Month: March 2019

PDF viewers quiet about weaknesses

PDF viewers are standard issue for any computer that needs to post documents online or read such forms.

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Most people choose Adobe Reader by default, but there are alternatives.

What’s key is making sure you find the one right for you.

The selection ranges from separate programs to applications integrated into operating systems. Many are free.

It’s not the worst idea to install two, since every reader comes with its weaknesses.

Worse, according to a test by German computer magazine c’t, although many are of high quality, they are not forthcoming about the kind of documents they can’t support, whether those be 3D objects, spreadsheets or commentaries.

Thus, the second reader becomes a back-up.

Most of the pre-installed readers that come with Windows 8, OS X, Chrome and Firefox are perfectly adequate for most documents. But a backup viewer can come in handy when there are forms that must be filled in, for example.

These backups are usually free, although fee-based extensions are sometimes necessary to access additional features.

Annoyingly, the need for those extensions is sometimes only made clear after users attempt to access specific functions.

What is clear is that anyone who wants to digitally sign PDF documents will have to pay for the service, which is not available on any of the free software.

Be sure to regularly update your viewer. PDF documents are a favourite vehicle for hackers trying to get malware onto the computer of unsuspecting people. The more popular a reader, the more likely that attacks have been created for it.

In fact, it can sometimes be a good idea to run extensions for PDF readers in secure mode, blocking them from running Javascript. That makes it harder for attackers, but can also lead to problems with PDFs that have fields to be filled in or that contain multimedia elements.

Durant streak ends as Thunder beat Nets

Kevin Durant’s 30-point streak has ended at 12 games as he scored 26 in just 30 minutes, and the Oklahoma City Thunder won their 10th in a row with a 120-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

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Serge Ibaka made all 12 shots and added 25 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who were so good that Durant sat the entire fourth quarter, the only way to slow him down right now.

The NBA’s leading scorer finished 10 of 12 from the field, though his scoring average during his sensational January dropped from 36.6 to 35.9.

Oklahoma City shot 63.6 per cent, highest in the NBA this season, and outrebounded Brooklyn 41-17.

Shaun Livingston scored 16 points while drawing the impossible assignment of defending Durant.

Australian Andrew Bogut’s Warriors beat the Jazz 95-90 as Stephen Curry made eight 3-pointers in scoring a season-high 44 points, leading Golden State past Utah on a night the Jazz honoured former coach Jerry Sloan.

Bogut had 16 points, 17 rebounds and five assists to help overcome the loss of David Lee (shoulder, hip) and a horrendous shooting night from backcourt mate Klay Thompson, who was 3 of 20 for 11 points.

Curry had 13 points in the fourth quarter and the Warriors came from nine points behind to win on back-to-back nights.

In Florida, Arron Afflalo scored 21 points and Tobias Harris added 18 as the Magic ran past the Bucks 113-102.

The Magic snapped a three-game losing streak and extended their home winning streak over Milwaukee to 16 games.

In Minneapolis, Zach Randolph had 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Grizzlies overcame another strong effort by Kevin Love to beat the Timberwolves 94-90.

In Los Angeles, Al Jefferson tied a career high with 40 points, 16 of them in the fourth quarter, and grabbed 18 rebounds to help Charlotte send floundering Los Angeles to its sixth straight defeat 110-100.

The Hawks beat the 76ers 125-99 as Mike Scott and Elton Brand scored 18 points apiece.

Meanwhile in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored 34 points as the Mavericks held off Sacramento 107-103, handing the Kings their sixth straight loss in another game without leading scorer DeMarcus Cousins.

In Denver, the Raptors ended a decade-long drought in Denver by beating the short-handed Nuggets 100-90 as DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points and Terrence Ross had 18.

Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry added 13 points apiece for the Raptors, who snapped a nine-game losing streak in the Mile High City dating to 2003.

The Nuggets announced during the game that guard Nate Robinson had season-ending surgery earlier on Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

India beat Taiwan in Davis Cup tie

Hosts India fought off a spirited challenge from Taiwan to grab an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania group one tie in Indore on Saturday.

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Somdev Devvarman wrapped up the marathon second singles against Chen Ti of Taiwan that had been stopped due to bad light on Friday with the scores level at 7-7 in the fifth set.

Devvarman held his service game and then broke Chen in the next to win 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-2 9-7 after an attritional battle that lasted more than four hours.

The 103rd-ranked Indian, who was expected to ease past No.284 Chen, had wasted four match points in the decider on Friday evening, but played aggressive tennis when it mattered to win.

“Five-setters are never easy, so it was nice to get out of this one,” Devvarman said. “I attacked and went after his serve today which paid off in the end.”

India’s new doubles team of Rohan Bopanna and debutant Saketh Myneni were stretched by the Taiwanese pair of Lee Hsin-Han and Peng Hsien-Yin before winning 6-0 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-2) later on Saturday.

Yuki Bhambri had given India the lead in Friday’s opening singles when he overcame an ankle injury in the third set to beat Yang Tsung-Hua 6-2 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 6-3.

The inconsequential reverse singles will be played on Sunday.

India, led by their newly appointed non-playing captain Anand Amritraj, are without two long-time regulars as Leander Paes opted out of Davis Cup duty for the the entire year and Mahesh Bhupathi was dropped.

India next play South Korea in April for a place in the World Group play-offs.

Rebels surge to beat Tahs in rugby trial

The Melbourne Rebels reaped the rewards of a tough pre-season as they surged home to overcome the NSW Waratahs 33-28 on Saturday in their Super Rugby trial.

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With the temperature hitting plus-40 degrees at Albury Sports Ground and the game played in quarters, the Rebels scored three tries in the third period to set up the win.

