• kswanton (cs)

    Where is the wood table?

  • Dark Shikari (unregistered)

    But where's the wooden table? I call shenanigans.

  • whatever (unregistered)

    Ok- seriously, I'm calling BS on this one.

  • nobody (unregistered)

    Retrowebs. It's the new old thing.

    (cappy: pirates - <insert witty comment>)

  • sjs (unregistered) in reply to whatever
    whatever:
    Ok- seriously, I'm calling BS on this one.

    Never worked at a large company have you?

  • In Truh Net Guy (unregistered) in reply to whatever

    This is actually one of the more believable things I've seen. A lot of documents on our intranet have followed to Digital > Print > Scan > Digital route.

  • VGR (cs)

    Some company policy documents are pretty old. Perhaps they were never actually in Word or any other word processor format? (Yes, I know word processors have been around for over 20 years, but I am also painfully aware that the masses usually were not willing to use them until about ten years ago.)

    And I'm pretty sure average office personnel have never heard the term "OCR."

  • AC (unregistered) in reply to In Truh Net Guy
    In Truh Net Guy:
    This is actually one of the more believable things I've seen. A lot of documents on our intranet have followed to Digital > Print > Scan > Digital route.

    I call Uber-WTF

  • James (unregistered)

    If you don't believe it, go poke around the OPM website (Office of Personnel Management), if you live in the US. Some of the "official" forms they have for you to use are just this -- scanned in versions of the old paper forms, not even form-ified in Acrobat, just a picture of a form in a PDF document. The size usually is a giveaway -- 2-4 MB PDF for one or two pages of what should be simple text and a few boxes. The worst part, of course, is that you can't fill them in on the computer.

  • Mike (unregistered)

    One of my jobs as an intern was to scan ECNs and put them on the network. Now of course this is a document that format should be maintained but still...

    Captcha: doom. Oh so true.

  • sth1d (unregistered) in reply to VGR

    If it was so old, why would it have "Click here" on it?

  • ToxikFetus (unregistered) in reply to VGR
    VGR:
    Some company policy documents are pretty old. Perhaps they were never actually in Word or any other word processor format? (Yes, I know word processors have been around for over 20 years, but I am also painfully aware that the masses usually were not willing to use them until about ten years ago.)

    Even worse are the 10+ year-old WordPerfect files that no word processor known to man could possibly convert. In that case, you're better off just scanning and OCRing the hard copy. Goddamn WPDs...

  • webhamster (cs) in reply to James
    James:
    If you don't believe it, go poke around the OPM website (Office of Personnel Management), if you live in the US. Some of the "official" forms they have for you to use are just this -- scanned in versions of the old paper forms, not even form-ified in Acrobat, just a picture of a form in a PDF document. The size usually is a giveaway -- 2-4 MB PDF for one or two pages of what should be simple text and a few boxes. The worst part, of course, is that you can't fill them in on the computer.

    Some forms on the Ontario government website are that way too. In fact, some of them can only be filled out by TYPEWRITER. Yep, you can't fill them in by hand or fill them in on a computer and print it off. Nope. Typewritten only.

  • Yuh-huh... they Did (unregistered)

    I worked for a company that was going online with their extranet.

    The marketing department routinely would type a doc into Word, print it, fax it to me, and ask me to "put it online".

    I'd call them and say, "Can you email me the original?", and more than once, I got, "Can't you scan it?".

    Definitely, this is NOT bs...

  • Jojosh_the_Pi (cs) in reply to sth1d
    sth1d:
    If it was so old, why would it have "Click here" on it?

    The story never mentioned how old the docs were. I'd imagine some of the docs would have to be recent.

  • 0x15e (unregistered)

    I find this completely believable. At the last company I worked at, the print-then-scan-to-pdf process was the common way to make PDFs until I beat them over the head with a network distiller. Even then, it took quite a bit of convincing and explanation to get people to actually use it.

    Of course, the main thing keeping that situation from being posted as a WTF is that in a true WTF situation, I'd have been reprimanded or fired for improving the process. I was fortunate that my bosses (yes, plural) had my back on that one.

  • Douglas (unregistered)

    Has anyone ever heard of File + Print? And choose Acrobat as the printer???!!

    If they are going to scan it in, at least use OCR to convert it back to text! Eeesh!

    And kungfu is right!!!

  • Tom (unregistered)

    I saw 60-page documents scanned and pdf'd. When I asked why, they said it was because they wanted to have a signature on the last page. "But they're so big no one will ever be able to download them!" "But we have to have the signature!"

  • bitterfun (unregistered)

    I don't get it, I keep clicking and nothing happens...

    what?

