Below, you will find a compilation of the most salient features I detected in the manuals of various products that I purchased recently. They turn out to have much in common, so here you have  the Universal Manual. In small print, I added the further clarifications that you usually find missing.  None of the directions given below have been made up. They can be found in many manuals. Only some details like brand names have been replaced by arbitrary examples.


Manual of the Universe --  Universal Manual.


Dear Client

        read: Dear PAYING Client

Congratulations. You have bought one of the Finest Products.

       This insult is not sincere. We are actually congratulating ourselves. Our aggressive marketing procedures have been successful: our advertisements (thank you for helping us financing them) , and the misleading information on the box that our product was sold in, mysteriously seduced you in buying this product. Whether you actually want to be congratulated or not, we do not want to know.
In fact, we should congratulate you for succeeding in getting our product out of its box. There were times when boxes were sealed with soft paper or tape. Now, due to technological advances, our products are so tightly sealed with plastic that you not only need tools, but also very strong fingers, and a bit of luck, to remove our product from its box in one piece. We hope you could find it. It is the small gadget left and above the center.

This manual will make it particularly easy for you to handle our Product.

        No it won't, just like all the other manuals of all those other products you bought recently, as you are about to find out. After glancing it over exactly once, you will misplace it, or at best it will land in your drawer with hundreds of other manuals. Of course, it comes in fifteen languages.

This manual applies to all our brands, the UniPro1, the UniPro4A, the UniProXL and the the UniPro2000.

       This we did to save money on manuals. We could easily have produced separate manuals for all these things (on which all buttons look different and are in different places) but we didn't feel the need to make your life any easier than (we falsely presume) it already is. Aren't you happy that it comes in 21 languages?

Let's assume you bought the most expensive of all: the UniPro2000.

        It would have been much better for you if you hadn't bought that one in particular.

Your UniPro2000 comes with a rechargeable battery. Of course, the one in the package is empty. Before use, first charge it up completely. While charging your battery, a little green light on your UniPro2000 will start blinking. If the battery is fully charged, the blinking stops.

       This is the other way around in about half of all the other products you bought. The green light may turn into a yellow light, or a yellow light will turn into a green light. You will not remember what the blinking or colour change means. So from now on: just guess.

It is important that you only recharge your battery when it is completely empty, otherwise its performance will rapidly deteriorate.

        We completely ignore the fact that this is not at all the way you want to use any product. You don't want to leave home with your UniPro2000 unless its battery is fully charged. What will you do when it is half-empty? That's your problem, not ours.

Your UniPro2000 will only work properly if the battery is more than half full. Therefore, as soon as it observes that your battery is less than half full, it automatically switches itself off.

        Great. So half of the battery is there for nothing.

In case you wish to remove the battery, or to replace it with a fresh one, the picture on page 98 shows how to open the battery compartment.

Notice that this compartment is cleverly concealed. It is impossible to open it if:  1) you don't have the manual at hand, or if  2) you don't have very strong fingers.  Of course, when the time comes, you'll have misplaced the manual. We have made the procedure to open the battery compartment as illogical as possible.

To reset the clock on your UniPro2000, use the buttons P and A, while pressing at the same time buttons I and N at the back.

        This you will immediately forget how to do, because the prescriptions for resetting the clocks in your watch, your telephone, your car radio, your car, your oven, your computer, your microwave oven, your fridge, your television and your alarm clock are all different. Why on earth you should want to have so many clocks anyway, and in addition also a clock on your UniPro2000, we cannot imagine. Well, you do know, of course:  it is because most of these clocks are unreliable. Use the rule of large numbers to find out what the time (probably) is. Twice per year, you will have to waste hours to change all these clocks from winter to summer time and back, and our clock in particular will beat all the others in senseless complexity of the handling prescriptions. There is no button for: "forward one hour" or "backward one hour", for sure.

The buttons on your UniPro2000 are Touch-Only, indicated by squares on its beautifully smooth surface. 

In colors, visible only under special illumination.  Yes, buttons that you can   feel,  are things of the past.  Just like on your alarm clock, which you can no longer fumble while half asleep -- you must be wide awake, with all your lights on, to be able to operate it.  Just like in your hotel room, where, at night, you must turn on the light in order to find the light switches.  Just like on your car radio, which requires your full attention (away from this boring highway) every time that you wish to lower the volume of those irritating commercials.

To switch our product on, use the "on" switch.

       O, you did that already, did you? And now you want to switch it off?  After an elaborate search, you will find the off switching procedure on pages 736 - 738 of this manual. Of course, we expect that you are so happy with our product that we cannot imagine why you would ever want to switch it off, even if it slows down the performance of many of our other products that you may have purchased from us, it drains its battery, and it makes irritating noises. O yes, and the prescription on pages 736 - 738 does not switch it off entirely, because at irregular and unwanted instances, the thing will turn itself on again.

        Note also that the on(off) switch is the most vulnerable moving part of your UniPro2000. It will be the first thing to break. That will be beyond repair, and you can't use the UniPro2000 without this little button. Buy a new one; see our catalogue below.

Trouble shooting.

We cannot imagine that you will ever encounter any trouble.

        This is why this list is much too short.

If your UniPro2000 does not function properly, it could be for one of the following reasons:

1.      Your battery is empty or you did not plug it in. Solution: 
         Plug it in
(also if it doesn't fit in the socket of the hotel where you happen to be staying) and recharge your battery.

2.      You did not switch it ON. Solution: use the on switch. Here we assume that you are a complete idiot.

3.      There could be some other problem. 
         In that case, the little window in your UniPro2000 will show the message: "There is a problem". 
         In addition, there will be an alarming sound and a blinking light.
         In this case, act as follows: 1. Solve the problem. 2. Try again. 

     To remind you of the fact that you still haven't solved the problem, the sound and light signals continue.

Please mail us about your happy experiences with your UniPro2000 to the mail address below. You can send us your complaints also, but we have never received any complaints.
That is to say, we never received any complaint that we found worth reacting upon.

We wish you many happy hours with your UniPro2000. 
      But not too many hours, because we want you to purchase the 'new improved' UniPro3000 as soon as it comes out, containing many new features that you didn't ask for and you don't want, while the bugs of the old versions have not been removed. 

After all these happy hours, just return to my home page.

Gerard  't  Hooft.,  Spinoza Institute,  Utrecht.