Service Manuals, User Manuals, Schematics, Vintage electronics - by Stout & Associates

Service Manuals, Schematics, User Owner Operating Instruction Manuals, DIY Electronics Repair Info, Brochures, Vintage Audio, Classic Audio & Newer. Consumer Electronics, Pro Audio, Musical Instruments & More!

About Us Section - Announcements
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Current Announcements

The Wayback Machine
Previous announcement pages. (Can't be wayback enough to suit me. Maybe it will be funny 20 years from now.)

First Half 2005
Last 2004
August 2004
July 2004
Rest  of June 2004
The Email Hell Post
(from early summer 2004)
The Quagmire Collection
(The Beginning - 12/2002 through 9/2003 - Excuses, Requests for Pity, Attempts to Inform, Our Cataloging and email quagmire... retained here for your amusement at our expense. Go ahead, laugh your head off...)

Announcements - Collection of Old Pages (Quagmire)
If you arrived here by an internet search, you should go to some of the other selections of our About Us section for more updated information. Return to this page if you need some humor in your life and enjoy reading about the troubles of others... (Just joking...)

This business just kind of happened 'to us' without our really planning it. Essentially, we were just going along our merry way selling on eBay (much easier) and expecting the best that life has to offer. Then it happened. We created and posted the first lists of manuals on it in December of 2002. It was just a paltry few thousand, but after the search engines indexed it, all hell begin to break loose. We were not prepared for the onslaught of emails that began pouring in. Then a 'bunch' of other things happened that threw us into a state of constant 'hectic' activity such that it seemed impossible to get fully caught up and current. Well, that's the short story... details and much more in the following 6 old postings. It seems the term, *growing pains* was aptly named cause it doesn't feel real good to experience it.

Collection of Old Pages - Table of Contents
Note To Customers - December 2002
Database Corruptions (Loss) - February 2003
Short Story of Winter/Spring 2003 - Mid-Spring 2003
Newsflash (40,000 New Manuals) - April 2003
Email Delays in 2003 (Email Auto-Responder Message in 2nd half of 2003)
Chronological Current Events covering December 2002 - September 2003 - Growing Pains (Originally Posted December 2002)
NOTE TO CUSTOMERS 12-26-2002 - In the spring of 2001, we started what we thought was going to be a casual part-time business selling high quality reproduction manuals on eBay. Shortly thereafter we acquired an extensive library of Pioneer manuals and made the mistake of letting it be known. Though not setup or prepared to make every item available, we faithfully honored every manual request we could.

We refused to just take a manual and copy it, instead doing a complete disassembly, detailed cleanup and preparation of the original for best efforts quality. Thinking it not wise to make that time consuming effort to just make one, we made 5, 10 or 20 so future customer requests could be shipped immediately. So over the first few months we made sales stock for lots of manuals while not having time to properly organize and in many cases even complete assembly of the all the new reproductions. This was repeated for hundreds of items and caused us significant problems... Working ourselves silly! Never being caught up! A logistical nightmare! All available space being stacked up with 1000's of manuals in various states of completion.

In the fall of 2001 we realized that a website was becoming a necessity. So in November our first efforts to produce a webpage, then an entire site began. A month later the resulting site was brought online but with no lists of the actual products we have. Because of never having enough time, it took one year to get sufficiently organized and prepared to post accurate lists of our then available items.

Beginning in early November, 2002, we began a huge effort to get everything completely organized and cataloged while continuing to run the business and honor all requests. We also began and are continuing to work on a remodeling project that when completed should result in a 2 - 5 times increase in efficiency. Then our full attention will be focused on totally completing the website so it will be very informative, easy to use, and help to eliminate the hours spent each day sending the same information to customers via emails.
At the same time we were beginning this massive reorganization project, some other unexpected events occurred that had an impact on our time. One was that an unanticipated surgery was required for one of our daughters. Another was that a internet thief broke into our financial records and attempted to send all our money overseas.

Little by little all these factors contributed to us running behind on shipping some orders that required new production runs. Even worse was for those manuals that we had never produced before. That is because of the initial preparation time to make the originals ready to use. In the first half of December we were running a week behind in answering some particular emails. Then we discovered a few customer shipping invoices had been misplaced and hence never shipped. Eventually we had accumulated a backlog of orders that were not shipped. We were putting in 20 hour days but it seemed as if the backlog could not be reduced and in fact seemed to be growing.

Christmas day was the first real break in over four weeks. We expect to have our backlog eliminated within the next 2 - 3 days. Most of these growing pains have had no affect on the vast majority of our customers as probably 80% to 90% of orders were shipped within  1 - 2 days. We sincerely offer our apology to the few customers whose orders where among some that were very seriously delayed. Once the reorganization project got underway, there was no turning back and it had to be completed... otherwise we could not function at all.
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Note for Customers - Database Corruption (Originally Posted February 2003)
2-9-2003 This note is primarily for those affected by this current problem to read instead of me sending the same information in a ton of emails. However, it will remain here for a long time so others can see the kinds of problems small businesses experience sometimes regardless of our great intentions.

