by Robert Zaremba

Stop publishing PDF

PDF, currently, is the dominant file format in the internet. You can see it everywhere: documentations, manuals, research papers, white papers, yellow papers ...

PDF, Portable Document Format, is a complex file format to present documents without being dependent on the platform (hardware, OS).

PDF is NOT portable in the digital world

The title might sound suspicious. This is what I mean by the digital world: the robots (and applications), which are parsing and consuming the data, and people who are using variety of devices to consume the content in a friendly manner.

This days most of the content is consumed by digital devices. There are many initiatives promoting environmental conscious life and work style (e.g. not printing the documents, emails ...). With smartphones, tablets and ebook readers the digital content is even more accessible for an average user. Instead of going with a bag of papers we can use digital devices to easily store, and read documents whenever we will like. Life should be easy, right?

PDF is not portable on digital screens. It doesn’t scale. It’s not comfortable to read PDF files on a mobile or ebook readers (which, is my favorite way to read documents). Even for the printed documents, people don’t agree on the paper size (US Letter vs A4 ...).

PDF is not easy for parsing and data-mining. The format doesn’t carry any knowledge representation. You can’t connect the “dots” (piece of information) in the PDF document and easily parse it. Other formats are more friendly. For example: HTML has OWL extensions which embeds ontology into the document elements.

Moreover It’s not easier to create the PDF document. You need to think more about the design and typesetting. Having formats which automatically construct the document flow (eg HTML) and editors which will do it automatically, we can focus on the content rather than design.

How about typesetting? Sure, if you want to publish a good-looking book, than you need to care about typesetting. Though majority of documents are not published as books. Even so, popular auto-adjustable formats will compose the content into nice looking paper publications. PDF documents has it’s use-cases (aforementioned complex typesetting, interactive forms, ...) - but as discussed here, it’s not the best neither the simplest for common publications.

Finally all popular devices have ready to install EPUB, MOBI or HTML viewers.

Call

So here is my call: Stop using PDF for internet publications unless you have rigid typesetting requirements (e.g. books with non-trivial design). Try:

  • EPUB - which is basically the HTML page with all dependencies bundled into a zip file.
  • any other markup language, which can easily generate EPUB or HTML.
  • Google Docs (they scale well and you can easily export to docx, epub and PDF when needed).
  • Publish in multiple format if you want to stick with PDF for some reson.

Let’s make the life easier for digital users.

Smart Grid: the Solar Power

The age of solar revolution

In recent years we experienced a great boost in renewable energy sources. Hundreds of companies have born to supply the need for wind and solar plants installation. Tesla, the market leader in environmental friendly energy, moves the Solar power to the next level with their new products (Solar Roof [1], Gigafactory [2], Powerwall 2 [3]) and SolarCity acquisition. The world doesn’t end with Tesla. Big corporations like Samsung, Panasonic, LG are participating in the manufactures pursuit. Oil companies, like Total [4] are taking the challenge as well. We see lot of emerging companies: Powervault SolarEdge, Leclanché, Verengo Solar, SunPower, OneRoof Energy, Suniva, Global Solar ... This only confirms the big shift in energy production which is happening now [5]. Speculants agree that solar will become a dominant energy source by 2050.

Smart Grid

So what is a Smart Grid? In a traditional setup, consumers are connected to an electric network, which is controlled by DSO (Distribution System Operators). The energy is supplied by semi-centralized big utilities. An average John has little to no impact into that network. The energy flow is one-directional, more predictable and controllable. Basically, tt looks like this:

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FoundShare - an ICO marketplace, Startup Weekend Fin Tech Geneva

21 - 23 April 2017, Fintech Fusion was hosting Startup Weekend Fin Tech Geneva.

The Fintech Startup Weekend is a huge pot of skills, ambitious people with complementary background wanted to challenge their powers.

The goal was simple: accelerate the FinTech movement, use the community power to research and create new disruptive ideas, face yourself to judges. Everything in 52 hours to create a validated business plan.

The event was supported by Swiss FinteCH and theScreener. Eve

Thanks to Cyrus Fazel, I took the time to create a business idea for the initial pitching session. And guess what? The idea got support and was selected to the finals ✌!

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Essential values for Personal Development

In this essay I will highlight the self-reflection process and it’s importance for personal development.

Personal Development covers activities that improve awareness, skills and develop potential. The concept involves formal and informal activities. Looking at people aims in life one should set goals in order to realize and maximize the potential. Personal development should start with finding out what are the personal skills and qualities.

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