PDF history and something special from Adobe

Part One: PDF history 

PDF is a formal open standard, ISO 32000. It was invented by Adobe Systems 17 years ago.

PDF = Portable Document Format

PDF history by Adobe

History of the PDF by Adobe Systems

The image links to a pleasant interactive timeline of Adobe Systems and its role in the development of the PDF. The chronology is in Flash, and thankfully free of any video or audio. Read more about Adobe Systems role in the history of PDF file development.

PDF files are more versatile than I realized, and

  • are viewable and printable on Windows®, Mac OS, and mobile platforms e.g. Android™
  • can be digitally signed
  • preserve source file information — text, drawings, video, 3D, maps, full-color graphics, photos — regardless of the application used to create them

Additional PDF file types exist, including PDF/A, PDF/E and U3D. All are supported by Adobe software.  (more…)

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 7:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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Moore’s Law

Moore and his law | Chemical Heritage Foundation: We Tell the Story of Chemistry. Library. Museum. Center for Scholars. Policy Center. Fellowships.

This is a very impressive site. It is likely that CHF is extremely well-funded. Note the subtle use of canvassing and the speed with which the page loads. Observe the richness of the search options. And there are references galore to Gordon E. Moore’s famous law!

I did not realize that Moore was a chemist, and co-founder of both Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. I would assess a high probability to the conjecture that Greg Moore of Moore Brothers Wine Company, who generously donated proceeds for the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize Ceremony event, is a close relative (offspring, perhaps?) of Gordon Moore.

There are many interesting items on this page, including some lush colorful visuals of the chart variety. I bookmarked but have not yet read the following:

  • Innovation: What was Old is New Again
  • Medal Winner’s Emotional Moments
  • Carlson vs. Moore
  • Patterning the World
Published in: on October 7, 2010 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Evolution of Modern Art

Here is a chart of the evolution of early 20th Century modern art, as represented by Mr. Alfred H. Barr, Director of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), from 1929-43. It is an example of data visualization, art deco-styled, during a time when art deco was not retro, but very current.  It is also unusual by virtue of its subject matter.  This is not merely an aesthetically appealling graphical image. It is artful data visualizaton, whose subject matter is also art! 

I would like to consider this more than an infographic, although I am admittedly on thin ice. However, this is a flow chart representing the evolution and associated taxonomy stucture used to categorize the inception of Modern Art as many of us think of it, as Cubism and Abstract schools developed after the post-Impressionism that ended around the time of World War I. It demonstrates how each independent style was a reaction to past style.  Excerpts from Alfred H. Barr’s catalogue for the exhibition “Cubism and Abstract Art  at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1936”, see www.madamelamb.com for source data and further details of exhibit. 

Cubism and Abstract Art

Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Transitory nature of information technology

Are we losing the means to preserve an enduring research trail? The premise is that due to the multiple forms of communication between academics and developers, the steps leading to past scientific discovery and technological innovation will be lost.

Why is this re-creation, even documentation, so important?  First, for History of Science and secondly, for innovators to be, coming through the pipeline. Not-yet-arrived scientists will want to study the development process. Sometimes what appears to be a flash of inspiration is preceded by months, or years, of reading, analysis or experiments. Documentation is important for understanding creative research design. Relatively easy access to successful examples from the past is a necessity.

The pace of innovation is wonderfully fast. That is unequivocally good!


Representations like Alan Warburton‘s video, Format: A Brief History of Data Storage always makes me feel a frisson of delight, shiver of awe. It has great music too, Short Like Me by Beni (Kitsuné Maison).

More than information overload

Data deluge swamps science historians is an eyebrow-raising news story about the collected research materials of the world’s leading evolutionary biologist, William Hamilton, following his demise. This is more than a problem of information overload. When the British Library received Hamilton’s working papers, they were faced with assembling the contents of

  • 200 crates of handwritten letters, draft typescripts and lab notes,
  • 26 cartons of vintage floppy disks, reels of 9-track magnetic tape, and 80-column punch cards, but no devices that could read these archaic storage media

It was enough to convince me that we need better digital preservation and archival standards.