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Need For Re-Documentation.

 
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dave93



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Posts: 34
Location: McLean, VA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:52 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Thanks to Guntis, some illogicalities in interface and the need for
revamped documentation come to attention again. It simply does not do
for Martin to publish a sheet of "shortcuts" as a summary of some of
AP's capabilities. That Martin is responsive to usage questions on a
piecemeal basis does not make up for the poor state of AP's basic
documentation.

These issues arise periodically on this forum. They die a silent
death. This is a significant issue to which Martin consistently
remains non-responsive.

Considering his personal apparently limited resources, let me make a
suggestion: A new-documentation "subscription" could be set up. Each
subscriber would send Martin, say, $5 or $10. This money would be used
by him to hire a professional to create an improved User Manual.
Subscribers would, then, be eligible to receive a downloadable manual.
(The "Take Control ..." series of manuals produced by Tidbits.com is
the loose model for this sort of thing.)

Clearly, a professionally devised manual is needed. If Martin doesn't
have the time, resources, or manual-writing expertise to carry it out
then a new approach is called for.

I wonder if anyone else (including Martin) sees this as a possible
solution.


Dave





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Martin Hairer
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:00 am    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Hi Dave,

Quote:
Considering his personal apparently limited resources, let me make a
suggestion: A new-documentation "subscription" could be set up. Each
subscriber would send Martin, say, $5 or $10. This money would be
used by him to hire a professional to create an improved User Manual.

Hmmm.... Are there really thousand users out there who would be
willing to spend ten bucks on that? Not sure about that. But
seriously, the problem isn't so much about resources, but more about
finding someone really competent that I could trust not to botch the
job. The topic regularly comes up on the macsb discussion list and I
have yet to see good recommendations.

Recommendations for web hosts, icon designers, web designers abund.
But *good* technical writers seem to be hard to come by. Seriously,
how many software user's manuals do you see out there that are
actually *good*? (Manuals commissioned by companies with seven digits
turnovers don't count and manuals for one-poney tricks where you can
summarise all the features in two pages don't count either, that's
just comparing apples and oranges.)

I could try to persuade someone to actually publish a proper hardcopy
manual (like for GraphicConverter), so that it would be partially self-
financed and a project that the person would take to heart. However,
in order to be worthwile it would have to be someone good (Matt
Neuburg comes to mind; he is a regular Amadeus Pro user), the audience
might be just a bit too small for that. Well, I suppose it doesn't
hurt to ask him, but I wouldn't place high hopes on that...

The points regarding the key shortcuts are taken; I'll add them to the
manual. Regards,

Martin

HairerSoft
http://www.hairersoft.com/


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dave393



Joined: 11 Nov 2006
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martin, I've done a bit of searching re finding competent user manual writers. They're out there! The ones whose capabilities, perhaps reasonable ambitions, and whose work I know all are affiliated with Tidbits and run their own businesses as well.

You might want to contact these writers:

Mark H Anbinder (Ithaca, N.Y., mha@14850.com, http://mha.14850.com, (607) 255-8634)

Jeff Carlson (Seattle, WA, http://jeffcarlson.typepad.com, jeff@necoffee.com

Joe Kissell (Paris, http://itotd.com, 1-503-616-2687

Matt Neuburg ... yes, him (matt@tidbits.com, www.tidbits.com/matt)


Adam and Tonya Engst (Ithaca, N.Y.) run Tidbits and its Take Control ebooks operation. Perhaps talking with them about logistics, etc. could be enlightening. (Tidbits: http://db.tidbits.com ... Take Control ebooks: www.takecontrolbooks.com) You'll also find profiles of each author on the Tidbits website (under "Staff") and more about them on their personal web sites/blogs.

Martin, as to your question about your market. The only honest answer is I don't know. An assessment would have to begin by contacting Amadeus purchasers (I assume you've a complete email file), broadly sketching the sort of User Manual being planned, and asking them for their interest in becoming a subscriber. (If you'd like, I'd be happy to contribute some thoughts about the wording of this prospecting email. Before retirement, I ran a company dealing with in-depth market research.)

I think, from the vantage point of this early stage, that the project seems quite do-able. New documentation is sorely needed. Here is a way to begin.

Are you interested?


Dave
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Lou Kash



Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone who was new to Amadeus last year, basically I found the current manual to be well written and informative, particularly compared to my other favorite audio editor. But then again, I'm definitely no audio rookie, so for most parts I have figured it out very quickly.

