Yes, manuals are often good. I recent replaced the side-view mirrors on my car (don't ask -- it has to do the kids), and I found very good instruction online. I can't imagine how I would have been able to do it without the online help.
I agree, the forums are great for very specific problems that you want to know other users' experience with, like that new chip. They're especially good for electronics hardware and software. But for basic mechanical stuff, I prefer to find a manual.
Good point, Ann. Yet sometimes the forums come in handy. I bought a memory upgrade chip for my Toshiba laptop. As soon as I inserted it, the laptop started to crash. Of course, I thought I'd done something wrong. I went to the forums and found that everyone with this particular laptop was having the same problem with this particular memory upgrade. Who knows why they keep selling the upgrade. At any rate, it was the forums that validated my problem.
Last weekend I installed a new storm door. The instructions and diagrams made the process straightforward except for the step to mount the glass in the door frame. The diagram looked like one of M.C. Escher art prints where the crazy perspective makes you wonder which set of stairs goes in what direction. A video on the company's site let me see how to position a mounting rail on each side. Worked like a charm.
Rob, I've also found lots of info in the user forums, but it can take a long time of searching to find it. Usually, I'd much rather have the manual. William, thanks for that info on service people. Now it makes sense, although doesn't really ratchet down the annoyance value. I am boggled that people actually throw away papers they don't understand, or any papers that come with an appliance. I was taught to save and file everything.
Cutting a 12" square hole in the sheet metal is bound to have changed the noise damping. While we've all slammed appliance manufacturers here (myself included), they DO put some attention to noise attenuation. Such a change as described must have caused more noise than before?
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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