  • CapitalT (cs) in reply to Yuh-huh... they Did
    Yuh-huh... they Did:
    I worked for a company that was going online with their extranet.

    The marketing department routinely would type a doc into Word, print it, fax it to me, and ask me to "put it online".

    I'd call them and say, "Can you email me the original?", and more than once, I got, "Can't you scan it?".

    Definitely, this is NOT bs...

    Ohh... the legendary marketing department never ceases to amaze me.

    Is there a WTF course in marketing colleges?

  • JCritt (unregistered)

    something wood and table related... and maybe a dead horse as well.

  • travisowens (cs)

    Wow, this must have been my last job. No need to call BS on this one guys, I was experiencing the same thing in 2005.

    I walked in the door and there was a stack 3 feet high of papers "to be scanned in" for posting on the Intranet. I had no idea what they were and ignored them for a month until the director started asking about getting the newest documents up on the Intranet, that's when I learned the previous "webmaster" spent the majority of his time scanning in hundreds of documents every quarter. It took awhile to educated both the IT director and the departments that they needed to email me the Word .DOC files so I could post them as PDFs on the Intranet.

    PS: I'm no longer at that company but at least they learned Word -> Paper -> Scanning was a really dumb idea, but I'm amazed nobody brough that up in the first place, it just seems that place was print happy.

  • travisowens (cs) in reply to Tom
    Tom:
    ...they wanted to have a signature on the last page...

    That was the same reason my last job insisted on scanning. I came up with the idea of simply scanning only the signature and pasting it into the Word document for PDF output.

    And then I convinced departments to do this themselves so I wouldn't be a bottleneck, which they were happy with. After realizing the pointless work it was, and that they didn't really need the signature on the documents as long as there was one printed copy within the area (these were medical documents) it wasn't worth the work of scanning the signatures.

    Problem solved.

  • boolean (cs) in reply to sth1d
    sth1d:
    If it was so old, why would it have "Click here" on it?
    Your comment makes me think further...why did a printed piece of paper have the words "Click here" on it in the first place!?
  • ptomblin (cs) in reply to boolean
    boolean:
    sth1d:
    If it was so old, why would it have "Click here" on it?
    Your comment makes me think further...why did a printed piece of paper have the words "Click here" on it in the first place!?

    Because Word documents can have internal and external links in them, perhaps?

  • Eternite (unregistered) in reply to ptomblin
    ptomblin:
    boolean:
    sth1d:
    If it was so old, why would it have "Click here" on it?
    Your comment makes me think further...why did a printed piece of paper have the words "Click here" on it in the first place!?

    Because Word documents can have internal and external links in them, perhaps?

    If they're dumb enough to print something off and then scan it back in to post on the web, are they really smart enough to have internal and external links?

  • trianglman (unregistered) in reply to Douglas
    Douglas:
    Has anyone ever heard of File + Print? And choose Acrobat as the printer???!!

    If they are going to scan it in, at least use OCR to convert it back to text! Eeesh!

    And kungfu is right!!!

    That is of course if you are working with software or a system that can print directly to PDFs. Most companies have not ever heard of Open Office or anything similar. Fewer still realize that you can download PS or PDF print drivers.

  • KMac (unregistered)

    How do we get the web pages to print in triplicate? ;-)

  • Tom (unregistered)

    travis, that's what they (eventually) came up with too. It took a few rounds of "they can't download my document!" before it sank in.

    Boolean wrote, "why did a printed piece of paper have the words "Click here" on it in the first place!?"

    I had a boss that once suggested, "let's send them a fax that says, 'click here'"

  • AGould (cs) in reply to AC
    AC:
    In Truh Net Guy:
    This is actually one of the more believable things I've seen. A lot of documents on our intranet have followed to Digital > Print > Scan > Digital route.

    I call Uber-WTF

    All too common - far too many people work with basic office files (Excel, Word, Access) and have no idea how to make them work together. I've watched people print spreadsheets, send them to someone (internally), who then retyped the information into a different spreadsheet. Eight hours of programming = savings of 5 hours a week.

  • pweegar (unregistered) in reply to ToxikFetus
    ToxikFetus:
    VGR:
    Some company policy documents are pretty old. Perhaps they were never actually in Word or any other word processor format? (Yes, I know word processors have been around for over 20 years, but I am also painfully aware that the masses usually were not willing to use them until about ten years ago.)

    Even worse are the 10+ year-old WordPerfect files that no word processor known to man could possibly convert. In that case, you're better off just scanning and OCRing the hard copy. Goddamn WPDs...

    Ha! If you think converting Wordperfect files is difficult, try converting old WANG document to MS Word. That's a ton of fun. Helped do it at a state agency I used to work at. The Wang had all kinds of special control characters that didn't convert at all. Made for some strange looking Word documents.

