RE: techwr-l digest: October 10, 1999

Subject: RE: techwr-l digest: October 10, 1999
From: Kevin McLauchlan <KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 11:42:06 -0400

G'day all.

I'm on digest -- of which I seem to get one every few days,
and the most recent is two days old and contains three messages --
so please CC: me directly.

I've been doing software, procedural or other stuff for some
time and getting back to hardware (at a small, fairly-new
company) presents a wee problem, as follows.

Is there advice, help, guidance, a school-of-hard-knocks web
site somewhere that covers agency approvals and the text that
can-be/should-be included in hardware manuals?

My naive thought was that there would be standard approvals that
computer-industry manufacturers would seek -- since all their
stuff kinda has to work together -- and that there would be
some standard (i.e., boilerplate) text that each agency would
send with their notices.

"Dear sir:
We are pleased to inform you that your Thingamajig MK II
has passed testing and is certified to meet the requirements
for FCC xxx (or UL yyy, or CSA zzz, or Industry Canada bbb,
or CE eee, or Deutches Industrie ....).

As such, your product is entitled to carry the BLOB mark
(please see our web site and download the artwork # nnn
in your favorite graphic format).

Furthermore, in accompanying, instructional documentation, you
are entitled/required to display the following text, to inform
your customers about both your product's compliance and the
limits of that compliance when your product is used according
to your own instructions.

Blob of official-looking text, blob of official-looking
text, blob of official-looking text...

Thank you for your business, and please come see us when you
modify your product or develop a new model.

Best standardized regards,

etc., etc., etc."

Our hardware design group has drawers of files, but they all
contain nothing but reams of bureaucratic dance cards,
indicating ongoing relationships, endless side-issues, and
incremental accretions. Some of 'em even seem to point back
to a "prime" product that was initially tested before the
company even existed (don't go there... :-).

What I find instead is that every second product manual I
pick up has not only a different collection of statements
(sometimes they even overlap...) but different wording for
those statements. I've seen, for example, FCC B compliance
statements that took about three paragraphs and FCC B
statements that took well over a page.

I've poked around the UL, FCC, CSA, Industry Canada and
other web sites and generally found enormous quantities of
auto-back-patting, helpful hints about unrelated stuff,
newsletters, incremental updates to standards, discussions,
service offerings, etc.

But never does a keyword search seem to yield up a flat
statement that "If you (or your product) pass this battery
of tests, you can display THIS EXACT TEXT, HERE...."

I'm reduced to cadging from manuals for other people's
products and systems that we have lying around -- computers
that we develop/test in, peripherals that we use in the
office, test equipment, cell phone user guides, the manual
for the photocopier across the hall -- 'tain't right, somehow.

What do y'all do? Where's the secret stash? :-)

Thanks for listening, and for any help,


Kevin McLauchlan
kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com






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