Our sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of Charles Geschke who passed away on 16th April, 2021. An absolute genius and visionary and without whom - we would not have a business...
OBITUARY - From the London Times today ...
Steve Jobs thought they were mad. The Apple co-founder was offering to buy an obscure Silicon Valley start-up that made printer software and its founders, Charles Geschke and John Warnock, flatly turned him down. “OK,” Jobs said. “Then sell me the software.”The men refused, telling the mogul that they would stick to their business plan. “Well, I think you guys are nuts,” Geschke recalled Jobs replying. “When you change your mind, call me.”
Realising that inexperience was making them inflexible, Geschke telephoned Jobs and they did a deal. In return for his software, Apple would buy 19.9 per cent of the fledgling enterprise, Adobe, and pay an advance on future royalties of about $1.5 million (the equivalent of about £3 million today).
It proved a shrewd move for both parties. Apple launched the Macintosh a year or so later, in 1984, transforming graphic design and printing technology. Peripherals were soon central to personal computing and by the end of the millennium Adobe was a billion-dollar company, responsible for products including Photoshop image editor, Acrobat file reader and the Portable Document Format (PDF).
Printing documents in the early days of personal computers was tortuous and tedious. Slow, screeching dotmatrix printers delivered low-resolution text in plain fonts. Line spacing and column widths were a voyage into the unknown while any picture more complex than a greyscale pie chart was out of the question.By the mid-Eighties superior laser and inkjet printers, while expensive, were moving into the mainstream. Geschke and colleagues developed a programming language that enabled computers and printers to talk to each other with unparalleled eloquence. The product, PostScript, was used in the Apple LaserWriter printer when it was released in 1985 and became an industry standard.Coupled with the graphical user interface and mouse of the Macintosh and the latest WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) screen-to-page word-processing software, desktop publishing was born and the phototypesetting industry was quickly rendered obsolete.Photoshop, created in 1988 by John and Thomas Knoll and released by Adobe in 1990, helped to usher in a boom in digital graphic design and made retouching — modifying parts of an image, such as removing skin blemishes — more common and affordable.Admittedly, the software could be buggy and was in some respects ahead of its time. Though Geschke had read only one business book when he started the company, he did take a piece of advice to heart: if you can identify a need and be the first to provide a solution, then you will dominate the market.“When we introduced Photoshop there were no digital cameras, a scanner was about the size of a refrigerator and cost $40,000 to $50,000, there were no inkjet printers that could produce high quality prints in your home or in your office,” he said in a 2011 lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. “Yet instinctively we knew that if printing went digital, then photography, and eventually video, would have to. So we went in there early, got 100 per cent market share.”Geschke and Warnock also realised that “digital paper” was soon to be in demand. Acrobat — an application to create, read, edit and print PDF documents — was introduced in 1993, several years before widespread adoption of the internet and email made it easy to share files.
Geschke demonstrates a drawing printed using Adobe’s software, in 1987
ROGER RESSMEYER/CORBIS/VCG/GETTY IMAGESYet Geschke’s wealth led to a traumatic incident. One morning in 1992, as he opened the boot of his Mercedes to take out his briefcase after parking at Adobe’s office in Silicon Valley, Geschke was kidnapped at gunpoint by two men. He was blindfolded, taken to a motel and then a safe house, and warned that if he did not co-operate a bomb would be detonated at his house, his family would die and “they’d cut me up in pieces and feed me to the sharks”.The kidnappers called his wife, Nan, and demanded a ransom of $650,000. They warned that she was being watched and cautioned her not to contact the authorities. However, the family informed the FBI who coached his daughter, Kathy, in negotiations with the men. When the abductors called they played a message of Geschke reading the day’s newspaper headlines to prove that he was alive. They ordered Kathy to deliver the money to a remote beach in northern California at 11.30pm; their fanciful plan was to escape by swimming across Monterey Bay. Fitted with a bulletproof vest and a wire, she drove to the drop-off point with an FBI agent hiding in the back of the car.Moments before agents swarmed, one of the kidnappers grabbed the bag and ran off into the night, evading capture for several hours. He was finally found by a Swat team, though the money was missing. He soon gave up the location where Geschke was being held, handcuffed inside a wardrobe with his legs chained and a gag in his mouth. FBI agents burst in, arrested the other captor and freed Geschke, five days after he was taken. The two kidnappers received life sentences.When Geschke’s monogrammed briefcase was returned to him, he saw that the words “is dead” had been scratched beneath his initials.Charles Matthew Geschke, known as Chuck, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1939. His father, Matthew, made copper plates for printing; his mother, Sophia, was a paralegal. He attended a Jesuit high school and Xavier University in Cincinnati, where he took a degree in classics. He then studied for a master’s degree in mathematics and became a teacher at John Carroll