As briefly explained on the regular Notice Page (link removed), we recently experienced a computer hardware failure. Upon repair, we discovered some serious problems with our business database file. This database contains all our sales records, all customer records, all manuals information and all pricing information. So being unable to work with the database essentially shut us down. Panic time!!

We sent the database file to an emergency repair service to see if it could be recovered. After a few hours and a bunch of money, we had the file back. The repaired file could now be opened, examined and manipulated with MS Access so we thought everything was dandy. I emailed about 200 folks and told them I would now begin to catch up and respond to their messages and begin processing business again.

However, when I began to use our business software program that actually controls the database file, I discovered it was unusable, non-functional.... broke. A year previous, I taught myself how to code a webpage, now it was time to learn about the internals of a database file. What I learned is that although the data recovery service had taken my money and restored access to the file, the internal table's properties were destroyed. I spent more than twenty hours non-stop in editing data before discovering it was probably a waste of time.

I have tried every kind of fix I have been able to imagine so far. That included exporting the date from the recovered file into a new empty database file. That didn't work. I tried linking, merging, etc. I tried exporting to comma delimited files and importing back to the database. That didn't work. Not to bore you... I tried a bunch of things.... to no avail.

I finally discovered that the ID numbers in several internal tables were not set as *Auto-numbering* and could find no way to turn it back on. I finally hit upon the idea of creating a new auto-numbering field beside the non-working one. I figured I could use that as a basis to manually renumber all the data in each of the related tables. After working on this for most of a day, I figured it was going to take many, many full days to manually renumber thousands and thousands of records.

So.... as of tonight, I'm going to revert to an old but working file that is not up to date but should allow business processes to begin. This file also has some problems but I hope it will remain functional until a permanent solution is reached. I'm thinking that will entail all spare time for months being spent in manually retyping all of our business records into a new empty data file.

Pray my software developer or the data recovery service has some better solution.

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The Short Story about the Winter/Spring 2003 (Originally Posted Mid-spring 2003)
Around the beginning of 2003, we began experiencing serious growing pains plus many unexpected problems. Most site visitors and customers received the great customer service we have been noted for and were not even aware of our difficulties. But some did not receive great service. Some received poor service. And some basically received no service.

PLEASE accept our sincere apology if you were affected by unanswered emails, delayed responses and/or delayed receipt of your orders. We worked very hard (and continue to do so) to overcome issues noted below. We ask for your understanding and forgiveness but are always willing to do whatever it takes to make you happy as we guarantee satisfaction to our customers which includes quality products, timely communications, timely shipping, etc.

Beginning fall of 2002, we began many reorganization and remodeling projects designed to prepare for a much higher level of activity we expected to be generated by our presence on the web. We posted lists of our manuals on the website in late December 2002. Before we could complete the various projects, Google and other search engines indexed our site. Soon we began to receive *totally overwhelming* email volume. Many were from people who simply would not read the site pages. In a panic, we rewrote sections of the site to basically beg people to stop writing before reading. That did help a lot, but we continued to receive a very large volume of email while not being prepared to handle it.
Just as the very busiest time of our year began in early February, a 'series' of other things happened to interfere with the completion of reorganization projects and has hindered us in getting totally caught up. Examples are:   loss of our business database (item, customer records, etc.), computer failures, a blizzard and by far the worst of all... a totally overwhelming volume of email.
Most customers are not experiencing problems of any kind. But some are with slow communications, delayed or messed up orders, etc. Some of you are not very patient but the vast majority who have been affected have been and we really appreciate it. Up until this recent time, we have provided mostly excellent service and communications to just about everyone who contacted us. Even though working 20 hours per day or sometimes 2-3 days with little or no sleep, we continue to be behind and it seems that we can't get totally caught up. We remain unable to answer all emails that come it.... I'm very sorry!
Right in the midst of this, we were presented with an unexpected opportunity to acquire 37,500+ additional audio manuals (this turned out to be in excess of 40,000). This required a *major* change in our business plans. Somewhere along the line, we decided to concentrate on trying to answer current emails as much as possible (those that didn't require physical lookups to price, quality rate, etc.) and return to the neglected ones whenever time would allow. These past few months have been an *experience* to say the least...
The bottom line....
Words are cheap... but this the truth. I have since early February, been trying to act like I'm 22 instead of 52 by attempting to do the work of three people. That would read... working at something (3) 8-hour shifts per day with exhaustion crashes averaging about 3 hours per day. Needless to say, I haven't been successful. It just has not been humanly possible to keep up. I am hard at work to move our facilities, implement new plans, prepare to hire and train employees, PLUS integrate 37,500+ (6000 lbs) new audio service manuals.
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We Now Have In Excess of 45,000 Audio Literature Items (Originally Posted April 2003)
August 13, 2003 You can see additional information regarding this on our Current Events (link removed)page. It was updated just today.
June 10, 2003 The previous owner of these manuals maintained a database over the years and did a great job which is saving us thousands of hours of labor. He also tried over recent years to find a *computer expert* to get the data *out* of the very limited proprietary program it was locked in.

Well, I found a way to do it although it has been requiring a lot of manual editing and formatting. We are making huge progress and now have each of the company's manuals listed in a spreadsheet and are busy about preparing them for posting on our Manuals For Sale pages.

