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A masterclass in PDFs and more phishy business

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Readers will know this column's views about PDFs on the web, namely the use of Acrobat Reader version 5, not version 6, and if you have to use version 6, because it keeps insisting on upgrading you, strip out the irrelevant plug-ins which make it so slow to load. Oh, and email complaints to sites which persist in using locked PDFs. More expert help than this column can provide is at hand in the form of a new book by Sid Stewart, called PDF Hacks. The blurb runs, in part, 'slow to load and slower to print, hopelessly unsearchable and all but impossible to cut and paste from? But PDF done right is another story.' Stewart's manual is about £12 at Amazon. But until every webmaster has read and mastered its contents, I am sticking with Just Say No.

It must be the time of year, the recent hols, the weather or something, but there are quite a number of new sites on the web which are really quite interesting. One which looked as though it might be is the multi-disciplinary practice Universal Design Studio at, presumably in an effort to minimise the chances of being spammed by maximising the length of the site's address, www.

universaldesignstudio. com. At first I had some trouble getting past the home page. No thanks to anybody at Universal, which lists Stella McCartney and Paul Smith, not to mention Damien Hurst, and is now far too important to talk to mortals. The problem turned out to be a need to press a switch in Internet Explorer which allows site pop-ups but I still can't urge Mozilla Firefox past the opening grey page.

One way to check phishers, I have discovered, is to run an editorial eye over the grammar/English used in the scam. Try this from a recent Woolwich Internet Bank email: 'As the Technical service of bank have been currently updating the software, we kindly ask you to?' and there followed a link to a Woolwich-sounding website. Not a Woolwich customer, I tried it but someone had stopped it already.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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