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16439Re: [midatlanticretro] They Don't Make Computer Manuals Like They Used To

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  • B Degnan
    Mar 7, 2010
      One of the best ways to document beyond a manual is to create a well-written web page that is facing the public internet on the subject.   There are a few groups collecting every page on the public facing internet, helping insure that this and all information is preserved.

        Bob Applegate wrote:
      Since this is of personal interest to me, keep in mind that there is documentation and then there are the things that went on behind the scenes.  Docs are important, but a lot of the docs have stuff that nobody notices until the "inside story" gets told, as was the case with the web page that started this whole discussion.  I can probably find copies of the Franklin ACE-1000 documentation at a number of computer museums, but how many curators know what all the pictures mean?  100 years from now there will still be vintage computers sitting in collections along with the docs, but little of the history or inside stories.  Believe me, a LOT of interesting things went on at the time that never got documented :)

      I remember one of the first episodes of Futurama when Fry and Leela go to the moon and watch a stage presentation about the early space program, none of which is told correctly.  Is the same fate awaiting the early days of personal computers?  Only Microsoft, IBM and Apple will have any legacy?


      On Mar 7, 2010, at 1:40 PM, Jim Scheef wrote:


      So can we do a better job of collecting documentation? (rhetorical question) The fact that Bitsavers has so much is no excuse for us to not make every effort to collect and preserve original copies of manuals. Such a library should make the museum a destination for historians and collectors to do research. Plug and Play was the worst thing that ever happened to documentation. Manufacturers think they can just say "plug it in and it will work" and when it does, everyone is happy. But when it doesn't, there to no way to debug.


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