manuals

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I’m really surprised that no one has acknowledged the updated versions of the software manuals that have accompanied each firmware update. That was always a sore spot with the 3000/5000 radios. Thank you!

I prefer having a printed manual, so I’ve been printing each update. Something to consider - would it be possible to also offer an addendum that only contains those pages or sections that were updated from the previous version? You can just print the new pages an update the previous version. In addition to much less printing, we can also save a few trees!

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WA2SQQ

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Posted 3 years ago

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Mark Griffin

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I did see that there was an updated Hardware Manual as of 4/1/15.
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WA2SQQ

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Yes there was, which I acknowledged. But why should we have to download and print the entire new version, when only a few pages have been changed?
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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The index for one... you have to re-index every update.

Also, should it be just the added pages based on the previous version? or have the added pages separated from version to version? so 5 pages if you go from manual 1.3.8 to 1.4.0, 8 pages if you go from 1.3.8 to 1.4.3, 2 pages if it is 1.4.0 to 1.4.3?

I liek having each manual with each version of the software, and appreciate the electronic copy which I can search really quickly. I even carry all the manuals to all of my gear on my cellphone. I also save it in a Dropbox folder which I can easily access from anywhere with internet access. 

I also think not printing at all saves even more trees :) 
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WA2SQQ

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You really do not need to reindex every page. You simply add pages like 37A,37B ... and so on. The instruction can say, remove pages 37-39 and replace with 37A-37C and so on. A "full version" could have a traditionally indexed version.
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Ernest - W4EG

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I suggested the same modifications and it was rejected!

The suggestion by Salvador makes it quite clear he does not understand or seeing how it is done.  
(Edited)
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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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And what was my suggestion exactly?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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@WA2SQQ 

you just explained why I HATE printed manuals and why most of the world has long ago abandoned them...

The process you are describing is incredibly labor intensive to produce and maintain.  I also leads to an inevitable confusing and difficult process for updating and makes it unnecessarily difficult for the end use to be sure that he has the latest version.

It's just so much easier to have the latest version of the complete manual in .PDF form which is easy to search for the answers you need.

Saves a lot of more trees...
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Ernest - W4EG

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Howard, 

Talking to friends in the electronics industry tell me that they have NOT abandoned the printed of manuals.  They tell me that when in doubt they print the pages that they will be using.  How much savings is that?   

I am not talking about current technicians that can only replace boards.  I am talking about those that actually know what a diodes, resistor etc... purpose is on the circuit board.  

I can just see working on a circuit board on the bench and hauling around a laptop or tablet so I can get to a PDF file.  As a manager I can only say,that is a lot of waste of valuable time when you are dealing in an emergency situation. Which you do in the industry I was in. Or going to a mountain top to work on a piece  of equipment that was hit by lighting etc...
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WA2SQQ

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It's very easy, I've been doing this for 12 years for the manuals I'm responsible for at work. For those people who print the manual, printing the manual that only has a pages that were updated is both time consuming and expensive. I agree that electronic manuals are usually more convenient, but some people like the hard copy version.
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Bill -VA3WTB

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I can't see making a hard copy for just a few that don't move with the times. All we need to do Is go to the page we want and print it. if there are lets say 250 pages, we only print a couple that we need for a certain set of info.
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Ernest - W4EG

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You are preaching to the choir!

I've been asking the same questions since the PDSR days and met the same objections that you are currently experiencing.

This suggestion has been brought up over several times and never received the approval of the majority of the group. 

I volunteered to put them in order if  "FlexRadio System" would tell me how  they like the page arranged.  

You are not going anywhere with this question. Just continue printing; like I do.
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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This thread reminds me of the Jackie Mason routine where computers came first and somebody invents the newspaper afterwards, listing all its advantages over the computer version.
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Steve N4LQ

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I got a 150 page manual printed at Stapels for $17. 
Same manual at Office Max/Office Depot and Fedex was over $100.00
The Staples print shop put a spiral metal binder on it plus a clear plastic cover. 
I'm impressed.
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Ernest - W4EG

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I do my own.

I have a laser printer and have Office Depot do the same a you and it only cost me ten bucks. 

And by the way; if Flex could just tell us what the new pages are, I would insert then where they are suppose to go. And I would create a new content page.

The answer is yes, I would shared them if Flex would allow it.  However, I already know the answer
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I remember the "Good Old Days" running projects with paper manuals.  

We had to dedicate a person on staff Not to write them.. that was done by my professional staff but rather just to maintain the manuals, figure out where pages needed to be inserted, change the pagination of the other pages, insert the pages into the manuals where they were go and keep everything up to date.  The process was labor intensive and rather prone to errors.  It was a real PIA to update anything outside of head office.

It was a management nightmare and resulted in dangerous situations.  You could never be certain that the physical manual you were using was actually up to date or if the field staff actually had the corrected manual.  

Fast forward to the modern world..  Paper manuals have effectively disappeared from most critical situations.  Even airline pilots carry iPads now with their life critical flight manuals rather than paper.

