July 10, 2003

Manual Thoughts

I was looking at a Javascript reference on my desk and it occurred to me that books can evoke feelings. An effect occurs just when you look at them.

Most fiction and nonfiction books evoke a feeling of anticipation before they are read, and then afterward (depending on how good the book was) a fond feeling of remembrance.

But computer manuals are different. Fairly new manuals (and I'm mostly talking about language tutorials and technology references) evoke a feeling of excitement which is tied to all the possibilities of what can be done with them. Even after they have been read, just looking at such a manual's cover can sometimes get your brain going. However, once the manual becomes obsolete, looking at the book is almost like looking at a hole where a book used to be. I had a bunch of really old Excel manuals, for example, and I couldn't believe how easy they were to dispose of. I have the same "nothing" feeling when I look at an ancient copy of "Java In A Nutshell" that has long since passed into uselessness.

No other books that I have can go from feeling so valuable to being nonentities so quickly.

Posted by James at July 10, 2003 9:57 AM
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Obviously you have never read any of my gripping software manuals. The FAST Account Sales User Guide was a real page-turner.

Posted by: julie at July 11, 2003 12:13 PM

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