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Acrobat and PDF Conference a Great Success

April 25, 2004

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Coronado Springs Resort, Lake Buena Vista, FL -- Despite contending with conference fatigue, the powerful allure of clear blue Florida skies and the magic of Disney, AGI's 2004 Acrobat and PDF Conference won me over, and has made a strong showing in its bid to become a popular PDF event in the calendar. The three distinct, streamed tracks applied a coherent and logical structure to proceedings with little overlap, and delegates almost always knew where they should be.

I found the keynote presentation from Pfizer's Anthony Gazikas particularly compelling. Gazikas explained the importance of time-to-market and processing costs in the pharmaceutical industry, and outlined how an optimized PDF workflow stands to reduce this lag time while resulting in dramatic cost savings.

Later in the day, I had the privilege of presenting with Ted Padova in a session called "Enhancing PDF with Multimedia", and was impressed that the large audience was both alert and inquisitive. It really is exciting what can be done with PDF and dynamic media these days, and we showed off some of the sexier applications of these technologies after explaining some basics.

My final stop of the conference was the lively "Future of PDF", in which both audience members and moderator Christopher Smith quizzed an expert panel on the direction of the PDF file format, its users and uses. For the curious, the panel consisted of the ubiquitous PDF Sage Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe Developer Evangelist Lori DeFurio and activePDF head Tim Sullivan.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the discussion became quite heated when the topic of pricing and Adobe's solutions came up. One anonymous attendee referred to Adobe's segmented Acrobat product offering and pricing model as being "...Kinda like a crack deal." referring to the escalation in price for each successive layer of functionality. Ho, ho.

I suppose that Adobe-bashing is nothing new in this kind of public forum, but Acrobat 6 PDF Bible author Padova tried to put things in perspective: "I keep hearing from people driving $30,000 automobiles to their $300,000 houses to turn on their $5,000 computers and use their $500 Office software installed on their $200 operating systems asking, 'Why can't I get more free stuff from Adobe?'"

Spirited debates, education, and thought-provoking analysis of the industry that finances the aforementioned cars, houses and computers for we PDF die-hards, Acrobat and PDF Conference 2004 was a polished show with a structure that engaged its delegates. Pencil in the sequel for next April, kids!

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