The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 November 2002

You could look it up

For poor Page, "RTFM" is honored mostly — make that exclusively — in the breach:

If you're a user, you're not expected to know everything there is to know about a system. Fair enough. That's why people like me are paid to write instructions, documentation, and manuals, whatever, for you. But if I take the time to write it, you can take the time to read it. Show some initiative, for cryin' out loud!

Unfortunately, this willful sort of ignorance extends into other areas of technology. I've been known to hang out on a couple of automotive message boards, and when the Same Damn Questions recur, I'm not above being snippy enough to tack on "Further details can be found in Section [whatever] of your owner's manual." And, sure enough, the next reply is I bought it used and I don't have one.

Well, why the hell not? You can't go to the dealership and plunk down $25 for something to show you how your expensive little playpretty actually works? I bet you spent more than that upgrading your goddamn stereo, you corksoaking icehole. But no, you'll be back here in three months begging for help with your "check engine" light because you can't bear the thought of paying the shop to hook up a scan tool.

And then I erase all that and type "See your nearest authorized dealer for a copy." Wonderful things, those Terms of Service.

Posted at 8:10 PM to PEBKAC


My check engine light stays on all the time. The first time I came on we took it to the Ford dealer. They just disconnected and then reconnected the battery and it went out. We did that ourselves a few times but got tired of having to reset the clock and all the radio stations so now we just ignore it. My son's Suzuki has the same problem. He suggested another solution: put a piece of black electrical tape over it.

Posted by: Lynn at 11:06 AM on 21 November 2002

"...first time it came on..." #$&*!

Posted by: Lynn at 11:07 AM on 21 November 2002

AutoZone will hook up the scan tool and give you the reading for free, if you're interested.

Posted by: andy at 1:04 PM on 21 November 2002

It's less of an issue out here than in some other places, since we don't have to pass regular emissions tests. Yet.

But $DEITY help us if they decide to start doing so.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:21 PM on 21 November 2002