Why PDFs is as Boring as Baseball

To all the baseball fans out there that don’t think this wonderful sport is boring. Baseball has a bad stigma. Don’t deny it. It’s real and it affects the sport. But just because it’s boring doesn’t mean it needs to change or go away. Some things in life are okay being boring, just ask PDFs…

Baseball is old. Like, really old. When this blog post goes up, baseball will be about 179 years old. PDFs are…in the realm of technology…also really old. Born in 1993, PDFs are now 25 years old. Now you might be thinking to yourself, “hey wait a minute, 25 isn’t really that old.” But let me ask you this question: would you switch back to the phone you had 5 years ago? How about 3 years ago? Last year? Yeah, I’m hearing a bunch of “No’s” to those questions.

But how does the age of PDFs really matter in this discussion? Ask yourself “why” you won’t go back to a phone that’s 5, 3, or even 1 year old. I would be willing to bet that the answer comes down to the pace of technology. That five year old iPhone isn’t big enough, fast enough, or awesome enough to earn a spot in your pocket. Same thing goes for those “old” PDFs. Over the last 25 years, how much have they changed? Technology has evolved, have PDFs?

In the words of Elvis, “a little less conversation, a little more action please”. When do crowds cheer in baseball? Only in response to something happening. Never in anticipation, just like PDFs. Do you hear people cheering over PDFs? (Queue crickets).

If you’re paying attention, you will know that all the action and cheering is for Interactive Electronic Technical Publications/Manuals (IETP/IETM). Companies and governments are now wanting IETPs that can go on phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. They’re cheering for multimedia, VR, AR, and interactivity. All things that the web and latest technologies can bring. It’s like a roaring stadium during a football game. When the home team is defending with their backs up against the goal, the crowd is shouting and cheering to encourage their team. Now that’s action!

My last point has to do with saturation. When it’s baseball season, the airwaves are saturated with baseball games, just like the internet is saturated with PDFs.

Every appliance in your home has a PDF manual on the internet. But have you ever gotten any useful information from that PDF? If you want to change the venting of your dryer from the back to the side, do you turn to a PDF manual? If you need to troubleshoot the sound coming from the back of your fridge does the PDF manual help? I’m willing to bet you go to YouTube for that sort of stuff, just as our kids do!

So exactly how useful are all those PDF manuals that are saturating our airwaves?

Get the point?! There are billions of featureless PDFs out there waiting to find a cozy-warm home in your PCs download folder. Go ahead, launch File Explorer and count how many boring and nearly useless PDFs are sitting there. Oh, you might just find a nugget or two of good information, but did you really need a PDF to get that information? I didn’t either!


Joel Brache
Technology Consultant


Other industries

(Shipping, Nuclear, Space)