That said, the manual desperately needs an update on many of the recent small hidden improvements, keyboard shortcuts, etc. Not all users are likely following this forum to be up to date with every obscure feature request. :) And it needs to be checked if any "obvious" information isn't missing. (For instance, how to change the sampling rate of a file...)
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ssawczyn



Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 22
Location: Augusta, ME USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:03 am    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Another idea might be to leave the manual as it is, with updates from
time-to-time and in addition, create a WIKI to which users could
contribute sections, tutorials, etc... This WIKI could potentially be
used as a source for future manual versions and excepting a little bit
of time, it wouldn't take hardly any resources at all to get up and
running. Personally, I'd love to contribute a section on using
Amadeus Pro with VoiceOver, especially as many blind users are curious
how to get things working properly. Sure, that's a bit of a unique
topic, but that's the nice thing about WIKIS, even obscure topics can
get well documented.

Just a thought,

Steve

On Apr 10, 2009, at 9:00 PM, Martin Hairer wrote:

Hi Dave,

Quote:
Considering his personal apparently limited resources, let me make a
suggestion: A new-documentation "subscription" could be set up. Each
subscriber would send Martin, say, $5 or $10. This money would be
used by him to hire a professional to create an improved User Manual.

Hmmm.... Are there really thousand users out there who would be
willing to spend ten bucks on that? Not sure about that. But
seriously, the problem isn't so much about resources, but more about
finding someone really competent that I could trust not to botch the
job. The topic regularly comes up on the macsb discussion list and I
have yet to see good recommendations.

Recommendations for web hosts, icon designers, web designers abund.
But *good* technical writers seem to be hard to come by. Seriously,
how many software user's manuals do you see out there that are
actually *good*? (Manuals commissioned by companies with seven digits
turnovers don't count and manuals for one-poney tricks where you can
summarise all the features in two pages don't count either, that's
just comparing apples and oranges.)

I could try to persuade someone to actually publish a proper hardcopy
manual (like for GraphicConverter), so that it would be partially self-
financed and a project that the person would take to heart. However,
in order to be worthwile it would have to be someone good (Matt
Neuburg comes to mind; he is a regular Amadeus Pro user), the audience
might be just a bit too small for that. Well, I suppose it doesn't
hurt to ask him, but I wouldn't place high hopes on that...

The points regarding the key shortcuts are taken; I'll add them to the
manual. Regards,

Martin

HairerSoft
http://www.hairersoft.com/


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Martin Hairer
Site Admin


Joined: 08 Nov 2006
Posts: 1612

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:15 am    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Hi Steve,

Quote:
Another idea might be to leave the manual as it is, with updates
from time-to-time and in addition, create a WIKI to which users
could contribute sections, tutorials, etc... This WIKI could
potentially be used as a source for future manual versions and
excepting a little bit of time, it wouldn't take hardly any
resources at all to get up and running. Personally, I'd love to
contribute a section on using Amadeus Pro with VoiceOver, especially
as many blind users are curious how to get things working properly.
Sure, that's a bit of a unique topic, but that's the nice thing
about WIKIS, even obscure topics can get well documented.

That sounds like an excellent idea, I'll have a look into it. In the
meantime, I will also expand the manual a bit to make it more
complete. Regards,

Martin

HairerSoft
http://www.hairersoft.com/


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Gerard Bik



Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 353

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:58 am    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Great thinking Steve!

It could be like an accessible summary of the forum.
And many highly specialized uses of APro could be documented by the experts themselves.

regards

Quote:
Another idea might be to leave the manual as it is, with updates from time-to-time and in addition, create a WIKI to which users could contribute sections, tutorials, etc... This WIKI could potentially be used as a source for future manual versions and excepting a little bit of time, it wouldn't take hardly any resources at all to get up and running. Personally, I'd love to contribute a section on using Amadeus Pro with VoiceOver, especially as many blind users are curious how to get things working properly. Sure, that's a bit of a unique topic, but that's the nice thing about WIKIS, even obscure topics can get well documented.

Just a thought,

Steve

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:42 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Quote:
Adam and Tonya Engst (Ithaca, N.Y.) run Tidbits and its Take Control
ebooks operation. Perhaps talking with them about logistics, etc.
could be enlightening. (Tidbits: http://db.tidbits.com ... Take
Control ebooks: www.takecontrolbooks.com) You'll also find profiles
of each author on the Tidbits website (under "Staff") and more about
them on their personal web sites/blogs.

