manuals

  • 4
  • Idea
  • Updated 4 years ago
  • Under Consideration

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!

Photo of WA2SQQ

WA2SQQ

  • 475 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes

Posted 4 years ago

  • 4
Photo of Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin

  • 84 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
I did see that there was an updated Hardware Manual as of 4/1/15.
Photo of WA2SQQ

WA2SQQ

  • 475 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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?
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
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 :) 
Photo of WA2SQQ

WA2SQQ

  • 475 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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)
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
And what was my suggestion exactly?
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
@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...
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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...
Photo of WA2SQQ

WA2SQQ

  • 475 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Bill -VA3WTB

Bill -VA3WTB

  • 3851 Posts
  • 930 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes

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.
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Steve N4LQ

Steve N4LQ

  • 568 Posts
  • 92 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 121 Reply Likes
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
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
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 
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of WA2SQQ

WA2SQQ

  • 475 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
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!
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
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.
Photo of Ernest - W4EG

Ernest - W4EG

  • 620 Posts
  • 122 Reply Likes
                                                         AMEN
(Edited)
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1525 Posts
  • 762 Reply Likes

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

Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
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....
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
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...
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
For some physiological reason that I have not yet found an answer for, many people find it easier to read (and proof read) from a hard copy. A hard copy is fully portable and can be read in bright sunlight so I can save the expense of a KIndle or similar and use the money for the shack.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1525 Posts
  • 762 Reply Likes
Adding to Guy's observation, the quality of the printed copy contributes to the "product experience."

A well typeset, printed and bound manual adds value well above the incremental cost.

73

Steve K9ZW
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
In how many languages should they have the printed manual?
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
Over 6500.
(Edited)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Howard, all kidding aside, I do think it is an age thing or acclimation thing. As I am sure you know, at this point, I've been staring at monitors for decades but I am still more comfortable with paper, you can sticky note a page, highlight a paragraph, etc. Many schools have decided it is less expensive to give each student a Kindle than support their libraries and new book budgets. For kids that grow up with only electronic facsimiles of text, they won't have any issues. And, yes, I acknowledge it is far less expensive to do electronic doc.
Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

  • 1782 Posts
  • 547 Reply Likes
Try relocating a couple of times overseas.... the most expensive part is moving books and CDs!! I am so glad I can carry them now on my tablet. Our generation still looks at manuals, even on electronic format, our kids look at videos! They search on youtube not on Google.
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
Definitely a generational thing...

As I said many of my contemporaries (pre-Baby-Boomer era) were never really comfortable with computers.  To this day, many still have people (secretaries) print out all their emails and manuals for them.  When I was in High School, only girls were allowed to learn to type while the guys had shop classes. 

Heck they did not even offer a computer class when I went to Engineering School and in fact I was asked to teach the first ever Fortran 1 class at my university because I had been building computers and seemed to know (self taught) something about them.

Paper Manuals were a major PIA when I was running businesses that needed detailed documentation.   They were expensive to maintain, always out of date and several times when critical updated pages did not get put into the right place,  resulted in dangerous situations and very expensive lawsuits.  In the early 1970's we even build our own home brewed word processing software just to update paper manuals.  So needless to say I really began to rejoice when paper manuals finally disappeared.  [That's how I got the nickname DrPaper)

Surprisingly this is one of the very few forums I have ever seen where anyone still wants paper..  even the excuse of traveling with paper does not fly anymore - I travel all the time and just keep all my manuals on my iPad.. Heck the cost of shipping paper manuals in baggage would be excessive...

By contrast.. my 11 year old grandson spent Spring Break with me this past week.   He wanted to use my Flex 6700 - so I gave him the PDF to read.... That lasted about 10 seconds.. before he clicked onto Youtube and watched several good videos.

About an hour later, he came in turned on my rig.. scanned the waterfall... worked 4X4WN in Jerusalem on his first try... BTW....he really wants to get his license now...

So much for electronic manuals and the next generation....
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1241 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
Let me see if I get this, your grandson, who is unlicensed, used your ham rig? My daughter was not allowed to go on the air until she got her license, which she did at age 8.  She also was required to eat dinner before dessert. She also did something rare, she got married before she had a child. Speaking of generations, this generation has issues with instant gratification.
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1525 Posts
  • 762 Reply Likes
It is perfectly legal to put an unlicensed person on the air (where third party rules with the DX country allow) and a common technique to boost interest in a potential ham.  Howard is of course the control station, and it wouldn't be right if he wasn't present.

As for your daughter - well done on all accounts, but it doesn't have a pinch to do with your mistake in taking Howard to task for what is also commendable.

You might do better with something other than piss & vinegar on your cornflakes Burt.

