Theory Behind PDF File Use At Bally Alley

Portable Document Format (PDF) files are but one of a number of ways that documents can be distributed easily over the Internet. It is in almost exclusive use here at Bally Alley. This is done for ease-of-use (both for the reader and myself). I know that people look at the size of some of these documents and cringe. Some of the large files might require hours to download on slower modems. I wish I could make the files smaller, but that would require re-typing everything. Though, if a large enough group of people each typed two or three pages per person...

It certainly is better to have the files available, no matter how large the size or how long the download takes, then to not have them available at all. Besides, my hope is that all this documentation can be distributed on CD-ROM, thus eliminating the file-size, time-related hassles.

Moving From Paper to PDF

Here are the steps I take to get PDF files online here at Bally Alley. It's a simple, but time-consuming process.

  1. Scan Astrocade-related paper documents in at 300 DPI using a Hewlett Packard Scanjet 6100C flatbed scanner.
  2. Then I use Photoshop to clean up the images. Hand-written notes need the most work (currently I have been re-typing what is hand-written so that it is readable... it takes time).
  3. If appropriate, I add volume, issue and page numbers to the bottom of each page (if they are lacking).
  4. I save each page as a 2-bit TIFF image (these are about one megabyte each in size).
  5. If there are any pages that are very hard to read, then I re-type them using MS Word (I had to do this with the Zgrass article in the Arcadian, volume 1, issue 2, for instance). I print the MS Word documents to a Postscript file and use Adobe Distiller to convert the Postscript file to PDF.
  6. I import the TIFF images and any PDF files (created previously with Distiller) into Adobe Exchange.

The combined files are now much smaller than the original TIFFs would be, and are in a format that is easier to deal with: PDF. The completed PDF file is then uploaded to Bally Alley for everyone to use and enjoy.