For now, be sure to look at the top of each company listing to see if there is a link to a *SECOND* company list. This will go to a page that lists every item we are suppose to have acquired for each company. That *second list* is computer sorted but not manually sorted (Rick's time-consuming but most accurate way). Assume that every model listed is a Service Manual unless it plainly says otherwise.

There is a small percentage of listed manuals that we may not actually have as the previous owner loaned a few out and they were never returned. We also may not be able to locate a few of them as we know there are some that are filed improperly.

April 20, 2003
We returned from a 1250 mile trip with approximately  *37,500* audio service manuals (6000 lbs). (NOTE: This later turned out to be in excess of 40,000) It is going to take awhile to integrate this number of manuals into our business and make them available. We plan to incorporate certain companies first, then as time allows, make the balance of them available. There are over 300 companies represented, about 100 with significant numbers and about 200 with only one or a few.

These are the ones with the most manuals:

Sony 7226 Fisher 1137 Akai 613
Pioneer 3513 Yamaha 997 Denon 550
Kenwood 3107 Hitachi 845 Teac 485
Aiwa 2547 Technics 794 Marantz 391
Sanyo 1573 Sansui 784 Onkyo 261
Panasonic 1473 Sharp 696 HH Scott 223
JVC 1348 Toshiba 684

Others with significant numbers include ADC, Adcom, Altec, Ampex, BIC, Blaupunkt, Bose, BSR, Crown, Dokorder, Dual, B&O, Garrard, Grundig, Harman Kardon, LKH, Luxman, McIntosh, NAD, Nakamichi, NEC, Optonica, Phase Linear, SAE, Sherwood, Tandberg, Tascam, Thorens, Wollensak, and many others.

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Delays in Responding to Email Requests in 2003
(Email auto-responder sent this to everyone - 2nd half 2003)
Our audio literature library is currently one of the largest in the world available for reprints. However, we are a relatively young business and have not had this huge number of manuals for a real long time. Hence, we are experiencing growing pains and as a result have not since early 2003 been able to respond to all requests for pricing, purchasing, etc. We posted this page to explain the situation.   PLEASE accept our sincere apology if you sent us a message and were seemingly ignored. You may have found this page by a link we sent you in auto-responder message or in our delayed reply to your original message. This page is our explanation.
We began selling just a handful of manuals on eBay in an very part-time fashion in the spring of 2001. Soon after, we had an opportunity to acquire a large number of Pioneer manuals. So we did and were steadily acquiring a variety of others. By the winter/spring of 2002, we had became probably the largest seller of audio manuals on eBay. Our auctions offerings were limited to a subset of our total library. Mostly we offered a few hundred Pioneer, Teac, Akai, and some miscellaneous ones. When someone would ask, we usually would provide other items from our library, but mostly sold the same items repeatedly on eBay.

We produced good quality products and shipped them quickly. Our eBay feedback was/is 99.9% positive. Most feedback comments on eBay says things like... "ok deal, quick shipping, as described", etc. Ours however, contained a lot of *high praise* with specific comments like... "better than expected, excellent items, great quality, unexpected good quality, better than old originals", etc. We did make good manuals but with growing experience, our products now are generally better than then.

Thinking we could expand our business somewhat, I (Rick) decided to learn how to build a website and do business with the non-eBay world. During the summer and fall of 2002 work continued on the cataloging of our other manuals, the website building and sales on eBay. Enough people were doing business with us directly so that we began winding down the eBay auctions. The first lists of manuals (just a few thousand) were published on the website in late December 2002 and we had about stopped running auctions on eBay.

The manuals descriptive information, pricing, etc. was not yet done but, at least the lists were on the site now. Feeling like I had *done good* so far, I assumed we could handle the *few additional* requests as they came in and would have time to complete the cataloging of our library and the website pricing, etc. as time allowed. But, I had no real idea regarding what was about to hit us.

As soon as Google and the other search engines crawled the website and indexed the pages, everything in our library was suddenly *available*. This was totally unlike on eBay were only what we were offering was available. We began to receive large numbers of emails. Requests for pricing and purchasing information poured in. People asked about manuals they found listed on our site and anything else they were looking for including refrigerator or washing machine manuals.

Frankly, we were not prepared to handle this onslaught of potential customers because we did not expect that much response. We didn't have the infrastructure, facilities or people in place and worst of all.... we didn't have all the necessary descriptive and pricing information for all manuals in our database.

Any manual that didn't already have the database entry required a physical lookup. We had to physically locate the manual, examine each page, count the pages, note how much cleanup/repair work would be required, decide if any page re-engineering would be required and how it would be done, decide in advance what quality the resultant reproduction would be, and assign a price to it.

If an order was placed, then of course, the manual would have to be completely disassembled, cleaned up and prepared for reproduction. Then a production run could be done. The 11" x 17" folded/trimmed pullout pages had to be attended to separately. When done, they could be inserted in their proper place in the manual. Sometimes, toner-based full-color covers needed to be produced which we do off premises. When all that was done, the final manual assembly could be completed and then shipped. As you can see, the first time a manual is sold is the toughest and most time consuming.

(Continued top of next column.)

