RE: The Ancestral Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan

Subject: RE: The Ancestral Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 12:20:00 -0400

David Neeley reminisced:

> Believe it or not, that was the title used instead of "Getting
> Started" in the early 1980s manual for the Franlin Ace 100 computer,
> and for its replacement the Ace 1000.
> See excerpts and why they used it in reproductions at the
> Ironic Sans blog.
> <>
> Which brings me to something of a lament that most manuals today seem
> to lack personality, let alone humor.
> I have long been a fancier of a very conversational style for user
> manuals (within reason, of course)--avoiding the stuffy verbiage that
> so often seems to stem from an over-reliance on a legal department.
> There's something about users enjoying a manual that seems to me to
> mean it may be more memorable, inviting a user into it--and, with
> luck, cutting down on user frustration and tech support overhead at
> the same time.
> I can imagine that most docs managers today would have a heart attack
> over the Franklin approach, though.

Somewhat later (the '90s), HavenTree, a small software company based
in Kingston, Ontario, Canada made a nice little flow-charting
app called "EasyFlow".

Their manual (done by a programmer, skydiving buddy and jump pilot
at that time) was in a breezy, chatty style. It started with the
"usual" warnings and disclaimers, including an injunction to not
copy/steal their stuff or they would have to sic their legal sharks
on you.

Anyplace I've ever worked has been a LOT stuffier than that. :-)

- K

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The Ancestral Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan: From: David Neeley

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