  • rob_squared (unregistered) in reply to pweegar

    I'm sure there's a wang joke here somewhere...

  • S (unregistered)

    One thing nobody's mentioned yet (or if they have, I've not caught them at it yet) is that this IS a great way to 'wash' print(able) documents.

    Many many many times have law firms emailed .doc files to each other while failing to properly wash the 'prior edits' data area - Readily exposeable, and frequently highly embarassing.

    With a scanned piece of paper, it's MUCH easier to control 'meta-information' about the file (Why, no, sir, the PDF was not originally written by 'GodIHateThisCustomer').

    S.

  • Malf (unregistered)

    The last client I dealt with did just about the same thing:

    1 - Take screenshots of the product in action 2 - Print out said screenshots 3 - Scribble notes illegibly on the print-out in pen, marker, crayon, whatever they had handy. 4 - Scan in this monstrosity 5 - Email the generated pdf to me as a "changes" document

  • operagost (cs) in reply to ToxikFetus
    ToxikFetus:
    VGR:
    Some company policy documents are pretty old. Perhaps they were never actually in Word or any other word processor format? (Yes, I know word processors have been around for over 20 years, but I am also painfully aware that the masses usually were not willing to use them until about ten years ago.)

    Even worse are the 10+ year-old WordPerfect files that no word processor known to man could possibly convert.

    Or maybe you could use Word XP... [checks] Yup...

  • WWWWolf (cs) in reply to ToxikFetus
    ToxikFetus:
    Even worse are the 10+ year-old WordPerfect files that no word processor known to man could possibly convert. In that case, you're better off just scanning and OCRing the hard copy. Goddamn WPDs...

    AbiWord opens my DOS WP5.1 files from 1990s just fine, and wpd2sxw makes them readable in OpenOffice.org Writer. (I even read some rumours about OOo being able to actually read them directly but I can't remember if I actually tried that, and the thing starts up too slowly on this computer and I'm too lazy to check.)

    Granted, the exact formatting, images and some of the trickiest features get pretty much lost...

  • George Nacht (unregistered) in reply to webhamster
    webhamster:
    James:
    If you don't believe it, go poke around the OPM website (Office of Personnel Management), if you live in the US. Some of the "official" forms they have for you to use are just this -- scanned in versions of the old paper forms, not even form-ified in Acrobat, just a picture of a form in a PDF document. The size usually is a giveaway -- 2-4 MB PDF for one or two pages of what should be simple text and a few boxes. The worst part, of course, is that you can't fill them in on the computer.

    Some forms on the Ontario government website are that way too. In fact, some of them can only be filled out by TYPEWRITER. Yep, you can't fill them in by hand or fill them in on a computer and print it off. Nope. Typewritten only.

    You never filled a goverment form, using Paintbrush, did you?

  • JM (unregistered)

    I've seen this done at a major (Fortune 100) company, and it was for a very good reason. The documents were all legal documents: HR policy, terms of employment, insurance entitlement etc, and only available via the intranet.

    Many of them were also attachments to employment contracts.

    Therefore, to ensure that the correct versions were available they were all scanned PDF's, so there could never be any transcription errors.

    Makes quite a lot of sense in that light really.

  • 5h4m (unregistered)

    In our company, an outside photographer is brought in to take employee photos, which are used for IDs and on the intranet.

    He takes them on his digital camera, prints them and sends them in. HR then scan them before using them....

  • dman (unregistered)

    SIGH

    I requested documentation on a local banks ecommerce, online transaction processing API. I got back

    • a brochure
    • a fees table
    • 3 assorted forms to fill in
    • 2 pages of technical details

    Yep, All but one of those documents was a hand-scanned PDF.

    ... this is the ecommerce dept! Fills you with confidence, doesn't it?

  • Just me (unregistered)

    I would believe such things if I were you...

    I once recieved a Word document containing a screenshot of an Excel sheet, and that even ZIPed...

  • Owen (unregistered)

    They couldn't "print to PDF" from Word with one of the free PDF Print drivers?

  • Bert (unregistered) in reply to Tom
    Tom:
    ... I had a boss that once suggested, "let's send them a fax that says, 'click here'"
    I once had a user that suggested:

    Let's send an email to everyone on this list requesting: "If you did not receive this email, then click here."

    Thank goodness, I only had to keep my eyebrow raised for 30 seconds before he did the calculation himself. Any longer, and my eyebrow would have cramped. (That really hurts!)

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to James
    James:
    If you don't believe it, go poke around the OPM website (Office of Personnel Management), if you live in the US. Some of the "official" forms they have for you to use are just this -- scanned in versions of the old paper forms, not even form-ified in Acrobat, just a picture of a form in a PDF document.