Far more requests came in than we could handle so it was completely impossible to keep up. With each new day, we fell further and further behind. One of the first *defense things* we did was to rewrite the website to remove all the *just contact us* links that were scattered all over the place. In addition, the site menu on all pages was changed so that they redirected to a Frequently Asked Questions page.

At the bottom of the FAQ was/is a single contact link and a note asking people to at least say *User* or *Service* or both, instead of just saying "manual". The FAQ and contact link page was done to help stem the tide of folks who kept asking about things already answered on the website. Eventually we got an email auto-responder set up to at least let folks know we received their message, inform about the situation and warn that we might not be able to reply for some time.

Throughout the winter/spring of 2003, simply COULD NOT get caught up! 150 hour workweeks did not put a stop to the crushing workload. Those months were purely and simply a bad time for us, and one I hope never happens again. I almost forgot... we also had the loss of our business database (corrupted), computer failures and being trapped at home for a week by a blizzard thrown in the mix.

Much of our business seemed totally perfect to most customers and they didn't even know anything was wrong. But way too many experienced horrible service from us with delayed shipments, misplaced orders and a variety of other embarrassing mistakes had me wanting to go hide my head in the sand... forever......

That basic situation lasted till early summer when we were able to drop back to mere 100+ hour workweeks. Over those months, a ton of emails were never answered. Those from before the auto-responder was set up didn't even get an acknowledgment. Some that we could have easily answered were simply overlooked in the confusion.

A Current Events (link removed) page was put on the website to provide information about the situation and try to advise of what was going on here. If interested, you can read as much (or little) of that chronological accounting as you want. Several times we said that backlogged emails would soon be caught up. But something would happen and we couldn't complete them.

In the midst of that situation, we were presented an opportunity to acquire 3 *tons* of additional manuals... so we did! Since early summer, we have been working day/night to catalog one of the largest audio manuals collections in the world (approximately 50,000 - 60,000 items). These accurate lists will be posted in an easy to use manner on our website with descriptive information.

Our hope is that people will be able to purchase items much easier and that our email overload will dramatically reduce. It is our intention, our hope and our prayer to have this basically completed by Christmas of 2003. There is no guarantee that we will reach our goal. It may turn out that thousands of manuals will not get examined/priced, etc. until in inquiry comes in and it's possible that situation might exist for years to come with unpopular items.

We continue to produce (in general) the best overall quality manuals available anywhere. Not every single item, but we will usually stand ours up against those produced by anyone, anywhere. Witness this recent unsolicited testimonial posted on a popular audio website.

We are still a relatively young business struggling along in it's startup phase improving facilities, processes and people. As time passes, everything will get more and more efficient. Little by little, a few hundred here, a few hundred there, we are getting the descriptive information gathered for the items in our library. As we do, all inquires regarding those items are handled quickly... often in minutes, others a few hours, or perhaps one day.

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(Old) Current Events - (Reads Bottom to Top) (covers 12-2002 to 9-2003)
Current until removed
(7-2004 NOTE: This was on our site till just recently. With the current total rewrite of our website, we are in now in much better shape than a year ago. Some of these same problems still exist but are getting much better.)
Beginning early 2003 and continuing up to now... there is more email volume asking about manuals than we can reply to. I am REALLY SORRY! We are in a Catch-22 situation. The email volume is mostly because prices and descriptions aren't posted on the site. If we don't get that job finished, the email overload will continue. While laboring to complete the listings, the descriptions, the pricing... there just isn't enough time in the day (and night) to answer all the emails. If we want the email volume to reduce significantly so that we can get our life back, then we have to get the listings and pricing work done.

We have the description and pricing information in our database for a ton of popular manuals. For those, we can respond almost immediately. But we have thousands that are not already looked up and those all require a physical lookup that takes awhile to complete. THOUSANDS of these manuals are currently located at another property.

We are very aware that a number of you have written more than once and it looks like we don't care enough to reply. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is we care very much and are ashamed about the situation as it currently is. We are making good progress on this database job so that before long, the situation will correct itself and we can return to our previous *always excellent* communications. It is still my intention to make a reply to every single unanswered email as soon as possible.... regardless of how long ago it was.

