The Strangest Computer Manual Ever Written #VintageComputing @ironicsans

In the early 1980s, when the Apple II came out, a company called Franklin made a knock-off version of the same computer. It was a pretty blatant copy, which Apple wasn’t happy about, but the law wasn’t clear yet on whether operating systems could be protected by copyright. Apple eventually sued Franklin, and the court ruled that operating systems could in fact be protected. That put an end to Franklin computers.

But while Franklin’s computers may have been clones, the Franklin manuals were definitely original. They were more than just user-friendly. They were written with a lot of creativity and humor.

The manual for the Franklin Ace 100 begins with about 40 pages of computer basics: What are they and what can they do?

It’s a little late to bring it up now, but a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t buy a computer unless you know of at least two things that you can use it for BEFORE you buy it. Using the packing box as a planter for your petunias shouldn’t be one of the two uses.

That sort of thing. And then, on page 40, there is a chapter called “The Ancestral Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan.”

Read more in the wonderful article here.


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