University, another Jesuit establishment in Ohio, completing a PhD in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in 1972.Geschke, who had considered becoming a priest, met Nancy McDonough at a religious conference while they were students. They were married in 1964. Nancy, who is a volunteer and philanthropist, survives him with their children, Kathy, an interior designer, Peter, a schoolteacher, and John, chief of staff at Zendesk, a customer service software company.Geschke’s interest in computing emerged after he was forced to dismiss a failing student at John Carroll University. The man returned to his office a year later, but far from being upset came to thank his tutor: he had found a lucrative job selling computers and offered to teach Geschke coding. Geschke’s first full programme printed addresses on envelopes for letters announcing the birth of his second child.He took a job at the Xerox research centre in Palo Alto, California. Though the work was cutting-edge, he found the boardroom culture at the printing and copying giant was frustratingly traditional. “They were copier guys,” he said. Tasked with arranging a presentation on the “office of the future” to dozens of Xerox executives, he observed that the managers sat with their arms tightly folded and concern etched on their faces. Yet he noted that their wives and girlfriends, many of whom had worked in clerical roles, were thrilled by the promise of the technology.He started a graphics and printing research laboratory on the Xerox campus and brought in John Warnock, later recalling: “He had a beard, I had a beard. Still married to the same woman he married originally, so was I. He had three kids, two boys and a girl, I had three kids, two boys and a girl. And we both refereed soccer, which closed the deal. So I hired him.”They began work on a forerunner to PostScript, but were aghast when their bosses said that it would take seven years to reach the market. The pair pitched the concept of an in-house publishing solution for large companies to a venture capitalist in San Francisco who gave them $2.5 million in funding. Geschke and Warnock left Xerox and formed Adobe in 1982; the name refers to a creek close to their houses.The relationship between Apple and Adobe was not always harmonious, notably in 2010 when Jobs declared that Adobe’s Flash multimedia player would not be allowed on Apple’s mobile devices.Geschke was chief operating officer and president of Adobe, retiring in 2000. He was also chairman of the University of San Francisco. He remained on the Adobe board until April 2020. By then the company had grown into a business with more than 23,000 employees, an annual revenue of nearly $13 billion and, at his death, a market value about 50 times higher than that of Xerox.“Like anyone in Silicon Valley, my real nightmare, the thing that keeps me up, is two guys in a garage that I’ve never heard of, because they could do something that could completely disrupt our business,” Geschke said in 2011. “You see that happening on a regular basis. Who knew that those two graduate students at Stanford would come up with the idea of Google? Or that guy at Harvard, who was sort of, according to the movie, a little out of the social mainstream, would come up with Facebook?”
Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe, was born on September 11, 1939. He died after a long illness on April 16, 2021, aged 81
© Times Newspapers Limited 2021.
We at Tracker Software Products are pleased to announce the release of Build 353 of our PDF-XChange V9 product line released April 19th, 2021
Here is a short video highlighting some of the new features to be included in our latest, highly anticipated release of the PDF-XChange Editor.
COVID 19 - 'Work from Home' License 'Terms and Conditions' variation extended for users of PDF-XChange and PDF-Tools products.
Early in the spring of 2020, as many parts of the world faced the initial realities of trying to live and work with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we volunteered a variation of our normal EULA terms in an effort to assist our clients who were working from home. This variation allowed all of our clients to install and use our products on the equipment of staff working from home. Before this variation was available, all commercial users had to own the equipment on which our products were installed. We have decided to extend the date for which this assistance is available.
This decision was made because many clients continue to find themselves in a position where it is unwise/unsafe to require staff to work in an office environment on company-owned equipment. Therefore we have decided to extend this relaxation of our EULA licensing for a further period of time, subject to the following conditions:
1. As always, you must own a sufficient number of licenses to cover all staff who will be using our products - regardless of their location.
2. As always, each license you own permits one user to utilize our products, and that user may install the product on one desktop PC and one laptop/notebook/tablet - provided they are the primary user of both devices. We do not now - nor have we ever - supported or offered licenses based on the 'concurrent' user licensing model.
3. During the period of the COVID-19 pandemic we will relax our normal location and equipment ownership rules on installation as follows: staff of commercial users may install our products on their home and personal equipment - irrespective of where they are located - provided as always that conditions 1 and 2 above are met.
4. As of December 31st, 2021 - or as soon as staff at any licensee's office return to working full-time on their normal office environment - all copies of our products must be removed immediately from any home/personal equipment, and our normal EULA terms will resume.