09-14-2003 Man this seems like the never-ending job from hell.... examining, page counting, cataloging. We keep thinking that the email reply problem will finally be history, but it isn't yet. A new Current Events (link removed) page to explain the above. It will be referenced in our auto-responder message that gets sent to all that write and in our replies to requests that are delayed for any significant time.
08-13-2003 I haven't posted here for awhile. Briefly, some announcements and current happenings.
  • Bob Fitzgerald (one of the founders) of the FM Tuner Info site posted this terrific message on their Yahoo Groups discussion forum concerning the quality of manuals. We also posted it here on our site in case the Yahoo message ever disappears.
  • 8-10-2003 -The very popular website named as their preferred source for manuals and said the quality is the best they have seen.
  • The popular US Recording Media website links to our site and says this.. "We've received manuals from this company and they were clear, professionally bound and well worth the price."
  • After the fiasco of last winter/spring, this is great announcement for me personally. We continue to be on-schedule shipping paid orders with little or no delays.
  • MANY hundreds of hours of cataloging work is being completed.  20,000 - 30,000 additional items will be listed soon.
  • We have discovered a few hundred unexpected User Manuals and Sales Brochures tucked away in the files of our huge late-April acquisition.
  • BIG NEWS - We also discovered that we will be able to make several hundreds of additional User Manuals and/or Operating Instructions available from the content of certain companies service literature.
  • In addition to the two items above, we have decided to make SEVERAL THOUSAND *Mini* User Manuals available for certain products for which we don't have regular user manuals. These will contain brief information that identifies the controls and features necessary to properly operate the equipment. These will probably be a flat-rate charge of $6.00 including postage to anywhere in the world. More about this later on the regular manuals listing pages.
  • We still are having considerable difficulty in responding to a large number of folks inquiring about manuals that we do have but for which we have not done an initial examination for size, quality, pricing. Please accept our sincere apology. Very much hard work is being done to eliminate this problem.
  • FINALLY... In the past few days we have begun to implement some new methods of handling emails that require physical lookups for the many, many thousands of manuals that we have not previously examined and entered into our database. We came up with a method of sorting and transferring various email inquires among different computers including laptops to carry to two different locations where manuals are stored. This should allow us to begin addressing the large number of outstanding messages that we have not replied to previously. These unanswered emails have cost us a lot of sales and inconvenience to our customers and potential customers. This problem is not one of indifference... it's one of not being able to squeeze 2-3 weeks work into each week. It simply takes time to integrate 40,000 or more items. It's only been about 120 days since we got the huge number of manuals. I *hope* that by mid-fall accurate lists and a lot of pricing information will be online. At that time, we will revert to a *Please don't ask if its not listed policy.
06-30-2003 I have been *summoned* out of town by my dad to help with an emergency floor tile job in a school. I thought I gave up flooring work 20+ years ago. I WILL BE BASICALLY UNAVAILABLE FOR 2-3 DAYS EXCEPT FOR JUST A FEW HOURS IN THE EVENING.
6-27-2003 We have experienced a computer problem over the past approximately 24 hours which has caused us to not be able to process business or respond to emails. It appears to be ok now so we will get back to business. We have been plagued by a problem with our web hosting company the past few days. Our normal site access isn't working properly.
6-20-2003 Virtually all first time and stock replacement production and order shipping has been on a timely schedule recently and we hope that we never feel compelled to make public postings regarding delays ever again.
6-11-2003 Our web hosting company installed a new email system. Yesterday they moved all customers to the new system. In the process, two of our email addresses did not work for the better part of a day. I have restored and reset those accounts so that everything should be working ok now. If you sent email on the 10th or the early morning hours of the 11th, we may not have received it and probably never will. Please resend.
6-10-2003 Absorbing the late April acquisition (6000 lbs of new manuals) is proving to be *quite a large task*. We have been working day and night and it's about to pay off. See the 6-10-2003 update on the News Flash (link removed)page for more about this. We started today to post lists of the new manuals. The first ones listed are for Fisher with 1000's of Pioneer, Sansui, Akai, Teac and much more to follow very soon.

As much as I wish it was different, we still are unable to respond to all customer inquires about purchasing manuals. Even though late (or even extremely late), we still intend to respond to every single inquiry we received and did not respond to previously... just as fast as we can get to them.

The majority of folks who write experience NO DELAYS if we are able to supply the information from data already in our database. But some (not all) of those inquires that require physical lookup, page counts, descriptions, prices, etc. are experiencing delays. Regardless of effort expended, there just has not been enough time to do everything. Please accept my apologies for this. It hurts us in lost sales and probably causes those affected to think we don't care. This is not true and we're making huge efforts to get everything running smoothly including making all these new manuals available.

With only a few minor exceptions, most paid orders are now being shipped in a timely manner including most that require new production. As is detailed below, new production orders were in some cases a big problem this past winter/spring. Hopefully this will remain a non-issue.

5-18-2003 In addition to the things mentioned in the next few posts, we have been figuring out and implementing better ways to sort, track and archive the email load. So I hope that portion of our recent problems will be much better and that we can soon be back on track with what used to be one of our hallmarks.... rapid responses to customer inquires.
5-18-2003 We have a database of all the new manuals created by their previous owner. But it is in a form that is pretty much useless and the export function of that program does not work. I was able to figure out a way using a couple of old DOS utility programs to retrieve the data out of those files and ready for editing. This is going to save us what might have been months or years of trying to get accurate lists prepared.

All the data will be broken out into individual files by company, then computer sorted, then manually edited and sorted into perfectly correct alpha-numeric sort order. The manual sorting for just the Pioneer section took nearly 12 hours non-stop. Its hard to find this kind of time to devote to this task.

Then the sorted lists will be imported in an Excel spreadsheet. Once there, we will be able to add basic information as necessary and then save them as html webpage files. Then we will be able to edit out all the dumb Excel html code and prepare them for posting on the website in properly aligned columns with attendant notes, price codes, etc.

So be looking for huge additions to the posted Manuals for Sale lists beginning fairly soon. It's looking like another summer with no time to take the bass boat out.....

