Reading manuals. CHAT: chemical safety

Subject: Reading manuals. CHAT: chemical safety
From: David Ibbetson <ibbetson -at- IDIRECT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 5 Apr 1996 13:40:09 -0500


At least in Canada bulk purchases of programs,often don't come with the
equivalent number of manual sets.

Also, what proportion of users have illegal copies of programs on their
computers? I believe it's still around 95% in some countries. Organisations
like FAST and CAST (its Canadian equivalent) concentrate on
headline-grabbing cases and hope for a knock-on effect.

I'd hate to estimate the proportion of pre-installed programs that come with
manuals. I've heard of cases where the manuals are provided only if you ask
for them.

I used to read manuals, but I've joined the large senior group of people who
find reading tiring, and either are too vain to wear their glasses, or their
glasses aren't quite right. {I've got diabetes and my focal length --
essentially fixed now I'm a presbyope (look it up Virginia) -- varies
throughout the day}. Then there are the semi-literate products of our
schools, but that's another thread on another news-group...

CHAT: chemical safety

At school we didn't need to get our mercury from broken thermometers. It
was issued for various experiments. Also globules could often be found in
the grooves worn/cut in our wooden benches.

Ground glass and mercury was a frequent outcome of attempts to determine the
mechanical equivalent of heat.
Some years after I left Imperial College (part of the University of London)
I heard that they had a problem in one of their labs. Somebody had wandered
round testing/playing with a new Geiger counter and got large readings from
the wooden benches. Some of the U.K. work on the atomic bomb had been done
there before the team was transferred to Los Alamos. I think the discovery
was made in the mid 60s, but it could have been later!

They solved that problem with a thick layer of lead paint. The lab's since
been refitted. I don't know what they did with the benches.
>I think we can rule out using the same version number as the
>software. That would mean that we could have to recompile the help
>file every time a minor change was made to the program, and a minor
>change to our help file could force development to recompile the
>software. Neither seems reasonable.
---end of quote---------------

If the changes really are minor they should wait until the next formal
update. Does your company reissue programs and manuals to all users for
minor corrections?

If the changes justify a reissue then reprinted pages with a marginal line
work well for manuals. Come to think of it that's how the British military
does it. Can one learn from government departments? This implies that
manuals should be in looseleaf binders. The early ones came that way. They
have another advantage: they open flat.

Or am I just old-fashioned?

"For forms of government let fools contest,
Whate'er is best administered is best." -- Pope
David Ibbetson, 133 Wilton St, #506, Toronto, M5A 4A4
ibbetson -at- idirect -dot- com (416)363-6692 fax (416)363-4987

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