Manual maintenance can now be done by the professionals who author them.  A simple click on a button causes pagination to be corrected and indexes to be updated automatically.   No more expense of people to manually keep track of places to insert pages. No more confusing page inserts. No more uncertainty as to whether the manual is up to date.  Much less life at risk situations because you were using an outdated manual.  No more flipping through pages to find a topic but rather a simple digital search to get to the right page immediately.  No more trees to die unnecessarily...

Yes I can understand that many of the older generation have trouble using digital documentation.  Heck... many of my contemporaries never got used to computers and used to have their secretaries (yes they could not type) print out their emails for them. 

But i would suggest that those are now a very tiny diminishing minority.  Instituting a Paper Manual Simplification Process would not only be an expensive process for Flex to undertake just to cater to that minority's desire to save paper but the unnecessary complication that could diminish the usefulness of the online manuals.

Bottom Line.. It costs time and $ to do what you ask.  It will only benefit a very tiny diminishing minority.  That time and $ could be much better spent on developing 1.5 or 2.0 
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Ernest - W4EG

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Your 4th paragraph make my point.

Specifically, "A simple click on a button causes pagination to be corrected and indexes to be update automatically." That's is exactly  what we like to have. Instead of reprinting complete revised manual with only few pages of update or additions.

Our generation grew learning about computers since it's inception; please do not tell me that we have trouble using digital documentations.  We developed it!  

Perhaps, your comrade may had problems but not my. 

Finally, our suggestion would not cost Flex any more than what you think. As a matter of fact; it would be the opposite. The gains would be immense and the manual would not be the halter skeletal mess we have; directing you to page so and so to check what they are referencing in page x y and z.  Or just tell us what pages are new or revised so we can insert then were we feel they should go.

Howard, I still consider you to be my friend. Hope to see you down here someday.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Rob, like you, when I started in software my, probie task, was to update all the IBM manuals...a completely thankless task. Except after about a year I knew how to configure CICS, perform SysGens, configure VTAM and BTAM, write a CICS transaction, write assembler macros. I don't believe IBM Systems documentation is paper any more. I know CA Technologies doc is not paper any more either.

Yes Howard, you make a good point then frack it up. The biggest loss in productivity was giving everybody word processing software on their 'new fangled' computers. They couldn't type, couldn't spell, and couldn't write a proper business document. Yet they spent their entire day trying to do their secretary's opps admin's job not their own.  Which I think is hauntingly similar to giving everybody their own free compiler.
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WA2SQQ

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I introduced an idea and we've all had the opportunity to share our opinions. The Flex team reads these, and I'm sure they will make decisions based on their available resources. It's easy for us to make suggestions, but we don't decide how to allocate manpower. We need to respect their decisions, and thank them for allowing us to submit ideas. Time to move on to the next idea!
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Walt - KZ1F

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Rob, I see that and raise you one. In the future, let's let whoever has an idea, state it and move on.
 If you agree, like the idea, if you disagree, do nothing.
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Ernest - W4EG

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                                                         AMEN
(Edited)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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I'd appreciate if anything changed/added/deleted was also indicated in whatever format the updated manual is offered. 

Whether a cloud, a side-bar or font-enhancement, it makes changes stand out and improves the user's ability to best respond to updates.

73

Steve K9ZW

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EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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So if I buy a flex radio today,what manual should I get? A complete last revision or download version 1 and the last 12 revisions until the last version? And if something was called differently between versions, how do I deal with it in the revisions?
Not sure if you are aware that you can compare 2 documents and find out the differences. Of course, that requires a computer and an electronic manual....
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Salvador.. You and I agree 100%...

But we must be considerate of those computer manual challenged folks who gain comfort from thumbing through reams of paper...
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Guy G4DWV/4X1LT

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@ Walt

OT: 15 for a PPL, 16 to drive, 18 to sign a contract and 21 to be considered adult enough to drink alcohol. Very illogical.
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Walt - KZ1F

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@Guy Yes, I completely. I think it should be 25, if not older, for all of them. The human brain does not stop forming until mid twenties. I think 18 yr olds are still way to focused on getting altered state and getting lucky (euphemism for something else) to be seriously able to intelligently develop world views and make political decisions.
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Walt - KZ1F

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"The minimum age for a private pilot certificate is 16 for balloons and gliders, and 17 for powered flight (airplanes, helicopters, and gyroplanes). Pilots can begin training at any age and can solo balloons and gliders at age 14, powered aircraft at age 16".

Legally, she was required by law, to have an IFR rated licensed pilot being PIC aboard. If that did not happen (I only vaguely remember this) the owner of the plane (her father?) would be legally and criminally responsible.
(Edited)
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Walt - KZ1F

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And Howard, that was a completely snarky thing to say. I expected you to stay above the fray. Very disappointing ;-)
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Burt Fisher

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They were criminally responsible, they got the death penalty. 
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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It is necessary to have paper copies, or at least a local electronic copy, for many of us.

I drag my radios out to no-Internet/cell coverage islands.

"Murphy" seems to always accompany, so I take spares and manuals along.

And I use a checklist so I don't head out missing something crucial.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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Walt - KZ1F

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Steve, I do actually download the docs so I have them locally, each with it's very own TOC hyperlinks.

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