Adobe Illustrator CS 4 – File Not Readable – Troubleshooting

For those who deal with the common issue of Adobe Illustrator giving the “File Not Readable” error, here’s a few tips:

What’s going on is that Illustrator is running out of RAM during the display/render process. When you place multiple high-resolution files into an Illustrator document, Illustrator uses RAM to render the objects etc.

  • Illustrator is a 32 bit application is not taking advantage of your 6 Gig of RAM, but only accesses 3 gigs. Nothing you can do will make Illustrator use the rest.
  • When you place so many files into illustrator, it attempts to render them, using up your RAM.
  • Make sure you’re LINKING files, not PLACING them on the actual page.
  • Reduce linked file’s sizes to exact dimensions you need. (Don’t use a 20″ x 20″ 1200 dpi image if you’re printing the file at 300dpi.)
  • You can force Illustrator to display Document Raster Effects Settings to 72ppi, which will reduce some of the RAM requirements, until ready to output. Also turn of Anti-aliasing in the preferences while manipulating the document.
  • Illustrator is not a page-layout application. Learn to use InDesign for page layout rather than Illustrator (I’m still working on this myself.)
  • Once a file gives the dreaded FILE IS NOT READABLE error, you’re basically stuck. Your only recourse is to close the application and open it again. If you save a file, which gives the error on opening, the file is pretty much useless. I’ve found no way of getting into a file that Illustrator has saved in an “unreadable” state.

Many thanks to Wade Zimmerman for help on these notes.

Outlook 2007 Address Book/ Contact Lists are useless

I’ve been a long time user of Outlook, but it was today that I really began to question it’s usefulness. I created an email, but couldn’t remember the name of the person who it needed to go to. So I clicked the “To:” button and up came the “address book”. Now, the address book is different from your contact list in Outlook.  The address book is a different application, part of Windows, not Office/Outlook.
This address book contained the contact’s name, display name and E-mail address… which might have been enough if the search function worked, but it doesn’t really. I tried to search for the term “mod” since the person I was emailing’s address is .  “Your search yielded no results.” Ok… it’s only searching in the name field, so I select “more columns”, search again… same thing.  Round and round.

I Google the issue and find out two things. There’s no fix, never has been, the MS certified bozos just say “go to your contacts and…” BUT I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO. I shouldn’t have to get out of the window I’m in to go hunt down a name in another window. Just give me the thorough contact list to begin with and abandon this silly address book junk! Secondly, there’s no way to add columns to the address book, say “company name”, nor to search them from that button click.  Why the To: button doesn’t bring up the contact list, who knows?

I’ve read that 2010 works the same way. I think I’m going to need a better email client pronto.

Hard Plastic Case for HP Mini NetBook

My company bought me an HP Mini netbook to use in the office etc. Unfortunately I came back from holiday to find it on the floor cracked and the screen broken. The repair cost is nearly the cost of the unit itself (reminder, if you buy something like this, the accidental damage protection is not overkill.) I went looking for a hard case to protect the netbook, only to find that there really weren’t any out there that fit the bill. I realize that the point of having a netbook is its small size and portability, but when taking it somewhere, I want some protection for the unit. 

So after doing some searches I found the following Blow Molded Budcase with Foam.
Once I get it I’ll let you know how it goes. They have other cases but this one seemed the best fit.

Illustrator CS 4 Slow Toolbar Redraw – Windows 7 64bit

So I’ve been using Adobe Illustrator CS4 for a while. On my work PC it runs fine (Vista, go figure), but at home on my beastly Windows 7 box (ATI Radeon 4870), it would refresh REALLY slowly.

So ignoring all the suggestions of updating drivers, I set about trying to fix it. Reset the prefs, deleted the temp files etc… to no avail.

Then I went and updated the ATI driver. And lo-and-behold, it fixed it.

Streamlining a PC for Gaming

A friend (ht: Lane) shares my passion for PC gaming and was considering upgrading his brand new Intel i7, Nvidia GeForce 285 rig to a GeForce 295 because of some slowdowns he was noticing in Far Cry 2 and just because he has power-envy.

My thought, knowing the rig he has, and what it can do, is that his slowdowns are caused less by the video card and more by the basic setup of the PC and the stuff probably running in the background.

While this guide is not designed to eliminate spyware, some of the steps are the same.

Here’s some steps to streamline your PC for gaming.
WARNING: Some of the steps involve messing with the basic startup, registry and other features of your PC. I accept NO responsiblity for any stupid mistakes you make by messing around with Msconfig etc.

1) Remove Unused Applications from your System.
Who knows what kind of stuff is on your PC? YOU SHOULD! Get into the control panel and start removing those applications you installed to try-out. Keep an eye out for spyware that may have been installed. (See 4)

2) Allow as few programs to launch on start up as possible.
Many vendors provide apps that install helper-apps designed to increase startup speed of their apps, as well as taskbar residents that serve only to eat RAM and CPU cycles.

To do this, we’ll get a little help from MSCONFIG, a little app that’s been included with Windows for ages. You can access MSCONFIG by clicking on your start button, [click RUN on XP] and then type in MSCONFIG and hit enter.

You’ll see the System Configuration dialog box appear. The tabs indicate different aspects of your PC’s system. Select the “Startup” tab and scroll through the list. Read the vendor name and software path to better understand what each application does. DO NOT uncheck something you’re completly unsure of. When in doubt, Google the application name, especially the exe name. To disable an application from startup, uncheck it here and select “ok”. When you reboot the application shouldn’t start up and you will receive a notice that you used the “system configuator” to make changes to the startup. Turn of the warning message if you’re happy with the boot up.

