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PDF Conference opens strongly

September 26, 2005

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On my way in to the conference hotel, I found myself sharing a shuttle with a local who had just said farewell to a close friend at Dulles airport. We chatted amiably for the duration of the trip, and he told me about some of the region's significant history. When asked about his profession, the best I could get out of him was, "I do research." He wasn't even permitted to tell me for whom he performed this research! It was this, more than the fascinating impromptu history lesson that brought home the nature of my destination. Welcome to Washington.

A virtual stone's throw from Washington DC's halls of power, the tenth PDF Conference produced by Carl Young today kicked off in earnest. Arlington, Virginia's Hilton Crystal City this week played host to delegates from businesses hungry for knowledge or solutions, with presenters and exhibiting vendors more than happy to provide both.

The morning began in typical style, with a presentation by Adobe on building effective, secure enterprise printing systems around PDF technology, before the seminars broke into their separate tracks. The show has a strong practical focus, covering a number of case studies, along with sessions that will assist delegates to address quality assurance in PDF, web-based PDF forms workflows, repairing PDF files and making the most of the free PDF tools available -- namely, Adobe Reader.

In the first of my recommended sessions, Chris Pieper of FormRouter did a fine job of covering the basics of Reader-extended PDF forms, including an overview of what can and cannot be done with the technology. In addition to these technical concerns, Pieper ably addressed bottom-line issues such as cost and availability.

Later on, I had the privilege of moderating the Warp Speed Product Overviews, where vendors had five minutes apiece to hawk their wares to attending delegates. The session was, as always frenetic, fun, and exhausting. One thing that was different from previous incarnations, however, was the scheduling. Most shows that I've attended in the past have run their expositions concurrently with their seminar sessions. Under that structure, foot traffic only appears in any force during breaks between sessions, and exhibitors have a lot of down-time while presentations are in-progress. This time, the exhibits opened directly after the Warp Speed session, making the fast-paced series of vendor presentations a perfect primer for the show's expo.

I'll be back soon with more coverage of the show and my conference wrap-up, so stay tuned!

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