 and 2023, respectively - see Windows Lifecycles ), but if and when you decide to upgrade, you'll have it.

As I understand it, you don't even have to reserve to get the free upgrade. But what's annoying is that Microsoft installed the notification software as a Critical Update, and you can't easily get rid of it. It will haunt you in your System Tray until Microsoft decides it shouldn't.

If you want to get rid of it, you need to uninstall the update and block it from reinstalling.  It's Update KB3035583.  Instructions on getting rid of it are nicely explained in "What is the “Get Windows 10″ Tray Item and How Do You Remove It?" ; however, the article doesn't mention that you need to keep it from automatically reinstalling.

After uninstalling the the update and restarting your computer, go to Windows Updates and Check for Updates.  If update KB3035583 reappears in the list,  right click on it and select "Hide".

That should take care of it until they force another on us.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Windows 10 - The WORST of All Worlds

In an attempt to penetrate the phone and tablet marketplace, Microsoft is abandoning it's laptop and desktop users by introducing Windows 10, a downgraded version of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Microsoft is now promoting it's Windows 10 on Windows 7 and 8.1 computers,with a pop-up notification to "reserve your free copy".  As it is free and hopefully when it is released sometime after July, we will have the option to download WITHOUT INSTALLING, it's probably ok to "reserve" your copy. (If the option to not install is not provided, I expect there will be a revolution against Microsoft ) 

More information on the upcoming release is available here.


It should be no secret. I really like Windows 8.1.  Once I learned how to tailor the Start Screen to my modes of operation, I find it much more effective to use than the Start Menu. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not roll out the Start Screen in a fashion that made it's capabilities obvious, and many people rebelled against the missing familiar Start Menu. As a result Win 8.1 got a bad rap. Rather than educate users on the advantages of the Start Screen, Microsoft is trying to revert back to a Start Menu option.

One must recognize that Microsoft is now driven by a merchandising organization intent on penetrating the phone and tablet marketplace by leveraging their laptop/desktop client base.  I say "merchandising" rather the "marketing" because true marketing would try to understand their users likes and dislikes and satisfy the needs of the client, whereas merchandising is trying to promote products the manufacturer wants to sell.

What is Windows 10?

Windows 10 is an attempt to create one OS interface for phones, tablets, laptops and desktops AND satisfy Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users. Unfortunately, it is the worst of all worlds.

For Windows 7 and Prior Version Users:
  • They've brought back a version of the Start Menu.  This is a start menu only on the surface, as it is not very flexible and the does not have ability to arrange the items in it. The All Programs portion is a fixed, alphabetical listing of programs that can't be grouped or rearranged. It is a single column, rather than the 2-column display of Win 7 that is so effective,  so excessive scrolling is required. You cannot add any item where you would prefer to have them.

For Windows 8.1 users, Start Screen features:
  • You can view the Start Screen tiles along side the Start Menu, or finally in the later version of the Preview, you can suppress the Start Menu and get something similar to Start Screen with which we are familiar. 
  • The Start Screen scrolls vertically instead of horizontally, which wastes a lot of screen real-estate on the sides of the screen.
  • All Apps button is gone. Now it is accessed through multiple clicks of 1) Displaying the Start Menu, 2) Select All Apps.
  • The All Apps display is now a single vertical column which must be  Needless to say, an excessive amount of scrolling is necessary.
  • The default images in the tiles are too small
  • There is no way to customize tiles, as could be done with OblyTile in Win 8.1 (OblyTile does not work on Win 10...yet?).  This should be a built in option of the OS
  • Multiple tiles cannot be selected, for bulk size change or 'unpinning'.
  • No way to select a unique color and pattern for the background of the Start Screen as we currently have
  • Charms is gone. Although not used very often, it was a convenient way to access settings
  • User Image (with lock, change accounts, etc), Power and Search icon in upper right are gone.
Other Areas
  • The user interface is very streamlined, which is pretty but not necessarily functional.  There is no dark border on windows, so it's sometimes difficult to tell at which stacked window one is pointing.
  • They've moved just about all the settings. Good luck in finding them!
  • They are promoting Cortana, their version of Siri or Google Now.  This is fine for phones and tablets, but personally, I don't want to talk or listen to my laptop/desktop.  And it's tied only to Bing, the search engine Microsoft keeps trying to shove down our throats.
  • Microsoft Edge is a replacement for Internet Explorer.  Don't have any comments on that, as yet, but I'm really more than satisfied with Firefox.
  • Multiple desktops are available, where you can switch between different screens. This is a nice feature, but does not the flexibility of available 3rd party programs such as VirtuaWin (http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/)
  • A Notification  Center icon in the system tray opens notifications, plus buttons to access commonly used settings. Unfortunately these buttons are not changeable, and the Tablet Mode (useless in desktop/laptop) is always there.