    This practice is quite common worldwide, not just in the US. They may have the publishing company produce the hardcopies, without generating them with software themselves.

    Also, blame Adobe for putting an unreasonable price tag on its Distiller product, driving people away from the direct route WordProcessor -> PDF. Also blame the ignorance of the general public of the availability of alternatives to Distiller, including free ones such as RedMon+Ghostscript, OpenOffice, or even pdfTeX.

    James:
    The size usually is a giveaway -- 2-4 MB PDF for one or two pages of what should be simple text and a few boxes. The worst part, of course, is that you can't fill them in on the computer.

    I have filled in such forms many many times. I first do a pdftops. Then, I inject Postscript code to add the text I want. I sometimes even include scanned images, such as signatures (converted from JPEG to EPS), as well as Chinese characters (adding Type1 fonts to the PS file). After that, I do a ps2pdf to make a PDF file, which can then be sent out via email. Completely paperless. :)

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to ToxikFetus
    ToxikFetus:
    VGR:
    Some company policy documents are pretty old. Perhaps they were never actually in Word or any other word processor format? (Yes, I know word processors have been around for over 20 years, but I am also painfully aware that the masses usually were not willing to use them until about ten years ago.)

    Even worse are the 10+ year-old WordPerfect files that no word processor known to man could possibly convert. In that case, you're better off just scanning and OCRing the hard copy. Goddamn WPDs...

    So, Word Perfect is not a "word processor known to man"?

    Is it only know to women. :D

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to travisowens
    travisowens:
    Tom:
    ...they wanted to have a signature on the last page...

    That was the same reason my last job insisted on scanning. I came up with the idea of simply scanning only the signature and pasting it into the Word document for PDF output.

    Or just print and scan the last page, which contains the signature, and then use pdftk to combine it with the other pages produced paperlessly. The result: all but the last page of the PDF are decently prepared. This would reduce the file size a lot already.

    travisowens:
    And then I convinced departments to do this themselves so I wouldn't be a bottleneck, which they were happy with. After realizing the pointless work it was, and that they didn't really need the signature on the documents as long as there was one printed copy within the area (these were medical documents) it wasn't worth the work of scanning the signatures.

    Problem solved.

    Glad to hear that people in that company will listen and learn.

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to S
    S:
    One thing nobody's mentioned yet (or if they have, I've not caught them at it yet) is that this IS a great way to 'wash' print(able) documents.

    Many many many times have law firms emailed .doc files to each other while failing to properly wash the 'prior edits' data area - Readily exposeable, and frequently highly embarassing.

    Yeah. Doing a "strings abc.doc" on unix can reveal a lot of information! :) It's hard to believe that so many companies are still relying on this document format!

  • Obi Wan (unregistered)

    Ok, not a wtf, but worth mentioning: At my place of work, they are scanning in older documents, and they refuse to use ocr. Why? Legal reasons. Even if the OCR were 99.9% correct, that 0.1% can kill the contract. Imagine financing a $24,000.00 card (d added by ocr due to tiny smudge)!! Ok, here's a card back since I can't pay the loan anymore... But new stuff is PDF'd directly where possible.

    This IS a WTF: How about a loan creation/database program which costs $6,000.00 to have and operate, but $12,000.00 to turn on the print to pdf? BTW, trying to print to Adobe or Cute PDF won't work - the application deliberately hangs on you - but printing to any normal printer works. WTF?

  • Yoda (unregistered)

    I have one even better. We have "profiles" of some of our employees which we put on our web site. Once they send me a photo, I send them the Profile Worksheet as a word doc.

    You know how many of them will print it out then fax it in? Or even better, they'll print it out, and mail it to me.

    It's UNREAL.

  • cklam (cs) in reply to James
    James:
    If you don't believe it, go poke around the OPM website (Office of Personnel Management), if you live in the US. Some of the "official" forms they have for you to use are just this -- scanned in versions of the old paper forms, not even form-ified in Acrobat, just a picture of a form in a PDF document. The size usually is a giveaway -- 2-4 MB PDF for one or two pages of what should be simple text and a few boxes. The worst part, of course, is that you can't fill them in on the computer.

    But you can: get the image out of the pdf (hmmm - I had a tool for that lying around somewhere - can't just find it), take the image (convert it to JPG if you like), put it in a word processor as page "background" (I use Oo Writer), and type your form entries. Advantage of this procedure: legible (non-handwritten) form entries and you can save an empty form as a template and keep your filled form submission as a word processor file as an archive copy.

    The "non-green" version of this procedure would be to print an empty form, fill it out by hand and scan the filled form back into the system as an archive copy.

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