OK, I'll have a look into this, thanks for taking the trouble to research
this. Maybe I'll just contact Matt and ask him what he thinks about it...

Quote:
Martin, as to your question about your market. The only honest
answer is I don't know. An assessment would have to begin by
contacting Amadeus purchasers (I assume you've a complete email file)

I do indeed have a complete list of user's email addresses, but doing
this would put me foul of anti-spam legislation (I don't try to trick
customers into agreeing to be contacted for marketing purposes --
mainly because I hate it when other companies do this to me -- and I
therefore have no right to do so) and probably have my ISP banning me
from internet access, which is definitely not something that I would
like to risk Wink Regards,

Martin

HairerSoft
http://www.hairersoft.com/


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Gerard Bik



Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 353

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:53 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Quote:
And incidentally, on the topic of using Amadeus with the keyboard, if I'm working with a long file, is there any way that I can go to a specific time in a file quickly? In SoundForge under Windows, I could hit control G, and enter the time I wanted to go to in the file.

The Selection window maybe?

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dave393



Joined: 11 Nov 2006
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation Reply with quote

Martin,

I don't know why, but you seem to see obstacles at every turn to professionally re-doing the User Manual.

Your first concern was that there are no good professional writers to carry out the project. Well, what about the four I mentioned in my earlier posting? And those took me only a few minutes to find. If none turn out to be what you're after, I think each would be able to provide still other names. The people are out there. All you have to do is to make some contacts. What's the problem now?

As a second line of defense, you say that there is a possibility that there may not be enough interest. How many Amadeus users would be interested in shelling out $5 or $10 for a professionally done manual? (Tidbits, as I'd previously mentioned, have a successful series of "Take Control" manuals run on just such a basis.) In your case, you could get a preliminary reading by surveying Amadeus purchasers; I suggested emailing them to get their response to the idea. At low cost and with minimal effort, you'd be able to judge the likely magnitude of receptivity. What would be wrong with this?

But, then, still another objection occurs to you: that it would be at least unethical if not illegal to bother your purchasers. In your most recent objection, you say:

Quote:
I do indeed have a complete list of user's email addresses, but doing
this would put me foul of anti-spam legislation (I don't try to trick
customers into agreeing to be contacted for marketing purposes --
mainly because I hate it when other companies do this to me -- and I
therefore have no right to do so) and probably have my ISP banning me
from internet access, which is definitely not something that I would
like to risk.


Haven't you ever received unsolicited emails from companies whose software you had purchased? Announcements trying to get you to update your software as well as promotions for entirely new programs that are being offered by the same company? These contacts are widely practiced and standard ways of doing business. I can't count the number of these I routinely get. Don't you also get them? How is this trying to "trick customers"? And, why would asking Amadeus purchasers for their interest in buying a professional manual be "tricking" them?

I just don't know where you're coming from. You find objections to raise each step of the way. Despite past calls for a real, professional manual, nothing has been done all this time. I ask myself: Why is Martin so reluctant to have a lucid, comprehensive, useful User's Manual produced? It seems against your own self-interest as well as against the interest of present and future Amadeus users.

Come on, Martin. Why are you really resistant to the idea?

Dave
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CDJonah_alt



Joined: 15 Mar 2007
Posts: 378

PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:21 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

I suspect Martin is right that there would be little demand -- most of
us have already learned what could be learned from a professional manual
writer. Basically, it is knowing what you want/need to do to get the
effect one wants that the majority of the user base would like, which is
something that a professional manual writer would not know unless he/she
is also a (semi)professional sound person.

I think the Wiki idea is an excellent one -- I would be willing to
contribute to that (and hopefully learn from it also).

But basically AII/AP are relatively simple programs -- it is the process
of sound editing that is difficult and solutions often depend on your
particular taste.

Chuck

dave393 wrote:
Quote:
Martin,

I don't know why, but you seem to see obstacles at every turn to professionally re-doing the User Manual.

Your first concern was that there are no good professional writers to carry out the project. Well, what about the four I mentioned in my earlier posting? And those took me only a few minutes to find. If none turn out to be what you're after, I think each would be able to provide still other names. The people are out there. All you have to do is to make some contacts. What's the problem now?

