I miss user manuals
Subject of the week | Describe past technologies you miss.
While not quite a technology per se, it's certainly related to tech: what I really miss is the instruction manuals that used to come with software, hardware and especially, video games. That's right, I'm someone that used to RTFM.

Sure, now there's tons of integrated help, information available online, and books from 3rd party publishers, but nothing quite compares to when I used to pore over the manual that came with the product. I loved how it provided a convenient way to learn, get a solid overview of all the features, and pass the time while waiting for the install to finish. And video games were the best of all because there'd often be extra story details, artwork and more. I can even remember how I'd often go pick up a new game at Best Buy during my lunch break and read through the manual while eating, just biding my time until I'd finally get home after work to play.

These days, you're lucky if you even get a single slip of paper—and it's usually just an abbreviated license agreement!

What about you? Any fond memories of user manuals?
2
LVL 65

Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
Brian, rediscover your games manuals:
http://www.replacementdocs.com/news.php

What I don't miss is the copy protection that used to be employed using "Word 'N' form Page 'X'" each time you started a new game - or worse the cardboard dials with symbols on that needed to be lined up from the challenge code to get the code to launch the game - I remember Monkey Island being a particularly annoying example of this! :)
2
LVL 104

Expert Comment

by:John
I don't use user manuals much any more, and if I need one to research an issue, I use the on-line manuals. For some things (my computer), I download the PDF and keep it properly filed on my computer.
1
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Phil Phillips
LucasArts copy protection was the best: http://i.imgur.com/Enx8d.jpg
2
LVL 7

Author Comment

by:Brian Matis
@MASQ: Thanks for the link! Looks like an interesting site, it's nice that someone is trying to preserve that information. Fortunately, I've got most of my old manuals still. I even dug up my old StarCraft manual to re-read it since I just recently started playing the new remastered version.
0
LVL 7

Author Comment

by:Brian Matis
@John: Yeah, I do like getting PDFs and have a few manuals on my iPad that way. I can certainly say that my bookshelf doesn't miss all those manuals—they did take up a lot of physical space that has been nice to reclaim! But still... the nostalgia over something like the Falcon 4.0 flight simulator manual is quite powerful. A PDF doesn't quite capture the same feel...

@Phil & @MASQ: Regarding the copy protection—I'd have to say that I actually miss those old methods! Perhaps because I was pretty young, but it was almost a fun game on its own to do those lookups. That LucasArts "Dial-A-Pirate" example Phil linked is great! Heh... I think you just gave me a concept for my next post on this subject, unless someone beats me to it ;-)
0
LVL 7

Author Comment

by:Brian Matis
Here's an image of the Falcon 4.0 manual: http://i.imgur.com/0Boyg.jpg
They sure don't make 'em like that anymore! So awesome...
0

Expert Comment

by:Adalynn eEvans
No matter what we all say, with digitalization and all, manuals will always be an important part of every product. What if something happens to your computer and you don't have access to the downloaded pdf? Yes, you may have it stored on your iPad or phone, but wouldn't it be much easier if you had it nearby?Of course, there are many opinions in this regards.
0

Keep in touch with Experts Exchange

Tech news and trends delivered to your inbox every month