Letters From Home

Life looks at infmom / infmom looks at life



(No, that’s not me in the picture, I just found it appropriate)

I always like to read the directions.  I’m weird that way.   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.  This is why I love printed manuals and loathe help files.  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.  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.  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).  However, no way could I discover how to zoom in.  Grrr.

So I went home and dug out the manual, and lo and behold it didn’t tell me how to zoom in either!  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.  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.  I think this is why I have little patience with instructions that are non-instructional.  Thbft.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Stefaan Christopher

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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