5-18-2003 The huge number of manuals we acquired in late April have been very hard to get at because of the temporary area they are stored in. Yesterday I was able to spend the required time so that they are all accessible now. I will be bringing several hundred of the ones I believe will have the highest interest to our current work area for filing and faster access. All the remaining thousands of manuals will remain 3 doors up the street in our other property.
5-18-2003 Beginning now, we are going to attempt to seek, find, sort  and reply to every email that was not responded to previously. I'm personally embarrassed to have not been able to answer everyone who asked for information over the past few months. It just wasn't humanly possible to do so.

The massive emails that resulted from the initial posting of our manuals lists in December, then being indexed by Google in January was more than we could handle. So if you have previously written us about anything and received no reply, expect one before long whether you still care or not. This 'is' embarrassing....

5-16-2003 The past couple of weeks have been spent working very hard to finally eliminate the residual problems caused by the various events of this past winter/spring. We are now virtually 99% caught up with all things relating to customers for the first time since January. Hallelujah!
5-01-2003 It looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel. As the winter/spring season is winding down, email volume seems to be returning to levels that we can currently handle. I'm beginning to examine many backlogged emails dating from a few days to a few weeks, and including a number that had been 'lost' back in February/March and some that were simply bypassed (please accept my apology) because of no time to do physical lookups to answer them.

I have discovered a relatively small number of *important* customer emails asking about order shipments that appear to have gone unanswered or not properly resolved. At first glance it appears that some may have been lost in the mail (or possibly addressed to wrong customer), unintentionally delayed for some reason, or recorded as shipped but actually never shipped.

If this applies to you, please forgive me. I will address them immediately and ship replacements. I will also do whatever it takes to make up for you being the victim of the  *we are all dorks 5% of the time* factor*. Whatever it takes may include...

  • Items shipped immediately even if you did not purchase insurance plus a future discount.
  • Items shipped immediately, a partial refund on the current order and discount on future order.
  • Items shipped immediately, a full refund on the current order.
4-30-2003 Since early in the fall of 2002, we have been working on an exclusive publication that is for Pioneer collectors. It is called Pioneer 1970-1985 Hi-Fi Specifications Reference Bible. This project was a huge undertaking that required many hundreds of hours to produce. In early January 2003, I posted a pre-publication discount offer on the website that indicated the initial shipping would occur about the end of January or early February. Well, it didn't. Due much to issues mentioned below plus other things, it took till now to finally publish the first edition. Early today I sent the 'final" Spec Bible update email to those who took advantage of the pre-pub offer. Some of you might find it informative about how things go with a business involved with printing things. Sometimes it just isn't safe to predict when something will be done.
4-27-2003 I have been able to take a few hours to do a 'quick look" at the huge new manuals acquisition. Most of what I have looked at seem to be in pretty good shape and should do well for reproductions. There are a large number of manuals that duplicate what we already have. I have started a page to list Original Factory Manuals for sale. Descriptions, pictures and prices will be posted at the as quickly as possible. I think there will be several hundred items listed when completed.
4-21-2003 We made it back alive from our trip to New York City. Hint:   When seeking directions and the person says, "You 'can't' miss it", rest assured that means you 'will' miss it. Nothing like driving around Lower Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn... and around, and around, and around.
4-18-2003 OK!! Finally the day is here. My son and I left early this morning for a 1200 mile round trip to New York to pick up the 37,500+ audio service manuals. We have been breaking butts trying to complete remodeling and repairs necessary to receive these. We needed 2-3 more days to properly prepare so we're being forced to move these into a temporary space. This is going to hinder our ability to make them available. We will begin to respond to emails again on until Monday 4-21-2003.


We are scheduled to pick up approximately  *37,500*  audio service manuals in the latter half of April. It is going to take a long time to integrate this number of manuals into our business and make them available. We plan to incorporate certain companies first, then gradually as time allows, make the balance of them available. There are over 300 companies represented, 100 with significant numbers and about 200 with only one or a few.

These are the ones with the most manuals:  Sony 7226, Pioneer 3513, Kenwood 3107, Aiwa 2547, Sanyo 1573, Panasonic 1473, JVC 1348, Fisher 1137, Yamaha 997, Hitachi 845, Technics 794, Sansui 784, Sharp 696, Toshiba 684, Akai 613, Denon 550, Teac 485, Marantz 391, Onkyo 261, HH Scott 223. Others with significant numbers include Sherwood, Harman Kardon, Bose, Blaupunkt, NEC, NAD, BSR, B&O, McIntosh, BSR, Garrard, Optonica, Dual, Tascam, Luxman, SAE, Adcom, Phase Linear, BIC, Tandberg, ADC, Ampex, LKH, Nakamichi, Wollensak, Grundig, Thorens, Dokorder, Altec, Crown and many others.