As a second line of defense, you say that there is a possibility that there may not be enough interest. How many Amadeus users would be interested in shelling out $5 or $10 for a professionally done manual? (Tidbits, as I'd previously mentioned, have a successful series of "Take Control" manuals run on just such a basis.) In your case, you could get a preliminary reading by surveying Amadeus purchasers; I suggested emailing them to get their response to the idea. At low cost and with minimal effort, you'd be able to judge the likely magnitude of receptivity. What would be wrong with this?

But, then, still another objection occurs to you: that it would be at least unethical if not illegal to bother your purchasers. In your most recent objection, you say:



Quote:
I do indeed have a complete list of user's email addresses, but doing
this would put me foul of anti-spam legislation (I don't try to trick
customers into agreeing to be contacted for marketing purposes --
mainly because I hate it when other companies do this to me -- and I
therefore have no right to do so) and probably have my ISP banning me
from internet access, which is definitely not something that I would
like to risk.



Haven't you ever received unsolicited emails from companies whose software you had purchased? Announcements trying to get you to update your software as well as promotions for entirely new programs that are being offered by the same company? These contacts are widely practiced and standard ways of doing business. I can't count the number of these I routinely get. Don't you also get them? How is this trying to "trick customers"? And, why would asking Amadeus purchasers for their interest in buying a professional manual be "tricking" them?

I just don't know where you're coming from. You find objections to raise each step of the way. Despite past calls for a real, professional manual, nothing has been done all this time. I ask myself: Why is Martin so reluctant to have a lucid, comprehensive, useful User's Manual produced? It seems against your own self-interest as well as against the interest of present and future Amadeus users.

Come on, Martin. Why are you really resistant to the idea?

Dave




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Martin Hairer
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:08 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

Dear Dave,

Quote:
Haven't you ever received unsolicited emails from companies whose
software you had purchased?

Unfortunately I have; usually I rather wish I hadn't.

Quote:
And, why would asking Amadeus purchasers for their interest in
buying a professional manual be "tricking" them?

It is generally considered as bad practice (I certainly consider it as
such and I know that I am not alone by far) to contact people without
their prior consent. Since I do not ask for this consent when a user
purchases Amadeus Pro, I do not consider myself entitled to contact
customers without them contacting me first.

Before I implemented the automatic version checking system, I used to
send out short notes to customers notifying them when a new version
was available. The emails were short, plain text and purely
informational, but as the customer base grew, I nevertheless got back
several very nasty replies, prompting me to switch to the current
system. (Which I believe is much better anyway.)

The "tricking" part of my sentence was referring to the commonly seen
practice of providing an "opt-out" option for marketing emails that is
purposedly hidden in a place where it can easily be overlooked, so
that more customers "consent" to being contacted.

Quote:
Come on, Martin. Why are you really resistant to the idea?

At the end of the day, I am just not convinced that it would an
efficient use of my time and resources. Only very few of the customer
requests that I receive daily could be dealt with by having a more
comprehensive documentation. As Chuck suspected, many of them concern
basic concepts of sound editing which really don't have anything to do
with Amadeus Pro in particular and would require a general book on
sound editing instead.

Those questions that could in theory be answered by a more
comprehensive manual are often so specific and technical in nature
that very few people would profit from having them explained in the
manual, and less technically enclined users would just get scared
away. As an example, I was asked a couple of days ago whether the Mp3
encoder used by Amadeus Pro creates a valid Xing tag when variable
bitrate encoding is used... (For the record, the answer is Yes.)

This being said, I perfectly agree that changing the sampling rate of
a sound is a basic feature that should be explained in the
documentation. I have added this and a few other basic facts along the
same lines to the version of the manual at <http://www.hairersoft.com/manual.pdf
Quote:
. If you or anyone else has further suggestions of features that
should be added to the manual, I would be very happy to do so (within
reasonable limits). Regards,

Martin

HairerSoft
http://www.hairersoft.com/


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ssawczyn



Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 22
Location: Augusta, ME USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

I don't know of any way to jump within a file to a specific time. The
only possibility that comes to mind would maybe be to set a marker at
that time and then jump to the marker. Definitely inconvenient,
assuming it's doable at all.