Melbourne had never previously won a trial game in their three years in the Super Rugby competition but, thanks to a gruelling pre-season campaign under new coach Tony McGahan, they powered home.

Rebel-turned-Tah Kurtley Beale played three quarters in his first match back from a shoulder reconstruction.

The Wallaby utility back rejoined the Waratahs after a tumultuous two years in Melbourne where he battled disciplinary and alcohol-related issues.

His Test season ended in June with a shoulder injury but Beale looked fit in his return and had some nice offloads in a busy game.

Beale played the opening half at five-eighth and then moved to fullback for the third quarter.

Regular NSW fullback Israel Folau, who only recently returned to training due to the Wallabies’ tour in late 2013, ran the water for his team.

Melbourne trailed 21-12 at halftime, with NSW halfback Brendan McKibbin opening the scoring for his team.

The try of the half was set up by Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham, who showed his rugby smarts to take a quick tap from a penalty and grubber the ball downfield.

Halfback Ben Meehan won the 40m race to the ball to close the lead to 14-12.

However, former Wallaby back-rower Stephen Hoiles, playing for a NSW contract, extended that to 19-12 with a try just before halftime.

Bryce Hegarty started at five-eighth for the Rebels in the second half and sparked the attack as he sidestepped his way through for a try.

Fullback Jason Woodward converted and then crossed for a try of his own to give his team the lead for the first time in the match.

Former Waratah Tom English scored after the three-quarter time hooter in his first match for his new team.

Another former Rebel Peter Betham crossed for a late try, converted by Bernard Foley, but the Waratahs couldn’t close the gap.

Rebels coach McGahan was delighted for his players that they were able to secure the well-deserved win.

“It was hard to get a read on it because both sides used 30 odd players but, for us, we want to develop a winning culture and this was a part of it.”

He praised the work of his back-row, whose plentiful turnovers were crucial to the victory with Wallaby Higginbotham – returning from shoulder and hip surgery – leading the way.

“He played himself really hard and, the way he has trained, he was able to transfer that to the game.”

NSW coach Michael Cheika felt his side needed to improve at the breakdown but was satisfied with the performance.

“I just wanted them to get a hitout.

“There was a couple of areas where we struggled a bit.

“We didn’t have a lot of ball and, when we did, we looked good but we struggled a bit on attacking ruck and turnover defence.

“All in all, that’s the first one down and we got what we wanted from the week.”

Fernandez chases blades of glory

Days before the 22-year-old became the first Spaniard to win a major figure skating title by striking gold at the 2013 European championships, his skates got lost in transit.

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Turning up in Zagreb without the blades could have proved to be a major catastrophe for Fernandez as it takes days, if not weeks, for skaters to break into new boots.

Rather than panicking or suffering a meltdown, Fernandez relied on the ice running through his veins to triumph.

“I have to make sure I lose my skates again! I should tell the (person) at the check-out counter to make sure the skates are not put on the same flight,” a jovial Fernandez told Reuters in a telephone interview just days before he headed for the Black Sea resort as a double European champion.

“When bad things happen and when everything goes wrong, I get stronger and am more determined to do my best.”

Hence it is little surprise the Toronto-based skater is not stashing a back-up pair in a second suitcase as he heads to Sochi shouldering the hopes of almost 50 million Spaniards.

Rather than worrying about things that are beyond his control “since I am not allowed to carry the skates as hand luggage”, Fernandez was more concerned about ending Spain’s 22-year medal drought at the Winter Games.

“My medals last year showed everybody that a Spanish skater can be out there fighting for the top prize at the Olympics,” said Fernandez, who also scooped a bronze at the 2013 world championships.

“It’s surprising for the Spanish people that a good skater has actually come out from the country. That’s something we never had before. So Spanish people are really getting into the sport and they are starting to care about what I do.”

For a sporting superpower like Spain who boast world champions from football to Formula One and cycling to tennis, their record at the Winter Olympics makes dire reading.

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Two medals, one gold for Francisco Fernandez Ochoa in 1972 and a bronze for his sister and fellow Alpine skier Blanca Fernandez Ochoa in 1992, is the sum total of their success from 18 Games dating back to 1936.

To make matters worse, the country also suffered their own Ben Johnson moment when German-born cross-country skier Johann Muehlegg won three gold medals in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games only to be disqualified for doping.

Against such a backdrop and with the country blessed with glorious Mediterranean sunshine all year long, it is little wonder that there are few takers for winter sports in Spain.

However, a young Fernandez was not put off by the idea of spending hours and hours training in an ice cold rink and on Friday he will get his moment in the global spotlight when he leads out the Spanish team in the opening ceremony.

“It’s a big honour to be at the Olympics and carry your country’s flag at the Olympics and it’s a good thing for me to do that,” Fernandez said before reminiscing about the years when he was mercilessly teased by schoolboy bullies for pursuing a ‘girl’s sport’.

“In a soccer-mad country like Spain, many people still think that figure skating is for girls and that will continue until the sport doesn’t get bigger.

“But now a lot of guys who usually follow soccer are commentating on the Internet that they think it’s amazing that we have Spanish figure skater competing well and getting medals. So that’s a good step.

“If my success helps to get other people into the sport and they become successful, it could become very successful in Spain.”

Fernandez has no idea where his tormentors have disappeared to but chances are that over the next few weeks they will note how successful their fellow pupil has become as he bids to become the first Spaniard to win an Olympic medal on blades.

To do that, he plans to perform three soaring quadruple jumps in his free programme as “it’s worth a lot of points” and once that is out of the way on February 14, there will be only one thing he will be looking forward to.

“When season is done then I’ll find a warm place and go to the beach and relax and just get out of the cold,” he laughed.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)