3-30-2000 Another thing that happened in mid March... I was contacted about a 'take-it-or-leave-it' AND 'do-it-now-or-forget-it' offer to purchase almost forty thousand service manuals. It took some time to discuss and come to a decision about whether we could do this and how we could even handle the sheer volume. As you see in the entry above, we made the decision. I spent most of Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday day time gathering information to make a major update to this website. The reason is to let folks know what has transpired with us the past (less than) two years since starting this business. It was almost all unplanned and in many ways a comedy of errors in how to start a business. Many of you will find it entertaining. I hope to have it posted within the next couple days.
3-30-2003 Much to my dismay, I have located a lot more emails from the problem period mentioned below. I will answer them even though you may not still want the information. I have also fallen behind with some recent inquires due to needing to do lookups and not having enough time to do it. And by the way, the reason it takes awhile to do this is that we do not have page counts and descriptions for all manuals yet. When we price them, we tell you how many pages, folded pullouts, schematics, inserts, condition, how constructed, etc. We are getting a lot done so it's getting easier all the time.
3-30-2003 WOW! If you have read further down this list, you know that a number of weeks ago, we lost our entire business database, was able to recover it after much effort, had a computer hardware meltdown, AND this was during the heaviest deluge of business emails we have ever experienced... by a factor of 'several' times larger. I was absolutely not prepared to handle it even without all the other problems. I'm addressing these issues with plans that will enable things to be better and more efficient in the future.
3-30-2003 My 77 year old mom was hospitalized after apparently having had a 'mini' stroke. She is home and appears to be ok. Your prayers are appreciated.
3-30-2003 During the last week of the month, we begin having some problems getting email and internet access again, but not too serious. I have both sections of a duplex rental requiring attention to re-rent. We have let one go empty for almost two months because of no time to do a quick paint job and a few others things. This in an attempt to keep up /catch up with the manuals stuff.
3-30-2003 I'm sorry, I should have updated this page about the middle of the month but couldn't get to it. Pretend this is it.. ha!  Most of the computer, ISP, and web hosting problems let up and were not causing any particular problems. Charter Pipeline (our cable internet connection) has been mostly very stable over the past 1 - 2 years but recently had been acting up.

We continue to have a few orders that require new production that are not getting done as quickly as we have in the past. Most orders are going out on time. Right after the last update on the 8th, I finally decided to try to keep up with current communications as much as possible and get back to the older ones when I could. Some folks had written back already and it was being too hard to decide who had and who had not. I decided to actually sleep some too.

3-8-2003 You may have sent email to us and received a rejection notice. Something is wrong with our email server on our website. The technicians at the hosting company are looking into it. It may be fixed now so if you got rejected mail, try it again.
3-5-2003 One more thing while I'm editing this page. If *nothing else* totally unexpected happens, I plan to have every thing on a current basis by Friday/Saturday. I would be great if I don't feel compelled to post anymore messages on this page. Again, if you are one of our customers that has been affected by our recent poor performance, please contact me. I will do whatever is necessary to see that you wind up being pleased.

Note: There is still hope you will wind up being a happy camper. Witness this message from one of the affected  customers yesterday...

"I received the manuals (RT-909 Full Doc Set) yesterday. They are absolutely excellent! The colored brochure is even better than the original! The wait was worth it! Thanks, David"

3-5-2003 In light of not being able to get caught up, I finally made a decision a week or so ago that in order to be efficient with the most number of customers, I would simply have to continue to leave some of the old stuff undone and process new stuff. The result is that most customers are not even aware that we experienced such troubles over the past 4-6 weeks.

My sincere apologies to whomever of you have been treated poorly regarding shipping your items or responding to your emails. There has just not been enough time in the day (and night) to keep current and finish the catch-up stuff. I found a few shipping invoices for some orders that required new production runs. During all this *trying to get caught up*, they did not produced or shipped. I will try to totally clean out our email backlog, contact affected customers, etc. I sure hope this season of being behind ends very soon!!!!

2-28-2003 This week was when we expected to be totally current again. But it hasn't gone as planned. Besides all the everyday variety of  unexpected stuff, we received a relatively large number of additional manuals and brochures. Because of the reorganization and remodeling project not being finished, we are short on space. These items had to be absorbed or our work space is too cluttered to work. So we got that done, cataloged, filed away and listed on the website. We currently have some customer orders that have been delayed past normal shipping times. We are sorry and expect to be current very soon.

We still have not got caught up on the unanswered emails. That was caused by the *deluge* of emails we received early in the month while simultaneously having lost our computer hardware and our business database (posted below). As mentioned (below), we did manage to rewrite the website so the current volume of email has dropped significantly and to a manageable level. I am willing to do whatever is necessary to make any disgruntled, displeased, unhappy, etc. customer that has been affected by all the things listed below. Let me know if you are one.


Our internet provider (Charter Pipeline) is continuing to have numerous outages that are affecting the entire state of WV. Intermittent or just plain *no service* has been going on for several days. It makes us look unresponsive even though we are very close to getting current with everything.

We have another very large number of backlogged orders shipping today. Hopefully yours is included.

2-22-2003 It seems like something has been going on for weeks.... We were without our internet connection for a long time beginning on Friday. While down, we discovered 50 - 75 requests for information that were *lost* in our inbox since early February. We will try to have those answered asap.

We did ship a large number of orders after being snowed in for a week. It is our intention to have every single backlogged order shipped on Monday. Hopefully we will be able to remain current after these past several weeks of problems. You *should* expect normal shipping times now. If anything happens to cause abnormal delays again, we will try to have information posted here. Thanks to one and all for your patience.

