When it comes to learning new software packages (and many other things, as well), there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who read the manuals and those who don't.
I'm a manual* reader. Whenever I get something new, my first order of business is reading the owner's manual or instruction sheet (Buy a new camera. Read the manual. Buy a new laptop. Read the manual. Buy a new flavor of Pop Tarts. Read the manual.). How else will I know how to use the product to its maximum potential?
My thirst for knowledge isn't limited to the manual provided by the manufacturer. I'll often go and get a How-To book. I'm especially fond of the Dummies or Idiot's Guide Series (insert your own joke here). And I like to read every page so I don't miss a single helpful hint or trick. Hey, you never know when you'll need to call up the Cyrillic alphabet font in order to compose that letter to Cyril.
I realize there are some people born with the ability to figure out how software works by just sitting down and banging on the keyboard. I'm not one of them. On those rare occasions I try that approach, I end up getting just far enough to mess things up. Then I get royally frustrated. Then I throw things and stomp my feet and say bad words. And the kicker: I have to read the manual anyway to figure out what to do. I say it's better to open the manual in the beginning.
Evidently, I haven't passed this gene on to my children. They just install their software, double-click, and dive right in. They don't need no stinking manual.
Oh well, at least I'll know who to go to for help.
Today's bonus quiz question: Can you guess what software package I've recently purchased?**
*On-line guides, PDF instruction documents, paper manuals--it doesn't really matter. Although, I do like the feel of paper in my hands...
**My wife made me promise to state the following, in CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS PHOTO LOOKS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE ALAN ORLOFF.