Mac users have trouble using Apple Preview to Fill PDFs

Macworld has a useful post on why some PDF forms don’t display their fields correctly in Apple Preview app.

This is a problem that is 4 years old now: The Preview app/program isn’t setting the appearance flag that Acrobat/Reader require to show the contents of the form fields.

See for more info.

There’s some enterprising workarounds out there:

The script at the Adobe blog page above can be installed in Acrobat (not Reader) and fixes the forms filled out in Preview, which can help the recipients of the forms, but still doesn’t address the root of the problem.

Of course, the best work-around is to simply use Acrobat or Reader rather than Preview until this issue is fixed by Apple.

I didn’t say that Preview wasn’t filling in the data correctly. It’s not setting the appearance flag correctly, causing that data not to show (unless the field is clicked on – or “in focus”) And sure, you could go back and forth pointing fingers and laying blame, (and get nowhere) but bottom line, Adobe created PDF and why should they have to adapt to Apple’s non-compliance? Sure – it would be nice if Acrobat and Reader weren’t quite so sticky about things, but that’s not the case and I don’t see Adobe willingly devoting any resources to this issue; after all, why would they want to encourage people to use Preview over their own products? It truly doesn’t matter who is “correct” – Adobe has acknowledged the problem, provided scripts on their website to help resolve it for recipients of filled in forms from Preview users, and have informed Apple that they need to fix Preview. So, given this scenario, whether we like it or not (and I’m no apologist for Adobe, believe me) it makes sense for Apple to fix the problem. But they haven’t. I’d love to know why not.

There is an additional script on Adobe’s website here:


Why you should use Google Public DNS

Why should you try Google Public DNS?

By using Google Public DNS you can:

Google Public DNS telephone support

  • 877-590-4367 in the U.S.
  • 770-200-1201 outside the U.S.


The Google Public DNS IP addresses (IPv4) are as follows:


The Google Public DNS IPv6 addresses are as follows:

  • 2001:4860:4860::8888
  • 2001:4860:4860::8844

You can use either number as your primary or secondary DNS server. You can specify both numbers, but do not specify one number as both primary and secondary.

You can configure Google Public DNS addresses for either IPv4 or IPv6 connections, or both.

Making rich graphical emails from your desktop email program

A client recently asked about placing graphics into an email template — namely, background graphics.

Email programs (Outlook, Entourage, Thunderbird) are not designed to easily create rich graphical HTML emails. They make it difficult to embed background images (for mastheads, say); they vary in their support and tools for styling CSS, and there are greatly varying display abilities of email platforms across the internet.

HTML emails need to be designed as simple as possible — no backgrounds, complex CSS, floats, etc. since there are 100+ different email readers/webmail systems [hotmail, gmail, yahoo, aol, cpanel webmail, etc.] with varying levels of support. In all, your emails’  html and css must be very simple to be cross-platform.

All the fancy emails you and I get (from Amazon to Gap to Starbucks to NatGeo) are sent by dedicated email publishing systems… carefully constructed to let the sender add design elements to the templates that will work on most email platforms.

The client, if its needs are growing for rich graphical emails, needs to use a 3rd party tool like Campaign Monitor or Mailchimp, or build its own email publisher tool.

These types of emails are useful for communicating with their audience.  For internal emails, using Outlook can work, since all employees are likely on the same platform.

We can hack and tweak our way to success in Outlook or Entourage or Thunderbird, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

To make a template in Outlook, for example, a background image behind the title text can’t just be copy/pasted in. Outlook provides an import/place menu command to insert the image in the background.

SSL vulnerability called BEAST

Does it affect your secure webserver?

You should know, if  you accept credit cards or handle social security numbers on your website.

See these two articles for more expert information:



This company will test your https connection. Here’s a example report.


From Lux-Sci: Real-world vulnerability? What is  affected by BEAST?

This problem can affect people browsing secure web sites, allowing eavesdroppers to gain full access to your accounts on those web sites under certain conditions.  It does not affect

It does affect:

  • Accounts you may have with secure web sites that you login to, like PayPal, LuxSci, Gmail, Bank of America, Facebook, etc.



It is not yet feasible to use a browser or webhost that supports TLS 1.2. For now, here is LuxSci’s advice:

The Take Away Message

People should always be concerned and aware of security as the landscape changes constantly.  We think that beyond the need to upgrade and to implement software fixes, consider the following:

  • We should actually use SSL and TLS whenever possible. Insecure sites puts our browser and computer at risk, as we have no control over what malicious third party may inject into our browsing session.  SSL and TLS actually protect us from that threat.
  • When going to secured web sites, it is best to start in a new browsing session or one that has only visited other secure (https://)  sites.
  • Make your home page a secure site and your other secure sites easily-accessed via bookmarks
  • Use a separate web browsers for normal insecure browsing and for access to your secure sites.
  • Keep your software, web browsers, operating system, anti-virus, and other components up to date.