2-20-2003 All items prepared to ship since last weekend have been delayed due to the blizzard that hit the eastern United States. This has been beyond our control. In our city we had 24" of snow, power outages, roofs caving in, buildings collapsing, etc. We have been snowed in and unable to get our  vehicles out to cleared streets until this evening. A huge load of shipments will leave here Friday 2-21.

Good News! The website rewrite of all contact links seems to have accomplished its intended purpose. The volume of emails asking if we have this or that has dropped significantly. Praise the Lord! We are finally having real time to service customers for a change.

2-16-2002 Most of the difficulties of the past couple weeks having been taken care of *finally*. There are still a lot of emails in our inbox that have gone unanswered. Our apology to all to whom we have not yet responded. There has not been enough hours in the day to do everything. I hope that this email backlog can be cleared out today and tomorrow. Also, some of the orders over the past couple weeks that required new production runs fell behind because of the problems detailed below. I hope to have all delayed shipments ready to go out on Monday HOWEVER... the snow that began on the 14th became a blizzard and we are snowed in. With a declared state of emergency, we aren't making it to the post office till some streets get cleared. This too shall pass.....
2-15-2003 After continuing consultations with the data recovery service and our software developer, we finally have the database working with less problems. However, the stability is still in question and is going to take a complete manual retyping of two years of records to restore it to 100% accuracy. We have been able to manually combine the past couple week's records into our previous (recovered) file. We are going to continue working with it for the time being and hope it will remain functional.

We just rewrote the website so all contact links go to a single page that provides a lot of information for site visitors. This change should result in a lot less emails that need replies and will hopefully save us several hours per day.

2-12-2003 Computer and database access is working but with some continuing problems. We continue to answer scores and scores of the email backlog but are continuing to be deluged with requests for information. Trying very hard to catch up. Current backlog is still large.
2-10-2003 With only a few short nap breaks, we have worked nearly non-stop for the last three days trying to resolve a corrupted database problem. On the 7th, we sent an email to a lot of folks saying that things were almost resolved and that we would begin responding to their emails in the next few hours. That was wishful thinking.  We have had to implement some work-around methods and are now ready to start catching up. We began making changes to the contact information on our website to hopefully eliminate a ton of needless emails that have been consuming hours each day. Read here (link removed) for the whole story.

1:00 PM update... We have things up and running. I'm *very busy* processing backed up orders and responding to 200 - 300 emails. You will hear from us soon. No shipping today but will work through the night to ship large numbers of orders tomorrow 2-11-03. Thanks for your patience... Rick

2-7-2003 About daybreak, we emailed almost 200 folks with the following message.

We experienced a computer hardware failure that totally shut us down. We were unable to access any emails or any of our business records. We did get the hardware repaired so that it is running again but remain uncertain as to stability. Our main database that contains *ALL* our business records.... items for sale, prices, customers, sales records, etc. was corrupted.

We sent the database to an emergency recovery service and they were able to repair the file so that information is accessible again. However there are still problems. I (Rick) spent 20+ hours manually examining the database trying to correct various things. Until I'm relatively sure I can proceed to add data to the files, I'm trying to not add sales, new customers, etc. Of course this is a *MAJOR* problem because like everyone else, we need to keep income flowing.

I'm very sorry for this delayed response to your message. I hope to have a reply to many of you within the next 12 hours, a few of you within 24 hr, and the balance within 48 hr. Please accept our apology as there has been little to nothing we could have done differently.

2-1-2003 Anyone familiar with that TV ad depicting the new internet company watching their first orders coming in? Everyone is gleeful until the incoming orders begins to far surpasses their ability to service them. This kind of happened to us on a much smaller scale. We were hesitant to post the list of our manuals during most of 2002 because we might be overwhelmed with requests for manuals we might not be able to supply in a timely manner. We have recently had so many emails coming, it has been very difficult to keep up. Actually we aren't keeping up very well. But projects are underway to fix this and make us more efficient.
1-28-2003 The owner and the service shop supervisor at my color work place have been trying to please my critical eye for almost two months. This particular color machinery has now had 4 major repair sessions and they *finally* got the right thing repaired!!!! Color brochures quality is now fantastic once again.
1-5-2003 Some continuing delays for a few customers, especially those involving color brochures not in stock. The folks where we do our color work have had serious problems with the color machinery that we have had almost exclusive use of for the past several months. We have become used to producing Excellent color reproductions and now are fighting with machinery that is not producing up to par.
12-26-2002 Beginning in early November, we began a series of operations that eventually caused us to accumulate a backlog with some orders. Most customers are receiving their orders within a few days. But we are currently experiencing some significant delays in shipping some items to a number of customers. Read this Additional Note (link removed)for the particulars.
12-10-2002 GREAT NEWS!! Almost a year to the day of first posting this website, we FINALLY have listed the literature items we currently have for sale. I don't know the exact number but we have something on the order of 5000 audio literature items. Visit the *Manuals For Sale* page for lists of slightly over 100 companies for which we have one or more items. We will begin adding individual descriptions, pricing information, etc. as soon as possible. Also, we have filled more than four file drawers full with a wide variety of items for the Bargain Basement (minor flaws, seconds, sub-standard, etc.) that will be listed, described and priced as soon as we can get to it.
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