BART Oakland Airport Boondoggle Draft EIS/EIR

Unfortunately, the microcephalics who run BART's "award winning" web site have not only only provided a PDF version of the report, but have cretinously forced would-be readers to rely on broken PDF links within the document, which stand a good 10% chance of working for many users. If you're going to be a lazy clod and not produce a universally-readable and universally-accessible low-tech HTML version of an essentially low-tech document (compare the amount of text to the number of drawings in the DEIS/DEIR!), then at least package the thing up as one PDF file, or at the very least provide an HTML directory of the (worthlessly and counter-productively subdivided) pieces.

The way the clueless losers have things set up now you can't download the document and read it at leisure; instead you have to have a live open conection to BART's "award winning" web site in order to have a PDF reader do a poor job of repeatedly downloading pieces of the document. (Isn't that what web browsers are supposed to do?)

Not only that, but Adobe's Award Winning Acrobat software crashes my browser when I try to use it to follow and download links on my machine... (And there is of course no way to say "Save this link as..." In Adobe's Award Winning Acrobat Software, so there's no fucking way for me to read the DEIS/DEIR on BART's "award winning" web site, so if I weren't facile with computer file formats and pissed off enough that I'd waste a lot of time producing the document you're now reading I'd have to physically go to a library and try to find a paper version of the electronically-produced publication.

However through the magic of Emacs I can reveal to you now the information which you can't get from BART's "award winning" web site: the URLs of all the dozens of stupid little files into which they've inconveniently broken the document. Below is a table of contents with links into all the wretched stupid PDF files, which would make perfect sense as separate HTML pages (since HTML is actually useful in browsable chapters) but which just make for browsing and downloading hell as a myriad of PDF files (since PDF is a just a completely unhelpful, structure-free representation of marks on pieces of paper, whatever the charlatans at Adobe would have you think.)

A document like this would be published on the web as a set of universally-accessible HTML files, with links to reduced-resolution rasterised JPEG and full-resolution vector-based PDF (and in the future SVG) representations of the graphical content. A PDF file of the entire report could also be provided for those who love putting toner on dead trees. It isn't that hard to take the time to do things right, especially if you're part of in a pork-trough of a project with a slush fund measured in tens of millions of dollars. in an agency which has doesn't know the meaning of the words "cost control". Hell, I'll do it it they pay enough. (I'll do it for free if I care enough.)

But it gets even better than that! It turns out that all the graphics content (eg all the overview maps) in PDF files published on the "award winning" BART web site have been rasterised at low resolution, even though they were obviously produced in a vector-based illustration program. Talk about losers totally unclear on the concept!

Death to PDF as a surrogate for web publishing, death to Web Design Professionals, and most of all death to insanely capital-expensive and low-productivity BART capital projects,

-- Richard


Appendices (in Separate Volume)

Unpaid HTMLificatio by
Richard Mlynarik
Last modified: Fri Aug 3 22:27:24 PDT 2001