Organized by Christopher Smith’s AGI (recently acquired by Aquent), last week’s 2007 Adobe Acrobat PDF Conference in Orlando, Florida was a notable success. The co-location with the CRE8 conference for graphic designers expanded the scope to the benefit of all attendees.
From the opening welcome party complete with Mickey Mouse and open bar, to Al Gore, Marissa Mayer and the mid-conference networking party (also well lubricated) to many fine sessions including the Acrobat Alternatives melee and rowdy Power Panel, this conference was both educational and highly enjoyable. Adobe offered a very tasty (if very early!) Thursday breakfast for members of Adobe’s Acrobat User Groups.
While the PDF Conference may be one of the smaller platforms for Al Gore’s famous presentation on global climate change, the former US Vice President gave it his all. He delivered a convincing demonstration of both the facts of our planetary predicament and his passion in communicating on the subject. More than a few attendees noted a substantial improvement in the former Veep’s silhouette. Having cut a Hitchcockian figure at the recent Academy Awards, Gore has clearly been working the problem in the gym. Let’s just say he was inspiring in more ways than one!
Regrettably, Mr. Gore didn’t spend much time discussing PDF (his preference for presentations is Apple’s Keynote), but he did take note of FormRouter’s GreenPDF initiative. Don’t print it; PDF it instead, and help control global climate change!
Google’s Marissa Mayer, Vice President for Search Products & User Experience, enraptured the crowd with a simple but telling survey of the company’s activities. Her presentation described how Google’s goals are organized around the concept of “responsiveness”, which Google measures in microseconds and considers a (if not the) key metric in almost every application. Just how they get their servers to respond faster than my tricked-out Windoze machine can do locally, I suspect I’ll never know. I’m just glad I bought the stock.
From Section 508 to copy-and-paste
Nettie Hartsock of Planet PDF managed to endure my own session without (it seems) terminal boredom. It’s not easy to make PDF accessibility a scintillating subject, but I had an attentive audience, one several times larger than last year’s talk on the same subject.
The benefits of accessible PDF extend well beyond disabled users, and folks appear to be catching on, even outside Washington. There was a great deal of interest in how PDF accessibility affects search-engine performance, and a lot of nodding heads when I described how and why PDF files are characteristically ignored by web content managers.
Adobe has posted a Vista FAQ answering (in part) the growing chorus of users wondering when Acrobat 8 will work properly under Vista. I may now quote Adobe as stating that: “In the first half of 2007, we [Adobe] expect to issue a free update to Acrobat 8 to support Vista.”
by Duff Johnson