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RE: HSS vs. TS Properties For Design (WA

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Dennis,

The situation with MasterSpec is that the specs on CD-ROM are/were in typical 
formats (Word, WordPerfect, and pure text) so that the user could modify the 
specs for each project.  I can't believe that ARCOM would input the specs 
into a computer, output them to paper, have them printed, then have them 
re-input into a computer and then burned onto a CD-ROM.

There are situations where I can see where information has to first be 
output to paper, but MasterSpec is not one of them.  (The most recent 
experience was where I downloaded a .pdf file and could not convert it to 
text.  The .pdf file was a bulletin by a trade organization and they 
explained that the document had been scanned as a .pdf file so that it 
*couldn't* be converted to text and modified.)

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

P.S.  Renewal of the hardcopy version was about $500 a year; renewal of the 
CD-ROM version is about $1,000 a year.

Dennis Wish wrote:

>>Roger,
In "partial" defense of MasterSpec (as well as ICBO who charges more for
codes on CD-Rom) there is a cost to converting the paper documents into a
format that allows database conversions. One example that I am familiar with
and which I believe is the best of the bunch is the conversion to Adobe
Acrobat. While the actual sheet conversion is nothing more than printing to
an Acrobate file.

Acrobat requires the user to compile the PDF chapters and then to create the
index, annotations and hyperlinks - which is an additional cost to the
creation of the original text.

However, in support of your argument, the cost of re-creating the acrobat
version of a reference manual is typically amortized over a much smaller run
than is anticipated in the number of sales. Realistically, the desirability
of online reference materials has not yet caught on. Personally, I would
much rather access an online reference document than the paper version
simply because I can keep everything within one source - my laptop. No
matter where I travel or which room I am in, my reference materials are with
me. The important thing here is the ability to search, to bookmark and to
add annotations (personal notes) to specific sections - something that most
consider defacing books. I've worked with the ICBO UBC on CD-rom and don't
particularly like the search program they use. However, I have been told
that they are transferring over to Adobe Acrobat - my favorite e-document
program.

Once the popularity of computers - especially laptops - start to catch on,
the demand for electronic reference materials will grow and the cost SHOULD
be more reasonable if the publisher or author does not take advantage and
absorb the additional profits when the actual costs drop.

Dennis<<