Saturday, April 03, 2004

IN PRAISE OF PRINTED MANUALS: Rub�n G�mez gets it exactly right in his Bible Software Review blog. Excerpt (but read it all):
Zondervan states that "in the interest of being environmentally responsible, there is no print manual with this software", in reference to their Bible Study Library line of products. And then they add, "The entire manual is included under the Help Menu in the program. You are welcome to print it from there if you desire." I beg your pardon! Do you mean to say that you want to be "environmentally responsible" but that it is okay if I, the user, spend hundreds of pages of paper and a good bit of ink printing the online help? Doesn't seem to make much sense to me! I know that different people have different tastes and study habits, but I for one deeply regret the fact that most Bible software vendors (with some notable exceptions!) are no longer providing detailed printed manuals. I can think of a good number of reasons why printed manuals are valuable...

Let me add three more reasons to his list:

(g) If you're carrying around a device - say, a digital camera - you can easily enough carry around a printed manual too, but not a manual that only comes in a computer.

(h) Even if it's a laptop you're carrying around, the online manual (where the really useful infomation usually is) can only be accessed if you can find an Internet connection.

(i) If your computer isn't working, it's pretty hard to consult the manual to see if you can sort out the problem when the manual is only accessible on the working machine.

Software companies are being lazy and cheap, not "environmentally responsible."

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