lately i've been watching this show -- i don't even know what channel it is on, my tivo decided i might like it and started recording it...i love you tivo -- with the host david pogue. it's basically a consumer-friendly geek gadget show. he talks about different issues like do megapixels really matter in cameras (does a great field test on that one), what laptops are the best to travel with, etc. his shows are well thought out and balanced in my opinion -- and he does good research. the three shows i watched i never felt myself saying 'yeah, but' to anything he said.
anyway, while doing my due diligence on the iphone, i came across some notes about a book called iphone: the missing manual. great idea i thought. well, there are a whole bunch of them -- i didn't know there were! there is a series called 'missing manuals' that has produced what they feel are the missing pieces of functionality in documentation and other texts. from their site:
"Microsoft deserves credit. So do Apple, Adobe, and Macromedia. In fact, almost every major software company has pitched in by selling increasingly sophisticated software without a printed manual.
Instead, after paying $300 or more for the software, you're expected to learn these complex programs by reading electronic help screens.
But online help is no substitute for a real manual. Ever try to flip between help topics? Or try to read them over breakfast? Wish you could underline, or at least bookmark what you found? Ah. We thought so."
it is totally true. for the mother-in-laws of the world, they want manuals. my m-i-l recently got a new printer...a multi-functional. manual in the box? nope. no kidding it took her 2 phone calls and about 1 hour on hold to be able to order a printed copy (which btw, was an offer in the box -- the HP customer service had no idea what she was talking about even when she called the number provided for the offer). could she have printed the 200 page PDF (on the new printer :-))? sure...but she paid for the printer and felt she should have been provided instructions on how to use it. what if she bought it only for the copy/fax capabilities and didn't have a computer? anyway, i digress...
IRONY NOTE: missing manuals offers PDF versions of their missing manuals -- read above about statement and chuckle that lack of PDFs is a selling point of their manuals.
so check out missing manuals -- there looks like some good product coverage there. i wonder (i haven't read any of them) if they will be the new 'for dummies' series and become popular. they certainly aren't as visible as they should be -- i was in barnes and noble last night and didn't see a single one.
on a complete sidenote, my wife played with an iphone last night -- i gave her no instructions. she walked away from the store saying "see, that's how one of those pda phones should work...i need one of those, easy to understand...not like yours." hmm...