73

Steve
K9ZW
(Edited)
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
@Burt

You have obviously never worked a Boyscout Jamboree where we have hundreds of UNLICENSED young scouts getting on the air for the first time. or a Field Day (CONTEST?) GOTA Station . How else would you suggest getting kids interested? .. by watching boring old F's talking to each other? 

You gotta get there hands dirty... 

In fact.. I have just set up my grandson to be able to iPad remote into my station in San Diego from his home in Northern California so he can continue to get hands on experience... Obviously i will still be the control point as I don't want him blowing up the amps or wreck a tower motor...

Licensing... If I can build the interest, there is no doubt that he could pass the test.. but the interest needs to be built so it will be sustainable....

Heck.. my grandson could even become the next superstation contester...
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1241 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
I know he did nothing illegal. In a school where I taught before I retired from full time teaching, they gave awards to almost everyone, three "most improved" in ONE class. What ever happened to earning a privilege? In my generation no one allowed operation of a station by a non ham. Maybe we should allow 7 year olds to fly a plane? Oh we did, she's dead.
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1241 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
Howard I was a Scoutmaster, and you? If you have to "build interest" the result will be someone who might pass the test but be gone soon thereafter. A former official of the ARRL licensed well over a 100 kids here by building interest, most got licensed, not one EVER got their own station.
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
@Burt

it should have been obvious from my comments that I did the scoutmaster thing and ran dozens of VE sessions via ARRL and our Local SANDARC VE for scouts, ARES, CERT and yacht clubs as well..  In this modern world of instant gratification, you really need to not only build interest but also find a way to sustain their interest through exciting things like DXing, Contesting, EMCOMM and just plain using it to send emails from their boats at sea ... Chatting via 2M Repeaters soon gets boring...

BUT I guess my getting their hands dirty approach to building continuing interest must have worked as a significant number of my 'kids' (albeit none of my own which is why I am working on my grandson) did end up owning their own stations and continue to operate and contest even now as well...
(Edited)
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1241 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
You are to be commended. You are what all hams should have as a goal.
Photo of KY6LA - Howard

KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

  • 3755 Posts
  • 1617 Reply Likes
TNX... not looking for Kudos  ... just figure to pass on my experience with getting kids to actually stick to it after they get a license...

BTW.. by far the worst group for sticking to it.. are the CERT Hams.. they buy a HT, barely use it only for EMCOMM Drills twice a year, get bored and never do much ever again..

It's easier with kids if you can get them to stay active and involved with something like Contesting or DXing so that they get excited about winning a certificate or getting an ATNO....  My grandson was absolutely thrilled to identify call signs and place pins onto a world map....

By far the best group of kids for long term stick to it were the Yacht Club kids who bought HF radios for their sailboats for Winlink Email, Weather Reports and Emergency Traffic...  They knew they needed to use it all the time so they stay active...

That said, I was singularly unsuccessful in getting my own 3 kids to become Hams...they grew up surrounded by electronics but had no interest whatsover....(except during the 2003 and 2007 San Diego Fires when my eldest son asked to borrow an HT in case they had to be evacuated) ....which is why I am working so hard on my Grandson....
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
The control operator has to be licensed (part 97.7). And Burt, in the case of piloting, the PIC has to be licensed for the weather they are flying in. Until I got my PPL I could not be PIC and when going for IFR, I could not be PIC under IFR conditions until I was endorsed / rated for IFR. I believe one has to be 15 to get a PPL.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
The control operator has to be licensed (part 97.7). And Burt, in the case of piloting, the PIC has to be licensed for the weather they are flying in. Until I got my PPL I could not be PIC and when going for IFR, I could not be PIC under IFR conditions until I was endorsed / rated for IFR. I believe one has to be 15 to get a PPL.
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1241 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
Jessica Dubroff, a 7-year-old student pilot from Pescadero, Calif., taking off on the second leg of an audacious quest to become the youngest person ever to complete a round-trip flight across the country, was killed early Thursday when her single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Cheyenne Airport
Photo of Bill N5TU

Bill N5TU

  • 50 Posts
  • 15 Reply Likes
That was years ago.  Bad WX ... never should have taken off!  (I lived in Laramie back then.)
Photo of DrTeeth

DrTeeth

  • 1687 Posts
  • 389 Reply Likes
@ 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.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
@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.
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
"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)
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
And Howard, that was a completely snarky thing to say. I expected you to stay above the fray. Very disappointing ;-)
Photo of Burt Fisher

Burt Fisher

  • 1241 Posts
  • 479 Reply Likes
They were criminally responsible, they got the death penalty. 
Photo of Steve K9ZW

Steve K9ZW, Elmer

  • 1525 Posts
  • 762 Reply Likes
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
Photo of Walt - KZ1F

Walt - KZ1F

  • 3040 Posts
  • 645 Reply Likes
Steve, I do actually download the docs so I have them locally, each with it's very own TOC hyperlinks.

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.