Fool on the Hill is a ranting anarchist blog which attacks the lies and dissembling of all kinds and exposes the environmental destruction that threatens life on Earth

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October 5 2007

A solution at last

After struggling for years while producing an online journal for a client to get PDF files printed which are accurate and with all the Greek and Eastern European characters it uses, I have now discovered a PDF driver which does the job, rather than substituting an entirely different character or a box in place of the character required. The extended character set is a minefield, and even characters which display and print perfectly in Word come into Pagemaker garbled or not present. So first part of the struggle is to get those characters into the page, using a combination of alphanumeric keypad, font choices and dogged perseverance. Then, when they are all securely located, there's the next trial, trying to get the thing output to PDF without them all changing. I often have had to use different drivers for different characters, printing pages on their own, and then stitching them together into a combination pdf, not an ideal solution, and taking several times as long.

Now, pdfFactory by Fineprint does the trick; printing flawlessly all characters in the original file, and doing it faster than any of the rival drivers around including Acrobat's own Distiller. Using a trial version showed that it was capable, but it prints a copyright line along the bottom of the page, so I have now purchased a registered copy for $49.99 or $50 which is £25 and a bargain just for the time it will save me.

With some very big companies buying thousands of copies for their organisation, and with a long list of thank you letters from satisfied clients, it looked promising, but trialing was needed to see it could cope with the problems I was beset with, and it did. I don't often recommend products, but in this case, if you need a dependable PDF driver you couldn't do better than pdfFactory, actually worth paying money for, which can't be said about a lot of much higher priced software, which always seems to be in beta.

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October 1 2007

The army in charge is always a bad idea

Burma is the latest country to reveal how little the rest of the world's politicians care about people. A fascistic military dictatorship for decades and still many countries have been trading with them; Japan, France, US, UK to name but a few of the usual suspects. Now the people have decided they have lost their fear and have had enough, politicians round the world are falling over each other to make statements of condemnation and to demand an end to the brutality. But no sign of a military intervention, being good customers of a number of nation's arms industries [with 50% of the Burmese GNP going to the army and its toys], they don't want to upset them too much and jeapardise jobs. So people are mustering all the support for the demonstrators they can, and one place is here where you can sign a petition that has been growing rapidly in the last few days.

The pressure is working - already, there are signs of splits in the Burmese Army, as some soldiers refuse to attack their own people. The brutal top General, Than Shwe, has reportedly moved his family out of the country, he must fear his rule may crumble any minute. This site has details of demonstrations of support around the world, particularly outside Burmese and Chinese embassies. The Chinese, biggest supporters of the regime, are loath to criticise or intervene as they are buying the spoils of illegal logging of Burmese rainforests [probably to make chopsticks], but they don't want scenes in the streets reminding anyone of Tienaman Square, so a little pressure on them could achieve a lot.

Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of the Burmese national hero General Aung San who fought the British for independence, has been removed from house arrest and imprisoned, briefly meeting the UN envoy in a government 'guest house' before being returned to the aptly named Insein Prison where toture is a way of life. Suu Kyi was looking strained and aprehensive in this put up photoshoot, no longer the happy, smiling woman who greeted the monks only days before.

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the Fool as a young boy

The scenes from this war will create thousands maybe even millions of militants intent on inflicting damage on the only superpower. The war will be waged across America and in any American outpost and embassy. It will be brutal and messy and will continue for decades. Bush doesn't know what he has unleashed.
Fool on the hill March 2003

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