• What happened to the manual?

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    • This topic has 12 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 2 months ago by Anonymous.

    The other day at the office AT&T insisted that we needed to upgrade our Fiber connection to a faster connection. Upon installing the new fiber con
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2589196

      The first several PCs I purchased all came with multiple thick, detailed softcover manuals. (Yes, I did read through them.) Over time and with successive purchases, the extensive manuals turned into a single short pamphlet, and eventually into a wordless leaflet with drawings that barely show how to hook up the machine. For a proper manual, anymore you have to go to the manufacturer’s website and look for a PDF version.

    • #2589210

      I’ve come across something similar with one of the larger ISPs here in Ireland. Setting the router to DHCP will just get an IP from the dynamic pool so in order to get your static IP you need to change the connection to PPPoE and authenticate with that.

    • #2589214

      FWIW, I feel your pain.

      My interest in PCs began with the giant manuals that IBM included with my 1983 IBM PC XT. If not for those manuals, I expect I never would have gotten interested in computers.

      These days companies have gone eco-friendly and cheap by making information online only and hard to find. Onus is entirely on the end user to understand what they have and what it can and cannot do.

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    • #2589215

      IMHO, which is all it is, vendors of tech and other products/services don’t want you to understand what you are doing, they just want you to do what they say. Ignorant consumers are easier to up-sell and less likely to change vendors because they don’t understand – much like a lot of the medical profession…

    • #2589237

      The devices installed by most of the ISP’s here in the US are like that.

      They install their equipment without leaving any “user instructions” and there are no links to such instructions on their support pages (just chat links or, if you’re lucky, a phone number to call a support specialist.)

      As pointed out by Cybertooth, you have to visit support for whomever actually manufactured the device to find a manual; provided the “actually manufacturer’s” label hasn’t been replaced with an ISP provided alternate label.

      Failing that, you have to resort to searching the web for others using the same device who found a solution to whatever your problem is and “hope” their fix also works for you.

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    • #2589242

      OK, I will go for the clickbait.

      The answer to “What happened to the manual?” is simple – they are now being delivered as a PDF file or in other digital formats.

      Before the age of the internet there was no option other than to deliver bound copies of manuals with computers, applications, and appliances.

      We still have numerous bound manuals for Microsoft Office, Word Perfect, computers, etc. In fact, we have an entire floor to ceiling bookcase and several plastic tubs filled with the things.

      I much prefer digital copies of manuals. They are easier to store and search. And are often available on line.

      But then there are those vendors who do not provide any reference materials and nominal support for their products.  Wherever possible, products from these organizations should be avoided.

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      • #2590482

        Here’s a warning for all: Spectrum’s newer “free” router Wi-Fi 6 router does not have complete PDF manual, it only explains very basic setup using the phone application and a very few other settings such as how to change device name to something user friendly. The manual was accessible from inside the phone application, kudos to anybody who found it elsewhere.

        It is your network, buy some real network appliance you can configure without mandatory cellular phone application.

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    • #2589243

      The other day at the office AT&T insisted that we needed to upgrade our Fiber connection to a faster connection. Upon installing the new fiber con
      [See the full post at: What happened to the manual?]

      Thanks for the article.  I’ve made it a habit for electronics purchases to go online immediately and download everything I can for them.  Usually that means just PDF copies of manuals, but for my computers that often means copies of the service documentation and the latest drivers and firmware updates.  (Oddly enough, even if a computer is brand new there’s a firmware/BIOS update for it, plus often newer drivers and updates for the system software.  My preference is Dell, because they have such comprehensive online support that I rarely have to make a phone call.  I discovered this in my IT days before retirement.)  Everything gets stored on an external hard drive, so since I have multiple computers I can always use one to access the docs & files to fix another one if necessary.

      For TVs and other consumer electronics, manuals are usually included.  But it never occurred to me to get manuals for the hardware that my cable company provides!  I will have to look into that.  Thus far I’ve never had to touch the cable modem supplied by Spectrum (I use my own router) or for the cable boxes for TV service.  I’ll have to look into that, so thanks for the idea.


    • #2589254

      Aren’t we in the era of paperless world ?

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    • #2589307

      Unfortunately lack of documentation is widespread and  has lead to catastrophic and deadly consequences. Example – 737 MAX:
      <p class=”css-at9mc1 evys1bk0″>”A deep explanation of the system wasn’t included in the plane manual. The F.A.A. didn’t require training on it. Even Boeing test pilots weren’t fully briefed on MCAS. “Therein lies the issue with the design change: Those pitch rates were never articulated to us,” said one test pilot, Matthew Menza.</p>

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