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Find Text Leading from Acrobat PDF

Ever have to recreate a document from an Acrobat PDF? You can find out most everything about the text by using the Object Inspector, except the leading. Well, here's a cheesy way to figure it out. Open the PDF in Illustrator (you just need one page). Release any and all clipping masks. Draw a guide at the baseline of the first line of text, and one on the line below. Now, Option-drag the first line to make a copy, and position it exactly next to the original first line at baseline. Then put a return anywhere in the copied line. Now adjust leading of the copied lines, so that the second line of copy rests on the baseline of the second line of the original. Now you know your leading.

Or you could buy expensive software to find the leading. Your choice.

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Submitted by
Greg Ledger

 
 

Pen-Based PowerBook Crossed Out

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Along with all the layoffs, Apple has cut back projects deemed non-essential. Among them was the pen-based PowerBook, probably a modified Duo.

In some ways it's a shame that such projects are dying, because even if they never lead to real products, the research often benefits Apple in other ways. However, I'm not surprised that Apple shelved the pen research for the time being, at least until they see how popular the MessagePad proves, given its pen interface.

Several years ago handwriting research and pen interfaces were all the rage, and one developer I spoke with said that to receive venture capital you essentially had to include pen computing in your business plan. However, with GO's PenPoint remaining a niche operating system and with the demise of the much-touted Momenta pen notebook, pen computing fell out of favor with even the venture capitalists, and last I heard pen computing in your business plan meant almost certain rejection.

In many ways, I think it all comes down to the manner in which you wish to record and manipulate information. The concept of a writing stick has been around for hundreds of years - first because it was necessary to make an impression and later because it could leave a trail of lead or ink behind it. But does that make sense as an interface to a computer, where you can't make an impression and where there is no permanence to a marked trail? I don't wish to imply that the current interfaces to computers are anything special, or that there aren't applications that lend themselves to a pen interface. The pen's primary advantage is that people know what to do with it, not that it's usable as a universal interface for a computer.

Nonetheless, it's shame that Apple dropped the project, if only because only through experimentation will Apple (or anyone) determine the interface methods that work and those that don't. It's becoming painfully clear that the Macintosh interface is due for an overhaul despite its still-obvious lead over Windows. But that's another editorial.

-- Information from:
PEN.IDEAS@applelink.apple.com

 

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