Sigh. Here we go again. This time the expert is Mara Zebest and the expert qualification is stated as “author and technical editor for more than 100 books on Adobe and Microsoft software”. This expert appears to know her stuff — the problem is that the stuff she knows is the wrong stuff. As we’ll see in the following article, her claim depends on a false premise.
The WND headline:
One notes that all the books attributed to Zebest were on Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator — nothing on Adobe Acrobat (the PDF product) or PDF’s in general. That is a problem because no Adobe software was used to make the Obama long form PDF.
The “full analysis” is what we’ll look at and here’s the Cliff Notes.
- She says that “scanned images have a consistent noise and/or grain.” This may be true for images, but not for documents. Document optimization separates the document into layers which are stored at different resolutions and quality, i.e., different noise and grain. Her ignorance of concepts like Adobe Adaptive Optimization1 (read the manual) invalidates her analysis in this section.
- She continues to show many examples of shifts from bitmaps to anti-aliased text, but this is normal, and what she shows is pretty obvious when one looks at the optimization layers the software made. See my article Layers and layers, and layers, Oh My! for the images. Restating the same fundamental error in various ways takes up the rest of her technical discussion.
- She states that she believed that the document was created in Adobe Photoshop, ignoring that the document properties say it was made by Mac OS X Quartz PDFContext, an inexcusable omission and mark of a sloppy analysis.
One of the marks of the crank conspiracy theorist is the willingness to go beyond their claimed expertise and become an expert on any and every thing. She pontificates on typewriters, and the word “African” the Certificate Number and the missing (but not really) seal.
Garbage in, garbage out
I will concede that the lady is an expert in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. However, as they say: “garbage in, garbage out.” The “garbage in” was the assumption that a genuine document would be a scanned image with no document optimization, and her “analysis” was an attempt to explain the document in light of that assumption. She further, and inexplicably, failed to note in the PDF document properties the actual software used to scan the document. The analysis is an attempt to explain the PDF characteristics based on a false premise, and because of that garbage comes out.
After writing this article, I found out that Zebest is a long-time anti-obama activist (since 2008). That explains the lack of objectivity. Some gems I found from her from 11/22/2008:
This archive radio show on why the media isn’t reporting on the lawsuits against Obama’s eligibility as POTUS. TexasDarlin is one of the callers in on the show and it’s an interesting discussion.
“Reposting link to audio tape… be patient… what you’ll hear from about 12 minutes in until the end will blow your socks off about Obama’s birthplace:” [WRIF interview with Kenyan ambassador]
Also… I’ll repost a FOX interview on the discussion about the insufficient punishment against the illegal use of government agencies to investigate Joe the Plumber.
Also… this video brought tears to my eyes. RUN! (away from Obama) [linked video no longer available]
1 from the Adobe Acrobat 9 manual:
Adaptive Divides each page into black-and-white, grayscale, and color regions and chooses a representation that preserves appearance while highly compressing each type of content. The recommended scanning resolutions are 300 dots per inch (dpi) for grayscale and RGB input, or 600 dpi for black-and-white input. 11/22/2008