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As far as reader response, I would say from my personal experience that
when I cannot find something in the manual, or the manual has omitted
some small detail that suddenly has become REALLY IMPORTANT then I
feel really frustrated and angry.
At that point in time I know EXACTLY what I am trying to find, and I
am full of frustration ENERGY -- and I would be pleased to send an
e-mail outlining exactly what I needed and could not find.
An example still burned into my mind is the time that I tried to find
the Equation Editor in MS Word for Windows 2.0 so I could do a complex
In the index to the manual you find:
Equation, positioning See Frame, Positioned Object
when you flip to Frame you find:
[nothing about equations, or objects
-- no Positined Object]
the On-line Help system was even MORE useless. Yes, I did stumble
around and eventually FOUND the equation editor. At that point I
knew exactly what my problem was and would have been HAPPY to e-mail
Microsoft and describe the hole I had found. This kind of stuff
can happen to any of us -- but putting the old company internet address
in the book might enable users to communicate some valuable information.
BTW Microsoft fixed this in Word for Windows 6.0. When you look up
'equations' the index gives you a page reference.
And e-mail has a kind of fire-and-forget aspect. When I feel frustrated
I DO NOT want to call the company help line -- and listen to the music
(and maybe a few ads thrown in to irritate the irritated). But I would
like to tell somebody about the problem. With e-mail you get responses
(sometimes, at least) -- with no cross-talk, no interruptions while you
are telling your story.