If you’re using a laptop, you’re likely to see applications related to the proper functioning of your touchpad. Again, if you’re unsure what something does, don’t uncheck it until you are sure.

3) Run CCLeaner.
CCleaner is a little tool for cleaning up your system. Download it, run it. Do so regularly.

4) Run Hijackthis to ensure a clean, spyware-free existence.

I’ve talked about this great program, Hijackthis before and I must reiterate its greatness. This application is designed to help you root out spyware and other nefarious applications by digging thru the running processes, startup applications, and browser extensions. Use this program with care, when in doubt, seek assistance in using it.

NOTE: DO NOT DOWNLOAD HIJACKTHIS FROM ANY SITE OTHER THAN TRENDMICRO AND ITS AFFILIATED LINKS. There are fake versions out there that are infected with spyware.

You might come across a startup application that will simply not cease from working when unchecked from the MSCONFIG window. Hijackthis can help you better understand what the application is and can possibly stop it.

As I stated before, make sure you know what something is before shutting it down.

Once you run Hijackthis, click “Do a system scan only” (unless you’re wanting to save a log).

From this list you’ll be able to select startup applications, browser helper objects, services and toolbars and other aspects of your system to eliminate. Hijackthis saves backups of the items you remove, if you ask it to, in the case you need them later. Some websites will also examine your Hijackthis logs to determine if you have a problem and help you fix it. I do not offer this service.

5) Free Up Resources
Before starting up the system-intensive game, make sure you have other applications closed (especially if you’re going to play multiplayer.) Applications that use a lot of RAM (Photoshop, Premier, etc.) or CPU (videos players, video recording/converting) will cause framerate issues in game. If you’re playing multiplayer, also make sure that any net-intensive apps are shutdown. Don’t try to download torrents, videos, or games while playing unless you’re sure of your network and system’s capabilities. When all else fails, you can open the taskmgr (Start, [run], taskmgr) too see what is going on.

Sometimes you may find apps stuck open (such as Windows Media Player is in this example) and resource hogs by sorting the Processes list by CPU and/or RAM.

Final Thoughts
There’s no reason anyone with several Gigs of RAM, an i7 processor, and an Nvidia 285 should be complaining about speed or framerate issues in a current-era game unless the game has issues of its own, the system’s resources are mismanaged, or there is a spyware issues.

Far Cry 2, for example, has issues on some systems when using DirectX 10. After some time in-game, the game will begin to stutter and slow to a crawl. The fix is to use DirectX 9, which you can do by accessing the Graphics menu in-game.

Bit-torrent related applications can and will eat all of your net bandwith, Windows Media Player likes to get stuck open and Firefox can sometimes eat CPU cycles, when in doubt, check taskmgr and/or Hijackthis taskmanager for more details.

For those of you who just have to have the fastest machine on the block, go for it, but I can guarantee that on a 22″ (or smaller) LCD monitor, you will see very little, if any, performance increases with a 295 over a 285. But if you’ve got a GeForce 8800 or ATI 3800 series, you will see dramatic increases in performance with a higher-end video card. But keep this in mind for the most dramatic increases in performance in upgrading: first RAM, second video, third CPU. This assumes that you have at least an Intel core duo2 (or similar AMD), a game-quality video card (at least a GeForce 8600 or ATI 2600), and 2 Gigs of RAM.

I’ll surely add to this post as other ideas occur to me. Please feel free to add your comments/suggestions.

Happy Gaming!

Core FTP Beeps When Selecting in Directory View

Arrrg! I hate it! Driving me nuts! My computer started beeping with every mouse click in the Core FTP LE directory list menu. There was no error, no mention in the Options how to turn it off. Turns out…
it’s a Windows bug! I’m using Windows Vista 64, and doing a search at Core FTP’s forums brought me this page which took me to this Windows Knowledge Base article 944150. I choose the registry fix:
1. Click Start, type regedit in the Start Search box, and then click regedit in the Programs list. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password, or click Continue.
2. Locate the following registry subkey:
3. Right-click .Current, and then click Delete.
4. When you are prompted to delete this registry subkey, click Yes to delete the subkey.
5. Exit Registry Editor.

But I don’t think it is permanent, I notice it started beeping again later. The other option is to replace your beep sound with dead air… yeah, right.

Outlook 2007 – Right Click and Send to Mail Recipient Problem – FIXED

My company recently upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007, most users are still on Windows XP. It is taking some time for users to figure out the features in this version given the lack of traditional menus. I personally like the tab/icon set up, but it IS different and folks take “different” badly sometimes.

One user had a particularly interesting issue, unrelated to the interface. She normally would send attachments from Windows Explorer by right-clicking and selecting “Send To” and “Mail Recipient”. She’d then use Outlook to find the email address or other information.

When she did this now, she would be able to send the email but Outlook 2007 would be frozen, locked up and inacessible until she closed that email. (Some extra keywords there for search engines. 🙂 ) Once she closed the email, Outlook would continue normally.

Searching for the answer brought a typically bad response from one of those Microsoft MVP types basically saying “get over it”. Altering the search parameters some I came upon a helpful, but not perfect Microsoft page and an Outlook Tips page. But these didn’t fix the problem, but using those pages and the command line reference for Outlook 2007, this gave me the answer:

1. Open My Computer or Windows Explorer and navigate to your c:Documents and Settings{user name}Send To directory.
2. Delete the existing Mail Recipient shortcut.
3. Right-click and select New and Shortcut.
4. In the command line box (or Location box) put in the following (Make sure you use the quotes.): “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOFFICE12OUTLOOK.EXE” /p
5. Click “Ok” and name your new shortcut to “Mail Recipient”.

Your new Send To context menu should now send HTML (or RTF) emails and allow you to continue to use Outlook simultaneously.