OT: A few ffmpeg queries

Jim web web at audiomisc.co.uk
Fri Sep 8 04:22:21 PDT 2017

Continuing OT:

In article <1f73afeb-dfec-001a-79a9-134a6593cdb7 at soulman1949.com>, Alan
Milewczyk <alan at soulman1949.com> wrote:
> Couldn't agree more, it's the big failing of the IT industry. Manuals
> detailing features are not what customers want, they require "how to"
> tutorials. 

One of the best sets of program manuals I know are the ones for the
"TechWriter" program I've used for about 25 years. (Sorry, only runs on

The main reason for this is that for many years it was produced by a
two-man team. One was a brilliant programmer. The other was clueless about
actual programming but ran the buisness side - and could write clear

The programmer would add features as requested, fix bugs, improve the GUI
etc. He' d then write a draft explanation for the non-programmer who try to
make sense of it and use any changed feaures, etc, as a plain user would.
If he felt the 'explanation', erm *didn't* explain, they'd bat the wording
back and forth until it did.

Know about this as because I got to know them both and I was used a 'guinea
pig' on occasion. They also ran an email list where users could chip in to
clarify, suggest things, and this was taken very seriously.

The result is for me a program I've gone on using, and has been a big help
to me.

The difficulty is that many programmers can't really put themselves into
the shoes of mere users. They know too much and forget that what they take
for granted may not be 'obvious'. And being able to write good 'C' isn't
the same as writing clear English.

I have a very high regard for ffmpeg and sox. Use them a lot as well. But
life would be much easier if they had decent *user* manuals with examples
and how-to's organised by task written in clear English. In the absence of
that we end up learning on the basis that manufacturing companies used to
call "Sitting next to Nellie". i.e. by observing or being told by someone
who has learned the specific 'how to' you need...  If you can find them.

End OT: :-)


Electronics  https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/intro/electron.htm
Armstrong Audio  http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/Armstrong/armstrong.html
biog http://jcgl.orpheusweb.co.uk/history/ups_and_downs.html
Audio Misc  http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/index.html

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