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Computer user's manual

Instructions included in the box
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Why don't computers come with some basic use instructions? The manufacturers seem to assume that you know how to use it. Fortunately my son was staying with us when I bought my computer last year, and could help me at the beginning when I hardly knew how to turn it on. I know there are classes, and books like the "Dummies" series, but wouldn't including basic instructions be helpful and eliminate some of the stupid calls to tech support? (Yes, I made one or two calls myself. Marveled at the patience of the man on the other end.)
TeaTotal, Feb 18 2002


       Some computers, e.g. Dell PCs, come with big posters telling you how to set them up. But they normally stop at telling you how to turn it on: there's still a lot of people who don't know what double-clicking is, how to close windows, etc. A WIMP interface (like Windows, Macs, X, Gnome, etc.) isn't really as intuitive as people think it is. Surely it's in the computer companies' interest to tell people how to use their products.
pottedstu, Feb 18 2002

       Tea, we all know that man and marvel!
po, Feb 18 2002

       "Surely it's in the computer companies' interest to tell people how to use their products."   

       Not when they can sell technical support for $125 and hour.
phoenix, Feb 18 2002

       Documentation used to be enormous - several binders worth, in fact.
thumbwax, Aug 18 2002

       thumb...remember the manuals with the IBM PC? before there was tech support?
senatorjam, Aug 18 2002

       Pack a 12-year-old nerd with every system sold ? Just feed 'em on caffienated soft drinks and junk food and they're happy. They know it all and will maintain your system for you. Mind you, you have to keep the lights down low, supply lots of acne cream, and your phone bills may be a little high .....   

       po: I am "that man" for about 35 of my relatives and friends, and it's getting a little tiresome. I'm thinking of getting a premium-rate phone line too.
8th of 7, Aug 18 2002

       sorry, not the man I was thinking about.
po, Aug 18 2002

       //manuals with the IBM PC//
Still have a set at my folks place - unless they've been thrown out
thumbwax, Aug 18 2002

       The idea is to earn more $$$$$ in profit by using their tech support. What happens is that they sell you a short period of tech support thrown in, then you are on your own, or you pay large sums of money.
smokeyjohnson, Aug 19 2002

       Baked, I think. Reader's Digest do a book called "How to do just about anything on your computer"   

       Never read it though. Just saw an ad on TV today and thought of you.
yamahito, Aug 19 2002

       Actually, computer manuals tend to be just about as intuitive and user friendly as the hardware and software they attempt to document. We all know the phrase 'Read That Fine Manual' precisely because this is what most people *don't* want to do. People like to interact with people when they have questions or problems. It is usually faster, more direct, and more useful to pose a badly worded question to a human "expert" than to sift through a written manual's woefully incomplete and syntactically inflexible index. Heaven forbid you have to read multiple chapters in their entirety, just to (maybe) catch the answer to your question in a stray comment the author made in passing. When posed with the same question, a human expert can usually just blurt out the answer or redirect you to someone else who can. I'd like to see you get that from a book. Ha.   

       Of course, there are such things as Frequently Asked Questions which *are* the proper domain of user manuals. There's no reason that a company should need to hire hundreds of people to answer the same five questions over and over.
BigBrother, Aug 19 2002

       Good idea, but at this point it's kind of like telling a car dealership that they need to provide free driving lesons to everyone who purchases a car. When you put down a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on any purchase, you should know what you're getting into beforehand.
palad, Jan 21 2003

       My Dell came with the big poster for retards, the standard Windows manual, and a big ol' hardware manual for my particular machine. I was quite impressed by the size of the manuals, and promptly put them to good use by propping my monitor up a few inches.   

       Best money I ever spent.
rapid transit, May 14 2003

       // Pack a 12-year-old nerd with every system sold ? Just feed 'em on caffienated soft drinks and junk food and they're happy//   

       8th,that image is worthy of its own idea. If you don't write it I will.   

       I remember my first computer - an Amstrad CPC464. I was amazed at the fact that you could make a ball bounce across the screen after keying in only a few hundred lines of code. Technology is amazing, isn't it.   

       Zip forward to today, when I had to explain to my technophobe father how Powerpoint works. We ran into trouble when he asked me what the mouse was for. Seriously.
sambwiches, May 14 2003


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