To be honest, this software has been around for ages, but since most of my immediate circle of friends have never even thought of using something other than Acrobat Reader for PDFs or IE for browsing…might as well recommend some things now and then. (Switch to Firefox! As I’ve been trying to tell anyone who uses the class compy under my account.)
Software in question – Foxit PDF Reader.
Basically, it’s a free PDF viewer with a feature set that rivals Acrobat Reader. (It also does annotations, which I don’t think the free Reader does) The main reason why I think it’s awesome is because it’s blazing fast.
Also, more importantly, it’s cured my PDF phobia*. See, I used to have a phobia of PDFs because opening them in browsers entailed major lag and probably a crash in the browser, and opening them normally meant major lag again. My system sucks. And Acrobat Reader was slow. I liked (and still do) the splash screen design though.
Foxit launches very quickly (I got times of about 1 sec or less, even for larger files) which is good, because I’m impatient. And when I’m organizing large amounts of PDFs accumulated during research (coughIHcough) speed is something that’s nice to have. It can also convert PDFs to txt files, though I’ve never really had uch use for that function.
As a side note, I don’t think it supports Macs.
*Alternatively, to reduce PDF phobia, one can also grab Nitro PDF’s PDF Download extension (click to install) if you’re using Firefox.