To make the internal graphics better on The Candy Store Generation, I have to go through the following process.
1. Save the graphic as a PDF file, making sure the quality is at least 300 dpi, and using certain other settings. But since I have no program on my home computer that would create a PDF, I first had to make a decision: buy an Adobe product that will make a PDF or find a free PDF maker. I went for the latter with PDF995. We use this program at work, so I felt it was safe. Except somehow I didn’t download the right thing. When I tried to make a PDF it didn’t work. It took me two or three sessions on the PDF995 site before I could figure it out and download the correct program.
2. Open the PDF file in a graphic arts program. Crop it. Resize it to the size it will be in the print book. Somehow maintain the dpi quality.
3. Save it as a TIFF file.
4. Replace the inferior jpeg in the Word file with the TIFF.
5. Repeat for 9 graphs generated in Excel, and about the same number captured from web sites or sent to me by the Congressional Budget Office.
6. Decide whether to send the book file as a Word DOC or as a PDF. They recommend PDF, but Word seems to work.
Except, I have no graphic arts software on my computer at home (nor at work), so I either need to buy a product (such as Adobe Photoshop) or use a free one (such as GIMP). Supposedly you can download a simple Photoshop product for a 30 day free trial, but I couldn’t find such a link.
So I decided to download GIMP. It comes highly recommended by many in the self-publishing part of the writing industry. Except, once again, I somehow clicked on the wrong link. The GIMP site was very busy, with multiple choices for downloads. I downloaded the wrong program, not the graphic arts program but a file manager of some kind.
I was then looking at the GIMP site to figure out what the right download was, when suddenly a program called PC Optimizer Pro started scanning my computer for problems. That was not a program I downloaded, either with PDF995 or GIMP. While that was running I checked it out through some Internet security sites. The program isn’t malware, but it was described as being a web security program of modest value. I stopped the scan, uninstalled PC Optimizer, uninstalled the file manager, and tried to figure out why a new search box has shown up on the bars at the top of the screen. When I uninstalled one of those programs, I had a message about the uninstall not being final until I rebooted.
So I went back to GIMP, opened it, opened one of my PDF graphs, and was stunned. On the screen were hundreds of choices for what to do with this graph. The manual was 28 mb, so quite long and involved. I spent a couple of hours going through to see how to do the very simple task of saving a PDF file as a TIFF after cropping and resizing it, while maintaining at least 300 dpi.
I sort of achieved that for one of the graphs, I think. I opened it, figured how to crop it, resized it to 3.25 inches horizontal, keeping the aspect ratio the same. When I did that the dpi dropped from 300 to 289. I’m not sure why that happened, but I decided to leave it. Then, after much tribulation, I learned I don’t save it as a TIFF, I export it as a TIFF. I did that, and think I saved it as such. But when I decided to exit GIMP it gave me a warning box that my file wasn’t saved. I didn’t know if this was the TIFF file or the original file. Some other photo manager programs that come with my computers both at home and at work do that. If you open a photo and change it and save it as a new file, it still warns you that the original file was modified and not saved. It’s an idiotic notice and quite frustrating. I decided to ignore that and exit anyway, figuring I could re-crop and re-size, and re-export to TIFF again if necessary.
However, upon rebooting, I couldn’t get anything to open: not Internet Explorer, and not Word. At least not in a reasonable time, say five minutes. At that time, not having a hammer handy with which to render my computer, dual monitors, router, and modem senseless, I went upstairs to fix supper, never again to return that evening.
I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. Will I go downstairs and find IE and Word opened in my absence? Will I find that the uninstall process of those two programs ruined my operating system? Will I lose everything on that computer by having to use a system restore? And will I ever learn any of this stuff well enough that I can a) finish the print book and b) not make mistakes that will harm my computer?