(No, that’s not me in the picture, I just found it appropriate)
I always like to read the directions.Â I’m weird that way.Â Â To me, it’s a lot easier to use some new gizmo or
software if I’ve already read through the instructions before I begin.Â This is why I love printed manuals and loathe help files.Â If something I’m trying to learn only comes with a manual in electronic form, I almost always print it out so I can read it more efficiently.Â Help files are rarely as helpful as they need to be.
But sometimes even the printed manual doesn’t tell you enough.
Yesterday I spotted something that I wanted to take a picture of, using my fairly-recently-acquired camera phone.Â I duly pressed the button and looked at the screen and realized that if the picture was going to be useful at all, I would have to zoom in on the subject (which was across the street).Â However, no way could I discover how to zoom in.Â Grrr.
So I went home and dug out the manual, and lo and behold it didn’t tell me how to zoom in either!Â It wasn’t till I got through a couple layers of FAQs on the manufacturer’s web site that I found out that you can’t zoom with the default resolution on the camera phone.Â You have to switch to a lower resolution.
This is doubly annoying because the default settings disable a very useful feature AND the manual doesn’t tell you so.
I used to write software manuals that translated programmer-ese into English.Â I think this is why I have little patience with instructions that are non-instructional.Â Thbft.