Sunday, February 08, 2009

SOFTWARE: One More Recovery Gotcha!

I have found that setting up a PDF printer as your default printer is almost the perfect setup in Windows. Almost.

Currently, I use PDF Redirect as the default PDF printer here at the Castle of Confusion. I've tried (and bought) other programs to do this and I think I can say, unequivocally, that PDF Redirect is currently the best of breed. You can download it here. Defaulting to a PDF printer lets you survive accidental pressings of the print button. I'm klutzy enough to appreciate such protection.

Where printing to a PDF really shines is when printing web pages from Firefox. In the old days, I tended to save the page, but that created whole sub-folder trees of images in the page I was saving. I figured out long ago, the best option was to make a PDF version of the page, which could then be saved and looked at, when convenient. It would have all the pictures and graphics AND the links would be live to clicking IF you needed to do that. It also let me switch the default save format in Firefox to "Web page, HTML only" in the Save Type As box at the bottom of the dialog. This basically just saves the text of the page you are saving. That's good.

Of course, during my little imbroglio late last month with the crashing Popeye, I had to recover an earlier version of everything and one of the things missing in the recovery was settings for PDF Redirect. There aren't all that many settings in the program, but one of them was WHERE the program saved the PDF files to! It more or less defaults to the desktop (A blight on an otherwise useful program.) Programs that default to saving to the desktop deserve to have something nasty done to their programmers. It's unconscionable. Note that Firefox has the same dopey default.

Naturally, I forgot this when I started printing some PDF's of web pages. I then decided to check them out, just in case, by flipping over to Explorer Plus and perusing them in my data and download collection folder. Weren't there. Not a sign of them. I was ticked off and repeated the process. Still nothing. Until I noticed the part of PDF Redirect that showed where it was saving the files to. Yep, the desktop. I minimized all my windows, only to discover a panoply of icons festooning my nice, relatively empty desktop. Curses! I moved the files to the collection folder and then went into PDF Redirect and printed a small something, this time telling it to use the collections folder.

And that's all it took to correct PDF Redirect's future behaviour. JUST like Firefox, it will remember where you last saved something. Problem resolved until the next time I bomb this system back to its roots.

One last thing. My collections folder is called SHEZ. You have to be of a certain vintage of computer user to know the reference. It comes from an old program that was the best for downloading files from computer bulletin boards (the predecessor to the internet). Oddly enough, shez lives on in urban slang.

shez: A fail so hard it's beyond epic. Nothing can be saved.

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