PDFMeNot lets users click PDF links without fear (or Acrobat)

Don't dread clicking PDF links. Make it better with PDFMeNot, a free service that turns those PDFs into simple Flash documents.

Note: This service officially launches on Thursday, and the site is password-protected until then. The folks at PDFMeNot gave us early access to share with Webware readers. Use the username "stateless" and password "systems" when prompted (no quotation marks either). Note that both are case sensitive.

One of life's little hassles is opening PDF links in a Web browser. The problem centers on Adobe's Acrobat software, which for all its popularity and genuine usefulness is notoriously slow. Depending on how old the system is, and the speed of the computers Internet connection, the application can bring the browsing experience to a halt with even the smallest of PDF files. While Firefox add-ons, such as FoxIt, have stepped up to the plate to let users can kick Acrobat to the curb, however, if they don't have it installed they're out of luck.

View PDF documents in a Flash viewer without mucking about with Acrobat using PDFMeNot. CNET Networks

A new service from the creators of log-in-avoider BugMeNot called PDFMeNot is taking a whack at the PDF problem. The solution? Adobe's Internet darling: Flash. To get to Acrobat-free PDF bliss, give PDFMeNot the URL of the PDF that is to be viewed. The service will grab the file and convert it into an easy to use Flash document (similar to that of Scribd) in a matter of seconds. Once the URL has been submitted, others that click the link will get it automatically, as each file is cached for future viewing once processed.

Power users who want to avoid having to visit the site every time they want to click a PDF link have a simple option. They can add a small bookmarklet to their browser. The bookmarklet will automatically dig through a page and convert PDF-ridden links before they even think about clicking them. Likewise, Web publishers can add a little line of JavaScript that will do this on all their pages. They can also simply add a PDFMeNot.com redirect in front of each PDF URL, which simply opens up the file in the Flash viewer when clicked.

Related:PDF Hammer lets users tweak PDFs sans software

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