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Dumping Acrobat on OS X

I’m a busy guy and I have little tolerance for hassle on my Desktop. Recently I was having trouble meddling with a PDF somebody sent me, and in desperation I downloaded Acrobat Reader for OS X on to my MacBook Pro. Now, normally I don’t need Acrobat since OS X is able to view PDF files natively, within the Preview app. This is a godsend since Preview is a nice tight little piece of software that loads quickly and has a minimum of visual fuss.

This is not the case with Acrobat Reader. On average, the load time is about 20-25 seconds to execute AcroRead and load the file I’m trying to view, during which time I get to see who all the authors are (I don’t care) and exactly which module is being loaded on any given nanosecond. When the app finally starts up, of course, it asks if I want it to be the default PDF viewer. Being me, I always say “no” and check the “don’t ask me again” checkbox. Then the timer starts: at an interval of about 30 more seconds, Acrobat then spontaneously dies, no matter whether I’m selecting and cropping, or sitting and watching. Acrobat has also hijacked my viewing of PDFs from within Mail.app and god knows how many other applications, and I’m disinclined to hunt around in OS X to redirect viewing back to good ol’ Preview.

Nice! Thank god I know who all the developers are, I keep thinking, so that I can flame them via email. After deleting the application, of course, which I have now dutifully accomplished (see above).

Anyway, this is a lesson for Adobe, and software developers everywhere. The level of bullsh*t I will put up with from a powerful application like Photoshop, for instance, is far higher than my pain tolerance threshold for what is, ostensibly, a simple viewer. If you’re painting the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel, by all means hire Michaelangelo and take as many years as you want to “load”… but if you’re whitewashing the picket fence, get Huck Finn and give him an afternoon and a couple of root beers. Adobe is decidedly *not* good at whitewashing fences, allegorically speaking.

-Ian.

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