what ever happened to quick start guides?

This week, I bought a Canon Elura 100. I figure that once we’ve got a screaming baby, we’ll want to take lots of video, so that when we have a screaming teenager, we can embarass him or her in front of his friends. When I unpacked the camera (which is absolutely tiny), I found lots of little scraps of paper. There was a registration card; a leaflet suggesting, in eleven different languages, that only Canon accessories should be used; a pamphlet explaining how to install the Windows-based video software; a blue-on-white page explaining, in fourteen different languages, how to clean the tape heads; and a 366 page manual, containing 133 pages in each of three languages.

There was no quick start guide. This thing is clearly way more complicated than almost any other bit of electronics I’ve bought in the past few years, and I was stuck reading the manual, starting with Chapter 1: Preparation, a ten page, nine-step process of fine black print on thin pages.

I just wanted a big glossy no-language all-infoglyphics page showing me how to plug it in and start doing any one activity that would show me that things were working. Is that too much? I guess they couldn’t do that, since they didn’t ship it with a memory card or tape for taking pictures or video.

Oh well. Now that I’ve got it mostly figured out, I’m hoping to start making some movies of our guinea pigs doing guinea pig things. I get the impression that it’s what the internet is really interested in.

Written on December 3, 2006