TMG-L Archives

Archiver > TMG > 2001-01 > 0979578701

From: Bob Geldart <>
Subject: Re: [TMG] TMG Manual
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 12:11:41 -0500
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For what it's worth, my own two cents....

I'm a database developer (over the years in RBase, FoxPro, now Access, also
dealing with spreadsheets and other software). Most of the software came
with some sort of "manual", some good, some worthless. In most cases I
headed to my nearby MegaBookStore and picked up a good after-market book
(Que, Wrox, etc) for $40-$60. Usually there was a good selection to choose
from, at least a handful or more.

But I must say that, out of the hundreds of dollars spent on these
after-market books, only a couple stand out as really being worth the
money. Most of the needed information was to be found in the original
documentation or in the online Help file. It's just that the after-market
books presented the information in more detail, or more logically, or
simply spent more time on the subject. (In some cases it seemed as though
the book was priced on number of pages rather than meaningful content.)
Most technicians -- software programmers, hardware designers, etc -- are
notorious for being poor at communicating well in documentation, in spite
of being really good. (Even technical people like myself -- rightly or
wrongly -- feel this is true, and we pay for the after-market books.)

Now, most of my learning software applications has come from learning a
basic function, and then PRACTICE, practice, practice, fine tune it, and
practice some more. The basic learning may come from the manual, the
after-market product, or another person. But the practice is what drives
home the understanding. Most of my basic understanding of a function has
come from the online Help, or perhaps an after-market book. But today, when
I'm stuck, I use email lists like TMG-L, because they provide a number of
different thoughts, and their immediacy allows for change that static books
don't allow. Someone in Byte magazine 10+ years ago advised that among the
best ways to learn something are: forget books, use magazines because they
are more up to date; and find one knowledgeable person and make him/her
your mentor. This list provides those functions.

Now to wrap up this rambling and make a few points:
1. No one is likely to spend the resources in writing a good after-market
book unless sure of getting a good return on that effort and investment.
2. Wholly Genes is unlikely to produce the kind of manual that some seem to
be asking for -- adequate, yes, but not the after-market kind that would
answer every question and would take one through every possible question.
This requires additional resources, and logically would seem to ask higher
costs for the product.
3. Books are static, and may be quickly outdated with each patch, update,
or change of thought.
4. Email lists are the online equivalent of workgroups used in most good
successful companies today.
5. Understand what you want to do with genealogy -- TMG is a tool in that
field, but if you don't understand what genealogy is, or the way it is
organized or what you want to do in it, you will have a hard time using the
tools or even understanding what tools are required.

My recommendation to Wholly Genes: Produce a good product with an adequate
manual (updated for v. 5), and good follow-up support. I'll be able to find
the answers I need.

I think that's enough. Sorry for the rambling, guess it's more of two-bits
worth now....


Bob Geldart
Maynard, MA

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