5. The variations detailed above shall expire for all users on December 31st, 2021, and our normal EULA terms will then be automatically reinstated, irrespective of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. If you cannot or will not accept any of the above variations to our terms and conditions, in full and specifically conditions 4 and 5 above - then we do not offer you the right to utilize the voluntary license variations detailed above.
7. After December 31st 2021, we may or may not choose to extend the expiry date of the variations detailed above. Please contact us nearer that time - or visit our website - for further news and updates.
Kind regards and good health - from all of us at PDF-XChange Co Ltd/Tracker Software Products Ltd.
Having problems printing files?
Then the cause, if introduced recently and you are using MS Windows 10 - is likely to be due to a recent MS Windows update and you should ensure you have the latest 'hotfix' released on March 18th.
and here is the announcement for the fix ...
Tracker Software ceases sales of all SDKs from March 12th, 2021.
It is with some sadness that we are announcing the cessation of sales of our software developer kits, which were first introduced in early 2001 with our Tiff-XChange and PDF-XChange Driver SDKs.
These were our very first products released for direct sale to clients, and for a long time were the backbone of our revenue stream. However, over the past fifteen years or so, our end-user application products sales have hugely outperformed our SDK sales and the latter have proved to be somewhat of a distraction to our primary development goals.
We will cease offering extensions to existing maintenance agreements immediately in order to allow for a 'tapered' reduction in support and updates over the coming months. A complete cessation in functional and service updates is expected by the end of our version 9.x releases, which is anticipated to be during the latter part of 2022, although this date is not definite and subject to change.
We would like to thank all those who have supported us in relation to our SDK products over the past two decades and we wish them every success for the future. We will of course continue to offer support and updates to all clients with maintenance agreements that have extended terms, and will continue to do so until the expiry of those agreements.
Our SDK products will continue to allow you to create feature-rich applications with PDF functionality for many years to come, and they will not cease to function as a result of not being available for purchase. There is no built-in "time out" for these products, and all applications that contain our SDK functionality will continue to operate as normal.
If you require any further clarification or assistance in relation to this issue then please contact us and we answer you as soon as possible.
- The Tracker Software Products Team
We are pleased to confirm that our email services are now back online after we were forced to fully reinstall and update our MS Exchange mail servers on Tuesday, March 9th.
As always, our other means of support such as the user forums and website Live Chat feature of the website were still available. We regret any inconvenience and delay this may have caused and we would like to apologize to all of our clients. This issue occurred as a result of an attack Worldwide on Microsoft Exchange Servers that was announced late last week. If you use any MS Mail services then we urge you to contact your technical staff and ensure that you are protected. Further information about this issue is available here,
Please be assured that this was a precautionary maintenance update - no data breach occurred at Tracker Software Products or PDF-XChange Co and no information was accessed by any third parties. We are currently working through the backlog of emails that this maintenance period has created, and this will take about 24 hours to complete. If you have an urgent issue, or are concerned that your communication has been missed, please DO resend your message and we will reply to you as quickly as possible. You can also contact our team via the Website Live Chat to get an instant answer to any queries that you have. Normal services will resume very shortly - if they have not already.
Our sales and support departments can also be reached via the Website LiveChat and Free Support Forums.
Thank you for your understanding and patience during this issue.
The Tracker Software Products/PDF-XChange Co team.Read more
Due to intermittent ISP outages experienced this week our ISP has scheduled Emergency maintenance to their network on Staurday March 6th, 2021.
Maintenance Duration is expected to be up to 4 hrs starting between 1:00 am - 7:00 am Mountain Time (MST), which is 8:00 am - 2:00 pm (GMT), and 12:00 am - 6:00 am (PST)
PDF-XChange Co/Tracker Software's email services will be interrupted during the outage as well as website LiveChat services.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Mail sent during any such outage should be received once the service is resumed.
Your patience is appreciated during this time.
Tracker Software Products/PDF-XChange Co.Read more
Due to unforeseen ISP outages, Tracker Software's mail services are currently experiencing intermittent disruptions.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Mail sent during any such outage should be received once the service is resumed.
Your patience is appreciated during this time.
Tracker Software ProductsRead more
Our Viewer and PDF-XChange software are receiving some excellent independent reviews and comments - not that we are resting on our laurels - development to improve and refine continues at a brisk pace !
Here are just a few of the reviews and blogs being posted about the new PDF-XChange Viewer that 1000's every day are downloading and using in place of Adobe's own Acrobat Reader !!!
For English Readers :
For some of our Non English Reading clients :
and there is plenty more if you just 'Google' 'Best PDF Reader', PDF-XChange Viewer or PDFXViewer as the PDF-XChange has also become known - you will be pleased you did !Read more