Is your Mac infected with Flashback?

Earlier variants of this new malware against Macs target Safari and Firefox. Recent variants only target Safari.

How to locate an infection by the Flashback trojan?

Type or copy/paste  this command into MacOSX Terminal:

defaults read /Applications/ LSEnvironment

From the excellent post:

Mac OS X: Removing information about completed print jobs

In Mac OS X v10.5 and later, it’s impossible to remove (clear) information about completed print jobs without this tip.

Products Affected:   Mac OS Printing/Fax (any version), Mac OS X 10.5, Mac OS X 10.6, OS X Lion

If you would like to clear the list of completed print jobs for any print queues (which will also clear any pending or active print jobs), Apple says to: Delete the printer, then add it again.


Wow, that’s a bit of a hassle. Instead, you can Clear the entire print queue in OS X with a Terminal command. Launch Terminal and type:

cancel -a -

Preventing future print jobs from appearing in the completed jobs list (advanced)

If you would like to prevent all future print jobs from being included in the list of completed jobs, open Terminal and execute this command:

cupsctl PreserveJobHistory=No

You can later restore the default behavior of retaining a list of completed print jobs by resetting the printing system, or by opening Terminal and entering the command:

cupsctl PreserveJobHistory=Yes

Too bad Apple didn’t make the Delete button actually work in the Printer Manager!

Mac Users: Configuring new Mail Accounts in Thunderbird 3

Creating a new Account for which you want to use the Global Inbox

When you create a new POP mail account in Thunderbird, the Account Wizard may ask if you want to use the Global Inbox for that account. If it does that (and you want a global inbox), check that feature. If it doesn’t ask (recent versions don’t) then you need to select “Global Inbox (Local Folders account)” in Preferences -> Advanced -> Config Editor .

Try to do that before Thunderbird checks for new mail to avoid complications.


If you often create new accounts, you can set the default in the Account Wizard by setting the preference :




(to check the box by default), or false (to clear the box by default).


In a new Thunderbird profile this preference does not exist initially, so you must create it as a new Boolean preference.

On the Mac, right-click in the editing window, and choose “New…”


Changing the Global Inbox setting for an existing account

To change the Global Inbox setting for an existing account, you need to follow three simple steps.


Change the destination Inbox

Go to “Tools -> Account Settings -> Server Settings” and click on the “Advanced” button. A dialog box will then pop open.

To set the account to use the Global Inbox, select “Global Inbox (Local Folders Account)” and click “OK”.

Important: if the account already has messages in the Inbox or other folders, you should copy or move these messages into Local Folders before setting the account to use the Global Inbox. If you don’t copy or move the messages into Local Folders and you set the account to use the Global Inbox, the account will no longer be displayed in the folders pane and you will not be able to access those messages unless you go back and undo the Global Inbox setting.

To set the account to not use the Global Inbox, select either “Inbox for this server’s account” or “Inbox for different account” and click “OK”.

Check settings for other folders and filters

After you have changed the account’s setting for which Inbox to use, see if any of the following need to be changed:

  • Go to “Tools -> Account Settings -> Copies & Folders”, and look at the destination folders for Sent, Drafts, and Templates. Make sure that the messages for each will be stored in your preferred folder locations.
  • If you are using junk-mail filtering for the account, go to “Tools -> Account Settings -> Junk Settings” and verify that the folder selected for Junk messages is the one you want to use.
  • If you have set up any filters, go to “Tools -> Message Filters” and make sure that they will work properly with your new Inbox configuration. Especially important if you are changing an account so that it will start using the Global Inbox: if you have set up any filters that sort messages into any of the folders for the account, you should disable/delete those filters or change the destination folders.

Exit and restart Thunderbird

Important: exit Thunderbird and restart before downloading mail into any account whose Inbox/Global Inbox setting you’ve changed. If you do not exit and restart, messages might continue to download into their “old” locations (e.g., into the individual account Inbox rather than the Global Inbox).

Human Costs of an iPad

From a NYTimes article titled “In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad”

“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive.

“And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”

Important exposé.

Photograph by Ryan Pyle for The New York Times

Aluminum dust from polishing iPads caused the blast at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu.