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Sunday, March 25, 2007

486 hell

I understand a new 486 is due this summer, but it can't come fast enough for me. Here's what we go through every time we want to file a 486.

First, we're working on reasonably peppy Windows machines with lots of memory, Internet Explorer 7 and Adobe Reader version 6. I know that the 486 works better with Reader v5.5, but v5.5 is no longer supported by Adobe, and has a critical security flaw which will not be patched. So I won't run that on any of my machines.

OK, so we go to the SLD site, click on "Apply Online," click on "486 PDF," click on "Continue," click on "Continue" and wait. Two minutes and 40 seconds later, the PDF appears. I have an assistant fill out the Forms 486, and apparently she can do several in one sitting just by saving and opening a new form.

I'm not so lucky. I open an existing 486 and submit, then E-Cert. If I then retrieve another existing 486, it opens, but the "Submit" button doesn't work. So I have to close all IE windows, then open them, go back through the SLD clicks, and wait another 2:40. Now the old 486 that I was working in comes in, sort of. So I have to Retrieve the form again, but Submit still doesn't work. But if I close IE, reopen, click, click, click, click, wait 2:40, then I can Submit and E-Cert. Just so we're clear, I've now had to open the 486 3 times, with a total waiting time of 8 minutes. Oh, and during those 8 minutes, Internet Explorer slows to a crawl for any other optn windows. (Here's a great expampl: I'm typing this as I wait for a 486 to load, and so I can type in a whole sentence before it appears on the screen.)

Eight minutes a form. And that's if all goes well. I've just had to use Task Manager to force Adobe Reader to quit in order to get control of my computer back.

And I can't contact Adobe support. They would tell me (quite correctly) that I should be on version 8. But if you go above 6, then the forms won't print out correctly.... And it doesn't seem to work better, anyway. Sorry, I just had to vent. Now I have to post this before I use Task Manager to force Internet Explorer to quit, and start all over. I'm about a half hour into this, and so far I've certified only 2 forms. I hate to create more paper, but it looks like I'm going to have to go back to certifying on paper.

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