RE: Fuzzy images

Subject: RE: Fuzzy images
From: "Brierley, Sean" <Sean -at- Quodata -dot- Com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 17:04:37 -0400

Well, I'll agree to disagree, but will also continue to put the gasoline in
my mower rather than pour it on the lawn and set it ablaze, which is, I
agree, perhaps the most efficient use of my time.

I assume you are aware that your screen has a resolution of probably between
90 and 100ppi, right? That's sort of a limiting factor of anything that it
displays. especially pictures. Screens are also raster, so vector art and
fonts, and the like, are not smooth at all resolutions and zooms. That being
said, it is possible to create PDFs that display on-screen with perfect
clarity, if that is what you want.

I also think you miss the point about Adobe Acrobat and online documents.
When I started working with Acrobat in the early 90s, there were few types
of online documents to replace. And, those that existed, were proprietary or
only text. By this, I suggest that PDF doesn't really replace anything,
certainly not anything better, and, instead, PDF opens up new avenues for
design, delivery, and content sharing. That is, Adobe, since Acrobat version
2, anyway, has moved to position PDF as a valid online format, replacing
nothing but opening up a new way of communicating. Certainly, you might
instead want to argue about the benefits of HTML, but it does not provide
the kind of layout control that many authors want and limited printability,
or XML, which is really pretty new to the scene . . ..

People in my office tell me my PDFs are fine to read, probably because of my
layout design, and that they appreciate the portability of the documents,
the ability to ship the PDFs by e-mail or make them available for download,
to update aging documentation, and the ability to print page ranges as

I don't rework anything to make each document more legible on a case-by-case
and ad-hoc basis. Instead, a long time ago I spent a little time up-front to
design my docs to be usable as PDFs and legible . . . and they remain so.
Indeed, using such templates means that my documents meet their need without
any ad-hoc or customized rework needed.

I think the PDF format deserves more credit than you give it, but I
acknowledge your right to have the opinion that you do have.


sean -at- quodata -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Nealon, Jessica [SMTP:Jessica -dot- Nealon -at- McKesson -dot- com]
> I think that PDFs can be improved somewhat but the effort expended exceeds
> the results. It's the Law of Diminishing Returns. We have tried screen
> optimizations here and different graphic formats and everything else we
> can
> think of (often from advice on this list) and none of us can see a vast
> improvement. You just get lower gradations of fuzziness. The fuzziness
> will always be there because the product does not have the capacity for
> clarity. That's what I meant by the lawn mower metaphor.

> Adobe designed their product to enable printing across platforms and
> programs, not to replace online documents. I agree that it is the best
> tool
> we have right now, but let's see that tool for what it is. PDFs are great
> for..., well, school. I printed all my forms from the web site and
> applied
> to college without ever setting foot on campus or waiting for snail mail.
> It was fantastic. However, I did not try to read those PDFs on the
> screen.
> That being said, my observations are not academic. Ask anyone in your
> office. No one will tell you PDFs are easy to read. At best, they'll tell
> you that PDFs aren't the worst thing they have ever seen. PDFs are
> limited
> by their poor viewability. I always thought this was just a given.
> Writers always do the best we can do within reason. For me, it is not
> within reason to re-work my documents and give myself a migraine unless
> there will be a vast improvement. The Adobe product does not make that
> possible. Time is the other factor. The time spent putting gas in the
> mower could be (and often needs to be) spent editing or maybe improving
> the
> usability of the product.


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