Steve

On Apr 12, 2009, at 2:32 PM, Dan Eickmeier wrote:

Well said Steve, that's what I'd like to see, information on using
Amadeus from the prospective of somebody using Voiceover. And
incidentally, on the topic of using Amadeus with the keyboard, if I'm
working with a long file, is there any way that I can go to a specific
time in a file quickly? In SoundForge under Windows, I could hit
control G, and enter the time I wanted to go to in the file.
On Apr 12, 2009, at 1:57 AM, Gerard Bik wrote:

Great thinking Steve!

It could be like an accessible summary of the forum.
And many highly specialized uses of APro could be documented by the
experts themselves.

regards

Quote:
Another idea might be to leave the manual as it is, with updates
from time-to-time and in addition, create a WIKI to which users
could contribute sections, tutorials, etc... This WIKI could
potentially be used as a source for future manual versions and
excepting a little bit of time, it wouldn't take hardly any
resources at all to get up and running. Personally, I'd love to
contribute a section on using Amadeus Pro with VoiceOver, especially
as many blind users are curious how to get things working properly.
Sure, that's a bit of a unique topic, but that's the nice thing
about WIKIS, even obscure topics can get well documented.

Just a thought,

Steve

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ssawczyn



Joined: 24 Mar 2008
Posts: 22
Location: Augusta, ME USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Need For Re-Documentation. Reply with quote

It's interesting to me how upset you seem to be at the lack of a
professional user manual, especially given that the manual included
seems pretty darned good to me. Let's face it, we have a great
program with tons of great features for a fraction of the price we'd
pay for something similar on other platforms. We have a great
supportive community with direct developer involvement, another thing
sadly missing from numerous other applications. Sure, there are
things I'd like to see differently described in the user manual, but
I'm not apt to recommend Amadeus Pro any less because of how it is.
Come to think of it, Amadeus is the only program I own which regularly
updates its manual. To Martin, I'd suggest looking into the
possibility of having someone develop a manual, but wouldn't stress
out over it. After all, you're producing a great program, providing
support to those who need it and are selling all this at an incredibly
affordable price. To Dave, I'm not really sure what to say except
it's a shame this conversation seems to have deteriorated to more of a
personal attack on Martin VS improving the manual.
and Martin VS a constructive thread concerning improvements to the
user manual, a definite shame.

Steve



On Apr 13, 2009, at 12:02 PM, dave393 wrote:

Martin,

I don't know why, but you seem to see obstacles at every turn to
professionally re-doing the User Manual.

Your first concern was that there are no good professional writers to
carry out the project. Well, what about the four I mentioned in my
earlier posting? And those took me only a few minutes to find. If none
turn out to be what you're after, I think each would be able to
provide still other names. The people are out there. All you have to
do is to make some contacts. What's the problem now?

As a second line of defense, you say that there is a possibility that
there may not be enough interest. How many Amadeus users would be
interested in shelling out $5 or $10 for a professionally done
manual? (Tidbits, as I'd previously mentioned, have a successful
series of "Take Control" manuals run on just such a basis.) In your
case, you could get a preliminary reading by surveying Amadeus
purchasers; I suggested emailing them to get their response to the
idea. At low cost and with minimal effort, you'd be able to judge the
likely magnitude of receptivity. What would be wrong with this?

But, then, still another objection occurs to you: that it would be at
least unethical if not illegal to bother your purchasers. In your most
recent objection, you say:


Quote:
I do indeed have a complete list of user's email addresses, but doing
this would put me foul of anti-spam legislation (I don't try to trick
customers into agreeing to be contacted for marketing purposes --
mainly because I hate it when other companies do this to me -- and I
therefore have no right to do so) and probably have my ISP banning me
from internet access, which is definitely not something that I would
like to risk.


Haven't you ever received unsolicited emails from companies whose
software you had purchased? Announcements trying to get you to update
your software as well as promotions for entirely new programs that are
being offered by the same company? These contacts are widely practiced
and standard ways of doing business. I can't count the number of these
I routinely get. Don't you also get them? How is this trying to "trick
customers"? And, why would asking Amadeus purchasers for their
interest in buying a professional manual be "tricking" them?

I just don't know where you're coming from. You find objections to
raise each step of the way. Despite past calls for a real,
professional manual, nothing has been done all this time. I ask
myself: Why is Martin so reluctant to have a lucid, comprehensive,
useful User's Manual produced? It seems against your own self-interest
as well as against the interest of present and future Amadeus users.

Come on, Martin. Why are you really resistant to the idea?

Dave




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