Planet PDF Weblog for week of 12 January 2004
A daily chronicle of Acrobat/PDF-oriented newsbits

For week beginning 12 January 2004
By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

NOTE: See last week's Weblog.


Index, label digital music with free CD case in PDF: Now that Apple Computer has demonstrated the viability of online music sales with its iTunes Music Store, other companies from Microsoft to Walmart are rushing to get a piece of the action. 2004 promises to be an interesting year as the expansion of this new business model continues to impact the traditional record sales industry.

For consumers, the advantages are numerous, including the option to purchase inexpensive single songs rather than being forced to always buy more costly entire albums or CDs. Some fear this could eventually spell the doom of the conventional album concept, although many recording artists indicate they prefer to release theme-based collections. Another minor bonus of purchasing digital music rather than physical CDs is not having to struggle to remove the CD from the well-sealed jewel case!

Apple's iTunes Music Store is geared toward selling music that can be downloaded for playing on its iPod device. But the service provides purchasers the rights to burn legally purchased songs to CDs as well, and also makes it possible to create customized CDs from digital music collections. What's missing, however, is clear labelling of what music a personal CD contains.

One freely available solution to that predicament is the "Paper CD Case" Web site, which provides an easy way to create and download a PDF file that can be printed and folded to create a paper CD case or a jewel case liner. You can either fill in the name of the artist, the album title and the various tracks, and using the advanced form option, you can add graphics and/or an address label for mailing. If you're creating a case for an existing commercial music CD, you can search the site's public mix CD database -- if that album is listed, it will automatically generate the completed form and PDF with the relevant details. For example, among the recently added CDs is "Measure of a Man" by American Idol phenom Clay Aiken. The site offers precise instructions for folding the paper case [shown below] along the markings indicated on the printed template.

Paper CD case in PDF

The site's PDF files are generated by a Perl CGI script that uses the PDFLib library.


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Recent Acrobat 6 books offer tips, in-depth instruction: In May 2002 we launched a promotional contest for the book "Adobe Acrobat 5: The Professional User's Guide" from Apress, by author Donna Baker. At the time we wrote in this Weblog:

"One of the other questions we're increasingly asked now comes from people who've been working with Acrobat for awhile. They tell us when they look at many of the available books and guides, they don't see enough of the kind of advanced material to take them to the next level, or to help them truly understand how or why certain features work. Donna Baker, a self-described power user and fanatic for detail, goes where other Acrobat books have so far feared to tread, well beyond the basics and often into feature nooks, technical crannies and advanced functions many users probably didn't even know existed."

Nearly two years and a version of Acrobat later, we're pleased to announce a forthcoming promotion of not one, but TWO new books by Baker that cover Acrobat 6. Watch for details soon on Planet PDF about how to qualify to win one of eight copies of each of the following recently released books:

"Adobe Acrobat 6: The Professional User's Guide" -- written in collaboration with Tom Carson, published by Apress

Donna Baker Tom Carson Acrobat 6

"Adobe Acrobat 6 Tips and Tricks: The 100 Best" -- published by Adobe Press/Peachpit Press

Donna Baker Acrobat 6 Tips

We'll be publishing a sample chapter from the Baker-Carson book in the near future, and in addition, soon will also begin publishing a series of sample tips from Baker's solo effort as part of our ongoing archive of Acrobat 6 tips. We'll be giving away copies of both books during our upcoming co-promotions with both publishers.


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Belated Rose betting admission fuels thorny baseball debate: When Pete Rose, Major League Baseball's version of Pinocchio, finally came clean last week in his recently released book by admitting he had bet on baseball games while serving as a player/manager more than a decade earlier -- including his own team's games -- it seemed to only fuel the controversy that the confession was intended to resolve.

Few found Rose's hardly surprising revelation to be a sign of contrition, coming in the form of a commercial book rather than in the extensive interrogations during which he refused to tell the truth to MLB representatives and the media. Rose seeks through his belated, published admission to have the life-long banishment from the game imposed in 1989 by MLB lifted, as well as making him eligible for selection into the MLB Hall of Fame. While there's no question that as a player, Rose -- with the all-time record for hits in a career -- deserves to be enshrined among the professional sport's legends. But his self-inflicted reign in its Hall of Shame may continue to be his destiny, based on reactions since his book went public.

Those who continue to support Rose's permanent ban find nothing in his book worthy of granting him a reprieve and a second chance. Rather, they point to another publication as containing all the evidence -- short of a confession -- that they need .

The Dowd Report is a 225-page document based on an investigation into rumors of betting by Rose, conducted for MLB by Washington, DC-based attorney John Dowd. The detailed report provided the basis for the league's decision to ban Rose, who throughout his deposition by Dowd refused to admit -- despite a litany of well-documented suspicious behavior revealed by Dowd -- to ever betting on baseball games (while confessing to a chronic gambling habit involving other pro sports).

Pete Rose QA in Dowd Report

Noting a "recently renewed interest" in the report and on Rose's situation, Dowd has posted a PDF version of his complete 1989 report [PDF: 4.3 MB] on the Internet, along with a wealth of exhibits and the eventual agreement [PDF: 108kb] banning Rose.

Dowd Report on Pete Rose

Perhaps the situation's ultimate irony: You can now get odds and place a bet online in response to the question: "Will Pete Rose be reinstated to Major League Baseball in 2004?"


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Databooks profile top U.S. cities in PDF: The Living Cities Databook Series, a project developed by the Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, is a set of twenty-three reports offering a "comprehensive portrait of the social and economic health of selected major cities during the 1990s." The comprehensive databooks, which include a variety of charts and graphs based on Census 2000 data for each location, are available for the following cities in PDF:

Mpls St. Paul growth chart
  • Atlanta
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • New York
  • Newark
  • Oakland
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • San Antonio
  • Seattle
  • Washington, D.C.

Related to the PDF-based profiles is the "Living Cities Interactive Databooks," which includes the ability to "create indicator-specific ranking tables or download raw Census data on population, educational attainment, race and ethnicity, employment, immigration, commuting, age, income and poverty, households and families, and housing trends during the 1990s."


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Feature(s) you'd like to see in future Acrobat?: It hasn't always been obvious how non-beta testers could or should provide feedback to Adobe on their likes and dislikes related to Acrobat -- and other Adobe products, for that matter.

So it's worth reminding periodically that now includes a page designed for just such user response: See the HTML-form-based Product Feature Request, part of the site's Tech Support section.

If you've got a new feature idea to propose, be prepared to supply -- in addition to your name -- details such as:

  • Brief title for your desired feature
  • Description of how you would like the feature to work
  • Explain why this feature is important to you: Will it save you time, consolidate your tasks, or eliminate the need for any current workarounds you are using?


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