Sunday, July 04, 2004

More features than Cineplex theaters

First off, let me say that I am not a technophobe. I love technology. I even worked in technology for several years, so that's not the issue. What infuriates me is that so many technical writers are incapable of writing software manuals that are in the least bit helpful. They assume you already know everything about their product, including how to use it!

For at least the last four hours I've been trying to learn how to use all the bells and whistles on my new cell phone. It's really a work of art, compared to what I had in the U.S. This baby even has a barcode and text scanner! Now I'm just trying to imagine when I would ever use such features. I can record movies, take photos, surf the 'net, listen to music, play games. . .well, you get the idea. It's got more features than Cineplex theaters.

So far, after four hours, I've managed to set the ring tones, adjust the text size, enter about ten names with phone numbers, accidentally delete three of those ten numbers, lose a telephone message, call a wrong number, and choose a new wallpaper design. The fact that my phone is bilingual is of very little help since all the really important key shortcuts are in Japanese. I finally had to ask a resident of the guesthouse to help me figure out what key I was supposed to use to enter phone numbers, and of couse it was one of three that have only Japanese characters on them.

Using the manual has been of no help. While the Japanese section is 95 percent of the book, the English section is abridged and difficult to navigate. I went to the Vodafone Web site and downloaded the manual as a bunch of PDF files, but they're in about 15 different files, and finding what I need is like going on safari and hoping I'll stumble into the right area. The terminology is not bilingual and nothing is straightforward or easy to find. Feh!

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